Off the easternmost point of North America lies Newfoundland, a lush, historic island that's been called "Canada's best-kept secret." As soon as I landed there, I was struck by how stunningly green it was and, as I had flown in from a big city, I felt my lungs come alive as they feasted on the crisp air. A small voice interrupted my thoughts as soon as I stepped outside of the airport: "You're not in the Bay Area anymore."
Thanks to GMC, I had the unique opportunity to travel to the island in the brand's new 2019 Sierra Denali. On an island known as a treasure trove of natural sights — including Jason Momoa, but I'll get to that later — I was lucky to navigate the winding dirt roads, bop through the capital, St. John's, and jet across the countryside in a vehicle designed for exploration. While humans have inhabited the island since before the 11th century, it has a raw, untouched energy that seems to keep you on your toes — waiting for a fox or a deer to peek around the foliage as you hike the coastal trails or for the next enormous wave to break against the rocks as you look down from above.
The people of the island, affectionately referred to as "Newfies," are kind, spirited, and welcoming. They're dedicated to their home and have a rare connection to the land that's both reverent and protective. When they share tales of Newfoundland's rich history, they share it with pride and a level of expertise that suggests their home is not just a place to live, but a passion. The island is known for rare animals like lynxes and thrush, a delightful blend of French, Irish, and English cultures, and over 1,000 years of documented adventures.
For these reasons and more, it's no surprise it's been the set of a number of films. I certainly recommend visiting, but if you're booked up for the immediate future, keep reading to find out how you can experience Newfoundland without boarding a plane.
Braven isn't just a thrilling action movie, it's also a thorough representation of the island in all its snowy glory. While it undoubtedly highlights Momoa's... many talents, it prioritizes shots of the land just as much.
In the film, Momoa plays logger Joe Braven, who's forced to defend his family from a pack of vicious drug traffickers with the help of his wife, Stephanie (Jill Wagner). It's a twist on typical survival stories and you can't beat the views.
The Grand Seduction
While Braven sheds light on Newfoundland's beautiful nature, The Grand Seduction attempts to introduce viewers to its charming culture and society. The award-winning 2013 film follows a group of Newfies from a poor fishing town who convince a plastic surgeon to move there to improve its economic standing.
The flick lets viewers in on the daily life of Newfoundland natives and their surroundings — including the island's colorful Victorian-inspired homes and the importance of the ocean to the population's survival.
In Hold Fast, 14-year-old Michael runs away after he's sent to live with his aunt and uncle. Together, Michael and his cousin brave the wilderness of Newfoundland and learn more about themselves than they ever thought possible.
Everything in this movie is green, and after visiting Newfoundland myself, I find it completely accurate.
Love & Savagery
A Newfoundland love story? Count me in!
Love & Savagery was filmed in both Newfoundland and Ireland and tells the story of Michael, a Newfie who travels to a tiny Irish village for a geological project. There he meets Cathleen, a soon-to-be nun who turns his life upside down. It's a tale of scandal, society, and passion with all the gorgeous outdoorsiness that makes Newfoundland famous.
And in case you were wondering about my time in St. John's, here's a little peek.