Apr
26
2010

Exploring Quidi Vidi Village

Just a short drive from St. John's lies Quidi Vidi Village, a charming and scenic fishing village that's easy to explore by foot

Sunshine isn’t taken for granted in St. John’s. Every year, winter sweeps over the city, dropping balls of ice, mountains of snow and heavy rain—sometimes all within a span of 24 hours. It's not uncommon to be wearing flip-flops and t-shirts in May, and then have a freak blizzard the next day.

So when the sun finally returned from its long winter hiatus a few weeks ago, I decided to get out of the house and stretch my legs.

My destination was Quidi Vidi Village—pronounced “Kiddy Viddy” by most—a historic fishing village just beyond Quidi Vidi Lake. This is where the famous annual St. John’s Regatta takes place each summer.

The village is a little sheltered corner of the east coast, with a glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean from inside the gut.

Quidi Vidi Village was used after World War II for the construction of the United States’ Air Force Base. Nowadays, however, the village is a quiet community, where you can walk from one end to the other in five minutes flat.

Check Out the Antique Shop and Old-Fashioned Pub


Two of Quidi Vidi Village's biggest charms are the antique shop and the old pub. A squat, white cottage sitting beside the road, the whole building looked like it might fall apart with just one touch at any given moment.

It was closed when I arrived, but from the outside I could see dolls dressed in lacy gowns sitting on the top floor windowsills, and glass trinkets and dusty books on the bottom floor.

Then there's the Quidi Vidi Inn of Olde, one of those dive bars you wouldn't expect to have much life. But trust me, the small-community vibe and charm is worth stopping in for a beer—or three. A warning: the slanted bar may play a few mind tricks on you, especially if you opt for a few pints.

Chock-full of knick-knacks from all over the world, the bar is practically a museum, with 1956 spoons on display, along with buttons and license plates.

Grab a Pint at the Brewery

Quidi Vidi Brewery

Newfoundlanders cherish their local beer. And most of that beloved brew comes from the province’s largest microbrewery, the Quidi Vidi Brewery.

Located at the mouth of the gut, the brewery is the place to go for a tasting tour. The employees are enthusiastic about sharing their brew and eager to get others hooked. A measly 10 bucks gets you a slew of ale and lager samples, along with one beer to sip (or chug—it’s delicious) while roaming the facility.

Getting There

The easiest way to get to Quidi Vidi Village from St. John’s is by car. Simply take Forest Road (next to Quidi Vidi Lake) and head northeast until the road changes to Quidi Vidi Village Road.

Feel like something more than the straightforward route? Try the 8.9 kilometre trek from Logy Bay, a route that follows the coastline, ascends a hill known as Sugarloaf with views of Robin Hood Bay, and then leads deep into the woods.

The stops along the way are all dubbed with quirky names, including Skerries Bight, Bawden's Rock, and Jim Ryans Rock. Eventually, Quidi Vidi Village will appear.

Enter the Village by Boat

Quidi Vidi

My favourite way to see Quidi Vidi Village, however, is by boat. Two years ago, I did a boat tour with Deejay Charters, a small touring company operating out of St. John's Harbour. For $50 apiece, we spent about two hours chugging around Cape Spear, past Signal Hill and Fort Amherst, and then started heading towards Quidi Vidi Village.

When we entered the gut, it took me a few seconds to recognize where I was. Everything looked different from the outside. Fishing stages near the cliffs looked even smaller, and bright dory boats hauled up on land stood stark against the surrounding homes.

It just goes to show that a different perspective can change your entire outlook.

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Contributors

Candice Walsh

Candice Walsh is a technical writer for a deep sea technology company and an associate editor at Matador Network. When she isn’t writing about sonar equipment, she’s dreaming about travel. She’s lived in Newfoundland all her life and is currently stationed in St. John’s. Check out her blog, candicedoestheworld.com.

Comments

Mike

Chug two or three, heck yeah. If I ever make it back to that Continent, I'll be checking this place out. I'll take the boat; always looking at a different perspective, I am.

Anne-Sophie

Great article! Newfoundland is definitely on my list and Quidi Vidi looks excitingly isolated. Where does the name come from? Native Canadian?

SpunkyGirl

Sweet post Candice. I think you need to take me to this little village when I come for a visit!

inka

Nice to have found you thanks to Mike and Sophie. I came to Newfoundland via a cruise from Hamburg to Toronto and wandered off, to 'Kiddy Viddy' will you believe that? Until now I never heard about it again.

Matt

Great piece, I've always wanted to visit Newfoundland, it's just moved several places up my list.
Thanks

Candice

Thanks Mike & Sophie!

It seems that the origin of the name are unknown, but there's a lot of speculation...e.g. in Italian, "qui divide" means to divide, which makes sense considering the gut!

Leigh Shulman

This makes me want to visit! Lovely photos too.

Suzy

Sounds almost like an Irish village. Gorgeous photos and information. I need to make up trip up to Newfoundland. Also, your weather sounds very similar to here in Colorado. We will have 80 degree weather in May and then a freak snow storm the next day.

Candice

Wow, missed all these comments, thanks folks! If any of you ever do make it up this way, I will give you the royal treatment...which will inevitably end with a beer in the Quidi Vidi pub.

Suzy, just yesterday I was out for a walk wearing a sweater...today, I woke up and it was snowing. Agh!

Rebecca

I've discovered so much about Newfoundland through you Candice - thanks for sharing!

Pharaonick

Love it! I have to visit somewhere with as cool a name as Quidi Vidi... and definitely by boat!

Sheri

We'll be spending a week in St. John's this July. This sounds like a must do. Cheers!

irishbomb

You forgot to mention that the traditional/historical homes have been destroyed and replaced with ugly condo bungalow looking homes.

I grew up in this area and it's slowly losing it's Irish heritage and traditional appeal, and becoming a place for the rich to come in and tear down the past.

bostongal

Irishbomb, I think I have to disagree with you!

I have just clued up my first visit to Newfoundland and found that these "ugly homes" which I assume you speak of are the biggest draw in Quidi Vidi.

These fantastic homes are the envy of everyone I've spoken to! People seem to visit this area just to look at the beautiful homes, and I can only imagine the charmed life those homeowners must lead!

Every place I've ever visited has gorgeous homes perched next to the water...obviously St. John's is joining this age-old trend and bringing itself into the 21st Century. I for one, would LOVE to own a piece of this spectacular setting!

Mark

You mentioned, "Quidi Vidi Village was used after World War II for the construction of the United States’ Air Force Base."

My parents met at that base (Peperell AFB) when they were both in the US Air Force. They were married in St. John's and I was already 'a-brewin' when they were honorably discharged in '52.

I've been to the Maritimes, but couldn't quite make it to Newfoundland. It's still on my "bucket list", though. Maybe even more so now! Thanks for the article.

bostongal

I Love Quidi Vidi Village!

I've just spent a week there while visiting from Boston and the "ugly homes" here are the biggest draw of the gut!

Everyone I spoke to had nothing but good things to say about them and were just in awe of the "gorgeous homes on the water". Imagine waking up every day to that fabulous view from your bedroom or living room?

I for one would buy a piece of that land in a heartbeat if ever my budget should allow it! I applaud the owners of these homes for finally bringing a small part of Newfoundland into the 21st Century. Everywhere else in the world that I've ever been has opulent and fabulous homes perched on the ocean's edge...why should St. John's be any different?

I say if you can afford it, do it! I have one word for those who only have negative things to say about the new look of Quidi Vidi Village: jealous?

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