2017 BMW X1
Gros Morne National Park
Cape Spear National Historic Site
Signal Hill National Historic Site
Castle Hill National Historic Site
Quidi Vidi Village
George Street, St. John’s
Is it worthwhile to pile two adults and two kids into a car and take a road trip to Canada’s most isolated province? Full disclosure: for me, it was always going to be.
I’ve known my best friend for more than 30 years now, and as a child I spent almost as much time at her house as I did at my own. Amy is the only person in her immediate family who wasn’t born in Newfoundland. Ever since we were girls, we’ve talked about one day taking a road trip to Newfoundland together so that I could see her origins for myself.
This summer, the time was right. With both our girls about to start grade one, they were old enough to make memories with us that would have an impact. So, we packed up a BMW X1 and hit the road.
This is the trip that started it all. My daughter and I had traveled together before this, but this was the trip where we stumbled upon the Parks Canada Xplorers program for kids that’s been the inspiration for so many of our adventures ever since.
Hilariously, I wasn’t even the one who came across it. My best friend did after an interpreter at Cape Spear approached her and our girls to offer them the guidebooks. I had no idea until I came back from my solo walk on the trails to find them showing off their tags after completing the activities.
We spent a day at Gros Morne National Park early in the same trip, but we weren’t offered a guidebook there; M and I also visited Castle Hill National Historic Site before boarding the ferry in Argentia, but it wasn’t yet participating as it was the program’s first year and hadn’t yet fully caught on. (My best friend has since been back to Newfoundland to visit family and grabbed the current Xplorers book and medal for us while she was there. The activities are very close to the once we completed during our visit.)
On top of that, I was very new to this whole thing at the time, and I would tell this story completely differently if I had it to do over again. Given this, and that there are still six Xplorers sites in Newfoundland and Labrador waiting for us to explore — oh, and that the French islands of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon are now officially open to car traffic from the port in Fortune, Nfld. — this road trip is clearly due for a redux as soon as possible.