The Bonavista Peninsula (Route)

April 2010.

2009-2010 was a particularly easy winter for Corner Brook. Friends who have been here for 10 years, said that this was the easiest winter they've seen during their Corner Brook tenure. Where snow usually continues to fall into April and May, it was actually looking like we would see a relieving spring in early April.

Therefore it was slightly shocking to wake up to the above scene one Friday in April. I already had plans to meet my friend on the other side of the province & because the weather map said this snow was very local, I simply needed to get moving east to escape the ugly grip of this white harlot.

In my infinite wisdom, I already had my winter tires taken off my car (I don't remember why I thought I was safe in Newfoundland to take my tires off in April). Anyway, this meant that navigating my downhill lane would be tricky. I slowly backed out of my driveway and creeped down the road - which actually led to gliding and full blown sliding instead of creeping. The nervous moment passed as my car came to a rest, almost dead parallel with the stop sign at the end of my street. Thankfully there wasn't any cross traffic that would have t-boned me.

There isn't a whole lot of substantial hills after my street. Although even with relatively flat ground, the driving was still a bit dodgy for the first hour: at first I tried to go about 105kph(60mph) until my back end started to slide sideways & then I reduced my speed to about 80kph(45mph).

Shortly after Deer Lake0, the snow grew wet and the road turned from ice to slush. Another hour would pass and the precipitation would turn to rain. One more hour and the rain was so intense that there was zero snow on the highway. The snow would eventually return to the highway edges, but the precipitation would stop and the conditions were simply overcast.

These were the conditions when I was approaching my rendezvous point in Clarenville. I was a bit early, so I decided to drive up the 234 to Musgravetown1 and Canning's Cove2. Along the way was something you don't see very often in Newfoundland: farmland. The rolling hills of tended lands made me quite homesick. I still find it funny the odd things which make you think of home & force you to grow nostalgic.

0 - About an hour away
1 - pop. 583, -8.9% 5 yr trend
2 - pop. 279, -7.3% 5 yr trend

Along the way to Canning's Cove, I also had to take a picture of this guy's property.

I wonder if his favourite baseball team is from Toronto? I wonder if he likes to have sex for 2 minutes then stop? I wonder if he searches for Tyson Chicken? I wonder if he listens to that "I'm blue & I'm in need of a guy" song...

Eventually, I would grow tired of making terrible 'blue' jokes to myself3 and continue along.

3 - after about 10 minutes

I would return from Canning's Cove, head to Clarenville & approach the mall to wait. Nicole was going to be late, so I walked around the Random Square (Clarenville) Mall for a bit, before taking to reading maps in my car until she arrived.

When she arrived, we still had an hour of driving ahead of us, as our accommodations for the night were in the town of Trinity. By the time we got there, it was dusk, and coupled with the fog, it gave off a very desolate coastal feeling.

We had accommodations at the Morris Manor - an endearing 1861 saltbox home.

I failed to convey how great the house was in pictures, so check out the website for some better ones.

Another funny thing was the result of us being there during the less popular off-season; meaning that the rates were considerably cheaper & the two of us had a 3 bedroom, 2.5 story house to ourselves at a reasonable price.

Nicole noticed that directly outside of the dining room were a few headstones.

I was impressed with how she wasn't freaked out by the whole thing. Afterward, I grabbed the tripod to shoot a couple 4 minute exposures of the scene.

It took me a few attempts to line up everything in the headstone night shot, so while I waited, I chugged some Bud Lights and admired the flashing beacon from the nearby Trinity Lighthouse (it's the light on the right).

I can already envision Steve licking his chops to make fun of me for drinking Bud Light, but I like buying them when they have the hockey bottle caps....and I refused to drink the Pittsburgh Penguin capped one as well.

The next morning the fog had lifted, but it was still overcast.

These are some shots of Trinity from the bedroom I chose on the 3rd floor.

St. Paul's Anglican Church was prominent in our view from the window and I was impressed. As we drove the winding, narrow & somewhat confusing roads of Trinity, when we passed St. Paul's, I knew it was worth stopping.

