Road trip routing
August 2, 2012 12:06 PM   Subscribe

When driving a roadtrip from Toronto / Buffalo to Newfoundland should I go through Canada or the US?

I'm planning on a roadtrip from the Buffalo / Toronto area end of August. I'm going to Cornerbrook Newofoundland and back.

I'm wondering which way you would consider the most interesting, and fun. I could rent a car out of either city and return it there, it seems like rental rates are pretty comparable for both countries. I'm thinking gas is slightly cheaper in the States. Other then that, my consideration is what would make the most awesome roadtrip. I suppose one option would be to take two different routes there and back?

Other than that, I'm looking for advice from people that know these parts of the world. Great sites, great restaurants, hotels. Etc. General road trip stuff that makes them memorable.
posted by miles1972 to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
How quick/direct does your route need to be? That will likely affect your planning.

I can recommend a few areas in Newfoundland that are east of Corner Brook if you've got a fair amount of time to spare, but I don't know the west coast of the island well at all.

If you were going a bit later in the year, I might suggest cutting across the US for part of the trip since the fall leaves in New England are a pretty fantastic sight. If you stay on through Canada, the most direct route appears to take you through Montreal, which is definitely a good city to check out for a few days if you've got the time.
posted by asnider at 12:16 PM on August 2, 2012

Response by poster: It doesn't have to be too direct on the return trip. I've spent a lot of time in Montreal.
posted by miles1972 at 12:34 PM on August 2, 2012

The most interesting route would be the Trans-Labrador Highway.
posted by moammargaret at 1:06 PM on August 2, 2012

Oh, I have done this but in reverse! It's a great opportunity to check out a few of the New England states on the way to the Atlantic provinces. I would go Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal-Vermont-New Hampshire-Maine-New Brunswick-Nova Scotia-Newfoundland (YAY!). Actually, if it were me, I'd even consider a detour down to Boston for fun. Or PEI.

If you're taking the time to go all the way to the island, you really should take the extra step and head to St. John's. There's *much* more to do and see there than in CB. I can give you loads of recommendations for St. John's. Why not take the ferry from North Sydney to Argentia instead of Port-aux-Basques and then do Corner Brook on your way back?
posted by gohabsgo at 1:54 PM on August 2, 2012

Avoiding the 401 is always a good idea, if you're not in a hurry -- but Gaspésie is extremely pretty. I'd maybe find a route through the US as far as Vermont (maybe even via the Adirondacks), then cross the border at Rock Island/Stanstead. That gives you a drive through the Eastern Townships, maybe a visit to Magog, and then over to Quebec City to get on the Gaspé route.
posted by irrelephant at 2:54 PM on August 2, 2012

Ooh! Do visit Gros Morne National Park once you're in the Corner Brook area. Stunning scenery, and a beautiful fjord. It's about 75 kms from CB
posted by SpecialSpaghettiBowl at 3:24 PM on August 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

Oh hi I grew up in Corner Brook, lived in New Brunswick until 5 days ago!

Personally I'm with gohabsgo for their first paragraph (and vehemently against their name).
One big question: if you rent in Buffalo, are there conditions dealing with the car going out-of-country? I know when I've rented some companies don't allow it, some do.

The big question is how long do you have? If you haven't been to the east coast, it's a big place, a lot of people end up skipping NL and just hitting NB/NS/PEI, because NL by itself is at least a week's trip (just the island). These people lead sad, sad lives. NL is awesome.

If your drive takes you through Fredericton (which it will unless you go through the Gaspe), a good place to stop is King's Landing, very fun. Make sure you stop in somewhere along the way for a Relish burger, they are glorious. Similarly, while you're in NB, pick yourself up some Picaroon's beer - I have sent expats Dark & Stormy soap just so they can relive the deliciousness, and been thanked for it.

In CB, trips down to Bottle Cove are always fun, heading over to Steady Brook Falls is nice (I hear they have a zipline nowadays), and check out the Newfoundland Emporium for all of the kitsch that you'll want to bring back.

And yeah, Gros Morne is amazing. It's...definitely more than 75km from CB, probably about a 2 hour drive (the road is...not quick. I might be outdated, though). Hiking up Gros Morne is great, as is the hike along the western brook pond (pond is a misnomer. Fjord is more correct), and the Green Gardens hike is my favourite of the lot. There is a Gros Morne Theatre Festival that is damn good, put on by TNL.

Another option is to head down south to Burgeo (sandy beaches! In Newfoundland!) and then over to Ramea (I've never been, but my folks and sister were there last weekend and had a great time, very cool outport community). If you're going across the island, you could pop into Fogo, ostensibly one of the four corners of the earth (which has an awesome arts community.

Um. I'll stop there. Let someone else talk about St. John's if you go there.
posted by Lemurrhea at 4:16 PM on August 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

If you do decide to make a longer trip around Newfoundland, stop off in Grand Falls-Windsor on your way from Corner Brook to St. John's. There's not a lot going on (typical Canadian small town, without a lot of the local flavour that makes smaller Newfoundland communities delightful), but Hiscock's has friggin' amazing fries. Poutine on wedge! Mess on wedge fries is also good.

Admittedly, the food I'm referring to is best consumed while drunk, but it's almost as good when you're sober.

St. John's has a lot to do. I'm from away, but I felt immediately welcome and fit right in when I last visited. The Rooms -- art gallery / museum / archives / theatre space -- is a good way to spend an afternoon. There are a ton of great restaurants down on Water Street; the Gypsy Tea Room was a favourite of mine, but not of the places I ate downtown were bad. Food is something that Newfoundlanders seem to do well, whether it's fine dining or poutine from a chip truck.

If you're into the bar scene, the George Street will be worth a visit. It's supposedly got the great concentration of pubs per square food in North America. The individual bars are hit and miss, but any place that has live music will likely be worth a visit. If you want something a bit removed from the busy-ness of George Street, The Duke of Duckworth (on Duckworth Street) is a fine pub.

There's also a ton of history in the downtown area. Just walk around Signal Hill and you'll see lots of interesting sights. Cape Spear is also worth a visit.

I could probably go on and on. St. John's is on the short list of Places I'd Live™, so I probably sound like a tour guide or a gushing booster or something.
posted by asnider at 2:49 PM on August 3, 2012

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