Category Archives: French Shore

www.frenchshore.com

Treat Yourself at Bits-n-Pieces Cafe – Conche, NL

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Conche, NL is at the heart of the French Shore and is a destination for tourists to view a 222-foot tapestry, the only of its kind in North America. While visiting Conche, I would highly recommend a dining experience at the Bits-n-Pieces Cafe, as well if you need accommodations they also have two lovely rooms overhead at the Stage Cove B&B. 

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The Bits-n-Pieces Cafe offers a very relaxing atmosphere in a renovated salt-box style homestead. The chairs at some of the tables are from different homes and brightly painted in a variety of colours. This adds to the charm and quaintness of what dining would have been like at our rural homes many years ago.

While waiting for food, I read about cod fish from Intervale’s placemat, it may have influenced my meal choice. I ordered up a serving of split peas soup, which is very traditional and one of my favourites. As well, the fishcakes and fries. It proved to be a delicious treat. The soup and fishcakes come highly recommended.

Conche is full of culture. If you want to experience some food culture than don’t hesitate to get yourself served at the Bits-n-Pieces Cafe. The service is wonderful! Certainly this is another gem we have at home on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA                                                                                                    The Straits-White Bay North                                                                                          @MitchelmoreMHA

The Fire Still Burns – Conche, NL

The fire still burns in the small town of Conche, Newfoundland on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula East. This community has embraced its storied past, which includes early visits from the French through the migratory fishery in the 17 and 18 hundreds to their shores. On a recent visit, the French Shore Interpretation Centre had their French oven lit, in preparation for a tour group to their Centre.

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The census may list the population of Conche at 181 people, but there is much more support than that for the survival of this small Town. The people of this community are hardworking, resourceful and full of hospitality.

An active fish plant, Conche Seafoods Ltd., employs dozens of people from across the Great Northern Peninsula and parts of Western Newfoundland. This fishing Town is bucking the trend and seeing increased activity and additional employment, not less. A recent tender was called by DFO for wharf expansion and improvements in the range of up to $1 million. All signs of a strong economy. Each year hundreds of commercial trucks travel over a 17.6 KM gravel road. It is long overdue the provincial Government live up to its commitment and pave Route 434.

The community is supported by a strong local business community and amenities for residents and visitors to engage.

Museums and Heritage Facilities include:

  • Casey House Artist Retreat, the French Shore Interpretation Centre
  • A traditional harbour lighthouse
  • Remains of a World War II Boston BZ277 plane crash
  • The Casey Store, a Registered Heritage Structure – one of the oldest fisheries buildings remaining on the French Shore, and Martinique Bay, the site of a 1707 confrontation between English warships and the trapped French fleet – a designated Site of Historic Significance
  • Chaloupe Exhibit
  • Crouse Beach – a half-buried flat pebble beach that was the site of a vast French codfish drying operation in the 19th century. The beach offers a view of picturesque wharves in Southwest Crouse
  • Boat tours can be arranged upon request

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Recreation Facilities:

  • Conche Ball Field
  • Conche Playground
  • RV and Camp site
  • Beach Volleyball area
  • Array of walking trails

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Religious Institutions:
  • Roman Catholic Church
  • Parish Hall
Schools:
  • Sacred Heart All Grade
  • Northern Peninsula Family Resource Centre

Business:

  • Bits-n-Pieces Cafe
  • Bed & Breakfast
  • Convenience Store
  • Lounge
  • Fish plant

Municipal:

  • Town Hall
  • Volunteer Fire Department

The community also has unique vernacular architecture you basically wont see in other communities on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula. Traditional stick homes are still fashionable here and  full of colour!

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Artists and artisans can thrive in Conche. They have talented painters, authors, storytellers, dancers and folk signers that will gladly put on a performance. Summer is when Conche truly comes to life. In 2013, Conche celebrated a successful Come Home Year bringing hundreds of residents home. The committed volunteers truly make amazing things happen in small communities. The Annual Garden party is certainly a wonderful experience for anyone wanting an authentic rural experience.

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Only a few kilometres away in Roddickton-Bide Arm is a 24/7 health centre, banking, Government services and a suite of retail, manufacturing and other small businesses. Partnerships have also been established with the Mayflower Inn & Adventures to provide zodiac tours and cross-promote regional tourism.

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Conche benefits from strong organization (especially from their Town Council past and present), an ability to embrace their past and ability provide the services any small community would want and ensure their local businesses are supported. This is the only way in which our small communities will survive and thrive. It must be through local innovation and a strong will to give back to your friends and neighbours to ensure the services we want and expect can be provided. Small business is certainly a means to rural communities growing.

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Conche is one of those towns that has incredible potential to be further developed. More than 2,000 tourists go out of their way to trek down this gravel road on the Great Northern Peninsula East to visit this picturesque town. It has worked hard to establish itself as a destination. Conche is on the map for so many reasons.  The establishment of the French Shore Interpretation Centre has truly helped accelerate this growth.