Constructed in 1894, this is the 3rd edition of this Anglican parish's church at this site. It was built in the Neo-Gothic architectural style & designed by Stephen C. Earle of Wistah, Massachusetts. Very similar churches were designed for Digby & Windsor, Nova Scotia.

A lot of the aged Anglican Churches around this province have dense cemeteries on the same grounds.

St. Paul's was no different. As my friend & I walked around, we noticed the advanced age on some of the markers.

If you're wondering why these headstones are so old when other parts of Newfoundland covered on this website have been relatively young; realize that the Bonavista Peninsula was one of the first areas of Newfoundland colonized, as the French, Portuguese & English all came to Bonavista because of the great fishing grounds off the coast. In fact, the name Bonavista comes from John Cabot supposedly arriving at the peninsula in 1497 and declaring, "Oh Buon Vista!" ("Oh, Happy Sight!" in Italian).

Nicole noticed the 1776 headstone, while I noticed the above 'Cradle to the Grave' headstone.

You all know how many headstones I've observed from reading this website - this is probably my favourite ever. I know it's sort of strange to declare a 'favourite' headstone, but you know what I mean...

The unique & intriguing church exterior eventually led me to trying the door leading to the interior.

I had to use some muscle, but I got her open. Once inside, I noticed the device that closed the door, which you see above. The counterweight over on the left would oppose the doorhandle & you had to work harder than it (the counterweight) if you wanted to open the door.

Once inside St. Paul's, you're taken aback by the beautiful wood details. I had no idea at the time, but I found this fact fascinating afterward (from the Heritage NF website): "The interior of St. Paul's is impressive as it was never painted and the original wood work is still in full view. Over the years the congregation has attempted to conceal the modernization which had to be made to the original structure. The duct work for the oil furnace, which replaced the initial two wood stoves, is concealed. Similarly three ceiling fans and a public address system were installed in such a way as to make them hardly noticeable. The most noticeable change was the transformation from oil to electric lighting."

Their work is impressive. I have popped into and quickly left some churches on my adventures; whereas I spent about 25 minutes inside St. Paul's, admiring all of the fine detailing and handsome woodwork.

Nicole also pointed out an assigned seating chart.

Confused, we examined the plan and realized this must have been for back in the day when people would pay good money to have better seats at church.

It's a strange concept compared to present day, where Newfoundland village populations are declining & the remaining population is declining in religious believers.

(The above sign must have been displayed after they abandoned their privileged seating.)

Leaving St. Paul's Anglican Church, and the Trinity town site itself, our next destination was the Trinity (Fort Point) Lighthouse.

The funny thing was although I could see the light from our deck last night, and I could easily see it across the harbour, it would take 10km(6mi) of driving to reach the light.

Overall, it was a park-at-the-outbuildings-and-walk-50-feet-to-the-lighthouse, type of lighthouse. Above, you can see the view looking back towards the Lighthouse Road.

There has been a lighthouse here since 1871. The above lighthouse - erected in 2004 - is very weak in comparison to the tall wood tower of the 1920s or the unique barn-like lighthouse which lasted until the 1980s.

At least they built this lighthouse in 2004 to replace the skeletal tower they had here beginning in 1982.

Newfoundland Lighthouse #28 for me.

Taking a left from the Fort Point Lighthouse road, we drove the NL-239 for 16km(10mi) until its terminus.

Near the end of the NL-239 was the community of Old Bonaventure, which held this yellow house, left to the elements for what would appear to be a few years.

On the way back, I had to stop in Trinity to take a picture of the above graffiti.

My boy GW has actually seen George Thorogood in concert and I know he'd be impressed with this. By the way, if you don't know, he sings that 'Bad To The Bone' song.

Continuing along our loop and through various communities, we stopped in the town of Port Union at the sight of some interesting buildings.

