Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Top Ten Reasons to Stay at The Bayside Bed and Breakfast - Part 1

One of the best views on the Avalon Peninsula
As we're situated on the top of a hill, most times I can see cars driving into the lot, so I'm ready to greet our guests at the door. Once in awhile, they take so long to come in I wonder if they've lost their way or they've turned around and left! What's the reason? They are so taken by the view from our B&B that they'll stop and take pictures before they've even entered the door. I can't blame them. I live here and I still can't believe the beauty I see out my window every day.

Beautiful Sunrises and Sunsets
Sunrise behind The Bayside

Sunset overlooking Bay Roberts

I just can't get over some of the colours that streak across the sky. I've been known to pull on my winter coat and rubber boots when it's cold just to get that perfect shot in the morning. Thank goodness we have no close neighbours that can watch me!
And at the other end of the day, I'll just jump in the car and stop alongside the road to drink in the evening beauty laid out on nature's canvas.
Speaking of  early morning sunrises, that leads us to....

Breakfast- The most important meal of the day!
It's easy enough for me to see those early morning sunrises because I'm up extra early for my guests. There's nothing better than to wake up in the morning and smell something good going on in the kitchen and you'll find that here at The Bayside.

I love to bake and I have some favourites ( lemon-blueberry bread, best scones ever!, cracked-pepper cheese biscuits) plus I'm always adding to my repertoire. No one leaves hungry, but at the same time, this isn't your mom's house. You're allowed to leave some food on your plate ( but most don't!). I also serve a hot breakfast along with the fruit and baked goods. Chef's choice!

A Good Night's Sleep
I had one guest tell me that I should include a crow bar in the rooms because then you could use it to pry yourself out of bed in the morning!
Egyptian cotton bedding, duvets, a pillow menu and a great mattress all combine for, hopefully, one of the best night's sleep you'll have in Newfoundland.
Grey River Room

Of course, it doesn't hurt that we're far enough away from any large city centre. Not isolated, but peaceful, just the way we like it.

Business-Traveller Friendly
Some of our guests need to mix their pleasure with business. While work is the last thing on your mind when you step in the door, sometimes it's a necessary evil. We have excellent WiFi service with a copier/scanner/printer/fax machine available in our common area.

We also have a desktop computer available there for those travellers that need to check their itinerary or print off that report that needs to be submitted. It's been great to be able to offer this service and it's come in handy a number of times when there's been an unexpected monkey wrench thrown into a traveller's plans.

So, that's the top 5 reasons to stay at The Bayside Bed and Breakfast. 
Stay tuned for Part 2.

Online Availability and Reservations for The Bayside Bed and Breakfast

Friday, 27 March 2015

Just Another Dinner

Newfoundlanders are big on family. They have big families. Basil is second youngest of a family of 9 children.
Newfoundlanders are big on family meals. Family dinners (or lunch) are still an occasion down here and usually, the big family dinner is on Sunday.
Being just the two of us, we have family suppers every night. Our dinner (lunch), is usually prettty simple. So technically, once in awhile for our supper, I love to make a traditional Jiggs Dinner. And it's a big dinner.

For those of you who've never heard of a Jiggs Dinner, you're not alone. I hadn't heard of it either until I befriended a Newfoundlander back in Burlington, Ontario. And she wasn't even a native Newfoundlander. Silvana was born in Italy but emigrated to Ontario, and long story short, married a Newfoundlander and moved 'back home' to The Rock. And then back to Ontario. It was in her home that I first had a taste of a Jiggs Dinner. It can also be referred to as a Boiled Dinner, probably because your whole dinner consists of vegetables, split pea pudding and salt beef all boiled in the same pot.
Most families will also roast some meat along with this dinner, such as a chicken, a pork roast or the ever popular turkey. Silvana did a roast chicken.
Well, I can't say that it was love at first taste. It was 'different'. Living in a very culturally diverse area, I was used to all sorts of different foods, but this was 'different'.
Fast forward to the present.
Honestly, you develop a craving for this meal. If you're invited to anyone's home on a Sunday, chances are this will be on the menu. And you'd think that it would taste the same, no matter who made it. Wrong! Somehow, everyone manages to make it a little different. And every single one of them is delicious. And when it comes to the two of us, if I don't cook it often enough, I start to imagine the flavours in my mouth to the point where I have to make this meal, even if it isn't on a Sunday.
So how did this delicious excuse to stuff yourself get it's name? Well, I'm not old enough to remember, but apparently there was a comic strip called Bringing Up Father and the main character, Jiggs, loved his corned beef and cabbage. Hence, naming this salt beef and cabbage dish Jiggs Dinner. So, yes, cabbage is in it, as well as turnip, carrots and potatoes. Basil likes boiled greens. You can also make a pease pudding to boil along with it. Make a gravy. Serve along with pickled beets, mustard pickles, and voila! You have the makings for a feast. I've even made a steamed pudding to go along with it.

