PANDEMIC TRAVEL First of all, Jill was extremely sweet and kind and a true pleasure to deal with. Jill helped us plan a fantastic trip to Newfoundland for a week, her suggestions for our itinerary to Fogo Island and St. John’s were all terrific. We decided this was the year to stay in Canada given Covid and see something inside our own country that we wouldn’t usually do. While we were in St. John’s hurricane Larry was rapidly approaching and we decided to alter our plans to leave St John’s a day early to try to avoid Larry. This involved quick adjustments by Jill who managed to get us the same room for an additional night at the Fogo Island Inn. Fortunately we made this change as otherwise we would have been stuck in St John’s with power outages and a cancelled ferry. Jill kept checking in with us to make sure we had what we needed and were comfortable with the changes. On our last morning we came down to breakfast a couple hours before needing to catch the ferry to leave Fogo Island and another glitch, the ferry was down due to a broken water pump. Jill was in constant communication with the hotel, who moved us during the day to another room so we could relax and wait for the ferry to be fixed, fed us and made sure we were comfortable while waiting. That night- finally at 9 pm we caught the ferry to Gander and stayed the night to allow us to catch our rescheduled flights the next day. During both of the mishaps Jill couldn’t have been nicer and more involved to make sure the trip adjustments were made seamlessly. We really loved Fogo Island Inn and the people on the island, a true treasure to have this experience which we will never forget. The staff at the Inn were so friendly and authentic, the food was delicious and the room was unique and comfortable. We loved the hikes and our 2 local guides were truly enjoyable to be with while enjoying the stories and history they provided us. Watching the broadway play Come From Away newly released on Apple TV for the 20th anniversary of 9-11 in the Inn’s intimate movie theatre was a special memory for us as well. We hope we will come back to eastern Canada one day soon!
PANDEMIC TRAVEL Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, Fall 2021
Jill Curran, located in Newfoundland, provided us with a complete itinerary, rental car and accommodations. She allocated our time effectively and gave wonderful recommendations for very locale. She suggested music venues, as well as dining venues. She suggested drives and day trips along with pointing out local shops that we might have missed, not to mention the chocolate and pastry shops along the way. All of her recommendations were accurate and welcome and her caring was obvious.
Jill’s caring became particularly evident when my husband became ill and we had to cut the trip short by several days, exacerbated by the fact that it happened on a weekend. She was calm and reassuring and handled details and refunds with grace and efficiency. Although I’m old enough to be her mother, maybe her grandmother, it was lovely to be cared for so kindly. The true test of a travel professional is how they handle the unexpected and Jill was wonderful and I highly recommend her.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL I would eagerly recommend Jill as a trip planning specialist for anyone traveling to Newfoundland. I am 69 years old and had polio when I was two years old. Due to a very weak left leg and back and the fact that I walk with two walking canes I had concerns traveling to a province in Canada that I knew would be rocky. Jill planned the trip that fit my needs and my wife’s and the couple that traveled with us perfectly. I was able to do some very short walks and found that I handled the trip including driving and in and out of our bed and breakfasts and inns without any trouble. We left Louisiana right as hurricane Ike was passing east of us but with Jill‘s help had all of our needs met. Canada has just been opened and had specific Covid requirements which she made us well aware of. While we were in Newfoundland another hurricane passed between the Avalon Peninsula where she lives and St. John’s. She reassured us and sure enough we were fine since we were further west at Twillingate by the time the hurricane came. Each place we stayed had a wonderful room and the hosts were always waiting for us and knew Jill so well. We felt like VIPs the entire trip. While we were in Ferryland we not only met Jill but shared muffins and the best coffee I had on the whole trip at her house and again felt right at home with all of her family. After a wonderful eco-tour returning to thoroughly in our second night she and her family met us at my request for supper at the local fish restaurant and we literally sang and danced with the owner and three of his daughters all in their 60s who work there. I can honestly say all the people we encountered on our trip were as nice and friendly as I’ve ever met many wonderful trips my wife and I have shared traveling literally around the world. We ended our trip at the Fogo Island which of course was amazing and we loved our 2 1/2 days there. The ferry off the island was broken when we were planned to leave for Gander but they took great care of us and we caught a ferry at night and managed to get to Gander with Jill‘s help and some change in flights on our way to Halifax. Jill was literally in touch with us almost on a daily basis despite hurricanes coming and going and felt like an angel guiding us along our wonderful 12-day Newfoundland experience. I love Newfoundland and I love Jill and her family and all the awesome people and friends we met on our trip. Jill was the icing on the cake of a dream trip that I have hoped to make for over 20 years and now can continue dreaming about the beautiful coves, awesome friendly people, and true spirituality I felt in Newfoundland. I know this has been a very long and rambling review but I could go on and on about each single place we saw on the trip and continue to praise and thank Jill for guiding it.
