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Ferryland is a one of the many quaint little towns on the outskirts of St. John's, the capital city of Newfoundland. It is a very, very small little town, with a population of under 500 people, and, if you did not know any better, you might drive right on through. But please promise me that you will not leave Ferrytown without first stopping for a walk and a lunch at Ferryland's Lifehouse Picnic.
The Lighthouse Picnic is open for the spring through to the fall, meaning that it will sadly end for the year soon, on September 30. Fortunately, I got home just in time to go experience the picnic for myself for the first time. Although it was calling for rain, my parents and I were relieved that the Picnic was still a go (they update cancellations on their website daily) and so we set off in layered in warm clothes and carrying our rain gear. It is about an hour drive from St. John's, and along the way, you will be mesmorized by the natural beauty of the rugged terrain of Eastern Newfoundland. If you are running a little early and would like to work up a bit of an appetite, you may want to go for a walk one of the East Coast Trails that line the sides of the highway.
When you arrive in Ferryland, finding the Picnic is easy. One of the first things you will see from the road is the Lighthouse so just keep driving towards it! You can park on the side of the road right at the hike's base, or drive up the dirt road a bit where you will find a parking lot to park. Depending on your parking location, it is about a 20-30 minute walk into the hike on a well-traversed dirt road where the staff there drive in every day on their ATVs with all of the ingredients needed to make their delectable homeade offerings. If you are a picture buff, you may want to leave yourself more time to walk in as the views are breathtaking with many possible photo-ops.
When you reach the end of the road, enter the Lighthouse and begin your adventure. Inside, you will find a gorgeous little room decorated in true Newfoundland stye and, whether you are from Newfoundland or not, you will immediately feel at home. On the wall, you will find the menu options of the day (usually 4-5) as well as the daily desserts. For $25/person, you get the lunch of your choice (usually a sandwich on homeade bread or crabcakes if in season), accompanied by a side salad, a mason'-jar full of homeade lemonade and your chioce of dessert (there are usually 5-6 different options so this can be a VERY difficult choice!!!). You have the choice of eating upstairs in the Lighthouse, but I STRONGLY suggest that you eat outside on the rocks outside the Lighthouse. The view of the water and the Newfoundland salt air blowing though your hair is too good to miss. We even saw a whale as you were sitting there!
If you do choose to eat outside, you are given a flag to bring with you so that, when your food has been freshly prepared, you can be located one of the staff who will bing you your lunch in a wicker basket. Look at cute it is!
Between my parents and I, we sampled 3 of the 5 lunch choices. I had the Veggie Lunch which contained the "Lighthouse Salad", a lovely orzo salad with bits of chopped veggies and organic, local mint. Simple and lovely. My sandwich was made with homeade (of course!) oat and molasses bread, goat cheese, sundried tomato and local, organic luttuce. My mother had the Curry Chicken lunch- her sandwich filling was made from organic Newfoundland chicken meat, curry and mango for a hint of sweetness. My father chose the ham and brie sandwich, made with real cooked ham (no pressed meat to be found here!). For desserts, we had the apple cake with toffee sauce, the gingerbread cake with vanilla sauce and the marshmellow brownie. For me, the desserts were a little on the sweet side, but would I do not have much of a sweet tooth so they would probably be much enjoyed by most, including my father who had no problem finishing off every last bite!
A trip to the Lighthouse Picnic is guaranteed to leave you feeling full, both in tummy and spirit:)