Here's my favourite--blueberry pudding.

Now you may say to yourself, why would I ever make so much food for just two people?


The answer in one word:


There is nothing better than taking all those delicious leftovers the next day, frying up some onion, adding a can of corn beef and smushing up all the ingredients to come up with a hash dinner.

And if you think I exaggerate, let me relate a short story.
When my daughter and son-in-law visited awhile back, I made a Jiggs Dinner for them. They 'liked' it. I don't think they 'loved' it.  But I made a huge hash dinner the next day with the leftovers. My daughter loved it so much, that she ate leftover hash dinner for breakfast for the next few days!

So if you have any Newfoundlander friends, beg them to make you a Jiggs Dinner. Or, ask to be invited for leftovers.

Better still, come and visit Newfoundland and develop a discerning palate for Jiggs Dinner. Yum!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

That Sheila, What a Joker She Is!

Oh, dear. We have been the victims of a cruel joke!
How do you go from this--

To this?

This is what the Avalon woke up to this week, two
days after the first picture was taken at the back of
The Bayside.
Can you believe it?

One morning, I'm serving up three-berry baked oatmeal, cheese omelets, home fries and bacon, and the next, well, now that is a story.

It's not like we didn't know the snow was coming. Dire watches and warnings were broadcast all weekend. All of Newfoundland braced themselves for what was to be the annual Sheila's Brush, a cruel joke that seems to coincide with St. Patrick's Day celebrations across the island. Legend has it, Sheila (or Sheilagh), was a close relative of 'Pat' and she brushes out winter to get things ready for spring. But, she's supposed to appear after March 17th, so she was a little early this year. Or was she? Was she just pulling our leg and we've actually still got a really good storm in the near future or will we be spared and enjoy spring along with the rest of Canada. Only time will tell.
Which leads me to the second part of my tale. At 4:14 a.m., we were awoken with a bang and a ding dong. With all of Newfoundland asleep in their beds while the storm raged outside, and I'm not kidding, raged, Basil got up and found two kids at our front door. It seems that their friend's car could not make it up our hill so they decided to get out and walk. Walk! Needless to say, they didn't get very far and since we were the only house on the road with any lights on, they decided to take a chance and see if anyone was home. We were. Good thing too because they were freezing. When daylight came, Basil got out, cleared a path from the car to the road, and managed to get them home. Poor Basil. He was really hoping for a snow day and a chance to do nothing but vegetate in front of that fire and watch episodes of Alaskan Bush People  (there was a marathon, and yes, he knows it's fake). That's okay honey. Next storm.

If you're interested in some more information of the legend of Sheila's Brush, CBC News Newfoundland and Labrador has a great explanation.

What's behind the legend of Sheila's Brush?

Forecast for the weekend? Sunny and rain on the way.
Come on spring!

Thursday, 12 March 2015

The Sounds of Silence

It was just the other morning that my husband brought it to my attention.
We had no guests the night before and I actually had the chance to sleep in. I was enjoying my second cup of coffee in bed. It does happen, once in awhile. Anyways, he turned to me and said,
           "Do you hear that?"
           "Hear what? I don't hear anything."
           "Exactly. Nothing. And it's nice."
Now, a little background information on Basil and myself.
Not too long ago, just a few years back, we used to live in southern Ontario in a place called Burlington. Burlington is a beautiful community on Lake Ontario located between Toronto and Hamilton, and only a short drive away from Niagara Falls and the American border. Life was good in Burlington. We had a beautiful home that we had worked hard to renovate in an older part of town. Lots of mature trees, close to the lake and only a short walk from a vibrant downtown that had great restaurants and shopping.
But we also lived close to a 'little' structure called the Skyway Bridge. Saved a lot of driving time for thousands of commuters who drove to and from the Niagara region to the urban sprawl of Toronto and surrounding area. But it was close. Very close. In the spring and summer months, the beautiful, mature trees hid it from view but at the end of fall and all of winter we could see it very clearly. But for twelve months of the year, 365 days of it, we could hear it. And I mean 24 hours a day we could hear it. Cars, truck, motorcycles--you name it, we could hear it. Now mind you, after living there as long as we did, we kind of didn't notice it as much but on a quiet morning when you would be drinking your coffee in bed, you heard it. Now, that was the price of living a fast paced life. And I didn't know any better until my husband brought me to Newfoundland for a visit. And that's when I got my first taste of the sound of silence. And you know what? I liked it. And except for the occasional call of the gull or a puff of air blown through their blow hole by a humpback whale, I'll keep my silence. Hope you don't mind the silence when you come for a visit!

