ST. JOHN’S, NEWFOUNDLAND & LABRADOR — This feels like an appropriate article to write as the city is currently receiving 25 centimetres of snow mayhem. It would be better if I could hear my thoughts over the incessant beeping of ploughs and neighbours amiably yelling at one another as they shovel, but there we have it. St. John’s.
I don’t like being cold, and I don’t like winter much, but sometimes I do need to leave the house. Here are my favourite places to warm up in St. John’s — other than on my couch in front of the fireplace.
1. Coffee Matters on Military Road: So you might think a cafe is typical for this kind of article — and there are certainly a few Coffee Matters around town — but this one has a sort of ambience that a lot of other cafes in St. John’s do not. It’s quiet, spacious, well decorated and has the perfect lighting to relax and chill out. You’ll find more mature patrons here, and some pretty sweet desserts. (1 Military Road, 709-753-6980)
2. Pippy Park: You don’t necessarily have to go someplace warm to warm up. Smack dab in the middle of the city is this little outdoor retreat ideal for winter play. You can rent some skis and hit the cross-country trails, or bring a sled and zip down some of the hills (and don’t worry, there’s no age restriction to do so).
3. The Inn of Olde: You won’t find too many pubs nowadays with a wood stove crackling in the corner, but that’s what you’ll discover at the Inn of Olde in Quidi Vidi Village. The pub is literally a part of the owners’ home, and is practically a museum packed floor to ceiling with a delightful array of memorabilia collected over the years. The owners are friendly, and you’ll usually find some pretty lively patrons around. (67 Quidi Vidi Village Road, 709-576-2223)
4. The Rooms Art Gallery and Archives: This place deserves a full article itself. For now, I’ll just say The Rooms is definitely worth a wander. From incredible local art, archival history from Newfoundland’s early years, and even a full exhibit dedicated to the natural world, you won’t get bored here too quickly. And if you do, there’s an epic cafe at the top floor with an incredible view of The Narrows, the picturesque channel that leads into St. John’s Harbour. Wednesday nights offer free admission; at other times, entry is $7.50 per adult. (9 Bonaventure Avenue, 709-757-8000)
5. Rocket Bakery: Come here to order breakfast and coffee, then have a seat at one of the communal tables in the eating area. Yep, Rocket is not your typical bakery, and the bright, airy vibe of this place will help kill those winter blues (at least a little). Try the egg croissant sandwich. Seriously. (272 Water Street, 709-738-2011)