Delicious food and a magical setting…
The perfect recipe for what will be one of your most treasured memories. Lighthouse Picnics based at Ferryland Lighthouse (built in 1870) offers unique picnic food using the freshest ingredients.
A picnic to be enjoyed while relaxing and enjoying amazing scenery – waves, whales, and seabirds are all part of the vista. But what we offer is so much more than food and it is hard to describe in words. It is a feeling that best describes a Lighthouse Picnics experience. It is a moment to ‘be’…
- …be in a magical place enjoying breathtaking scenery
- …be in the company of your friends and family
- …be quiet and still with the sound of the ocean and wind
- …be the most relaxed you have been in years!
Part of your Lighthouse Picnic is the walk to the lighthouse. As you walk along a natural isthmus you are surrounded by the sea on both sides of the path. Smelling the sea, hearing the seabirds and enjoying the view that goes on forever just sets the scene for your day at the lighthouse.
After your visit you can also brag to have eaten at the most easterly restaurant in all of North America. Reservations have become a must, as we prepare all the food onsite at the lighthouse, basically cooking in Nan’s kitchen – not much bigger than the original 1870 kitchen.
Our commitment to making everything at the lighthouse each day, does limit the number of people we can serve daily.
The Story of our Lighthouse
Our lighthouse has had three very diverse phases of life since opening in 1870.
1 – LIGHTKEEPERS
Firstly the Lighthouse at Ferryland Head has stood as a beacon to passing ships. At times a stark warning of the dangerous jagged shores, at times a comforting reminder to sailors that they were not alone in the pitch-black night.
The lighthouse is still operational; however it has been automated since 1970. For the 100 years previous, the lighthouse was staffed by families who lived in the two-family dwelling.
The first lightkeeper was the famous Newfoundland ship builder Michael Kearney and the first assistant keeper was William Costello. Over the next 100 years the Costello family would be the primary keepers of the light at Ferryland Head right up until 1970, when Billy and Kathleen Costello were the last family of lighthouse keepers. My family connection to this special place is that my Grandmother Esther Costello (daughter of John Will Costello – Lighthouse keeper from 1905-1927) was born at the lighthouse. Many family stories have been shared about life at the lighthouse.
2 – ARTISANS
With the light automated and no need for a lighthouse keeper, it was originally planned that the house would be taken down. Luckily an active Ferryland Historical Society lobbied to have the lighthouse turned over to their group. And as fortune would have it, a young artist and his family thought this would be a perfect home. The dwelling became the home of Newfoundland’s renowned artist Gerald Squires and his family in the 1970s. In addition to their home, the lighthouse became a pottery & art studio for the Squires family. It is here that Gerald completed some of his finest work including ‘The Ferryland Downs’ series. Many of Newfoundland and Labrador’s greatest artists, musicians and writers would congregate on Ferryland Head throughout those years and many a tale is told of the fun, and artistic influence this place would have on their work.
Once Gerald and his family moved out the early 1980s, the lighthouse dwelling was abandoned for over 20 years and fell into major disrepair.
3 – PICNICS
Picnics was not the expected new lease on life for this building, but that is truly the third phase in the life of this lighthouse. Growing up in Ferryland, I could not believe that this building, in the most beautiful place in the world was left empty. After moving away from Newfoundland for several years, each trip home reaffirmed the beauty of this place compared to the many stunning places I visited around the world.
In 2003 armed with lots of ideas and enthusiasm, Lighthouse Picnics became a reality – albeit operating from a small stand outside the building. But with an outpouring of community support and more customers than we could prepare food for, we knew we needed to open the lighthouse again. Over the winter of 2003/2004 the restoration started and it was quite the feat to reopen the building. With lots of hard work, enthusiasm, cups of tea, food and laughter we reopened the lighthouse in June 2004.
Ferryland is not to be missed on your visit to Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada. Founded in 1621 by Lord Baltimore, the community’s history is as colourful as you will find anywhere. Its history is not that of a sleepy fishing community. From its founding days in 1621, the community was destined for great things and troubled times.
While Baltimore eventually chose warmer climates, the community grew through hard work, tenacious spirits, quick wit and humour. Our history is interspersed with battles, which saw heroic women shoot off cannons in defence of the community, attacks by privateers, horrific shipwrecks and heroic rescues.
Ferryland is now best known for its beauty, historic riches and vibrant arts community.
