One of the things we love about Newfoundland is the friendliness of the people there. Just about everyone you meet — from the shopkeepers to random people in the parking lot — wants to chat. And since the towns tend to be small, everyone knows everyone.
When I called the tour company to book a whale/iceberg watching boat tour, our conversation went like this:
She: Wheryastaying? (everything runs together in Newfoundland “talk.”)
Me: At the rental house, managed by the Grenfell Heritage Hotel.
She: Oh! That’s Dr. Penney’s house.
One morning my brother-in-law, Jeff, went for a hike up to the top of the cliff overlooking the town. Along the way he met a man clearing snow off the path. Chester was his name.
Jeff: At Dr. Penney’s house.
He: Oh! She was a great doctor.
Five minutes later he’d learned all about Dr. Penney.
For the last two nights of our stay on the Northern Penninsula, we moved to a remote establishment, along the shores of Pistolet Bay, called the Viking Lodge. At one point we were about 25 miles away, dining at a restaurant in another small town. As we were paying our bill, the owner asked,
Jeff: At the Viking Village, over on Pistolet Bay.
He: Ted’s place. He’s a good guy!
It was at this Viking Lodge that we experienced the height of Newfoundland hospitality, where the lodge hosts, Dennis and Donna welcomed us as if we were in their own home. In the evening, some of their friends stopped by and Donna baked fresh bread for all of us.
And before long, Dennis and Jeff were having an impromptu jam session, singing Newfoundland ditties and gospel tunes. Here they are singing “A Gray Foggy Day.”
And “Amazing Grace.”
As I told a friend back home, you’ve got to be a world class curmudgeon to not make friends in Newfoundland!
Oh, and of course they all knew Chester and Dr. Penney!