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Newfoundland and Labrador
    (That’s the full name of the province)










































From North Sydney, Nova Scotia, take the ferry to
Channel-Port aux Basques (reservations recommended).  
This is an ocean-going ferry that accommodates cars and
RVs.  The trip between these ports is scheduled to take
about six hours.  

From
Channel-Port aux Basques head north on TCH to…

Deer Lake.  From here you can continue on the TCH or as
an alternate go north – I strongly recommend going north –
read on and you’ll see the reasons.  


ALTERNATE:   Go north on route 430 to …

    Gros Morne National Park.  We especially liked
    hiking to the area that was the result of geologic
    upheaval that brought up a plate that has little or no
    growth as the soil is not fertile.  This is part of the
    Appalachian Range that goes to South Carolina.  Then
    north to…

    St. Barbe.  From here you can take a ferry to Blanc
    Sablon, Quebec and then take Route 510 to …

    Red Bay, Labrador.  The drive to Red Bay, about 50
    miles, is through barren land.  The road is paved as
    far as Red Bay.  We observed that each small
    community had an ice hockey rink and basketball
    hoops were along the side of the road.  You may wish
    to visit the museums, lighthouses and the whaling
    station along the way.  There are limited tourist
    facilities so it would be wise to call ahead to make
    reservations.  

    At the time we were in St. Barbe we were able to
    arrange a one day tour through the ferry company
    and were guaranteed a return passage that day, even
    if a bit late as our tour was.  We walked off the ferry
    and a van met us.  The guide pointed out the points
    of interest as well as describing the living conditions.  

    Then return to St. Barbe and continue north on Route
    510 to…

    St. Anthony.  We enjoyed this community because of
    the grand view of the icebergs floating off shore.  
    Additionally, we were treated to a close-up view of
    whales – close-up, meaning within 100 yards of
    shore.  They were breaking the surface of the water
    and could be clearly seen from the nearby cliffs.  This
    frequently happens.

    While here learn about Dr. Grenfell by visiting the
    interpretive center and the nearby museum.  He
    contributed a great deal to the well being of the
    fishermen and natives of Labrador and this part of
    Newfoundland in the early 1900s.  Then swing north
    to…

    L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site.  This
    UNESCO World Heritage Site is the documented
    location of a settlement by the Norse around 1000
    AD.  See the remaining outline of their houses and
    enter replicas of the structures.  Head back to Deer
    Lake and take TCH east to…


Gander.  This was the site of a major refueling station for
transatlantic flights before the large jet planes that could
make the flight non-stop.  In addition, during WW2 it was a
base for convoy escort and anti-submarine patrols.  A
couple of miles east is
Peacekeeper Park.  This is a memorial
park that marks the location of the 1985 crash that killed
259 US soldiers returning from Middle East peacekeeping
duties.  

If you haven’t been taking the coastal roads on the north
shore of the island now is your chance to do so.  You’ll visit
fishing villages like
Twillingate and Bonavista that are
typical of rural Newfoundland.  You might just happen to
see a “groaner” (a grounded iceberg, photo), visit a local
museum or lighthouse.  Then continue to…

St. John’s.  This is the provincial capital with about a fifth
of the population of the province.  Can you imagine a
botanical garden in a frigid area like this?
Memorial
University of Newfoundland
has one in the C. A. Pippy Park.  
Tour the waterfront – maybe take a tour so you don’t have
to balance a guide book on your knees as you drive the
steep hill of the city.  Visit scenic
Quidi Vidi (photo below)
waterfront.  Go to
Signal Hill National Historic Site that in
addition to its historic significance offers a splendid view of
the St. John’s harbor.  Then south to …











Witless Bay.  Here’s your chance to take a boat to the
offshore islands with the masses of colorful puffin
(sometimes referred to as sea parrots).  You may also see
whales breaking the surface of the water.  From here go
south to…


Avalon Wilderness Reserve, which is just off Route 10.  
As we headed south on Route 10 we were held up for over
an hour as a herd of caribou ambled across the road.  This
is the southernmost herd of caribou and numbers about
6,000.  Then continue to Route 90 and east to near
St.
Bride’s
on Route 100 to a paved road leading to…


Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve.  What a sight.  You
walk through fields to the edge of a cliff that overlooks the
gannets nesting on close-in offshore rocks.  You’ll see, hear
and smell thousands.  You may also see a variety of other
birds.  Return to TCH and go east to Route 210 and head
south on the
Burin Peninsula to…


St. Lawrence.  By all means drop into the Miner’s
Museum
.  It’s quite the place.  Fluorspar was mined in the
area and the museum describes the methods and dangers.  
Here you will also learn of the two US warships that crashed
into offshore rocks in March 1942 – just after the US
entered the war.  Sailors climbed the cliffs and got help from
the miners who rescued 180.  Over 200 died.  After the
war, the US government thanked the community by
donating a hospital to serve the people of the area.  In the
foyer of the hospital are photos of the event.  Residents
held a welcome home reunion in the early 1990s and several
survivors returned.  Next, continue along the coast to…

    SIDE TRIP.  Did you know that at this point you are
    just a few miles from France?  Yes, there are a couple
    of French owned islands just off the coast of
    Newfoundland.  The seasonal passenger ferry from
    Fortune to St. Pierre et Miquelon only takes a bit
    over an hour.   We haven’t done this but it is said to
    be like the Brittany area of France.  You pass through
    customs so proper documents must be
    presented.          


Grand Bank.  As you approach this fishing port you will see
what appears to be a building shaped like the sails of a
schooner.  That’s the
Southern Newfoundland Seamen's
Museum
.  The building honors the seafaring heritage of the
community.  As the town name suggests the fishermen
here made their living working the Grand Banks.  Walk along
the street that borders the waterfront.  The day we visited
there was a theatre performance by a group of university
students on a summer work assignment.  It was a lot of
fun.  The audience numbered six.  

Continue exploring the island as you return to the ferry
back to Nova Scotia.  On one of our trips we were early for
the ferry and went east of
Channel-Port aux Basques to
the scenic village of
Rose Blanche Harbour le Cou
(photo).  RVers should be aware that this village’s roads
were not RV friendly.  


At this point you return to
Nova Scotia
Lief Erickson landed at L'Anse aux Meadows around 1000 AD
Gros Morne National Park is a World Heritage Site
Gannets nesting at Cape St. Mary's Ecological Reserve
Rose Blanche Harbour le Cou
Whales cavort just offshore from St. Anthony
WHAT TO EXPECT

Caribou or moose may block your way – an iceberg may float onto the beach and groan –
whales may cavort just off shore.  You may see the site of landings by the Norsemen in
about 1000 AD; or visit the radio tower where Marconi received the first transatlantic
wireless message.  You may visit an area of such great significance that it is a designated
World Heritage Site.  

Newfoundland is essentially a barren rock island with heavily wooded wilderness areas and
bogs.  In spite of that description it is scenic.  Parts of the island are accessible only by air
or boat.  The main road connects the ferry landing at Channel-Port aux Basques to St.
John’s at the other end of the island, over 560 miles.  Roads branch off the TCH (Trans
Canadian Highway) to serve small outports.  Take time to visit some of the outports –
walk along the wharfs, drop into the museums, chat with the folks you meet.  

Roads are generally paved and in good condition – good enough for cars and the trucks
carrying logs to the mills.  The harsh sub arctic climate gives the island a short tourist
season.  

It is a tough place to live.  Because of the distance to markets and the decline of the
fishing industry there is chronic unemployment.  This leads many young people to leave
the island for college or jobs and they return only to visit, often to introduce a new
spouse or offspring to their family.  Therefore, the population of the province is declining.  
Memorial University in St. John’s offers many degree programs to encourage young
people to stay on the island.  

Because of its strategic location a hundred thousand US troops were stationed here
during WW2.  It's said that when the war was over they returned home with 25,000
brides.  
Travel Letters
The picturesque waterfront of Quidi Vidi
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