“Local woman Jill Curran transformed the neglected lighthouse where her great-grandfather was once keeper into a unique lunchtime location. Her lunch basket included freshly squeezed lemonade, a chutney-glazed ham and brie sandwich – on bread baked in the lighthouse – and a strawberry rhubarb fool.”
There’s an endless choice of stunning views on the cliff’s edge to lay down your picnic mat, breathe in the salty fresh of the Atlantic and watch the whales blow.”
“We sat on the furthest point we could find, surrounded by plunging cliffs and a surging turquoise sea, and ate a meal that I’ll never forget.”
Read Full Article
“The Ferryland lighthouse is also the setting for one of Canada’s unlikeliest new culinary stars: Lighthouse Picnics.”
“10 BRIGHT IDEAS: BOLD INNOVATIONS THAT CHANGED THE TOURISM LANDSCAPE
#4 Dining in a New Light – What could be more romantic than dining in the shadow of a century-old lighthouse?”
“Six of the Best Spots to Eat and Drink in Newfoundland – Spot whales from your picnic blanket while savouring molasses oatmeal bread sandwiches and dandelion tea.”
“Tourists flock to Newfoundland in the summer to see whales, seabirds and icebergs. But freshly-made picnic lunches have also been luring tourists and locals to the Ferryland lighthouse for the past decade.”
“It’s a sight that conjures fairy-tale landscapes; the cobalt sea and azure sky stretch to the horizon with only tufts of white clouds to break the endless blue.”
“For an inspiring picnic take the easy half hour hike up to the 1870 Ferryland Lighthouse where you can order a homemade picnic”
Take a moment to watch our video to get a feel of our picnic experience:
Do I need a reservation?
We have a very small kitchen in the lighthouse dwelling that was built in 1870. And as we are committed to preparing everything on site, from baking the breads and desserts, to squeezing the lemons there are only so many people we can serve each day. Thankfully over our 17 years we have grown a loyal following, so reservations have become a must.
How do I get to Lighthouse Picnics and Ferryland Lighthouse?
Ferryland is approximately a one-hour drive from St. John’s, about 80 kilometres south on Route 10. We’re based in the Ferryland Lighthouse about 2 kilometres (approximately a 30-minute walk) from the start of the Lighthouse Road. To get to the Lighthouse Road: As you drive through Ferryland, watch for the road that veers off by the Colony of Avalon Interpretation Centre. Turn here and follow the road towards the water, you will pass the Southern Shore Folk Arts Centre. Continue straight – the road to the lighthouse is to your right. Look for our Lighthouse Picnics sign.
What should I wear on my feet for the walk?
This is a walking trail so you will be most comfortable in sneakers or casual shoes.
What do I need to bring?
You bring your love of food; we will provide everything else – the blanket, the books and a serene setting. Be prepared to nap after lunch.
Do you provide transportation to the Lighthouse?
Lighthouse Picnics does not provide transportation to the Lighthouse. However, there is an independent operator who does provide this service. Russell Keough’s By-Side Rides offers return transportation to the Lighthouse during our days of operations from 11am – 3pm. Guests do not have to make a reservation, as Russell operates this as a hop on hop off service ($5 or $10 each way – depending on pick-up location).
What happens in the event of bad weather?
If the weather isn’t suitable for eating outside there are lots of cozy spaces inside the lighthouse dwelling to sit and picnic inside. If you decide that you would not like to join us in the rain, we just ask that you call or email to cancel your reservation so we will not be expecting you, or that we can contact other from our wait list.
Can you accommodate specific dietary restrictions?
With advance notice at the time of your reservation, we ask that you let us know if you have specific dietary restrictions (i.e vegan, gluten-free, etc.) and we will do our best to ensure your needs are met.
Can I bring my dog?
The Downs and Ferryland Head have been a popular place for people to walk their dogs for years and it is a lovely walk to enjoy with your dog.
How much time should I allow for my picnic?
Your picnic is best enjoyed as part of a relaxing afternoon. Take time to enjoy the walk, enjoy your picnic, your time with friends & family and the most magical setting that is Ferryland Lighthouse.
What is the cost of a picnic?
Our picnic is approximately $27 per person and includes a salad, sandwich, dessert & lemonade – all lovingly made/kneaded/baked/squeezed at the lighthouse.
Are there children’s picnics?
There is a special menu for children – it includes sandwiches such as grilled cheese or ham and cheese, dessert & lemonade. The cost is approximately $14/person.
Do you accept credit cards?
We accept Visa, Mastercard and American Express. We are also happy to say technology has come to the lighthouse and we now accept debit cards.