Last month I spent 8 days in Newfoundland in the northern most part near Gros Morne National Park and towards Saint Anthony’s. It was my first time in this province and I sincerely hope that it won’t be my last. I loved the rugged coastlines, the windswept trees, the combination of colours of water, grass, seaweed, rocks and sky. Not to forget the friendly and hospitable people I met and the slower pace of life.
Woody Pt Lighthouse and view towards the Tablelands
From Montreal it’s a bit of a circuitous route to get to Deer Lake, NFLD, but at least you can get there by airplane in half a days travel. The place is a lot bigger than one might think. It takes over 4 hours from Deer Lake, which is already in the north, to drive “down north” to Saint Anthony’s and my ultimate destination, L’Anse aux Meadows. Got to love Canada😉
I was mostly in NFLD to participate in a retreat for missionaries called M2M. A real gift! We were so warmly welcomed and spoiled by the generosity shown during the event, in time, energy, availability, activities. I was touched by the volunteers who gave of their time and resources, paying their own way to be there, to serve us, to pray with us, to ferry us around, and just to chat. We stayed in a hotel in Rocky Harbour right across from the ocean, in oceanview rooms and with our food tab at the restaurant – and a very decent one at that – being covered. To summarize, I slept pretty well, ate pretty well, explored pretty well and met some lovely people.
Nothing like shrimp, scallions and ribs!
Except when you finish off with a rich dessert like this lemon curd meringue…Then you end up sick to your stomach :S
The town of Rocky Harbour is essentially surrounded by Gros Morne National Park, a beautiful park with some very intriguing geological features. (If you are interested, search for Tablelands) I did a couple of walks and visited several of the sites in the park, although not Gros Morne Mtn itself. As much as I would have liked to do the 16km hike, I learned it was mostly a scramble on loose rock at the top, and considering my back, the amount of H20 and snacks recommended, and my lack of a sherpa or a solid pair of hiking boots I opted out. Maybe another time😛
We got to go sea kayaking, on a boat tour of Bonne Bay, hiking in to the Western Brook Pond (essentially a fjord cut off from the ocean) and out to the lighthouse at Lobster Head point. Some people went golfing, others spent lots of time relaxing or just recharging. I liked to explore.
Red chairs at Lobster Head Lighthouse
with C. kayaking
eagle sighting on the boat tour
View towards Norris Pt and the Tablelands
Western Brook Pond – Fjord in the rain😛
One of the best moments was our final dinner together, a tradition meal called “jiggs dinner” if I remember correctly. They used to cook all the veggies, potatoes and the meat, typically corned beef, in one pot – since they only had one pot – and that’s what we got served. We were informed that Ned the Newfie was on his way especially to see us, all the way from Saint Anthony’s, and I took the bait. Lo and behold, “he” arrived in his fishing clothes with his friend, Obama, who knew how to play a mean “ugly stick”…and the singing began. It was actually one of the volunteer couples who had led the singing during the morning devotions :p.
Ned the Newfie and his friends
group photo with the other participants
After the retreat I headed off on my own to L’Anse aux Meadows. A long drive but well worth the time. I would highly recommend visiting the Parks historic site and the Norstead village, and also passing through Saint Anthony’s to visit the Grenfell Historic Properties, where you learn much about the establishment of medical care and facilities along the northern coast of NFLD and in Labrador. I just fell in love with the scenery: little islands off the coast, hills with big cliffs right along the ocean, sub alpine vegetation, charming fishing villages. It probably helped to have decent weather, discover many wild berries (raspberries, strawberries, crowberries, partridgeberries, etc.) and meet some fun people. I even got invited to join some other guests at the B&B for a supper of roast moose. Mmm.
Coastline near L’Anse aux Meadows
Found more red chairs!!
Moose for supper
I was quite sad to leave, and I have a sneaking suspicion that this province has joined my list of places I’d like to return to one day!
Thanks for reading! À la prochaine!