Anyone who grew up in Placentia or the surrounding areas knows the excitement of driving over the crest of Jerseyside hill with the town in full-view. I have been travelling back out over the highway from St. John’s for almost ten years and have yet to find a comparable feeling. I certainly do not get home as much as I would like, but would be remissed if I didn’t promote it as a fabulous day trip! Here are some things I did on a recent visit:
To start, I had lunch at Phillip’s Café. There are a few other noteworthy restaurants I could have visited, but I had never tried this place before. I ordered the grilled ham & cheese sandwich and added green apple slices on molasses raisin bread – a great idea which I would recommend. I wish I could have tried more, but I was full to the brim after a generous serving. There are many cute touches to the place, such as local books for all ages to peruse while you wait for your meal, and a beautiful view of Jerseyside wharf.
If you’re in Placentia for the day I highly recommend strolling along the beautiful boardwalk. From there, cross the bridge, veer left towards the water, and do the steps and trails that lead you to the top of Castle Hill. Here you will find the most amazing view of the town. If you have time, stop in for a tour of the National Historic site and take in the local theatre group’s performance of Faces of Fort Royale. Their talented cast presents a re-enactment of French troops planning an overthrow of St. John’s. This historical fiction piece takes place in 1696 and tells the tale of Captain D’Iberville, travelling to the town of Plaisance to help defeat the English in St. John’s. Show times are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 1:30 p.m. (weather permitting).
Recently, entrepreneur Sherry Keefe has opened The Shop to Be At, located at the top of Jerseyside hill. Merchandise includes clothing, souvenirs, health foods and accessories. I certainly had no trouble picking out numerous items and have yet to take the ring that I bought off of my finger. I think it’s great to have access to such wonderful gifts without leaving the area. It is an awesome venture to keep business local, and she partners with other vendors such as K & A designs. These ladies do exceptional work and take pretty much any customer request for clothing or other merchandise. My “Be Kind” crewneck that they designed has become one of my favorites!
To top off my evening, I attended PATH’s (Placentia Area Theatre d’Heritage) dinner theatre – An Evening with the USO. This group throws the performance back to 1969, where the famed United Service Organization (USO) visits the U.S. Military at the Naval Base in Argentia. As always, there was a delicious three course meal catered by the Harold Hotel consisting of:
- Garden salad with balsamic vinaigrette
- Stuffed chicken breast with mashed potato and savoury carrots
- Berry shortcake with fresh whipped cream and choice of coffee or tea
The treat was not only found in the food, but in the performance as well. A combination of group and solo numbers transported the audience back to a simpler time before the technologic revolution, internet, or instant messaging. The music of the 1960s, timely décor, and fabulous costumes all play a role in the perfectly-themed evening. A wonderful balance of comedic skits round out the performance, all the while proving that the talent within the Placentia area continues to thrive.
Photo from 2017 performance
The best part of the dinner theatre for me was the local connection that the piece has. A tourist from outside of the area would no doubt be wowed by the performance, but being able to relate to the references and jokes takes the experience to another level. My table, which was assigned prior to arrival, ranged from ages 26-85. Most operations in Argentia ceased when I was very young, but I can recall certain aspects and definitely remember hearing my parents and grandparents tell stories about “the base” and all the fun that was had between there and Placentia. It goes to show that, no matter the age, the historical aspect remains a major part of our lives.
Lastly, I have to give credit to PATH’s Artistic Director, Connie Newhook. Not only is she talented, but equally as kind. She has been supporting my endeavours since junior high school and has done so much for the art community in the Placentia area. Fun fact: my first summer job was singing and acting as a member of the PATH cast. It was a great season, but Connie has taken all performances to another level and truly immerses herself in delivering amazing performances along with each and every member of this group.
From the acting to the instruments and vocals, this performance is a must – It’s Some Shockin’ Good.
There are limited numbers of tickets available for the remaining shows in August. Visit their website for more information.