Now what have I been up to since last week? Well, we took a drive with some friends to a small place called Broad Cove on the Baccalieu Trail. Even though we've had some freezing temperatures the last few days, the countryside still hasn't lost it's beauty.

Isn't this gorgeous? You can see that beautiful blue sky, just peaking out behind those clouds. And that's what it was like all morning. We even stopped at this spot and had a bite to eat. No one around except the occasional bird. And windy. Whew! But what else would you expect at the edge of the world?

Now, you may wonder, why would I take a picture of a two-seater that obviously can't stand up to a little wind. But, that's me. I love taking pictures of a great splash of colour in the middle of a remote spot.

Do we get guests this time of year? Who would want to travel around the island when it's cold and snowy and blowy? Well, you'd be surprised. Here at the Bayside, we get quite a few people who still like to travel across their own island to visit family, participate in sports, travel for business or just want to take a break.
And even when it's cold, there's those who turn their thoughts to the warmer weather and who look forward to visiting our beautiful island province this coming season. And they have been busy making reservations and plans. Don't get caught short! Our reservation calendar is slowly filling up. So if you are planning on a visit, don't delay! Click our link below and check out our website soon. Come and discover why Newfoundland and Labrador is one of the most popular bucket list destinations in North America.

The Bayside Bed and Breakfast

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

I Want To Fly Like An Eagle

Have you ever had that dream where you can fly? I mean, jump up off the ground and soar above the earth and look at all the tiny people below? I have. Many times. It was a great feeling, too. I know I'm not the only person to have that dream. Maybe that's why so many people are just fascinated by birds. They can be sitting perfectly still on a small branch and within a split second--they're gone! Or a band of starlings. Hundreds of them, flying and twisting in one direction and then the next. They almost look like a cloud, not a flock of birds. Even sea gulls. Back in southern Ontario, when I saw seagull flying near our home, it was usually to pick at some garbage on the street or scoop up some french fries that someone had spilled on the sidewalk. But here, when I see a seagull near our home, they're usually catching a breeze and coasting above the water, only to dive in and grab a little supper.

I think we're all a little fascinated by flight. I still can't get over how such a heavy piece of equipment. aka jet plane, can taxi down the runway at top speed and manage to lift off the ground and fly into the blue yonder. I don't have a fear of flying but it still is a marvel to me. Humans are always trying to copy nature and adapt it to a human use. Some good and some bad.

But why am I bringing this up? Look at who paid a visit to The Bayside this morning.

So handsome, isn't he? Caught him on the back cabin this morning while I was having a cup of tea. Normally, I'll just see a big, black crow or a sea gull, sitting on the top. Perched up there, surveying the water. But I had this nice surprise today. Actually, bald eagles are pretty common around here. We've had up to three circling around the back. They're just amazing to watch, the way they dip and dive. And with so little effort. Now this is the kind of flying I wish I could do! He managed to sit still long enough for me to take his picture, and then.....

Just beautiful.

And that, is part of the beauty of Newfoundland. You don't know who's going to pay you a little visit. Living here, you really appreciate just how delicate the balance is between human habitation and encroaching on nature's living space. Thankfully, we live just outside of Bay Roberts where we don't live on top of our neighbours and we have some breathing space.

And some flying space. Thank you for the visit this morning. Come back anytime!

Friday, 27 February 2015

I Have A Song In My Head

Ever had one of those days when there's just one song that keeps burrowing itself into your brain and you can't shake it?

I haven't been able to get Rod Stewart's 'Maggie May' out of my head since they announced yesterday that he'll be headlining an outdoor festival in St. John's on Confederation Hill on July 11th this summer. It will be an all day event for the ages of 19 and older. Sounds like a fantastic day. Concert promoters have also said that Blue Rodeo is part of the lineup. Hot diggity!

Now, will I be there? Sadly, not. I already have something booked for that weekend, and it's called 'Working'. The summer is a busy time around here and my top priority is looking after the guests at The Bayside. But Don't Cry For Me, Argentina (oh, no. Not another song.) I've already seen Blue Rodeo a few times when we lived in southern Ontario. I think it's compulsory to have gone to at least one Blue Rodeo concert in our lifetime. Saw them twice at Massey Hall in Toronto, and once at Hamilton Place in Hamilton. Had some great seats in Hamilton, so I'm satisfied that we got up close and personal enough. I haven't seen Rod Stewart, but I haven't ruled him out. Maybe some other time. Although I do have a friend that managed to touch him during one of his concerts. With her husband in tow. But that's another story...

