Could I live rural? A visit to Twillingate (photos)

I’ve been fiercely anti-rural life. I don’t really consider myself a big city gal either, although I like being anonymous and knowing that if I happen to fall out of my parked car and bang up my knees in the process, news of me lying dazed in the dirt won’t be circulating the town within an hour.

St. John’s is a good size for me, I figure. Or figured. But then I visited places like Woody Point and Norris Point and Twillingate and my creativity gets so fired up that my body practically vibrates with the effort of keeping it all in. It’s in the salt water and the fishing sheds and the snippets of conversation you overhear from the old-timers. And I kept thinking, “Couldn’t I live here? Even just for the summer.” I wanted to buy up that old decrepit orange house so bad and turn it into something lovely.

Twillingate was an interesting place. Its title as the “iceberg capital of the world” is making it one of the most sought-out destinations in Newfoundland these days. For a quiet community of under 3000, the place is lined with seafood restaurants, boat tour operators and art galleries. I ate lobster burgers and seafood casseroles and battered scallops, then watched a fisherman split cod with such brute force I couldn’t prevent the horror from crossing my face. I took a boat tour around the coast, not reaching the three icebergs a fair distance offshore nor being fortunate enough to spot whales, despite the previous boat tour having found one. There were also killer whales playing around the day before, but I seem to repel whales as much as I repel men. Another example: boat operators in St. John’s reported the most insane number of whales this summer EVER. I didn’t see a single one.

Ange and I drove out to the lighthouse later, to find a closer view of the bergs. At one point I thought they had disappeared, but the angle of the sunlight had changed — or some other weird phenomena occurred which I can’t find through Google — and the icebergs were suddenly as blue as the ocean. I thought they had all sunk at once, rolled over like trained dogs. But they were there in some sort of translucent state. That’s the most scientific explanation I can give, “translucent state.”

I took a sunset stroll through town, and the disconcerting fact that I hadn’t met anyone under 30 years of age occurred to me (other than the kids on the boat who thought that eating Lunchables and chocolate chip cookies would cure their seasickness). But some of the best conversations I had were from sitting around breakfast tables with older retired couples who found my lifestyle fascinating, including at the Hillside B&B in Twillingate. Winse and Wavey were the owners, and my experience with B&Bs had been a little negative before I met them. They didn’t treat me like a kid, and Wavey spent some time telling me about the 150-year old house and its history. It involved shell-shocked war veterans and sad family history, but there’s more of that to come.

But what I thought about most after all this Newfoundland travel is that for the most part, people in these places seem happy and more patient. Maybe they’re not. Maybe they have to hide their lives from prying neighbours, but there’s something to be said for a slow, steady lifestyle that isn’t spent crammed between traffic or waiting in line at the theatre. I like places where $200,000 will get you more than a one-bedroom condo apartment.

  • http://www.solofemaletraveler.com Sabina

    I never thought about traveling to Newfoundland until you started writing about it. Now I can absolutely see myself going there :)

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

    Stunning photos, Candice! Looks just amazing!
    Those first three remind me of a puzzle I used to have.
    Never did find that one missing edge piece, though… (I’m fairly certain it wound up in my dog’s stomach. Or his purse.) ;)

  • http://teachergirlblogs.com Teacher Girl

    Very beautiful post. Both your words and the pictures are so poetic. I would love to visit this place, or somewhere like it. It is sad that you didn’t get to see the whales though! I hope you get to try again.

  • http://www.hecktictravels.com Dalene

    Pete’s family has some land to sell on the coast in Loon Bay. We’ll give you a good deal. :) Love that little part of Newfieland.

  • http://www.diytravelexpert.com/ Kathleen C Baker

    Your photos are really beautiful. The first one with the contrast in colors in the sky and water is stunning. Country living is great, but definitely has its moments of the neighbors knowing all your business.

  • http://corn-bean.com linlah

    Small towns rock and really, again with the harbour, you’re killing me. Saving my pennies, must visit soon.

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com Candice

    SAVE YOUR PENNIES!

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com Candice

    Hey Kathleen, thanks so much! :) And yep, definitely the downfall of a small town. Grew up in one for 18 years!

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com Candice

    Hahaha yes, sign me up! I’ll turn it into a paradise!

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com Candice

    Next year I’m making it my mission to SNORKEL or at least KAYAK with whales, dammit!

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com Candice

    Hey, let’s drop the purse discussion, ok?! ;)

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com Candice

    You HAVE to come! :) I’d give you the VIP tour.

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

    lovely pictures :) really makes me ache to just get in my car and go.

    I know we’ve discussed this lots recently… but i’ll say it again… i think if i were to buy a house, it would be outside of town. I love living downtown, and while I could imagine myself here forever, somehow I’m sure I’d rather settle somewhere quieter.

    …just as long as I can get over my fear of driving into town during a winter storm for an emergency :S

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

    Okay… done
    (sorry, Candice sometimes I fancy myself to be far more clever than I really am)!

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com Candice

    Hehehe, I was so kidding!

  • Pingback: The Best Travel Blogs and Posts in October… | Trading365.co.uk | Blog: Shopping Deals UK, Discount Codes, Price Comparisons, News & Reviews

  • Shy

    I love your blog. Twillingate is one of my favourite places! I was born and raised in Alberta but met a lovely man from Newfoundland and his sister lives in Twillingate thus leading to me visiting there 4 times in the last year alone! I could 10000% live there! Hopefully the manfriend will relocate us some day!

  • Shy

    I love your blog. Twillingate is one of my favourite places! I was born and raised in Alberta but met a lovely man from Newfoundland and his sister lives in Twillingate thus leading to me visiting there 4 times in the last year alone! I could 10000% live there! Hopefully the manfriend will relocate us some day!

  • Shy

    I love your blog. Twillingate is one of my favourite places! I was born and raised in Alberta but met a lovely man from Newfoundland and his sister lives in Twillingate thus leading to me visiting there 4 times in the last year alone! I could 10000% live there! Hopefully the manfriend will relocate us some day!

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

    Thanks so much, Shy! If you move there, let me know. I’ll come by for a visit. :)