Exploring Newfoundland: Welcome to St. John’s

The city of St. John’s

We left Dildo with a giggle and a wave and headed down the highway to St. John’s. I was excited to visit as I had heard what a beautiful city it was. I was not disappointed. The architecture is as colorful as its citizens. We had decided we would get a room downtown by the Harbour so we could tour and walk through the town. We got a beautiful room at the Doubletree but we were early and our room was not ready yet. We decided to take a drive out to Signal Hill.

Signal Hill

As I type this blog and send it through the air waves to all of you I was excited to visit where it all began. Signal Hill as it’s name represents is where the first wireless transatlantic signal was recieved by Gugleilmo Marconi on December 12th 1901. Sent from Cornwall England which is approximately 2736 km (1700 m) from St. John’s it was the start of something I am sure no one in that time could have imagined.

When you first enter the roadway leading to Signal Hill there is a wonderful interpretation center. The history of both St. John’s and Signal Hill are represented. I highly recommend a trip through. It was very interesting. A replica of the machine used to recieve that first message among other interesting facts.

After the first wireless signal was recieved in 1901 three undersea cables were laid and landed at Cuckolds Cove. The Cabot tower was also the first to recieve wireless telephone calls across the Atlantic in 1920. In 1933 a wireless telegraph station was established which was later acquired by the Department of Transport and operated until 1960.

Not only was Signal Hill used for communication but was also a stronghold for our defense beginning in the 1700’s to the second world War. A strategic place at the mouth of the harbour, it not only made a good defense but gives some spectacular views of both the Atlantic and the city of St. John’s. An impressive building surrounded by cannons of days gone by surrounded by a boardwalk you can take in all of the surrounds. It was both surreal and beautiful!

The Atlantic Ocean
The city of St. John’s

The plaques that surround the tower tell the story of St. John’s. One plaque described a fire that tore through downtown St. John’s on July 8, 1892. It had started in a stable when a match was dropped into some hay. 1700 homes were destroyed and 1900 people were left homeless. It amazing that only 2 people died in what must have been a chaotic and tragic time.

The fire of 1892

On the way down the hill we noticed trailers parked at one the pull offs as well as at the Geological museum which was unfortunately closed. That would have been interesting as it was built into the rock beside a large a pond and we were told is one of a kind. I love one of a kind! Like me!! But I digress, back to the trailers. I noticed boom wands and other movie making equipment. What could it be?? As we drove by I noticed the words Team Rex on a trailer and knew instantly what it was. I do not watch much TV but there is a show out of St. John’s called Hudson and Rex. It is about a detective and this beautiful long haired Sheppard named Rex. I love that show and the showcasing of St. John’s helped make the decision of me moving up Newfoundland on my bucket list. I did not get to see Rex or the cutey actor that works with him but I cannot wait to see the episode they were filming on Signal Hill while we were there.

Back to the room and a quick clean up and out for dinner to experience a little of St. John’s nightlife. We took a walk down to a little place called the Celtic Hearth on Water St. The road was closed to automobile traffic and tables had been set out on the street. What a very pretty street at night. It was a great meal and fantastic service by a lady by the name of Rosie. So many very friendly people she would not be last to greet us warmly to the city.

Water St St John’s

After a nice night in the hotel it was time to find a breakfast place and take a stroll through the city. It is famous for “Jellybean Row”. We discovered it is not just one neighborhood but different neighborhoods spread throughout the city. Oh my stars how cute are these!! No colour was left out. Blues, greens, yellow even purple as we walked down the streets. It is said the houses were painted the same colour as the ships the men worked on. We met a nice gentleman at the Cafe who told us all about it. They are a friendly bunch here.

Jellybean row

Along with the colour is the beautiful architecture of the past. It made for a most interesting walk.

The pedestrian walkway with all the restaurants and shops along Water street was as nice as the night before but much busier.

The shopping!!

Now St. John’s is built on a hill the walk turned into quite the workout! Lol! What goes up must come down…eventually! Lol!


Our last night there we tried our hardest to find George st which is said to have the most bars per inch than anywhere. We ended up on Duckworth st at a little place called the The Duke of Duckworth. We met a couple of nice gentlemen at the bar who kept us laughing and told us what not to miss on our way back west. An enjoyable meal with friendly people what a way to end our visit.

The Duke of Duckworth

As we pulled out of St. John’s one last look at the harbour it is a visit we will soon not forget and cannot wait to do again.

Thanks for coming along on my Chipmunk Adventure. Watch for my next blog when we come across a shipwreck and an awesome boondocking stop!

See you soon


2 thoughts on “Exploring Newfoundland: Welcome to St. John’s

  1. Great story I was there this summer and seen much of what u seen and made it to George st it is all I heard it was best vacation ever definitely going back

    1. Oh you found George st. Excellent. Lol! We tried! It was the best roadtrip I have ever taken and am definitely going back. Earlier in the year so I do not miss the icebergs and there is so much more I want to explore! Thanks for reading!

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