Sincerely, Dr. J. Brent Prather of Lafayette, Louisiana
Jill was a godsend from start to finish for our planning of this Newfoundland Vacation. My memories of this getaway are what have helped me get through Covid lock down. My family and I traveled back in August of 2019.
We had an issue with our flight being rescheduled last minute to a very late arrival on the way out and I was so grateful to have Jill to turn to. She was able to make last minute arrangements for my family and I to stay at a hotel near the airport on arrival. We were concerned about driving late at night so this was a perfect solution. All the accommodations, tours, restaurant reservations were spot on.
The only misstep was a reservation I had made on my own for a kayaking tour. The guide we had scheduled with decided to change the time of departure and left without us. Phone service being spotty while we were on the road we never got his supposed message. My daughter and I were quite disappointed but Jill saved the day and was able to get us set up with an even better personal sunset kayak tour with whale viewing.
Our 9 day adventure driving from Rocky Harbor Gros Morn, Twillingate, Bonavista to St Johns was more than I could have hoped for. We saw breathtaking coastal views, whales, tuna, puffins, moose, met with warmhearted fun people, sang with the locals, drank with the locals, caught cod, ate cod, kayaked, boats tours, held puffins from the Puffin rescue, hiked, picnicked at Ferryland, went to Museums. … It was a packed full vacation but it still managed to be relaxing. I attribute all that to Jill Curran and her team.
I’m not sure I even know where to start telling you about Jill Curran. She planned a fabulous trip, taking our likes into consideration and even including some daring adventures that we absolutely loved. We were in the Canadian Maritimes during Hurricane Dorian, which landed on their shores. She called us on a Friday night to check on us and had made arrangements for us to stay in our hotel if we didn’t want to risk heading out to our next destination, This was indicative of the entire trip. She was always there, checking up on us and our itinerary without being overbearing. We knew we were well taken care of right from the start.
There are so many great parts of the trip to point out-Wofville and eating at Le Caveau. You haven’t lived until you’ve eaten Brant Beef. Staying at a Distillery (Glenmore) and meeting Jill’s other travelers, having dinner overlooking the Atlantic Ocean at Panorama at the Cabot Links Golf Course. Of course the piece-de-resistance was our WOW Moment. Jill recommended The Inn at Bay Fortune as a dining EXPERIENCE and it truly was. A farmer who regaled us with their farm and some of what we would be eating, a feast of oysters (my husband LOVES oysters and a meal that lasted the entire evening. Everything was cooked over an open flame and it was terrific! Wendy was kind enough to make this unbelievable meal our WOW Moment. Little did she know there would be another WOW Moment the next morning when we met the Chef, Michael Smith, carving up a 322 pound tuna in the kitchen.
You will not find a more caring, lovely person to deal with on a trip. We are looking forward to having her plan another trip, probably to her home province of Newfoundland so we can meet.
We have just returned from a four week road trip of the Atlantic Maritimes that was arranged by Jill Curran. As this was a totally new destination for us we did not know what we should include and what we should miss out on. Jill arranged a wonderful itinerary for us which included some highlights of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland.
