Where’d you take vacation this summer?

Florida or Flower’s Island?

St. Lucia or St. Anthony?

Gayside or Baytona formerly known as Gayside until they changed it because it had ‘side’ in the name?

We went out around the bay. (If you’re not from Newfoundland, let this be a lesson in bayness.) But here’s the catch – it wasn’t MY bay. It was another bay. So it was new to me. Oh wait a sec, actually it was the same bay – just the other side of it. Damn it.

Ugly map of Bonavista Bay. You’re welcome.

Anywho, same deal. I had never been to Bonavista and Trinity before – not since I was a kid with a mullet throwing up in an empty ice cream bucket in the backseat of dad’s Pontiac Bonneville.

We’re not dumb enough to waste our time and money toting a rabid toddler beyond the east coast of Newfoundland. Especially without a portable dvd player. (Dear Santa, please bring. And P.S. — where’s my fucken pony?)

Bonavista: landing spot of the original Italian Stallion, Giovanni Caboto, founder of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1497. (Supposedly.) This begs the question: why aren’t there more Italian-blooded men around these parts? Humph. Guess Johnny Boy claimed the land but didn’t spread his seed. Meany.

As mother of a boy who loves trains more than candy, I was sad to hear the Trinity Loop Train was kaput. It was an amusement park with a working train and passenger cars for tourists, established after the 1984 closing of the Bonavista railway branch. But it was shut down in 2004 due to poor attendance and disrepair. Fizzlin’ fireboxes.

As a substitute, there were a couple old train cars parked in the middle of the town of Bonavista. So we took Max there and pretended this was way cooler than it was.

Max thought it was the bomb. But I can imagine how his eyes would have lit up if the damn thing had been, oh I don’t know, moving?

Or if it had a face.

Or the voice of one of the Beatles.

We went to the Harbour Quarters for lunch, where Max was the lone child among a room full of folk in knee-high socks and Birkenstocks.

He screamed a couple of times just to stretch his vocal cords. Once, he squealed so loud, everyone in the room simultaneously dropped their spoons into their chowder. Someone must be being brought to the gallows.

We got a couple scowls from khaki-clad mainlanders who eat children for breakfast. They weren’t mean, though; their faces were simply numbed with ointment and the aroma of mattress money.

We toured the Matthew – the replica of Cabot’s majestic ship – but we couldn’t let Max out of our arms because the stairs were so darn steep. We couldn’t risk having Turbo Ginger sleep with the fishes… like this guy.

Besides, it seemed fitting for Max to stay close to the poop deck.

(By the way, the Matthew replica is in desperate need of repair or she will never sail the seas again. The shipbuilder in Bonavista is willing and able to do the work but needs money for the supplies. MUNN Insurance is sponsoring the cause in the Aviva Community Fund competition. If it gets enough votes, the Matthew Legacy Fund could receive $150,000. Save that ship! “Vote for the Matthew”)

Next, we drove out to the Dungeon – a circular opening in the cliff with two seaward-side channels where the sea roars through.

But after a quick glance at the geological phenomenon I decided Max would sit this one out. In the car. Too bad, he would have gotten a kick (literally) out of our tour guide.

His name was Billy. I know, right!? He got canned the next day for eating the brochures.

It was getting late and Max was getting cranky, but I had a bag of cheese twists and a doggy poop bag so that bought us some time.

We stayed in Port Union at a B&B that graciously accepted kids, so when we checked out the next day, we thanked them for their hospitality, handed Max over, and left.

We were pulling out of the driveway when we caught a glimpse of a disgusted B&B owner in the rearview mirror. Handing Max back, of course. His pants were lying low with crap. Well-played, right?

The second – and final – day of our excursion, we went to the Random Passage film set in New Bonaventure. (Sidenote: yours truly was the first to play the part of Lavinia Andrews – for realsies). I took the tour while Andrew chased Max around the set.

In the little church on the set, Max decided to lean against a giant freestanding candleholder and went smashing to the floor – both him and the candle. When the bow breaks, the candle will fall.

I immediately picked up the candle and dusted it off, then picked up the candleholder and placed the candle back on top. Phew, nothing broken. Oh right, Max… Yup, also unbroken. Also good.

Next, we walked around the whimsical little town of Trinity, with Max insisting on pushing the stroller.

This never goes well, mainly because he can’t see above or around the stroller, so essentially he is driving blind. Boy + Ginger + Blind = Triple Trouble. Andrew and I got about 300 yards and were so exhausted from keeping him out of ditches and traffic and jail.

There’d be no rest for us in this sleepy little town. And no dinner theatre, either. Max would have been swinging from rafter to apron to curtain.

Yes, our vacation was one day and one night. But it was 48 hours jam-packed with at least half that many verbs: squealing, running, climbing, swinging, biting, dangling, freaking, kicking, screaming, laughing, smiling, pooping, peeing, squirming, pushing, pulling, pointing, kissing, hugging, adoring, sighing, breathing, chasing, embracing.

Now that’s what I call an all-inclusive.

~ Don’t forget to vote for the boat that helped make us who we are. ~