Journi Guide | Instead of Iceland, Fall for Newfoundland

With sweeping alndscapes and delicious pastries, Newfoundland is about to be your new favorite destination.

If you want wild landscapes and a subarctic island climate, skip high-priced Iceland for Newfoundland.

Half a million friendly Newfoundlanders call this vast, beautiful island—the world's sixteenth largest—home. With unique culture, picturesque fishing villages, rugged shoreline, and towns named Come By Chance, Heart's Desire, Happy Adventure, and Chimney Tickle, there's an irresistible charm to Newfoundland. See for yourself.

Eat a Blueberry Duff

This traditional Newfoundland steamed pudding is cooked in a cotton sack alongside a traditional Sunday Jiggs dinner, a one-pot boiled meal of salt beef, turnip, cabbage, potato, and carrot. The blueberry duff, made from a cake-like batter, simmers in the same pot as the ingredients resulting in a spongy, savory-sweet loaf studded with berries, then served with a rum sauce.

Swim with a narwhal

Most people don't think of Newfoundland when it comes to scuba diving, but it's some of the best in the world. When the cold Labrador currents meet the warm Gulf Stream, the marine-rich waters draw humpback whales, belugas, and narwhals to feed.

Visit An Abandoned Fishing Village

Photo: Unsettled #6 (1999), Parsons Harbour, South-West Coast, by Scott Walden

In an effort to centralize, modernize, and ostensibly improve education and healthcare, the government launched a controversial resettlement program of Newfoundland's tiny, far-flung fishing villages, incentivizing citizens to move with cash. In the 1950s through the 1970s, more than 300 traditional communities and cultures were left behind to be reclaimed by Mother Nature, the salt air, and the sea.

Be the first to see the sunrise

Stand on Cape Spear at daybreak, and you'll witness a spectacular sunrise on the easternmost spot in the western hemisphere. The nearby Cape Spear Lighthouse is also the oldest surviving lighthouse in the province.

Visit the farthest-known Norse settlement

At the northernmost tip of Newfoundland, visit L'Anse aux Meadows, a village settled by Vikings around 1000 CE, which went undiscovered until 1960. Tour the sod buildings complete with a replica Viking furnace.

Get Weird at the Mummers Festival

In Newfoundland, the centuries-old tradition of Christmas Day mummering has been resurrected, turning the world topsy turvy for a day. The ritual is about reversals—men become women, women become men, friends in disguise become sudden strangers. Expect masks, horse heads, and bras worn on the outside. In fact, expect anything.

Read The Shipping News, visit Trinity

If literary tourism is your thing, read Annie Proulx's Pulitzer Prize-winning The Shipping News. The town of Trinity doubled as a set for the film starring Julianne Moore. But with saltbox houses, museums, art galleries, hiking trails that wind to the beach, and fine dining at The Twine Loft, it makes a scene-stealing real-life destination.

See the Pony Sanctuary

Newfoundland ponies helped build the communities of the Newfoundland but industrialization put the ponies out to pasture. By the 1980s, there were fewer than 100 of the breed left. Thanks to the the Heritage Animals Act of Newfoundland and Labrador and the preservation and breeding efforts of Netta LeDrew at the Change Islands Pony Sanctuary, this sturdy, sure-footed breed has bounced back.

The Logistics

Reach Canada's easternmost province by air or ferry. Fly into St. John's; from Boston, it's about three hours and round trip fares start around $350. Newfoundland can also be reached year-round by vehicle and passenger ferry from Nova Scotia. Check the Marine Atlantic site for fares and schedules. Newfoundland has a wide range of accommodations, whether you want to sleep in a luxe boutique hotel, charming cottage, or under a canvas tent. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stays at the modern and minimalist Fogo Island Inn while rustic cottage, cabins, and campsites offer a cheaper front-row seat to the island's spectacular wildlife. Once on the island, don't underestimate driving times and distances. (If it were part of the United States, the province would rank fourth in size behind Alaska, Texas, and California.)

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There are several things about wine that can confuse the average person. If you haven't spent the last few years of your life learning everything there is to know about wine, you can be forgiven for picking up a box of the good stuff every now and then. However, if you want to know a little bit more about how to choose a good bottle, we can help you out. We've created a beginner's guide to picking a bottle of wine so you can enjoy yourself a little more.

Know What Type of Wine To Choose

First things first, you're going to need to decide the type of wine that you're looking for in order to narrow your search. Are you looking for a red, white, sparkling, or rosé? The choices may seem overwhelming, but try to focus on what foods you'll be pairing the wine with. Reds go great with heavier meals like red meat, while whites tend to lend themselves towards lighter dishes like fish and cheeses. If you'll be drinking the wine on its own, consider what you've tried in the past and what type you tend to gravitate toward.

Know How Much You're Willing To Spend

It's no secret that a penchant for wine can become an expensive hobby. If you're just getting into the idea, don't waste your time or money with the extremely pricey bottles. A good place to start looking for decent bottles of wine is somewhere between the $10 and $30 price range. This will keep you from buying something too low quality without breaking your bank in the process.

Read the Labels Closely

A good bottle of wine will often give tasting notes right on the bottle. Because everyone's palette is different, you may not get the same notes when you try the wine, but it's a good place to start. Choose something with tasting notes that you already enjoy like berries or cocoa and try to see if you get any hints of that as you drink. The labels may also tell you about the wine's acidity, or how tart it is, and the wine's body, or the way it feels in your mouth.

A beginner's guide to picking a bottle of wine can only go so far without being overwhelming. The next part of your wine journey will need to be undertaken on your own. Try various types of wine and see what tastes best to you—that's what wine is really all about.