Our itinerary took us to places where there was breathtaking panoramic views, rugged coastlines, fascinating history, colourful houses, photogenic lighthouses, quaint ports, interesting art, gourmet food offerings and a lot of friendly people. Jill included some outstanding activities as we travelled including a private tour of Green Gables where you would have believed that Anne herself was taking us through Marilla’s home, a lighthouse picnic in Ferryland with million dollar views whichever way you looked, a private boat tour exploring the rugged Atlantic coastline between the sea stacks, a sailing boat on the inland sea at Baddeck, a guided hike to two amazing areas of The Gros Morne National Park and more.
Jill also provided us with amazing accommodation which made our stays at each place comfortable and enjoyable. Not only did we have excellent accommodation but Jill and her team also provided us with dinner reservations at some delightful restaurants and eating destinations.
Our itinerary also took us to a wide variety of walking trails and we had plenty of time to enjoy some notable walks including the Skyline Trail, Skerwink Trail, Greenwich Boardwalk, Salmon Ponds walk, Middle Head, the Lookout Trail at Woody Point, Tablelands walk and the Coastal walk up to Green Point in the Gros Morne National Park.
Jill really took the time to get to know what we enjoyed when we travelled and she put every effort into providing a customised itinerary that catered for our taste and our needs. We enjoyed our time in the Atlantic Maritimes and wish to thank Jill and her team for the individual service that was provided to us while we were there. It certainly is an advantage to get a local person to arrange an itinerary such as we have just enjoyed and organise special accommodation and activities that you may not find if you did not have that local knowledge. It was also a real treat to meet Jill while we were there, that really added an extra special personalised moment for us during our travel.
Thanks Jill and your team for the work you did to make our vacation in the Atlantic Maritimes a memorable one.
Jill planned a special trip for 3 couples celebrating their 50th birthdays together. She was unbelievably patient, (calm) and responsive when having to incorporate all of our wishes into one trip. The itinerary was well paced and the guides provided were extremely knowledgeable and fun. We can’t thank Jill enough for helping us plan such a wonderfully memorable trip.
Trip: 9 days in Newfoundland
Itinerary: 3 days in St. Johns, 3 days in Trinity, 3 days in Gros Morne
We had a fantastic family trip to Newfoundland! Jill, our Travel Specialist, put together an itinerary perfectly fit for our large family group (10 people) with ages ranging from 5-years old to 75-years old. She quickly secured accommodations for our group, had great activity and dining recommendations, and answered all of of my 1000 questions. Her knowledge of the area was invaluable, we greatly appreciated having her on-the-ground experience and perspective. She checked in with us everyday, where we often chatted about how much we enjoyed the previous days activities! Highlights included Sullivan’s Songhouse, the Skerwink Trail, Rugged Beauty Boat Tour, and all of Gros Morne. Jill made herself available to us at all hours during the trip, I always felt I could reach out to her with a quick question, advice, or help. Thank you Jill!
Jill planned an excellent trip for us in Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. The pretrip planning was complete and unpressured. We enjoyed the venues that she reserved as well as the numerous restaurants that she suggested. To complete her planning Jill knew of special events that were scheduled where we were including the Festival of Small Halls on PEI, the Tattoo in Halifax, and other cultural opportunities along the routes that she outlined. If we had not used her I am convinced that we would not have known of them on our own. Her dedication to her clients became apparent when we ran into a small snafu at one of the hotels. If I were to return to the Maritime Canada again the first person I would call would be Jill.
We listened to local music several times when we were on Cape Breton and the restaurants Jill suggested were all very good. Our flight from Halifax to St. John’s was canceled because of the weather. I emailed Jill and she called in just a few minutes and rearranged our schedule. She did a wonderful job.
