tourist at home

ECMW: the most musical time of the year

Guys, it’s a magical time to be in St. John’s right now. It’s East Coast Music Week here in town! Musicians from all over Atlantic Canada have gathered here to perform, mingle, and share their talents. And during ECMW you can see shows with a half dozen amazing bands at a time, often for less than you’d pay to see one of them on a regular night.

This week honestly makes me feel like a kid in a candy store. Just in case you’re unsure of where to start, here is a collection of bands and shows that I am excited about this weekend!


top scoff: The Bagel Cafe

Today was a perfect day.

You know the days when like, yeah, it’s still winter, but it’s crisp and clear, chilly but bright, and the only snow falling is like little fluffy cotton balls. That was today.

Today I had to wake up early, for an itty-bitty shift: 8 am to noon. The early rise and the early finish meant that I had the day at my leisure. So once I roused Liam out of bed, there was only one thing to do. Head straight downtown for a stroll in the sun, and brunch at the Bagel Cafe.


top scoff, fries dressing & gravy edition: episode 3 – Keiths

Before I start on today’s review, let me paint you a picture. You’re driving along, and on the side of the road you see a small, nondescript building. It may have white clapboard, and it almost definitely has a Pepsi symbol on its sign. You pull into the parking lot and before you step out – before your door is even open – you smell it. The air is heavy with grease and deliciousness. You walk in the door to a small dining room with small booths, or a few basic kitchen tables and chairs. You squeeze in wherever you can in the crowded room, and in a short amount of time you have a fresh, hot, delicious plate of greasy goodness in front of you.

This is what my friends and I affectionately refer to as a “baygrease joint.”


concrete hugs: a night at the rooms

Last week, Liam and I went to The Rooms. Located on top of the one big hill that is downtown, The Rooms is St. John’s’ largest and loftiest house of culture. The building itself is a piece of artwork on the face of the city, but the real beauty is inside. Equal parts art and history, the building’s interior is masterpiece in itself.

The Rooms


top scoff, fries dressing & gravy edition: episode 1 – Ches’s

If you’re eating like a Newfoundlander, one of your most delicious (slash sodium soaked) options is the combination of fries, dressing and gravy. That’s not dressing as in stuff you put on lettuce to make it edible – why would you ever sully the wonderfulness that is gravy like that? I’m talking stuffing. Fresh, savoury, straight out of the turkey’s arse stuffing. (I am also not talking about Stove Top. That stuff is gross.)

That being said, I have decided to make it my mission to find the best fries, dressing and gravy on the Avalon (and hopefully eventually the province).  (more…)

Bonavista, I love you.

When I want to be a tourist at home, the first place I go is Bonavista. About a three and a half hour drive outside of St. John’s, Bonavista really feels to me like a home away from home. A small community that still carries the identity of a fishing village, it’s quaint, explorable, and just freakin’ adorable.

The three times that Liam and I have gone there, we’ve stayed at a little place called Robbin’s By The Sea. On the outside, it looks one Pepsi sign away from a small town convenience store, but once you walk through the door the unit is just delightful. There’s a full kitchen along with a little table, a couch and a good sized bed. There’s a deck on the back with another table, a bbq, and a gorgeous view.

Bonavista view (more…)

we had an adventure, and now I need a puppy to love

As I mentioned in the last post, Liam and I recently went on an adventure. I’m a bit later than I wanted to be in writing about it, but I’ve been stricken with one of my cursed tension headaches, so please find it in your hearts to forgive my lateness and find the strength to read on.

In my city, August 1st is Regatta Day. As long as the weather is good, the entire city pretty much shuts down and the population makes their way to Quidi Vidi lake to spend the afternoon playing carnival games and watching rowers.

That is not what Liam and I did. (more…)

By The Seat Of Our Pants

What I expected to be a quiet Thanksgiving weekend, quickly turned into an impulsive and generally silly adventure. On Thursday, Liam had a bad day. He came home from school and declared that he wanted to jump in the car and get away. So the next day, we both skipped class, loaded the car with CDs and little things we thought we’d need, and headed out.

Our aim was to get out of St. John’s and find an ideal spot for Liam to work on his photography assignment—landscapes, nothing man-made. We made a quick stop at the Goobies Irving (a road trip staple) for lunch.
My fries, dressing and gravy!
Liam had a double bacon cheeseburger platter. Because, you know, he’s crazy and all.
After our big feed, we decided that Terra Nova National Park was our best bet for gorgeous scenery. Too bad once we got there, we couldn’t figure it the hell out. There were signs everywhere warning us that permits were necessary to exist in the park, but it took us 25 minutes of driving before we found a place to get permits.

Naturally, it had been closed for a half hour.

At this point we were beyond caring, so we jumped out of the car and started on a trail. About a minute into it, we stopped to try and snap some pictures of chickadees. Running in line with the luck of the day, Liam’s batteries quickly died. The real tragedy was that neither of us captured a chickadee.

End of the road…
By the time we left Terra Nova, it was getting dark. We didn’t want to make the 3 hour trek home on a moose-ridden highway, so we decided to get a room in the nearest town, Clarenville. On the way there, we pulled off in a little place called Charlottetown for gas. It was the only town for miles around. Of course it would have a gas station, right? We discovered that the only things Charlottetown has are a motel where you will probably get Bates’d (or Wheaton’d if you’re a Criminal Minds fan, like myself), and a dead end. That’s right. We drove down Charlottetown’s main road, right until it flat out ended. 
We couldn’t do much except laugh, turn around, and pray that there was enough gas left to get out of there and to a gas station (there was. We weren’t Bates’d or Wheaton’d).

Once we got to Clarenville, we stopped at the grocery store for Caesar salads and a party lunch: salt & vinegar chips, lots of candy, and Pepsi. We then found the cheapest place to stay, the Restland Motel. Once checked in, the lady handed us our key and TV remote, and advised us that the roof was going to be shingled at 7 am. Of course it was. At least she was kind enough to give us a ground floor room. We settled in with our food (after Liam returned to Sobeys for the salad dressing we had forgotten) and enjoyed a Criminal Minds marathon until bedtime.
Our hotel room, in all it’s glory.

The next morning, I knew we were in for a luckier day when I managed to get a pumpkin spice muffin at Tim Hortons. 
This is what success looks like.
Liam then patiently let me wander through my favourite country-craft store, The Barn Loft. I’m a sucker for cutesy knick-knacks and holiday decorations. I get that from my mom.
Copyright Liam Peacock.

 Once I was done soaking in the adorable, Liam and I drove back to Terra Nova a second time, stopping frequently for Liam to take some gorgeous pictures. We finally made it to the Marine Interpretation Center to buy our permits, and the staff were very helpful in showing us ideal trails and letting Liam recharge his batteries. In the meantime, we visited the touch tank.
I touched nothing.

When we were finally ready to walk the trail, we went back to the car to get bundled up. That’s when I saw the bear poop right in front of our parking spot. Liam was unfazed, but I followed him in a state of constant paranoia. Luckily, Liam was right, and neither of us died or even got mangled.
Copyright Liam Peacock.

We then began the long drive home, stopping once again at the Goobies Irving for supper. 
Well, actually, I had breakfast. For supper. I was kind of making it up as I went along. Sort of like the whole trip.