Many of us have experienced it before. Exploring an unfamiliar destination, being captivated by its inhabitants, landscapes, and traditions, and desiring to immortalize our journey with a tangible memento or gift that can be shared with those who have not had the chance to visit. Although I prefer preserving my memories through personal photographs, postcards, and the occasional sticker, there exist extraordinary keepsakes that transcend the clichéd plastic magnets, peculiar figurines, or humorous holiday decorations (although establishing a tradition of acquiring such items from every location visited can be incredibly enjoyable!).
As a proud Newfoundlander, I consider myself well-equipped to unveil the crème de la crème of authentic local mementos, showcasing the rich tapestry of Newfoundland’s culture and heritage. However, personal preference reigns supreme, and it is entirely up to you to choose what captivates your interest. Allow me to kindly offer some insightful recommendations:
Embrace the charm of woolen socks or mittens, whether acquired from a charming local boutique like Nonia or procured from a craft fair vendor’s Nan. By investing in a pair of knitted socks or mittens that proudly showcase traditional Newfoundland designs, you not only elevate your own comfort but also contribute to the betterment of our community. These remarkable accessories offer unparalleled warmth and coziness, as I have personally experienced with the treasured pair my Mom discovered at a nearby craft fair.
Discover an array of exquisite creations crafted from the luxurious seal fur – from charming keychains to cozy mittens, stylish hats, snug slippers, durable boots, and fashionable jackets. Irrespective of your budget, there is a locally-crafted seal fur treasure waiting to be found. Embracing the rich heritage of Newfoundland, these items are a testament to our deep-rooted connection with the seal hunt. While I refrain from delving into politics, I encourage you to conduct thorough research before making your purchase. Engage with local vendors, explore various options. These stunning pieces not only adorn but also embody the essence of NL’s remarkable legacy.
Alright, I confess, fitting a handmade quilt in your suitcase might pose a challenge. However, if you happen to be embarking on a road trip and perhaps taking the ferry with your trusty car, fear not! You’ll find a way to make it work. Handmade quilts hold a profound significance in the history and traditions of Newfoundland. In the past, these quilts were meticulously crafted using remnants of old blankets and clothing, allowing families to maximize the utility of their belongings, especially during the unforgiving winters. Nowadays, these quilts not only provide warmth but are also regarded as exquisite works of art. Resembling our vibrant landscapes and row houses, they boast intricate designs that are infused with immense love. Whether you explore the outport craft shops or browse the gift shops in St. John’s and Corner Brook, you can easily stumble upon these cherished creations.
Indulge in the delectable delights! Newfoundland and Labrador boast an array of renowned munchies and age-old confections. Consider relishing in the refreshing pineapple crush, savoring the Newfoundland Sayings bars crafted by the Newfoundland Chocolate Company, devouring the scrumptious tea buns and homemade jam procured from a local market, relishing the Five Brothers Cheese, or delighting in a gift pack from the Newfoundland Distillery Co.
Discover the hidden gems within the literary landscape of NL, where captivating authors, exceptional publishers, and captivating books abound. Journey into the enchanting realms crafted by Boulder Books, Breakwater Books, and Flanker Press. Prepare to be spellbound by the enthralling pages of Kerri Cull’s “Rock, Paper, Sex,” the awe-inspiring adventure depicted in Broadhurst, Fortin, Smyth, and Hollingshurst’s “Hikes of Newfoundland,” and the chilling tales woven by Dale Jarvis in “Haunted Stories.”
Souvenir Shops I Recommend
Posie Row & Co., Johnny Ruth, and the St. John’s Farmer’s Market serve as havens for the items I’ve mentioned, along with an array of delightful, entertaining, and extraordinary discoveries specific to Newfoundland and Labrador. These establishments represent a community of talented artisans and creators who eagerly await your affection and appreciation. The Heritage Shop boasts two distinct venues, situated on Water Street and Duckworth, respectively. All proceeds generated from these establishments contribute to the noble cause of supporting the Historic Sites Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, dedicated to nurturing, safeguarding, and cherishing our rich heritage and historical landmarks.
While these examples serve as a mere glimpse into the realm of local souvenirs that captivate my admiration, managing to encapsulate an entire province, its populace, culture, and history within a compact, travel-friendly item, there exist certain guidelines applicable to souvenir shopping no matter the destination. Firstly, prioritize items crafted within the local vicinity or procure them from independently-owned establishments, avoiding ubiquitous chain souvenir shops that lack sustainability, fail to contribute to the local economy or community well-being, and frequently impose exorbitant prices on ordinary trinkets. Secondly, seek out items or stores with intriguing narratives. Perhaps they symbolize the region’s historical significance or recount amusing anecdotes from your journey. Alternatively, they may support a noble cause or incorporate exclusive local ingredients unattainable elsewhere. Thirdly, ponder upon the practicality of each potential purchase. Will it serve a purpose for you or your acquaintances, or will it merely gather dust in a forgotten drawer? Will it meet a swift demise, discarded without delay? Lastly, explore items that elude familiarity (unless you are an avid collector), for the distinctiveness of a souvenir speaks volumes about the distinctive essence of the place you have ventured.
I wish you have a fantastic journey to Newfoundland and Labrador.