Make Your Next Trip Extraordinary

Carol Cozen | September 14, 2023

We had wanted to travel to Nova Scotia for several years and Jill made it all happen in early August. This was, and continues to be, a difficult year for the Atlantic Maritimes due to the wildfires and flooding, not to mention the Hurricane Fiona in 2022. Despite the many distractions, Jill was a pleasure to work with and very responsive.

We had told Jill we were active travelers who like to see as much as possible. We were also amenable to some distance driving, which is necessary if you want to see all the sights. Jill listened well and planned a terrific trip.

We started in Halifax, then took a counterclockwise drive around Cape Breton Island, ferried to Prince Edward Island and then drove back to the mainland and Annapolis Valley. All along the way, Jill has provided us a list of things to see and do, interesting shops and restaurants. We are lobster lovers and managed to have 8 lobster rolls and 3 full lobster dinners each, not to mention mussels and clams! Fabulous food all along our 1500-mile adventure.

We would highly recommend biking as there are many beautiful trails. In addition, the hiking in Cape Breton National Park was gorgeous. Come prepared for some rain — although it did not impede our trip in the least.

My husband and I traveled in Newfoundland from August 9 to August 23. Jill Curran planned our trip for us, and it was a wonderful trip. We rented a car in St John’s and drove it around the island, returning home from Deer Lake. Highlights of our trip were the Johnson Geo Center in St John’s, the Witless Bay Whale and Puffin tour, Bird Rock, the Skerwink trail, the Discovery Geo Sites, the Tablelands, Arches Provincial Park, L’Anse aux Meadows, Norstead, the thrombolites at Flowers Cove, the Green Point trail, and the special activities listed below.

Jill connected us with two local guides who were amazing. We learned so much from them. The first experience was with Mike Edmunds the day after we landed in St John’s. We expected a city tour, but Mike gave us much more than that: an introduction to the culture, the economy, and the “language” of Newfoundland. This single experience set the context for our entire trip.

In Port Rexton a few days later, we had breakfast with Paul Dean, a geologist and former director of the Johnson Geo Center, followed by a guided hike of the Skerwink Trail. Imagine what an experience this was! Paul knows the geology (and the local plants, etc.) of Newfoundland and Labrador first-hand, and was extremely generous in sharing his knowledge with us.

Jill also arranged for us to see a performance of “Come from Away” in Gander, which was a very special experience. She arranged lodging, which was generally quite good—but when it was not quite at that level, I don’t think she could have done much better because of the locations in which we were staying. She suggested restaurants in most locations, and those of which we sampled ranged from good to very good (again depending upon the location and what was available).

There was so much to see and explore, our three weeks didn’t provide enough time. There are many small, local attractions that address the history, culture, and geology of the specific area that you are visiting. Sometimes the weather did not cooperate (as Mike had taught us, these were “bad days on clothes”). For example, our pre-arranged trip on Western Brook Pond, which is highly publicized as spectacular, was in fact miserable because of the weather. For the entire two hours, we couldn’t see much of anything other than fog, and the relatively small boat was overloaded with people. (We were surprised that the trip wasn’t cancelled.) If you can spare the time, build in a few extra days at special locations to reorganize activities around bad weather.

We also learned that Parks Canada guided hikes have a lot to offer; they are incredibly informative! We took two of these. We highly recommend that you take the guided hikes for the Tablelands and for Green Point.

Interestingly, in the planning stages, Jill made some suggestions that I questioned, but they turned out to be excellent choices, nevertheless. Without her knowledge and expertise, we would never have had the opportunity to interact with the two local guides that she included. And we probably would not have included the performance of “Come from Away” in Gander. In short, our trip was greatly enhanced by Jill’s choices.

During our trip, we learned that Jill is extremely well-connected and respected in Newfoundland. We highly recommend that you employ her services if you plan to travel to Newfoundland.

Bottom line, it was fabulous. Jill and her office did an outstanding job. We loved her selection of hotels, excursions, and dining suggestions. She absolutely listened to everything that I said when she put this trip together. We especially liked her inclusion of her favorite things to do in addition to the detailed itinerary. Not even one hitch or hiccup. At every hotel check-in, most made a comment that someone from Jill’s team had called that morning to reconfirm our reservation. We are pleased to pass Jill’s name on to others who are now very eager to explore the Canadian Maritimes.

Our trip was fabulous. Jill could not have planned it better. Our stay at Fogo Island Inn was the highlight and well worth the price. Loved all of our stops from St John to Port Texton to Fogo Island to Gros Morne. Jill’s restaurant and shopping recommendations were great as well. I emailed her with questions along the way and she responded promptly. Would highly recommend working with Jill Curran, in fact I gave her number to a woman that I met on the trip and Jill helped her out that day!

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