One of the most common questions I am asked is: “We are looking to get away for a couple days, but stay within 2-3 hours of St. John’s. Where should we go?” Some of my popular answers for this include various communities along the Southern Shore, beautiful Placentia, the Cape Shore, areas within Conception Bay North – essentially sticking to familiarity on the Avalon Peninsula (stay tuned for an upcoming blog on the Burin Peninsula).
When it comes to a getaway with friends, family or significant others, the type of staycation you plan truly depends on what you want to do. Do you want breweries? Do you want hiking? Do you want museums? Do you want to completely relax, sip wine, take in ocean views, be served breakfast and kayak along the rugged shores? If your needs are encompassed by that last question, then I suggest you keep reading.
Very rarely am I puzzled by the location of a community in this province. Over the last year, I have had a handful of people come to me raving about a place called Hatchet Cove and, more specifically, a Bed and Breakfast called The Painted Fish. In all honesty, I had to look at a map and I was thrilled that it was so close in proximity. The Painted Fish is a property consisting of three accommodative spaces as well as a common area for guests to avail of. They offer guided kayaking tours onsite as well as full service breakfast in the morning. The owners of this space, Darlene and Neville, are two of the most kind and generous hosts that I have ever had the pleasure of interacting with. They ensure that you have absolutely everything you need throughout your stay from information about the area to wine glasses and freshly baked goods.
Hatchet Cove is certainly not a community to visit if you are looking for a steady-go vacation. Instead, it is a middle-of-nowhere retreat providing the perfect mix of relaxation and recreation. Rooms at The Painted Fish are equipped with staycation essentials including soft robes and fluffy duvets, as well as a private entrance with outdoor patio and seating. There is always a cup of coffee available, with a sun room adjacent to the kitchen that is unlike anything that I have ever seen before. Here, guests are welcome to interact, turn on the record player, or cuddle up with a book next to the fireplace.
In terms of dining, the cove is in close proximity to Clarenville if you want to grab a bite to eat and experience any further local flare such as Bare Mountain Coffee House, Newfoundland Cider Company, and The Barn Loft. My suggestion for a light supper would be to pack a picnic-style meal to enjoy on the wharf or in The Painted Fish dining area. Already offering a full-service breakfast, the owners hope to eventually open an adjacent Café with dinner service for guests. During my visit, I was lucky enough to enjoy Darlene’s homemade poached pears with granola as well as sausage frittatas and all the fixings. Imagine that – an Air BnB that actually includes the second “B” – a true rural luxury. If you’re lucky, pets Jake and Bailey may even join you for a visit!
The view from this property is second-to-none and, depending on the weather/your length of stay, you may choose to kayak upon check-in or wait for a morning row. There is a full briefing on the sport and Neville is conscious of all skill levels while touring the ocean. There are various excursions available, and no matter the tour, he will note the beautiful cliffs, waterfalls, and inlets along your journey.
In terms of other activities, Hatchet Cove is home to the beautiful Brookside Golf Course. Though swinging sticks is not a talent of mine, the course itself is quite beautiful to walk at sunset. Upon return in the evening, I would encourage listening to the ocean while star-gazing on the deck with your favorite beverage and person.
Although I visited in August, Neville and Darlene continue to take bookings any time throughout the year. Swap kayaking for snow shoeing, follow it up with a bubble bath in the large soaker tub, and you have yet another option for a getaway during the winter months. Furthermore, they have hosted special bookings for bridal parties, and have an abundance of stories from guests all over the world. During my visit, there was a couple from Switzerland who zoomed in on a map of Newfoundland and booked an extended stay. How cool is that!?
Wondering where the name came from? They wanted something different than the usual “By the Sea” or “Cove Retreat”. Darlene was an avid collector of marine-inspired art and trinkets. This décor now lines the space and, hence, The Painted Fish was born. Just as unique as the name is the experience that they offer. This island and the wonderful gems within certainly deserve our local business.
Check it out – it’s Some Shockin’ Good.