Finding Our First Newfoundland Accommodation
Coming off the ferry into St. Barbe, we looked at accommodations in the area. Tired from the long but wonderful trip through Quebec and Labrador. We just needed a place to shower, do laundry, and rest for a day before exploring this beautiful island. I also had a blog to write and it had been a busy week! Lol!
The plan for touring Newfoundland was to start in the northeast corner with the Viking Village, working west towards The Arches National Park, then east towards St. John’s. Looking at our maps, we discovered The Genevieve Bay Inn is not far from the ferry dock. We decided to shift our direction for the night. We are so glad we did. What we found was a jewel on a rock with an interesting history and wonderful people. A home away from home.
A True Newfoundland Greeting
When we arrived, we were greeted by Donna, the owner with all the warmth and enthusiasm that Newfoundland is famous for. She was showing another couple (from Ontario) sites to see in the northern part of Newfoundland. Eventually, we got our own map. Lol! While moving our vehicle around to the side of the building to unload our gear, that is when I realized that this is an old school. How creative!!
Checking In to the Inn
Opening the double doors and walking down the hallway brought you back to school days. Our room was in what used to be the kindergarten room in the school. The room was large and fit the two queen-sized beds comfortably. Our bathroom door was the boy’s bathroom door. Lol! Such rebels we are, it was perfect.
All over the Inn, displayed on the walls in the hallway and in the rooms are inspirational messages. I just loved that. I appreciate things and places that inspire me and remind me of the blessings life has to give! Some made you smile, some made you think, and some reminded you of the beautiful place you are in.
A Delightful Smell From the Kitchen
While we checked in, a delicious smell met us at the door. We knew as our tummies rumbled, we would have to taste that. Across from the check-in area sat a beautiful little restaurant with a down-home feel. The quaint wooden tables with the red checkered tablecloths gave the room a welcoming feel. The breakfast bar beside the window gave you a beautiful view to admire while you sipped your morning coffee.
I love the coffee bar, as you know how I love my coffee. I could grab a coffee anytime!! With a complimentary breakfast offered in the morning, it is a wonderful place to start your day. Donna introduced us to Cloudberries, also known as baked apples. We had heard people mention baked apples but had no idea what they were referring to. In Ontario, a baked apple is a baked apple with brown sugar and butter. Newfoundland’s Baked Apple was a berry.
Donna gave us some baked apple jam for our toast and a small container of baked apple butter to take with us. The taste is different, with a tartness to it. It was very good, and we were delighted to have some to go.
The touch of the little desks in the corner reminds you of the history of the Inn.
Chatting with Donna and her husband Wilfred, who I met one morning at the coffee bar, they told me a little of how this public school was transformed into this quaint little country inn.
The History of this Unique Newfoundland Accommodation
St. Genevieve Public School was built in 1972 to teach the children of St Barbe and Plum Point from Kindergarten to Grade 6. During this time, the school created memories and educated thousands of children in the area. St. Genevieve Public School closed in 2001, making way for a new all-grade school (K – 12) in Plum Point.
The Creation of Thirsty’s
Wilfred and Donna Doyle purchased the school in 2003 and opened the bar, Thirsty’s. Located in the auditorium part of the school, which is huge, it is a great place to have a large party or event. There is plenty of space for everybody, and I believe Thirsty’s is the largest bar on the island. A grand opening on Dec 31, 2003, for their first New Year’s celebration kicked off a fabulous place to go and have a few drinks and a lot of laughs.
An interesting side note and personal connection. Both of their children attended the school as well as Wilf. His mother also had been the janitor of the school for many years.
The Idea of The Genevieve Bay Inn is Created
In 2015 construction workmen working in the area stopped by for a drink. They asked Donna what was in the rest of the building. Donna answered, nothing but old classrooms, desks and chalkboards.
The school board had left everything when they moved. He suggested that if they had 14 rooms, he would rent them for the summer. Donna called her husband, Wilf, who at the time, was working in a mine in Central Newfoundland, and told him of her conversation with the workmen. It sounded like a big job, but if she wanted to take that on, he was more than willing to stand behind her. They called a friend who was a carpenter, and he stopped in and took the contract.
With Wilf working away from home, the rooms could not be completed until June 2016. It was then they changed the name to the Genevieve Bay Inn. You can see the love and dedication that they put into building, their home away from home. Even the outside has a cozy place to sit and relax!
A warm, wonderful place for your Newfoundland Accommodation. We so enjoyed our stay we had to stay another day!
Next time you are in St Barbe make this one of your must stops! You will be so glad you did! Tell them Chipmunk sent you!!
Thanks for coming along on my Chipmunk Adventure!
See you soon!
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