Sunday, July 8, 2018

Our Family Getaway

If you follow my blog, you know that Andrew and I love to get out and explore the many little towns and bays around our province. We had been in the habit of sneaking away for a long weekend, or even just for a night whenever we could, and it was easy to do that when it was just the three of us. We could arrange for Brennen to be out on a sleepover, and we would plan a little excursion around the bay to see what sights we could discover. Now that we have three children in our care, it is not so easy to get away. In fact, we haven't had a night to ourselves in almost two years. We have been craving a change of pace and a change of scenery, and as if at just the right moment, an opportunity presented itself that we could not pass up. No, we didn't get away, just the two of us. Who am I kidding, that might not ever happen again, but we did head out for an excursion around the bay - all five of us!

We packed up enough clothes, food, and medical supplies for a couple of days, filled our two vehicles with everything we could possibly need and headed out on the highway, up the western side of the Avalon Peninsula to Winterton - a quaint little town on the scenic Baccalieu Trail.

Yes, you read that right - we took two vehicles. It takes us two vehicles to go anywhere, and if anyone has any possible solution for that, I am all ears! Keep in mind, we have two children who use wheelchairs and an active eight year old boy who requires a booster seat. Brennen stays in his wheelchair in the van, our girlie sits in a car seat with her Kimba stroller folded up in the back. Then there's all the extra gear that we have to bring with us whenever we leave the house. We have thought of every possible and potential option, but other than actually buying a GoBus, we are stuck taking two vehicles. It's not the worst thing in the world. If it gets us to experience views like this, I'm happy!


Andrew and I had never been up that side of the peninsula, so we were excited to explore all that the area had to offer. We visited the Wooden Boat Museum of Newfoundland and Labrador, which tells the story of our province's historic wooden boats.

"The Wooden Boat Museum of Newfoundland and Labrador is a provincial organization dedicated to safeguarding the skills and knowledge of wooden boat builders. More than a museum, we document, celebrate and transmit our wooden boat heritage and explore the role of wooden boats in shaping the cultural identity of our province.


The upper level of the museum featured several rooms set up to showcase the way that people lived in Winterton back in the day. This bedroom reminds me so much of a room at my late grandmother's house. I'm sure she had that same bedspread.. and wash basin.. and doily.


The town of Winterton was absolutely picturesque, with it's charming shoreline and colourful fishing stages. I could have spent hours walking around the community, and I would have if we didn't have three children in tow. Turns out they are not all super interested in little wooden sheds and craft shops. Whatever. There were plenty of activities to please everyone, and we all had a really great time! We made some wonderful memories and came home smelling like sunscreen and wood smoke. What more can you ask for?!


The lodge that we stayed in was surrounded by old churches and saltbox houses. We couldn't have imagined a better view!


There were horses and goats in the backyard that proved to be just as friendly as the locals!


There was no shortage of things to do over the course of our three day getaway. There were many walking trails in the area that were boardwalked and easily accessible, and the weather was perfect for spending as much time as possible outdoors. Outside Pond Park is a large campsite and RV Park that has a beautiful playground right on the water. It is also home to Brenda's Chip Wagon, so you know.. when in Rome.. we had the fish & chips!


We also took the time to explore the nearby communities of Heart's Content and New Perlican. The Heart's Content Cable Station is a provincial historic site and was super interesting! We toured the building, watched a film about the station's history, and learned a little bit of Morse code.

"In July 1866, after nine years and several unsuccessful attempts, the first permanent telegraph cable connecting Europe and North America was hauled ashore at Heart's Content. This little Newfoundland town leaped into the history books and remained a global communications hub for over a century. The cable station opened the world to the outport men and women who worked here and remains a time capsule of the communications technology that connected us all right up to the 1960s."


What can I say about New Perlican? I'll let these colours speak for themselves!


So you guys, the thing is, the lodge where we stayed in Winterton is super accessible and it is available for use by families like mine. There is a ramp to the entrance, and a ramp inside from the main open area to the kitchen and sleeping area. There is a hospital bed, a Hoyer lift, and a wheel-in shower. There were even curved eating utensils in the cutlery drawer!

The owner, Heather, has put quite a lot of thought and effort into the potential needs of many different individuals, and making sure the space is as comfortable and accessible as possible. Her dream is for the lodge to be used and enjoyed by children that are "special and differently-abled and their families".

Heather is a graduate of Memorial University and a pediatrician who has been working in Toronto for the past 36 years. Her practice has always been very highly weighted in doing primary care for children with developmental, physical and chronic disease challenges.

Heather is super sweet and just wanted us to enjoy ourselves on our family getaway. Before we arrived she was emailing me messages like, "Feel free to use my dad's fishing rods if Brennen would like a new experience!" and "Should any of my mother's red currents be ripe, please feel free to pick them and eat them. Or take them home to make jam!"

Honestly, you guys, it is the perfect family getaway. If you are interested in staying at the lodge, please let me know! (email me at juliebrocklehurst@hotmail.com) It's too good not to share!