Special to The Gulf News
For the past 20 years, Nancy Drury has been loading eager tourists onto her bus in Moncton and making the drive to Newfoundland.
Based in Sussex, N.B., Drury has been the owner/operator of Nancy's Tours for 25 years, and on Aug. 10, she pulled into Hotel Port aux Basques.
Her guests, who visit Newfoundland for 17 days, are usually age 55-plus. While many come from the Maritime provinces, she has some from other parts of Canada.
The coach arrives via the Argentia port and visits places such as St. John’s, Bay Bulls, St. Pierre and Miquelon (France), Gander, St. Anthony, Blanc Sablon, Red Bay, Corner Brook, Rose Blanche and ends up in Port aux Basques.
“People expect to see a lot of outports, poor living, and they are amazed with the beautiful towns and houses," she says. "They also see that the traditions here are different from other parts of Canada."
Drury’s guests were excited when they saw an iceberg at Red Bay, whales at Bay Bulls, majestic scenery on the Bonne Bay Boat Cruise, and listened to traditional music at hotels in honour of them.
The visitors even experienced screech-ins.
Lynn Newsome from Coquitlam, B.C., said she and her husband were enjoying their first tour with Drury’s company.
“We have been on zillions of tours all over Canada and United States. This has been the best tour we have ever been on," she said. "We were expecting poorer living conditions but I never had my eyes opened so much in my life."
Asked about what stood out to her, Newsome reminisced about the Newfoundland people she met.
“They love being Newfoundlanders and they are so proud of it," Newsome said. "You do not see this in other provinces. I think I should feel that way towards British Columbia.”
Newsome and her husband found Newfoundland had large diversity, from the rugged rocks to the lovely beaches. They saw puffins on the rocks and have now started a souvenir puffin collection to take home.
They were amazed by the beautiful colours of houses and the crafts they bought in places such as Rose Blanche.
“We have met the most fantastic staff at kiosks and hotels where we have stopped. Each place has its own distinct thing," she said.
Drury said her guests really enjoy the Newfoundland music and a stop in Port aux Basques is always a wonderful way to end off the tour, whether they stay overnight or, in this case, have an evening meal before going to the ferry.
"(Drury) is the best advocate for Newfoundland and Labrador," says Newsome.