The highlight of our trip was Fogo Island and stayed at the Fogo Island Inn. It was such a wonderful experience. Our community host, Eugene, was a great host and made us feel right at home. The next day we went on a guided hike with Roy. He is a retired local school teacher and has written several books and poems about Fogo Island. We bought some of his books. We really enjoyed our time there.
We enjoyed our entire trip. Jill did a great job.
Jill was wonderfully helpful during the whole planning process. She provided good suggestions for our stay in Springdale and ideas of what to do while in the area. We never would have found some of these places without her assistance. Fogo Island was amazing. She recommended excellent restaurants too. The guide she set us up within St Johns was great. Jill spent a lot of time on the phone with me discussing options. We had a small issue with the hotel in St Johns (Murray Premises) – it was really old and past its “sell by” date. Jill was quite proactive in attempting to rectify the situation and did find us another place to stay. We decided not to move as the alternative was a bit too far out of town. We were really pleased with Jill and would recommend her services. Thanks!
Jill Curran arranged a fabulous 10-day visit to Newfoundland for my husband and me. She and I had a long chat in the first place so she could establish the sort of travelers we are and the sort of things we like to do and where to stay. She gave us two possible itineraries and we could not be happier with the one we chose, which we felt gave us a good overview and flavor of Newfoundland, and whetted our appetite for a return. The hotels were all terrific, with excellent breakfasts and all with fabulous views. All the excursions she arranged were spot on: city tour and whale watching from St Johns, wonderful boat trip with Rugged Beauty on the Bonavista Peninsula – Bruce, the owner, shared wonderful stories of the not so distant past (though it sounded like generations ago) and his fabulously colorful family. Jill recommended that we take in a concert by Anchors Aweigh when we were in Gros Morne National Park, and thank goodness she did. They were fantastic and I’m not sure we would have found them. All her restaurant and entertainment suggestions that we took up were just right. We were grateful for her last minute change of itinerary so that we were able to do our whale and puffin watching trip on a gorgeous sunny afternoon rather than the cold, wet blustery day that we were booked. Sadly the weather that day meant we weren’t able to do the famous Lighthouse Picnic – another reason to return. Highly recommend Jill and her team, and we look forward to using other WOW agents.
Jill is a skilled listener who figured out the kind of experiences that we would enjoy and then built our itinerary around personal experiences that would give us a real feel for Newfoundland and its people. All of the guides and activities were excellent. She chose perfect accommodations for us and went so far as to request certain rooms. Jill even arranged for the founder of the Fogo Island Inn to come to meet us. Jill provided us with restaurants, specialty shops, and nighttime music recommendations. She not only checked in with us during our trip, she gave us her personal cell phone number and urged us to call her any time. As our itinerary was so well planned out we had no need to contact her. Jill is an excellent travel agent who goes over and beyond. She obviously loves her homeland and it shows.
Jill helped plan a wonderful trip to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island for two people. Her pre-planning time helped to shape our 11 days abroad. She has a thorough knowledge of the geographic area and was able to secure lodging and appropriate tickets for our visit, even when we didn’t give her too much planning notice. Communication was never a problem; always able to reach her when needed.
I’m writing this as the last of the “gifts” I sent to myself from Cape Breton Island arrives. I’m still psyched about our vacation to the Canadian Maritimes. We wanted a relaxing getaway and while Jill didn’t plan that we would miss the East Coast heatwave, she did plan or suggest most everything else. We put a lot of miles on our rental car (we had flown from Newark to Halifax) as we toured Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. We always knew where we would sleep that night and probably where we would dine but during the day we rambled and meandered and just talked to everyone we met. Jill understood what we wanted, made slews of suggestions, and did the legwork so we could relax. The things she thought we shouldn’t miss, e.g., the Alexander Graham Bell Museum in Baddeck, NS. or the St. Andrew NB aquarium, she was right. She planned for us what on paper was a highly detailed, complicated itinerary, it worked, and we came home wanting to go right back. Thank you, Wendy, for making this connection.
