Daily Archives: August 31, 2010

Brigus Blueberry Festival

Beautiful Brigus

Newfoundland & Labrador is well-known for a summer of events, activities and festivals.

The Brigus Blueberry Festival is Award Winning and in its 23rd year! I dropped by this summer along with the other 17,000 plus visitors during August 12-15, 2010. It was my first time in historic Brigus on this lovely Sunday afternoon. The event coordinators expected a large crowd and had made the main streets one way to help with the flow of traffic. It took a little while to get a packing space, as it seemed everyone was arriving at the same time.  After safely parking in a large field, I was not disappointed as I walked through the streets of this quaint town that boasts beautiful vernacular heritage architecture. There were large crowds and great photo opportunities.

The festival activities include: A Royal Shag Up” – comedy dinner theatre, Steps Through Time – walking tour, Newfie night with Screech Ins, community breakfasts, dinners, and suppers, a two-day Folk Festival with well-known Newfoundland talent, visits by Miss Teen Newfoundland and Labrador and Miss Newfoundland and Labrador, the Missed Blueberry Pageant, raffles, craft stalls, baked goods, a pie eating contest, games of chance, mooseburgers, cash bar, children’s games, dances, and fireworks at the Brigus Waterfront. (http://www.brigus.net/blue.htm)

The waterfront

We stopped to have a mooseburger and beer, which went down very nicely! It was followed by a good drop of moose soup. It was good, but not comparable to my grandmothers…she makes the world’s best! There was a large queue to enter. The toll was $2.00 for the complete weekend pass. A number of booths and stands were set-up with local artisans, organizations and entrepreneurs selling their wares. We made our way pass the many games of chance and listened to some traditional Newfoundland music.

We decided to drive through Cupids, celebrating 400 years as the oldest Town in English North America! As well as visit Carbonear and Harbour Grace. The SS Kyle still remains aground as you enter this town.

It was a wonderful day, filled with lots of fun, food, sounds and sights! I recommend you to put the Brigus Blueberry Festival on your list of things to do. So make sure you mark your calendars for the 24th annual in August 2011!

Live Rural NL – CCM

Step Back in Time…1621

Scenic Viewscapes on the Irish Loop

On August 16, 2010…I finally traversed the Irish Loop on the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland after years of saying I would visit. Well, to all you readers it was well worth the wait! The 316 KM road links the capital, St. Johns to the “southern shore” which is predominantly descended from Irish roots and back again.  For those of you who can remember, the Government ran cheesy tourism ads that went something like “come to the Irish Loop…Whales and Birds Galore….something, something, something explore” It was forever played on our independently owned NTV channel, “coined Canada’s superstation”. The tourism ads have greatly improved, especially depicting the scenic beauty of the Irish Loop. Visit the follow Youtube video at the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2aRFuguc7bk

Mansion House

We stopped at scenic Ferryland. It has incredible heritage structures, beautiful landscapes, historic cemetery, stone church and its own colony. Ferryland was formerly the “Province of Avalon”. A place that is the first permanent settlement and founded by Sir George Calvert. I read about him in a Newfoundland History course during my last semester at Memorial University. He was later titled “Lord Baltimore”. After spending one winter in what is now Ferryland, he returned to Britain and left hired help (the first settlers, commonly referred to as “planters”). These planters began what is most likely the oldest continuously occupied village in British North America. For those who know me, they know how patriotic I am when it comes to my province of Newfoundland & Labrador. I often get the opportunity to educate people about the oldest street in North America, the most easterly point in North America, George Street (most bars, pubs & clubs per sq. ft/capita in North America), only province to land a space shuttle, have four flags, have its own set of encyclopedias, its own dictionary and of course, the oldest English settlement in North America. 

As a freelance “journalist” :), I was given a remarkable tour. It started with a short video, followed by artifacts and interpretative panels. Next a guide provided an interpretative tour. It was very windy, but that can be typical in Newfoundland. We started at the outside herb garden, which was very informative. Apparently, “apple mint” was an early form of deodorant. Our tour continued with a stop at the Gentleman’s garden before entering the area that is known as the Colony of Avalon. The start consists of a 400 ft cobblestone street, which we were able to walk later in the tour. 

Which seat do you care to take?

 We were offered the option to take a rest at one of the benches (refer to image on the left). The guide said, she would not judge us. I love the sense of humour we have in this lovely province. As we continued the tour we were able to see the remains of the forge, Lord Baltimore’s mansion-house, other dwellings, as well as the archeologists continuing to excavate the site and uncover more evidence of the past. It was noted that more than 1 Million artifacts have been unearthed and catalogued over the past 20 years. We had the opportunity to visit the conservation laboratory at the end of the tour. 

This Colony has a history and is plagued with drama. Baltimore left for the United States. In 1638, Sir David Kirke, his wife Lady Sarah Kirke and their family took up residence in Baltimore’s mansion-house. This settlement became known as the “Pool Plantation” and took on a more business-like role. Tavern licences were sold and Kirke developed a prosperous fishing mercantile business. Unfortunately for him, he did not pay his taxes and was jailed in England. The settlement was disputed among the two families as to who had ownership for years. Eventually, Lady Sarah Kirke took over the enterprise and began most likely North America’s first successful female entrepreneur (another first)! The settlement prospered until its destruction by the French in 1696. 

Newfoundland & Labrador’s history books show constant political battles, which led to frequent wars among the English and French over land ownership. This is why the oldest settlement in North America & the youngest province in Canada has very little structures that are more than 100 years. As most structures older than a century were victims of fires. However, what remains continues to be part of our living history. 

A Puzzle Jug from a 17th Century Reproduction Kitchen

The tour ended with a visit to the 17th century Reproduction Kitchen. My advice is not to end the tour early, as this is worth the visit. It gives a good reflection of the everyday lives, hardships and even some luxuries of the early colonists. 

There is a unique history, Beothuk Indians, early European fishermen from France, Spain, Portugal, Britanny, Euskal and West England are all part of this unique history. If you would like more information, visit: http://www.colonyofavalon.ca/ 

I will be posting more images on the Facebook Group, “Live Rural NL”. 

The Colony of Avalon is another place one can experience something rural – CCM.

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