Taking time out from the rigors of daily life are what holidays are all about and here in NL, you will experience that life-enriching one. Whether it is relaxing excursions or more active fit travel you seek, NL’s rugged terrain, endless coastlines, and fresh sea salt air alone will invigorate your spirit and re-energize your body. Relaxation, enlightenment, and tranquility are at every stage of your stay here.
Below are three wellness travel stays, situated on Newfoundland’s historic ‘Baccalieu Trail’ (along the northwest arm of the Avalon Peninsula), all within a 1-hour drive from the capital city St. John’s.
Ocean Delight Cottages
Perched along the ocean’s edge in Whiteway, you will find the uber cozy and cute Ocean Delight Cottages. Each cabin is named after the delicious berries that grow here (cloudberry, partridgeberry, cranberry, and blueberry).
We stayed at The Blueberry since we brought our furry companions (one of two cottages here that are pet-friendly, which is always great). The Blueberry brought us all the comforts of home including a full kitchen, high quality beds and linens, wifi and cable television, and a complimentary supply of firewood which we made ample use of for the fire-pit.
The ocean view from the patio was pure heaven with a lookout on-site for even closer views. Come bedtime we slept like babies with the sound of ocean waves lapping in the background.
Ocean Delight Cottages II
Ocean Delight also has cabins in the nearby coastal community of Heart’s Delight-Islington. Like its sister cottages in Whiteway, these are super cozy stays with modern amenities situated on the ocean’s edge and they too are pet-friendly. Each cabin comes with a large covered patio and gorgeous ocean views from just about every window.
Coastal fire-pits are on-site as are hiking trails at your doorstep. We took a hike here and it was as serene as it was beautiful with lush green vegetation and a unique variety of coastal rock formations.
Doctor’s House Inn & Spa
Situated in Green’s Harbour, on 140 acres of gorgeous coastal property (including 2,000 feet of ocean frontage overlooking the crystal clear waters of Trinity Bay), you will find Doctor’s House. This architectural gem, an elegant Tudor mansion, was initially built over 50 years ago by an Irish doctor as a private retreat for his wife.
Only in its 6th year of operation, Doctor’s House is one of the finest wellness destinations in the country. More than just a wellness retreat, it is the ideal spot for corporate retreats, working holidays, you name it. This magical, tranquil expanse and rich, green oasis has earned countless accolades to date, including:
- Voted #2 by Air Canada enRoute Magazine “Must-See Places”
- Named “Top 10 Seaside Resort” by MSN Travel
- Voted “#1 Wedding Destination” by Consumer Choice
Proprietor Jerry Byrne took us on an extensive tour of this magnificent property. He is as modest as he is gracious which permeates all aspects of Doctor’s House.
A night’s stay in one of the Doctor’s House bedrooms is pure heaven, with 14 luxurious rooms that are spacious and brightly lit with stunning ground views. A lovely guesthouse is also available for rental. Lovely artwork adorns the walls by an endless list of well-esteemed NL artists the likes of Leona Ottenheimer, Gary Kennedy, Sarah Fletcher, and Scott Goudie. Everything about this place is warm and welcoming from the complimentary chocolates right down to the guest robes and slippers.
A breathtaking variety of flower gardens, plants, vegetation, and trees cover the landscape here, many of which are not even native to Newfoundland. Countless gorgeous maple trees can be found here and Doctor’s House is also all about sustainability, with the harvesting of maple syrup.
From secret gardens to watering holes and eagles nests, this place seems more sub-tropical than a sub-arctic island situated in the northwest Atlantic Ocean. Doctor’s House takes full advantage of its exceptional beauty by hosting the annual Alice’s Tea Party, a take on the Alice in Wonderland theme with full costumes and artist exhibition.
For the adventure enthusiast, three groomed hiking trails are situated on the property, including the oldest known trail in Newfoundland called Crout’s Way, dating to 1612. Crout’s Way Trail is a 1-day wilderness hike from Drogheda to Hopeall that retraces the path cut by John Guy’s colonists as part of an attempt to make contact and establish trade with the Beothuk Indians.
Doctor’s House also intends on becoming a year-round operation, with plans for cross country skiing, snow shoeing, and construction of a natural skating rink. We can not think of a more ideal locale for a Newfoundland winter wonderland.
Family fun is also in abundance at Doctor’s House with their animal farm that includes chickens, ducks, goats, and the highlight, Newfoundland Ponies. These gentle giants are a critically endangered species (only 400 remaining throughout the world), so to get up and close with them is a real honor.
From pedicures and manicures to massages, facials and even hair and makeup services, guests at the Doctor’s House spa receive the royal treatment. Featuring pure botanical products, this is a true spa designed with your well-being in mind. After your session, you receive an organic drink to enjoy on their private spa deck which also connects to the lounge deck and hot tub.
Weddings & Receptions
If there is one thing that has put the Doctor’s House on the map it is their weddings, which include horse drawn carriage, the wedding garden, and for the bride and groom, complimentary Newfoundland art.
Receptions and banquets take place at Doctor’s House Barn Loft which was once a fully operational two-story barn, now a gorgeous venue that defines rustic elegance. The Barn Loft provides banquet seating for up to 180 guests and cocktail reception for up to 360 guests.
Architecturally, the Barn Loft is a gem with a traditional arched exposed beam ceiling modeled after the hull of a ship turned upside down. This large open concept with authentic barn board floors and big windows provides breathtaking views of both Trinity Bay and its surrounding green meadows.
The Foodie Experience
Eating at Doctor’s House is one of NL’s best kept secrets, so it is no wonder that the dining experience takes place at the aptly named Secret Garden. Keeping with their health and wellness tradition, Secret Garden is a seed to spoon operation boasting ingredients sourced from sea kelp, organic vegetable gardens, and greenhouses with everything on-site fed by their artesian well water system.
At the helm is Executive Chef Dwayne Davis with over 20 years experience in five-star resorts and fine dining restaurants. The meals here are absolutely delicious, pure, and super nutritious. We ordered their smoked chicken and cranberry wrap consisting of cranberry mayo, peppers, greens, lettuce, tomato, and bacon served with farm chips. We ate inside, but equally enticing is their gorgeous outdoor rock patio.
Secret Garden is elegant, but as is the case with the rest of Doctor’s House, there is nothing pretentious here, only warm and welcoming Newfoundland hospitality and charm.