If you won't be in the St. John's area at that time, there is the Salmon Festival in Grand-Falls Windsor that same weekend. No acts announced yet, but that's on the horizon. I've included a link at the bottom for the CBC site that gives you a little info on those events. Always a good idea to get your tickets in advance so you aren't disappointed. Otherwise, I will keep you up-to-date as soon as I get any new information.

For those of you that aren't on the island that weekend, there's always the George Street Festival at the end of the July, plus live music at other venues all summer long. Actually, George Street is a fun place to visit any time of year. There's always something going on there. But, more on that another time.

I now leave you with some pretty pictures. This little brook is located along the Veteran's Memorial Highway just outside of Carbonear. Every time we drive by it, I've always wanted to stop and take pictures, which we never do. Until last week. Of course, I need to stop along the highway in the winter to take a picture of some cold water, but that's just me and the way I think. Just look at the pictures and think peace and quiet. 

And stop humming Maggie May.                                 

CBC announcement of July 11th concert

The Bayside Bed and Breakfast Website

Friday, 20 February 2015

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

Do you like taking pictures? I feel like I've come full circle. When my girls were little, we had the camera out every day, documenting every move, expression, celebration and milestone. But when they got older, moved out and away, the camera seemed to get put away and forgotten. But that was when we lived back in Burlington, Ontario. It's not that we didn't live in a lovely area. We lived just a stone's throw from Lake Ontario--a ten minute walk from a vibrant lakefront/downtown area that was constantly used as a community gathering place. Festivals, concerts and family activities were always on the go there. But sadly, because we were so busy working, it was rare that we took part in those affairs. If we weren't working, we just wanted to stay put and recharge our batteries for the next day's work.
And that's one of the reasons why we made the big move to Newfoundland. Basil had always talked about 'going home'. I couldn't see the big fascination with that. After all, we lived in Burlington. Just over an hour from Toronto and everything Toronto had to offer. Culture, museums, concerts, restaurants. All the things we didn't have time for. We were only an hour away from Niagara Falls, one of the wonders of the world. But the only time we went down there was to do some cross border shopping. The Falls itself was too busy and overrun with people. What could Newfoundland possibly have to offer me?
Well, as they say, that's history. When I finally set foot on The Rock, I fell in love. Things are little slower here and that's probably one of the most appealing things about living here. You don't realize how busy you can make yourself. And then, life just whizzes by. 

Let me demonstrate.

Do you see this picture on the right? This was taken shortly after we moved here. November 2, 2012. (Don't you love iPhoto! I just love knowing the exact date of all my pictures!)
There was some snow in the forecast and the sky looked gloomy over Clarkes Beach. Now, normally, I would just go about my business. After all, we had just moved down here and I didn't have time to stand outside and just stare into the sky.
Or did I????
I did have the time. Never mind that I had a million boxes to unpack. A new home to get in order. But, I just had to remind myself the reason why we moved down here in the first place. We wanted to slow down and look up in the sky because it was there! And trust me. Not a day goes by that I don't do exactly that. Look up in the sky and remind myself why I'm here.

Now, the picture that you see above, believe it or not, isn't a black and white photo. Neither is the one below.

Actually, you can see a slight peep of blue sky in this picture. It was taken just moments before all the clouds rolled in and made the whole world black and white.

But there are some people that specialize in black and white photography. 
And Olivier Du Tré is one of those photographers. Olivier stayed with us this past summer and he was probably one of my first guests that actually got up when he said he would. I always talk up the sunrises around here and everyone says they're going to get up, but very few do. But Olivier did! I didn't know it at the time, but Olivier was a photographer and was working his way across Newfoundland and documenting his travels. He is based in Alberta, and while most of his work is the prairies and the Rocky Mountains, I think he fell in love a little with the east coast. If you want to have a look at some breathtaking photography, here is the link to his page:

Olivier du Tré Traditional Photographer

Just so you know, Olivier didn't approach me to advertise his site. I had sent a thank you to all my guests from the 2014 season and he sent me a link so that I could see some of the photos that he shot while he stayed with us. I especially love his Hibbs Cove photo, that one just being down the road in Port de Grave. If you're interested in photography, have a look. I guarantee you won't be disappointed.