In My Mother's Footsteps
The village of Quidi Vidi, just minutes from downtown St. John's, is one of the oldest fishing villages in North America.
See, it says so right on the sign:
It's also my mother's hometown. My grandfather's house, the house my mother grew up in and the one where I spent every weekend and summer I could as a child, is the first in the village if you enter it via Quidi Vidi Village Road from the lakeside.
That's it right here:
It's right above a waterfall where I spent, oh, about 15 hours of every childhood Saturday. Feeding (read: chasing) ducks, playing with toy boats, and whichever animals my grandmother had adopted (read: stolen via treats) from neighbours:
Today I went for an extended hike in the village and the surrounding hills, retracing the familiar paths where my mother and I both spent our childhoods. And, of course, I brought my camera so you could join me. ;-)
This is the song I listened to on repeat the entire time. It's a fitting song for Quidi Vidi (pronounced Kwye-da Vye-da by locals, and Kiddie Viddie by most residents of St. John's) as the Bretons were among the first to settle this region.
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This is where Quidi Vidi is located in relation to the rest of St. John's:
My uncles used to take me hiking on this path to feed the ducks and seagulls and pick blueberries. It offers a lovely view of the village as well as the city beyond.
It was chilly, raining, and foggy - but the workout of climbing the hills keeps you warm.
The village is always changing. Enormous new homes rise alongside the modest homes of eras past.
And there's always something being built.
The fishermen of Quidi Vidi store their gear in cliff-hanging stages built on stilts opposite the village itself.
The dogberries are especially plentiful this year. The old folks say that means this winter will bring a lot of snow and, unusually for us, it'll stay on the ground and not melt the next day.
Quidi Vidi Harbour is known locally as "The Gut".
The trail is a challenge, especially in the rain.
From the trail, there's a small pedestrian bridge across the waterfalls into the village itself.
Quidi Vidi has a few impressive businesses now, including the Quidi Vidi Plantation and the Quidi Vidi Brewery, which makes the famous(ly overpriced) Iceberg Beer.
Mallard Cottage is one of the oldest buildings in the city.
Since the village is only minutes from downtown St. John's, most tourists never end up staying here - preferring the more mainstream hotels and B&Bs of the city. But there's a room to be had in Quidi Vidi, and you're sure to be surrounded by interesting company.
On my walk, I met a Parisian hipster (well, bearded and solemnly dressed, anyway) who was at the Inn.
The old church is being renovated.
Everyone knows you're supposed to look both ways before crossing the street - but in Quidi Vidi, you also have to do it before leaving the house.
It's a fun place to walk and reflect on how things change. It reminds me of that Dixie Chicks (gag) line, "Well, I've been afraid of changing 'cause I built my life around you. But time makes you bolder, children get older, and I'm getting older too."
Infill developments creep ever-closer to the village, although they're not allowed inside. New rowhouses replace old ones. Things change. But you can still sense the people who have called the village home over the centuries, and see hints of the different eras they enjoyed.