Distillery tours went on hiatus in 2020, but there are high hopes for 2021. While bourbon leaps immediately to mind when thoughts turn to distillery tours, interest in other spirits and how they're made is increasing. Here are a few of the best tours to thrill tequila lovers.

Tequila Herradura

Ride in style on the Herradura Express, a distillery sponsored train ride that runs from Guadalajara to the town of Amatitán for a distillery tour and tastings, followed by lunch featuring live entertainment. The train then takes visitors back to Guadalajara by evening. Herradura is housed in the last tequila-producing Hacienda in the world, Hacienda San Jose del Refugio. Casa Herradura will be closed for visits and tours until Mexican health officials declare the coronavirus emergency over.

La Rojeña

Producer of Jose Cuervo, La Rojeña has a train of its own called the Jose Cuervo Express (currently on hiatus due to COVID-19) to bring visitors to the oldest distillery in the town of Tequila. Jose Cuervo offers distillery tours, tastings, and tours of the agave fields. Mundo Cuervo (Cuervo world) also has its own hotel, Solar de las Animas. Check for COVID-19 hours and restrictions before booking.

Casa Sauza

Founded in 1873, Casa Sauza offers four levels of tours including a visit to the La Perseverancia distillery, a visit to the Quinta Sauza estate, and for those willing to spend more, barrel tastings and a barbeque or a three-course meal. Casa Sauza is on hiatus until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, but should go on the distillery tour bucket list.

La Cofradia

The only tequila distillery with a hotel inside, La Cofradia offers many experiences in addition to distillery tours. Choose a hike through natural trails, biking, or horseback riding through the agave fields. Rooms made of giant tequila barrels sit among the agave plants for a unique stay. Visiting La Cofradia is sure to be a tour that thrills tequila lovers. Contact the hotel directly for information about lockdown closures.

A distillery tour offers education about tequila's history and manufacture. Bone up on your tequila terms and tips for choosing quality tequila before you go, so you'll understand what you're tasting.

We don't know how to feel about winter this year. Sure, nobody likes the cold and dreary months, but there's something special about the Holiday season that just seems to be missing. Maybe the thought of staying inside and cozying up to a nice book isn't very enticing given the last few months. The joyful winter wonderland that we usually associate with winter seems to be missing.

That's why our editors decided to take it upon themselves and spread some delight with seasonal meals, courtesy of HelloFresh. For those who don't know what HelloFresh is, it's a meal-kit delivery service with dozens of easy-to-prepare recipes to choose from. Simply select which meals you want as well as how many servings and a neatly organized cardboard box will arrive at your doorstep within the week. Nobody wants to go out in the Winter anyway, and with HelloFresh, you don't have to!

To celebrate the arrival of the coldest season, we decided to highlight some of our favorite (and heartiest) recipes from HelloFresh that are perfect for the Holiday season. Here are five wholesome and balanced meals that will warm you up in no time.

Veggie Loaded Kale & Risoni Soup

A hearty and warm soup is a Winter staple and this veggie loaded kale and risoni soup from HelloFresh absolutely hits it out of the park. All anybody wants during the colder months is to feel cozy and nurtured--just like the flavorful bowl of nutrients. Warm and creamy risoni compliments the seasonal veggies perfectly and the side of garlic bread is a sure-fire cure for any winter blues. With 22 meals to pick from each week, this one is sure to be a household favorite.

Cheesy Red Pesto Chicken Melts

Everyone is familiar with classic green pesto, but have you ever tried red pesto? Red pesto offers way more complexity and oomph than its green counterpart. It is incredibly bright with rich notes of umami, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh basil and garlic. This rendition also features hits of chargrilled capsicum for a little extra zest. You get the exact amount of each ingredient and seasoning, as well as super detailed recipe cards, that make meal prep a breeze. Spread it over a glistening chicken bread and sprinkle with cheese for delectable chicken melts.

Winter Risotto

Risotto is a great winter warmer. It's packed full of veggies so your body will light up like fire, but it's also silky, sumptuous and a real crowd pleaser. HelloFresh's Winter Risotto features a heart helping of kale that pairs perfectly with nutty Parmesan and crunchy walnuts for a robust taste. Did we mention that it also comes with fennel seeds sprinkled throughout? This unique seasoning adds a distinctive, yet delicious flavor to this classic winter staple. We know these meals are pretty hardy, which is why we love having the option to pause our subscription or cancel a week when need be.

Cheat's Italian Pork & Veggie Bolognese

A bolognese that only takes 30 minutes to make? Sign us up! This one is chock full of all the rich flavors of a classic Italian sauce. In fact, we're getting some serious Italian grandmother vibes with this recipe. Silky baby Spanish and grated carrots melt into a hearty meat sauce, offering a mouth-watering meal for anyone looking for a little zest. It's delivery quality, but much more affordable, plus you get to cook it yourself!

Smokey Mild Chorizo & Bean Chilli

Yet another clever twist on a weekday favorite! The paprika and garlic flavored cured sausage is a staple in our chopping baskets since it goes well with practically anything. Not only is Chorizo loved for its taste, but also for its ability to infuse sauces with its tantalizing flavor. This time around, HelloFresh has decided to spice up a classic bowl of bean chili with Spanish styling of a smokey mild chorizo. The end result? A mix of chorizo, red kidney beans, corn and avocado, and an irresistible flavor that everyone will love. This is just one of dozens of unique HelloFresh recipes you won't find anywhere else!

Gone are the days of trekking through the frigid cold just for a few groceries. Sign-up for HelloFresh today and get your ingredients delivered right to your doorstep. Time to start cozying up the right way, with a delicious meal and a nice cup of hot cocoa.

Update: Our friends at HelloFresh are extending a special Black Friday offer to our readers. Follow this link to get $90 off across 4 boxes including free shipping!