Global New Year’s Dance Party

It’s hard to believe a year has passed since our last Global New Year’s Dance Party. 2013 has been a year of change for us, going from a long term rental on the coast of Maine to traveling full time. Since we hit the road in May we have gone from seeing icebergs and Viking settlements in Norther Newfoundland, to spending an unforgettable two weeks in Yellowstone National Park,  to enjoying the beaches and warm weather of Baja California, Mexico. Despite all the changes, our New Year’s Eve tradition (ringing in the New Year multiple times through the wonder of internet radio, followed by a dance party) remains intact. We hope you enjoy our New Year’s mix for 2014, Raise Your Brass.

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The Fives’ Best of Newfoundland

We’ve only been away from Newfoundland for a few days now, and we’re already feeling nostalgic for all that we did and saw during our six weeks there. To help us get through this hard transition to life on the mainland (if you can call Cape Breton Island the mainland), we’ve put together a list of some of our favorites.

Most Spectacular Sights

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Waterfalls (this one is by Blow Me Down Mountain).

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Icebergs (we spotted many on our travels through the Great Northern Peninsula from late-May through early-July),

Best Place to Visit

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Goose Cove: A short drive from St. Anthony, we spent hours here watching whales and icebergs, climbing the rocky shoreline, and playing on the playground.

Favorite Thing to Do

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Rock Climbing (the rugged coast offers endless opportunities)

Best Place to Go Swimming

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Pistolet Bay Provincial Park (the water was refreshing, to say the least)

Best Food

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Partridgeberry Jam (we put this on EVERYTHING)

Best Hike

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Camel’s Back Trail, St. Lunaire-Griquet

Best Animal Watching

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Moose, Caribou, Whales…Do we really have to choose?

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What We’ll Miss the Most

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The St. Anthony Public Library and the wonderful librarian there.

Roadside Gardens Galore

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On our first drive through The Great Northern Peninsula back in May we immediately noticed what looked like garden plots squeezed in along the main road. There would be 2 or 3 together often fenced in with an assortment of logs and boards or sometimes with netting. As the temperatures warmed up into June we started to see people working in these roadside gardens cultivating the soil into neat rows and getting ready to plant. Some of these plots were a great distance from any houses or populated areas and we weren’t sure how these remote gardens came to be.

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Our interest in the gardens and gardeners was peaked and after asking around we found out that most of the plots that we were driving past were started in the late 1960’s when the highway was constructed. Up until then gardening had been a challenge due to the lack of plentiful and fertile soil along the coast. However, when the major road was built the dirt was piled up alongside the road where it could be put to great use in growing the main Newfoundland crops of potatoes, cabbages, and turnips.

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Many of the roadside garden plots that we viewed use the Lazy Bed method of planting, which not only looks really neat and organized but is also a great growing method suited for the climate of Northern Newfoundland. As with Newfoundland’s trash bins we greatly enjoyed gazing at the variety of roadside garden plots as we explored the area. In most areas that we have traveled through gardens are often hidden behind house and barns, so we really enjoyed the opportunity to view the uniqueness and creativity of these roadside gardens.

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Blown Away by Blow Me Down Provincial Park

Over the last several days the weather in Newfoundland has been sunny and hot! At first we didn’t know how to cope with this drastic change in temperature. Over the last month we have been used to wearing our winter hats and fleece jackets almost constantly. So, a few days ago when we found ourselves sitting in traffic in Corner Brook, Newfoundland with the temperature hitting 80 degrees we all got a bit hot and cranky. Luckily we were on our way west, back towards the coast and away from the crowds, to Blow Me Down Provincial Park.

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The park and surrounding area reminded us all of Down East Maine with similar trees, wildflowers, and coves. We enjoyed camping for three nights in the well maintained provincial park campground. Every day we took advantage of a new hiking trail, some within the park and a few just a short drive away. However, the recent forest fire in Labrador caused a great deal of haze and we never got a clear view from any of the vistas along the trail. Fortunately the smoky conditions didn’t affect our view of the water and we all enjoyed watching Lion’s Mane Jellyfish off the rocks at the park beach and a Minkie whale swimming in Lark Harbour.

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With the weather so warm the kids even donned their bathing suits for their first full Newfoundland ocean swim in the calm waters off Bottle Cove. All three had a good time splashing around until their legs started to go numb. Five String saved his swim for the cascading waterfall at the end of the Copper Mine hiking trail, which he claimed was still warmer than the ocean 🙂 Who knows tomorrow we might all be wearing our hats and jackets again but for now what a great time to be visiting Blow Me Down Provincial Park.

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A Walk Through Time

It was over a month ago that we passed through Gros Morne National Park on our way north to spot icebergs in St. Anthony. We could tell from the spectacular scenery passing by our car window that Gros Morne was pretty special. Now, over the past few days we have finally had he chance to spend some time exploring the park. While best known for its geological wonders such as mountains pushed up from the Earth’s mantle and rock formations showing the transitions between geological ages, Gros Morne also impressed us with its beaches, nature, and fishing history.

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