I traveled to Newfoundland in early July 2018. Jill Curran was instrumental in creating a fantastic Newfoundland vacation for me. I was on the west coast because I wanted to experience beautiful Gros Morne National Park. I then flew to the east coast to experience the wonderful city of St. Johns. She listened well and was able to plan according to my specific preferences. I traveled alone, and Jill assured me this was a good destination for someone traveling solo. She was right! The people of Newfoundland are friendly and welcoming. The tours she recommended were all excellent, and the entire trip went smoothly. Also, all the dining recommendations were spot on-so many options for delicious food. I loved Newfoundland and having Jill plan my trip!
Dealing with Jill Curran in St. Johns Newfoundland was excellent. No problems at all. I had nothing but frustration in trying to book things on the internet; all that frustration vanished once I got Jill, via Wendy Perrin. Jill asked me pertinent questions such as our vacation objectives, age, and budget. Within our parameters, she gave us suggestions and upon our agreement made all the bookings. It worked just fine and even the Newfoundland weather co-operated with 15 days of sunshine and only 3 of rain and mist.
With the help of Jill Curran, I traveled with my two daughters, their husbands and three grandchildren (a total of nine people) through Atlantic Canada. Jill and her colleagues arranged all hotels, minivans, and gave advice on restaurants, events, and important sights to see. But, most of all she arranged excursions which we could never have arranged by ourselves and about which my three grandchildren never stop talking. These included a boat trip in which we dug for clams, pulled up lobster traps, gathered fresh mussels and oysters and had a wonderful lobster boil on a secluded beach. Another boat excursion to islands dark with puffins, murres, razor bills, cormorants and other birds, and a boat tour of coastal resettled communities during which we saw whales.
In addition, we attended a songfest in a private home with guitar and accordion in which we participated. We also (and some say this was the best) hiked along the shore with Lori, a chef, who pointed out plants which were edible and then used them to make a sumptuous lunch.
The vistas of inland lakes, pine forests, and ocean fronts were magnificent. This was a visit of a lifetime, thanks Jill and Wendy Perrin’s WOW list.
Jill was great to work with. She helped me refine exactly what we wanted from our trip and then delivered exactly that! It was a wonderful trip made easy by all the work Jill put in on the front end.
Jill was fantastic to work with! She arranged a memorable trip to Newfoundland for me, my husband and mother-in-law. We needed handicapped accommodations and they were spot on, from booking hotels with elevators, mobility scooter rental and special room equipment brought in for my mother-in-law. We had a fantastic private tour tailored to our specific interests. She changed the itinerary mid-trip to give us a better chance of finding icebergs. We couldn’t have done it within her! Thank you!
Jill’s attention to detail was evident at every stop. Her suggested accommodations in Woody Point were excellent and she made sure we had one of the nicest rooms at the Seaside Suites. Her narratives were always appreciated, quite helpful and very specific. Every stop was very detailed and accurate.
In talking with other travelers, they would say: “Oh, that is really the nicest place to stay in the area”. The Inn at Fogo Island was the perfect ending to a perfect trip. Jill was so wonderful to work with and we will be using her again next year to plan our trip to Nova Scotia and PEI.
My wife & I planned a July 2017 trip to the Canadian Maritimes and Newfoundland with Jill Curran. She hit all the highlights of travel there and recommended great hotels, restaurants, & sights not to mention seeing the terrific and pertinent Broadway show, Come From Away, when we happened to be in NYC prior to our trip. We flew to Halifax, NS, St.Andrews NB, Shediac NB(lobster capital), Charlottetown & Dalvay by the Sea, PEI and finally St.Johns NL as well as Fogo Island. She also included stops at Trout Point Lodge NS, and Fishers Loft in Port Rexton as well as several great whale, bird & iceberg watching trips.
