Skerwink Hostel | Trinity East, Newfoundland
While I’ve stayed in lots of hostels in Europe, Asia and Australia, my experience in North America has been limited. And in Newfoundland? Non existent. There are actually less than a dozen hostels across the province, ranging from row houses in St. John’s to lodges in Gros Mourne. But as our Newfoundland explorations continue, Adam and I have been more interested in finding unique accommodations. Enter Skerwink Hostel.
I was excited about our overnight stay at Skerwink Hostel in Trinity East, a great little community on the picturesque Bonavista Peninsula 3-hours drive from St. John’s. The hostel is named after the epic awe-inspiring (and award-winning) Skerwink Trail just down the road, and having never done this particular trail before it was on our 2017 Newfoundland travel bucket list. It’s also happens to be a short walk to my favourite Newfoundland brewery, Port Rexton Brewing, which I raved about earlier this summer in this blog post.
Checking Inn: Skerwink Hostel
Before checking into the hostel, Adam and I spent the day brunching in Bonavista and exploring the Elliston root cellars. We were excited to get settled into our room before a night at the brewery.
Skerwink Hostel has been open since 2011. Australians Martha Nelson and her sister Libby found the property after falling in love with Newfoundland on a family vacation and decided to open a more affordable accommodation, something they felt was lacking in the province.
When you know, you know. Even though they didn’t know just how cool their little part of Newfoundland would become, they knew it was the perfect place for a hostel. Martha’s Scottish partner Gavin Clark joined the team in 2015. While Martha has a background in law and Gavin in teaching, both worked in the hospitality roles, from bars to sports clubs, and love engaging with customers.
Like chilling at your cool best friend’s house
When we walked in I was slightly surprised we were asked to take off our shoes. But after spending the night there I know why they asked. This is the cleanest hostel I’ve stayed in anywhere in the world. The place smelled like baking cookies, filled with sunlight and not one speck of dust to be found.
Martha swiftly checked us in, gave us a tour and we went to relax in our room.
Then I realized why I liked Skerwink Hostel so much: it just feels like your hanging out at your cool friend who owns an awesome country house! The whole vibe is so relaxed and cozy, I could have spent way more than one night there. The living room is full of vintage furniture with lots of places to sit and enjoy a book. I loved how they used old encyclopedias as a side table.
The kitchen rules
The kitchen has all open cupboards making it really easy to find everything you need to cook. Working around a kitchen you don’t known is always a really tricky thing so I appreciated this a lot, even though we only ate breakfast at the hostel. There are also boxes you can put your name on to store your food during your stay — all the cleverness!
Breakfast was simple but delicious. The giant loaves of white bread are made fresh everyday (more delicious baking smells) and there was at least a dozen different homemade jams to slather on your toast. There’s also fruit, cereal and of course the coffee and tea was flowing from 8am to 10am. We has a great chat with some of the friendly people who work at the hostel and soon it felt like a group of friends catching up over coffee.
The hostel also hosts a weekly Sunday Supper at a very lost cost (typically around $6-10 per person) featuring family style meals of dishes like Thai coconut curry.
Being that this hostel is like staying at your cool friend’s house there is a range of accommodation styles. There are two dormitory style rooms with 3 sets of bunk beds in each, two family rooms, and one queen room where we stayed. The decor is bright and fresh, with pale blue walls and punches of colour in the rugs and bedding.
Our queen room was simple and clean with a cozy duvet and fresh towels. Skerwink Hostel doesn’t allow external bedding or towels to ensure there’s no gross stuff like bed bugs coming in, which I really liked because it made it feel like a hotel.
All the rooms share two bathrooms spread over the two floors, while one of the dorms has an ensuite. I mean there aren’t many places I would shower with no flipflops, but at Skerwink Hostel, I didn’t even give it a second thought. So. Clean.
The hostel runs a myriad of fun activities during the season, including a trivia night at Port Rexton Brewery. But the very best thing to do is the trail, the hostel’s namesake. Skerwink Trail is the best 5.3km trail I’ve ever walked and the views of the Newfoundland coastline are like none other.
To enjoy the blues of the sky and the ocean meeting along the Skerwink Trail, you can go anytime, but the hostel is only open seasonally. Next time you’re visiting the Bonavista Peninsula — by yourself, with your partner or your family — I highly recommend making some new cool friends at Skerwink Hostel!
*THANKS TO SKERWINK HOSTEL FOR THE OVERNIGHT STAY. AS ALWAYS, ALL OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS POST ARE MY OWN.
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