Off the Avalon

Other peninsulas (St. John's is on the Avalon Peninsula) include the Burin and Northern and Bonavista peninsulas. The Burin Peninsula (the boot) is close to St. Pierre et Miquelon, a territory of France right next door, worth visiting for scenery and culture as well as cheap booze, cigarettes, baked goods, cheeses, etc. Many rum-runners (in small boats) were caught recently; this has been going on for centuries. The Discovery Trail's website has a lot of information about off the Avalon peninsula.

Off Avalon Accommodation

This is not meant to be a comprehensive listing and I will add links to other web pages which more closely approach that eventually.

Gerald Winsor contributed the following: "Barbour's Bed & Breakfast, Lumsden, NF A0G 3E0. For reservations or inquiries, phone 1-709-530-2107. Near the beautiful & scenic Lumsden beach and straight shore and also near the heritage Barbour House."

Gros Morne: Gros Morne Cabins, beautiful location, beautiful cabins, lots of amenities (contributed by Maree Cox).

L'Anse aux Meadows: Viking Nest B&B - Thelma and her husband made us feel very welcome. Very nice accommodations, good breakfast. (contributed by Maree Cox).

Corner Brook Area: Island View Cabins, Cox's Cove - WHAT A DUMP!!!!!!!! (contributed by Maree Cox).

Off Avalon Tour Boats and Other Tours

Another destination for Bird Island Charters and others is the Fogo Island bird sanctuary.

DRL Group offer a wide range of bus tours and perhaps other tours.


(This section was contributed by Olaf Janzen.) Olaf says: "Gros Morne (pronounced, but not spelled, "Gross Morn") National Park offers a superb and varied landscape with good trails and campgrounds. There are also cabins and B&Bs at Rocky Harbour, Norris Point, and Woody Point on the other side of Bonne Bay (I can get specific if you wish). For information on park facilities, call the Visitor Centre at (709) 458-2066 or the Park Administration at 458-2417 or 458-2418 (FAX: 458-2059). There's a three-km boardwalked trail from the highway to Western Brook Pond itself, where you can then take a boat to the far end of the lake (or "pond" as the locals prefer). The pond itself is a 15 km land-locked fjord that cuts deep into a gash in the shield wall with 2,000 foot cliffs on both sides of the lake. The boat tours are extremely popular, and you would be well-advised to book ahead through the Ocean View Motel in Rocky Harbour (458-2730). There is more than one tour a day; I think the morning or early afternoon ones are best (for the light); you'll want lots of film for your camera. Even if you don't take the boat, the hike is not difficult and the scenery is worth the effort. Indeed, if you like hiking and natural scenery, this is the best place in eastern North America. If there's time, try going around Bonne Bay (there is a ferry linking Norris Point and Woody Point, as well as a road around Bonne Bay (a one-hour trip). On the south side of the bay are a geological massif known as The Tablelands. The park has been declared a World Heritage Site by the UN because of its spectacular geology; apparently one of the best places to see the legacy of plate tectonics is Gros Morne Park. Whether you're interested in the science or not, the scenery is spectacular. The Green Gardens trail nearby is an all-day affair, and not groomed. Look for "Best Hiking Trails in Western Newfoundland" by Keith Nicol at souvenir stops, local shops, etc. for a reliable guide on where to hike.

Accommodations in the area range enormously, from excellent provincial and national campgrounds to cabins (some quite clean but pricey) to bed-and-breakfasts of mixed quality to motels. A B&B in Cow Head north of Gros Morne is reputed to be colourful (culturally) but generous and clean. I stayed at Mrs. Toope's in St. Barbe and had what the Chinese might describe as an "interesting" stay (avoid it!). The roads are good, but moose are a serious problem, and every year visitors are killed in car- moose accidents. Be extra careful in the evenings, mornings, and especially at night.

If you have time (a day up, a day back by car), L'Anse-aux- Meadows near St. Anthony at the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula might be worth the effort (paved road all the way). It's the location of a medieval Norse habitation which has been reconstructed by the National Parks Service and has since been designated a World Heritage Site. There are motels, B&Bs, and campgrounds in the area, but be warned that the motels are overpriced and underwhelming; the Vinland Motel is the most conveniently located in St. Anthony, but for my money, the best accommodations are at Gunner's Cove at Bella Hodge's "Valhalla Lodge" (I kid you not!). It has six very clean rooms, has a nice view, friendly atmosphere, and reasonable rates (S=$35, D=$45); tel. 623-2018; breakfast is extra. It's about four or five km from L'Anse aux Meadows, and about 12 km from St. Anthony. A new bed-and-breakfast at Cape Onion called Tickle Inn is supposed to be really nice, but it is separated from L'Anse aux Meadows by the full loop around Pistolet Bay. There is another very clean bed-and-breakfast in St. Anthony itself, called The Old House (single, $32; double, $38; $10 for each additional person; telephone 709-454-3794). It has three rooms; the address is 8 Balsam Drive, St. Anthony A0K 4S0. The St. Anthony Motel (454-3200; FAX 454-2402) charges more: single $55; double $60), and so does the Vinland Motel (454-8843; FAX 454-8468): single $47.50 up; double $57.50 up. There's a free Travel Guide 1992 available at all tourist information centres, which describes sights to see, accommodations, etc. There's also a provincial campground at Pistolet Bay. Besides L'Anse aux Meadows, you might visit the Grenfell House Museum and the International Grenfell Mission craft shop. Not much else to see there."

The Bonavista Peninsula

The Discovery Trail's website has a lot of information about the Bonavista peninsula. But some of the attractions on it are that Trinity is the home of Rising Tide Theatre and the Trinity Pageant, Trinity and Bonavista are Provincial Historic Sites, there is a National Historic Site, there are 4 museums, there is the film set from the Random Passage miniseries. There is also The Root Cellar capital of the world, the first Union-built town in Canada with it's restored buildings, a working blacksmith museum; a replica of the boat The Matthew replica, numerous historic structures, the oldest wooden church believed to be still in use in Canada; restaurants, B&B's, boat tours; etc. I have not yet visited this peninsula myself and will add to this section when I do, but again note there is a lot of detail on it on the above-mentioned website. But based on the above summary/highlight information, drawn from an e-mail from a woman who did not wish her name listed as a contributor, there is a lot to do on the Bonavista Peninsula and it is certainly worth a visit. Note that celtic multi-instrumentalist Kelly Russell and his wife Tonya Kearley, who plays bodhran and is a folk dance caller and folk dance instructor, live in Trinity and may even have a bed and breakfast there.