A 222-foot tapestry on Jacobian linen depicts the history of the French Shore. It is proudly on display, designed by J.C. Roy and made by the women of Conche. This summer there centre spent close to a year developing 9 new exhibits that remember the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht. This now has the potential to travel the province or other parts of the world as a touring exhibit to further promote the community of Conche. These initiatives are building blocks to growing a rural community.

 

Conche is truly a destination on the Great Northern Peninsula that must be visited an experienced by residents and visitors alike. There is potential for new business endeavors in town and more development. Their success can be replicated! Let’s keep working together to build stronger communities.

Rural success is occurring! The fire still burns…

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

“Do Unto Others” – Dower of Conche

This summer, I had the privilege of meeting Alice and Austin Dower of Conche, NL at their home. I had met Austin before playing music for us at the Tuckamore Lodge, Main Brook and again at the Ivy Durley Place in Flower’s Cove.  It is clearly evident he is a man of many talents, especially when it comes to song and stories. We had a great conversation about family, community, the upcoming Come Home Year and the wonderful history that exists surrounding the Town of Conche.

Little did I realize in conversation, that the man I was talking with had such a strong connection to the communities beginning. Austin, a retired teacher had recently penned a book, entitled “Do Unto Others: Dower of Conche”, which is a scripted version of his family history of James Herbert Dower and the settlement of the community.

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It has taken me about six months to begin but only a couple of days to finish reading Dower’s work. The book was a pleasant short read that was filled with intrigue and also a reflection of life’s everyday challenges in community building in rural Newfoundland and Labrador in the early 1800’s. Dower also reinforces the importance of the Golden Rule, “Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.” Photos at the end also give the reader an understanding and snapshot of the community past and present.

I am grateful the author has taken the time to document and also tell in his own words his family’s story. I hope that this is not the only book penned by Austin J. Dower and I encourage others to find a copy. Even take a visit to The French Shore. Served up nicely with a cup of tea :)

We all have stories to tell and our own family histories is a remarkable place to start.

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North 

French Shore Historical Society adds vibrancy to Conche

Conche is a small fishing Town of less than 200 residents on the Northern Peninsula East, primary of those with Irish Catholic descent. This community is rebounding from economic instability. In recent years it is home to a very active fish plant and the community has re-branded itself as a tourism destination.

The French Shore Historical Society was formed in 2000 as a non-profit corporation to preserve, interpret and promote the history of the French Shore for education and economic development. This very active Society worked with the Town to turn a former Grenfell nursing station into an Interpretation Centre, studio and office space. This turquoise and brown building stands out and marks the culture and long past of the settlement, first inhabited by migratory French fishermen.

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A tour of the museum contains French & English panels, artifacts and displays. The impressive 222-foot tapestry, the only of its kind in North America is on display. This Bayeux stitched masterpiece was more than 3 years in the making and can be viewed exclusively in Conche, NL depicting the history of the Great Northern Peninsula with a focus on the French migratory fishery to current day.

The Society has been focused on textiles and product development. It hopes to expand its property as it reaches out for investment to expand the property to better display this Tapestry and permit space to focus on its Centre for Textile Arts. A number of art classes, basket weaving, bread making and embroidery have taken place at the centre.

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It has partnered with the regional Iceberg Festival to host a day long session. You too could take a class and learn to stitch your own Viking ship. The Society also does framed pieces upon request or for purchase in their gift shop. The gift shop is typically commissioned-based, but has a host of items, from the colourful codfish t-shirts, mugs, coasters to La Mousses (handmade French fishermen dolls), knitted items, amigurumi animals, post cards, greeting cards, soaps, books and other treasures.

In the studio, three of the nine commemorative panels that will form part of a travelling exhibit for the 300th Anniversary of the Treaty of Ultrecht are complete. Workers here in Conche, as well as Englee are producing these masterpieces, as part of a project funded through Job Creation Partnerships (JCP) through the Department of Advanced Education & Skills. This is a great investment, as it provides unique training and skill development to those participating in the project and will lead to other product development opportunities in utilizing this skill set. Additionally, the Exhibit will tour the province for other communities and regions to benefit. It is preserving, interpreting and promoting our history. There will be net benefits from this project on a much broader scale. These opportunities, will also create new opportunities for Conche, the Great Northern Peninsula and the Province.

Additionally, on site there is a French oven, work station, French boat  and look-out with viewing area. Also when in the community, tour it for a unique outdoor textile exhibit. This is not my first post of the French Shore, nor do I hope my last. The French Shore takes in more communities than just Conche and surely could be expanded to include more of “Petit Nord” on the Great Northern Peninsula. This is a community-based organization that is having a positive impact and must be expanded upon. It like many non-profits needs assistance, if you have an idea, visit http://www.frenchshore.com.

