The East Coast of the Avalon Peninsula

The East Coast of the Avalon Peninsula
Ferryland Canada, Canada

Ferryland Canada, Canada

September 10, 2009

The eastern coast of the Avalon Peninsula calls and we drive south to Ferryland site of an archaeological dig featuring the remains of the 1621 Colony of Avalon, a settlement under the leadership of George Calvert who later became Lord Baltimore. From town we followed a narrow dirt road out to a point of land and the Ferryland Lighthouse. We are stopped short of the light where a thin span of roadway has begun to crumble into the sea but continue up the road on foot with breathtaking views back to the town and the islands that rest offshore. George follows the road out to the light while I return to the van, sit in the sun and enjoy my book listening to the waves on the pebble beach below. He returns with breathtaking pictures of the light and another island off the tip of land.

Today the sea was an intense blue with turquoise highlights in the shallows near shore.

The roads follow the contours of the coast, no switchbacks here but long uphills and downhill’s offer sweeping vistas of the coastline, offshore islands and picturesque coves. Off the main highway the roads, and I use the term loosely, are nearly vertical, steep and narrow, a challenge to maneuver. Drivers here enjoy high-speed travel despite the potholes, blind curves and moose warnings. It seems the posted speed limits are merely a suggestion.

As evening approaches we find the most beautiful campsite to date on a little peninsula into a lake surrounded by marsh grasses. This is moose territory, but none for us to see. It was difficult to sleep with every star in the heavens shining down on us; at one point in the night the Milky Way was directly overhead – Awesome!

September 11, 2009

Awaking early to fog drifting across the lake, it was so beautiful we actually got up at dawn cameras in hand to capture the quickly changing landscape. All too soon the sun rose above the trees and the fog dissipated delivering a beautiful sunny day, yes, this is why we came to Newfoundland.

George had been told about a road in Tors Cove that would lead us to extraordinarily scenic views of the offshore islands. I don’t think we found that particular road but we found a winner. Parking at a lovely church in the small town we noted a trail marker for the East Coast Trail across the street and followed it as it hugged the hillside above the little cove and descended to the beach with islands in view, the sea sparkling in the midday sun. It was a beautiful sight. A few houses tucked in the trees, surrounded by natural grasses and unobstructed views of the ocean. This is typical of the Newfoundland’s eastern shore landscape. We will pay more attention to the East Coast Trail markers as we travel north.

Heading toward St John’s we are again bewitched by another harbor, Petty Harbor. As we descend the headland a narrow cove lies ahead lined on both sides with fishing boats with houses clinging to the steep hillsides. This is working town with a processing plant at the end of the pier. As we walk the piers fisherman are unloading their catch, cod. They run a fishing cooperative, one of three in the province brought about by the price controls of the larger fisheries. It looks to be prosperous as the boats are well maintained, as are the houses and vehicles. Cod fishing has been the mainstay of this port since the 1500’s.

Realizing that if we stop at every beautiful cove it will take us a month just to see the east coast, we move on. Just one more stop before St. John’s, Cape Spear, the eastern most point in North America and site of the provinces oldest lighthouse. The winds are strong on this exposed piece of land but it is a gorgeous sunny day and this is a stunning section of coastline so we take our time and simply enjoy the panoramas. St. John’s is visible in the distance. Not far from the lighthouse we spot a woman sitting in her driveway selling blueberries, okay, one more stop.

Suddenly we come down a hill and are rudely re-introduced to Traffic! Yikes, Friday evening and there is a rush hour in St. John’s. We snap to attention and with a few wrong turns find a nice campground that sits above the city in an enormous park where we will base ourselves for the next few days, day tripping in the St. John’s area and along the northern coast.


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