Jill Curran of Maxxim Vacations helped me plan a marvelous trip to Newfoundland in mid-May, 2017. I’m a fine art photographer, traveling with my adult cinematographer son, who gave me only 11 days of his time to accomplish a bucket list trip for both of us. I knew I couldn’t do it alone. Jill made extensive notes of our wants, likes and dislikes at the get-go, and every step of the trip was planned with those criteria as the filters. She managed to pull a few rabbits out of hats and made some arrangements for us that we simply couldn’t have accomplished without her broad on-the-ground network in Newfoundland. She also monitored us all along the way, including changing our travel plans over a national holiday weekend while she was away with her family when our transportation was canceled due to high winds. She contacted the places we were to be, rearranged the bookings, and continued to stay in touch with us right up to the end of our trip. Since Jill lives there, she is more acclimatized to the weather quirks of Newfoundland, and won’t notice the cold as much as those from away. We would suggest that even as late as May, winter coats should go in the luggage (we wore ours every day of the trip, and we ARE Canadian, but it is still cold at that time of year!) The kindness and generosity of Newfoundlanders are legendary, and Jill is definitely a standard-bearer for Newfoundlands reputation.
Jill was terrific. We had never been to Newfoundland and knew only that we wanted to stay at the Fogo Island Inn. She designed a 10-day trip through the province and made the great suggestion that we modify our original dates to be at the Inn for Canadian Thanksgiving when they do a special program. Her suggestions about places to stay and eat were spot on and her communication before and during the trip were very helpful. We had a wonderful time — our only disappointment was that we had not allowed more time in several of the places we visited — but isn’t that the mark of a well-planned trip. We would clearly use Jill again and would recommend her to anyone.
Truly Truly WOW!!
We have just returned from a 3 week driving tour of Newfoundland (August-September 2016) which was arranged by Jill Curran and her team at Maxxim Vacations. Jill was intuitive to our needs right from the start and through phone calls and emails we fine tuned the itinerary to encompass the places we wanted to see and Jill added her magic to create a vacation full of lasting memories and amazing experiences. We were very fortunate to actually meet Jill at Ferryland lighthouse picnics where we enjoyed a stunningly beautiful day while relaxing on a picnic blanket with a gourmet feast. Jill knew and understood how much we valued our accommodation and that it was an integral part to the enjoyment of the trip – she hit the nail on the head here as well! We had a lovely mix of higher end Inns and bed and breakfasts where we got to interact with local Newfoundlanders who went out of their way to provide exceptional hospitality. Our tour took in lots of hiking and 4 different boat trips with each providing something different and added so much value for us – never could have arranged such an awesome trip without Jill. We became so engaged in the history of the province and fell in love with all the outports and harbours and came away feeling we had touched the heart and soul of Newfoundland. I really believe what Wendy says about a TTE making a trip extraordinary and Jill Curran at Maxxim certainly did that for us! It was very special.
Jill planned the perfect trip to Newfoundland, Canada! She was responsive to all our requests and questions and provided us with a spectacular itinerary. We stayed in gorgeous inns with warm, friendly hosts, explored fascinating towns and villages where we met interesting locals and learned about Newfoundlands amazing history, experienced exciting boat tours where we saw whales, puffins and icebergs, and saw wonderful local theater. We couldn’t have asked for more. Jill answered all our questions by email and phone before our trip and was fully available during our trip. We give Jill our highest recommendation.
We are so grateful for the travel expertise of Jill Curran and Maxxim Vacations. We returned from Eastern Canada with wonderful memories and pure awe at all that we saw in the Atlantic Maritimes. Touchdown to take-off went very smoothly, the few glitches in no way were the responsibility of Jill and her team! Everything they planned and organized for us was as described in the planning documents. They were wonderful to work with and we really appreciated all of the insider tips and background information. Jill kept in close contact during the planning process fine-tuning our itinerary and activities, inserting personal tidbits and recommendations. She sent maps and a detailed itinerary with our final documents. After the trip, Jill took care of any minor glitches we experienced. The attention to detail and her ability to “read” us were awesome and appreciated! We would highly recommend this team of professionals and would contact them again for future travels to this beautiful part of our world.