For the curious traveler seeking that authentically enriching travel experience, look no further than Rencontre East. Situated on Newfoundland’s south coast, nestled among the magnificent coastal fjords of the Connaigre Peninsula, Rencontre (pronounced RON-CONT-ER) is an isolated fishing village that boasts just 129 residents.
Rencontre East is so remote that there are no vehicles (ATV is the preferred mode of transportation here) and their town sign says it all, “Isolated and Loving It”. But do not let their low population nor isolation fool you, this is a prospering rural community, due largely in part to Newfoundland’s growing aquaculture sector which serves as a major employer here.
Getting to Rencontre East is by provincial ferry only, a wonderful 1 hour and 45 minute commute from the equally beautiful community of Bay L’Argent. The ferry ride was one of the highlights of our trip as we chatted with locals and witnessed stunning coastal scenery.
Our hosts, Debbie and Paul of Rencontre East Vacation Homes, were the ultimate accommodation providers. From picking us up and dropping us off dockside at the ferry terminal to zipping us around the community on their 4×4, they were super kind, caring, and attentive. Paul’s roots are from here and we could not think of a better way to give back to this proud Newfoundland community.
Rencontre East Vacation Homes works intimately with their guests, offering a variety of tailored excursions including ‘off the grid’ tours and seafood beach ‘boil-ups’. If you are a self-directed traveler, they are equally happy to point you in the right direction.
Our stay at the Chart House, their lovingly restored heritage home overlooking a nestled bay, appropriately called Little Harbour, was nothing short of heaven. Situated waterside with an extended wharf jutting out into the bay and surrounded by green hills, fishing stages, and sheds, this stay gives you a real slice of what authentic Newfoundland life is all about.
Note For those travelers unable to truly go ‘off the grid’, no worries, your stay here comes with cable television and wi-fi/internet connection. Kayaks are also on hand for you to hop in and paddle your way out the bay.
After settling in, we decided to take a back country hike to the beautiful coastal fjords, often called ‘The Other Gros Morne’ because of their similarity to the fjords of Western Newfoundland. This was an easy 30-45 minute boardwalk stroll that ran parallel with a freshwater lake. Along the way, we stopped and chatted with several fishermen who were bringing in their boats for the winter.
An evening walkabout was also in store for us as we stroll into town. Everything about this place is beautiful, quaint and cute right down to the local stores (2 in total).
Our only regret about visiting Rencontre East is that we never stayed longer. 48 hours is not nearly enough time to fully unplug and absorb what true living is really all about.