There are unicorns in Gaultois

I was sent to Gaultois to check out the newly established Gaultois Inn and to explore one of the more isolated areas in the Coast of Bays. Yes, more isolated. After driving four hours on the TCH West, turning off down the Bay d’Espoir highway for another 127 kilometres without a gas stop, then driving another 60 minutes before reaching the ferry…I arrived in Gaultois, where there are no roads and people navigate the area by ATV.

By the way, it’s pronounced “Gall-tis,” not “Gall-twoi.” Just to clarify.

The Inn’s website describes Gaultois as a place of “authentic outport culture.” The word “authentic” usually sends travel writers screaming, but in this case, it’s true. On the ferry surrounded by good-natured elderly ladies complaining about their aches and pains (but eagerly answering all my questions about the insanely cheap $1.50 ticket price), I was swept up in homesickness and nostalgia. I missed my Nanny. I missed my home. I missed wood stoves and banana bread and old accordion music.

Ange and I didn’t know where the inn was. One of the ladies told us to follow her, as she lived right next to it. I told her that one of my best friends, Leon, grew up in Gaultois. She pointed at the house where he was raised.

Just like that, all I had to do was mention a first name.

UNICORNS!!!

We were greeted at the inn by Souren, who knew who I was upon arrival and happily escorted us to the room. He turned out to be the inn’s chef, in addition to playing role of the innkeeper…and the bartender. Ange, with an ear for absence of accent, immediately picked up on the fact that he was from Toronto.

We asked if there was WiFi.

“No, sorry! The network is full,” Souren replied. I don’t even know what that means.

I didn’t expect such a fancy meal of shrimp linguini in the middle of the Gaultois. The garlic bread sticks in my mind. You know, like the kind of toast you roast over an open fire on a handcrafted piece of wire? Like that.

Nor did I expect a random man to burst into the dining area demanding to know where he could find some squid, and then another man standing up to stay he wanted some squid as well, and then everyone discussing squid for some time.

I asked the waitress if there were a convenience store nearby. There were two: one next door, and another “up Bottom,” aka over the hill. It so absurdly made sense!

The Inn itself is a novelty. Jane Pitfield, the owner, was formerly the councillor of Toronto. She came down here and bought up property at ridiculously low prices, including an old captain’s quarters for $10,000 (five bedrooms, now Pitfield’s home). She recruited Souren to come live there for awhile, to take over the kitchen and get some experience as head chef.

Take a second to envision what it must be like to move from a city of millions—filled with concerts and parties and traffic and skyscrapers—to a tiny former whaling town where the population can almost be counted on one hand and you have to wait for supplies to come by ferry.

Who is this badass?!!

While Pitfield wasn’t around, Ange and I did get to know Souren. He admits he didn’t know what to do with himself when he first arrived, and people didn’t know how to take an outsider with the dangerous intentions of butchering fish and serving up gourmet. But on our final day, as Souren led us down to the wharf to catch the ferry, he paused to talk to every single person he met, young and old alike. He even helped the lady carting her mail in a wheelbarrow up the boardwalk.

There’s your picture of Newfoundland community again.

His highlight, of course, was being given a whole blue shark to play with. And eat, presumably.

Did not know there were sharks in our waters, by the way.

And that, my friends, is that real, honest-to-goodness authentic outport experience we all want in Newfoundland…except perhaps with “brown food” rather than gourmet.

  • http://trustmaggie.wordpress.com/ maggie

    Sounds like a delightful place :)
    And people at work are always trying to tell me there are sharks in these waters. . . I thought they were just trying to scare me… but I find they do mostly tell the truth, turns out.

    And thanks for the pronounciation key. My bilingual education would’ve totally had me pronouncing that wrong. Now I must add it to the list of places maybe I’ll run away to on my long weekends…

  • http://refrigeratormagnate.wordpress.com/ SpilledInkGuy

    Looks (and sounds) incredible!
    I’m not going to lie, though… for some reason that painting has totally put me in the mood for fish sticks.
    :)

  • http://corn-bean.com linlah

    My heart aches with just how peaceful that harbor is.

  • http://www.driftingfocus.com/ Kelsey

    Sounds like an incredible place!

  • Susan

    Oh, yeah…..I can smell the ocean. THANKS for sharing this with us. You’re so damned good at making a person feel like they were right there!

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com Candice

    YAY! Thanks Susan! You’ll have to go more rural on your next visit. :)

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com Candice

    It really was! Actually crossed my mind once or twice about how you’d love an experience like that.

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com Candice

    Ahhh, SO peaceful!

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com Candice

    Mmm, a Newfoundland delicacy…

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com Candice

    I didn’t know either!! I don’t know how much damage they could do, but I’m sure they could take a mean chunk out of your arm. Eep.

  • Tony

    I’ve been following your blog for a little while now and quite look forward to new entries.

    Nice article on Gaultois, it is as peaceful as you made it sound; I lived there for two years when I was a kid. I too, miss the smell of wood stoves and homemade bread.

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com Candice

    Hey Tony, I’m so glad to hear it. :) Makes me happy!

    You’re lucky to have lived there, even briefly. I dig the small community lifestyle, although who knows how long I could last.

  • http://www.thedepartureboard.com Si @ thedepartureboard

    Hi Candice,

    Sounds like somewhere I would love to visit. Very much enjoyed the post so have added the link (with your Amateur Traveler interview ) to THE TRAVEL BLOGGERS GUIDE TO THE WORLD I am developing. I hope you don’t mind.

    Kind regards, Si

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com Candice

    Thanks for including me, Si!

  • Colin

    OMG I worked on that boar for 7 years lol

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com Candice

    Ha! Awesome!

  • Harrison

    Candice, i’m glad you enjoyed your time there, but your statement about “up bottom” being another town…………is completely WRONG!!!!!! It is all a part of Gaultois, and if someone there told you any different is just ignorant.

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com/ Candice Walsh

    Thanks, Harrison! I actually knew that but worded it incorrectly. Fixed.

  • Pam

    Great article! My husband Allen was raised in Gaultois and has family still living there. It was a cultural shock (in a good way) for me the first time a “city gal” visited over 30 years ago! I love the people, the scenery and the slower paced life. Always cry when we have to watch the town disappear behind us when we board the ferry to take us back to reality. You should all visit and see what nature looks like at its best.

  • Pam

    Great article! My husband Allen was raised in Gaultois and has family still living there. It was a cultural shock (in a good way) for me the first time a “city gal” visited over 30 years ago! I love the people, the scenery and the slower paced life. Always cry when we have to watch the town disappear behind us when we board the ferry to take us back to reality. You should all visit and see what nature looks like at its best.

  • Jasmine B

    It’s too bad you couldn’t be there for the come home year in August! That’s when the little place would have came alive :) I grew up there as well, and I couldn’t be more proud to say that !! Great article :)

  • Amanda Engram

    Hi Candace so glad you liked Gaultois, it were I grew up to and lived till i was 23. That article you wrote is also where i found you to ,while looking about some info about Gaultois :)

  • Amanda Engram

    Hi Candace so glad you liked Gaultois, it were I grew up to and lived till i was 23. That article you wrote is also where i found you to ,while looking about some info about Gaultois :)

  • Amanda Engram

    Hi Candace so glad you liked Gaultois, it were I grew up to and lived till i was 23. That article you wrote is also where i found you to ,while looking about some info about Gaultois :)

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com/ Candice Walsh

    Awesome! Love that spot, and its people :)