Apparently, Port Union was the first union built community in Canada. Fisherman used to be treated unfairly and monopolized, until a leader came and formed a union - this union and their leader, William Coaker, built Port Union in 1916 to break the low fish prices being set by the few wealthy owners.

The above picture shows a row of the workers housing. Of course this place crashed with the cod moratorium like everything else in the 90s, but hard restoration work is really evident in Port Union, even if it doesn't show in this picture. (We walked the main street and you can tour the restored factory, the union leader's mansion is in great shape & there are many random buildings seemingly under restoration and nearing use.)

We popped into one of the workers houses for a second, but couldn't go very far without a flashlight.

Moving along...

In researching this peninsular journey, I found the village of Little Catalina's website. I was charmed by its simplicity and its scrolling text, so I made a note to get off the NL-230 for Little Catalina.

There is a long hiking trail which looked great, but seeing as it was early April, we instead opted for the short trail to Arch Rock. It was chilly & windy, but we survived & it was worth it.

A welcomed surprise added to the entire Little Catalina hiking experience: as Nicole & I were walking along quietly, I suddenly let a loud "OOO!" as a bald eagle broke skyward from cliffs only 20 or 30 feet from us! My exclamation startled Nicole, but the gigantic bird was an impressive sight as it suddenly emerged after we seemingly startled it.

Patriotic house along the way!

After Little Catalina, the NL-230 lead to the NL-238, which lead to Elliston - the root cellar capital of the world!

I was expecting a few more than the 15 root cellars I noticed, but I must have simply had my head up my ass, as apparently there's 135!

Since I've walked across a field in the wind & cold to photograph a single root cellar, I was more than happy with 15.

I want a house with a root cellar.

The other attraction in Elliston is Bird Rock - one of the best locations on the island to see Puffins from land!

Unfortunately, Bird Rock didn't have very many puffins in April.

More like Seagull Rock.

The view from Bird Rock made the short hike worth it though...

After Elliston, it was time for the town of Bonavista.

Since it was lunchtime, we went into a local bar for some grub. I was missing the Bruins playoff game this day, but I was able to catch a portion of the 2nd period at the bar! In addition, the bar had my favourite beer, delicious tomato, macaroni & cheese - and Michael Ryder scored while we were at the bar! (Michael Ryder is from Bonavista)

After lunch, it was a short drive to the Bonavista Lighthouse.

Built in 1843, I would say this is Newfoundland's most famous lighthouse - appearing on plenty of tourist brochures, lighthouse calendars and Newfoundland commercials. It is a Provincial Historic Site and I imagine that fact helped it survived a 2001 direct lightning strike (a staircase was lost to fire, but the lighthouse was restored within 2 years).

The actual light still installed is absolutely incredible...but unfortunately, we were visiting too early in the season & the Cape Bonavista Lighthouse wasn't open yet.

In addition, this site is a 2-for-1'er because of the modern skeletal tower which sits directly behind the 1843 light!

Newfoundland Lighthouses #29 & #30!

A Northern Pintail I noticed while we walked back to the car...

Leaving the lighthouse site and passing the Bonavista Anglican Cemetery, I had to stop at the sight of this cemetery entrance and the cemetery chapel behind it.

Finishing up the peninsula tour, we had one last stop in the Athens of North America - King's Cove, NL.

We were both skeptical of this Grecian claim, but then learned it had to with the fact that this small fishing village produced a great number of Newfoundland's intellects - not because of corinthian columns or aqueducts.

Anyway, we were brought to King's Cove because of the lighthouse, not because of the town.

After a 30 minute hike over a maintainted trail from town's end to the lighthouse; we had an enjoyable little end to our Bonavista trip.


Go Back to the Main Page of this Website.


1 - NL Registered Historic Structures - Trinity: St. Paul's Anglican Church

2 - Bonavista, Newfoundland - Wikipedia

3 - 1992 Southcott Award - Tickle Inn B&B/Adams House


Steven Twodamncute

Your 'oot cellar facts are off kind sir der by ehh???

Just some good old root cellar humour,,,,,lol theres one thurday tree, 'ow cuz of da