My hometown of Green Island Cove and many others have an opportunity to reach out, collaborate and do something creative to add vibrancy to our communities. There a possibilities for development in our small rural communities, the French Shore is one of our many success stories and a must see on your destination.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North 

A Few Snaps of “the Beauty Spot of the North”

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Conche is tagged as “The Beauty Spot of the North”. It is nestled at the edge of the Great Northern Peninsula East and is home to 181 residents, but there are hundreds more ‘Die hard Conchers’ out there and many are home to celebrate Come Home Year of 2013. It truly is a magical place.

This fishing community has a beacon of activity from an extremely active fish plant, that employs people throughout the region. The fish must be trucked in and trucked out of a dusty gravel road. There is constant commuting and significant economic benefits that Conche has contributed to the economy over the years. There must be serious consideration given to Government to pave the remaining 17.4 KM of gravel road.

Conche has also transitioned to be a sought after tourism destination. It is at the heart of the French Shore, with an interpretation centre, 222-ft tapestry depicting the history of the French Shore, textile exhibits, WWII memorial, archaeology digs, cafe, writer’s retreat, B&B, playground, walking trails, icebergs, bird and whale watching, as well as much more activity from talented artists, writers, singers, dancers, crafters and more.

The community understands it must add new economic opportunities by working to establish a fully functional RV site,  beach volleyball and other recreational services. It has carefully placed yellow chairs around viewing areas of the Town. This is similar to an initiative that Gros Morne National Park has done for its 35th Anniversary. These are important and relatively low-cost initiatives that make a community more inviting and tourist friendly. There are storyboards and panels and certainly more room for murals.

I am encouraged  by the economic drive of such a small community. There is much room for growth. It is persevering, despite continuous neglect and inaction from Government that treats residents and road users of Route 434  as second-class citizens. It is unacceptable in 2013 to be driving over a gravel road with no calcium chloride program. Government has invested $6M a few years ago to re-build and re-align this road. Each year there is no pavement,  this investment is being eroded to the bedrock and will cost more to complete. We need better, multi-year planning to protect our investments. Conche road should have been paved years ago.

Please contact Hon. Paul Davis, Minister of Transportation & Works at padavis@gov.nl.ca asking him to take the necessary action to pave Route 434.

It’s Time!

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

A Billion+ Reasons to Visit the Town of Flower’s Cove

The Town of Flower’s Cove on the Great Northern Peninsula, is formerly known as French Island Harbour, as it too is steeped in French history and part of the French Shore. Flower’s Cove as it is known today, is the administrative hub of the Straits region with a regional hospital, regional K-12 school, regional community youth centre, community-based daycare centre, non-profit 33 bed personal care facility, retail co-operative, pharmacy, restaurant, B&B, gas station, retail outlets,  construction companies, RCMP detachment, banking & financial services, tax services, recreation opportunities, churches, Lion’s club, seniors, youth groups and other organizational clubs.

The Town of Flower’s Cove, working in consultation with the now defunct Nordic Regional Economic Development Board (due to Federal & Provincial budget cuts) had worked on helping Flower’s Cove grow its tourism assets by adding two informational pull-offs that promote the Town’s business community and tourism attractions, as well as a mural and good signage throughout the community. Many of which are depicted below in key chains that are available for sale at the L&E Restaurant:

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Flower’s Cove was the home base of Rev’d Canon John Thomas Richards, who was an Anglican minister in the early 1900’s. He operated without a church, but by encourage the women of the community to establish a building fund by making and selling sealskin boots. St. Barnabas Church was built circa 1920 and is known locally as “Sealskin Boot” Church.

Flower’s Island Lighthouse, first lighthouse keeper was Peter Flower, shortly thereafter it was operated by the Lavallee family for decades until automation. The Straits Development Association has developed an interpretation and viewing area, as well as continues to pursue opportunities to develop the area into a working site to add to the Town’s tourism assets. Icebergs are often spotted in the harbour, so have your cameras ready!

Marjorie Burke’s Bridge has been restored and leads to 600 million to 1.2 billion year old thrombolites. These micro-organisms form a clotted bun-like structure that area  special find, only in a few places around the world. The calcium carbonate from the limestone rocks create an environment for these unique formations.

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The White Rocks Walking Trail is an easy stroll that gives nice views of limestone plains, forested and water areas at a pace for the walker of any age. There are certainly great photo opportunities and resting areas as well. A perfect place for a picnic.

Flower’s Cove may be a tiny town, but there is plenty to see, do and experience! A billion+ reasons to visit on a trek up the Great Northern Peninsula.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

Inspired by our Lifestyle & Fishing Heritage

The Great Northern Peninsula has been known as “Petit Nord“, it has been inhabited by the Aboriginals, Vikings, Recent Indians, Basques, French, Irish, Scottish and English settlers. Life has existed because of the fishery, and continues even today.

Products created by local artists dominate my office at the confederation building and complement our rich fishing heritage. Hanging on the wall is an original painting done by Danny Rose that depicts Flower’s Island Lighthouse and continues to include an iceberg and shipping vessel. The lighthouse played a critical role for safety, with radio operators on-site as well.

The fishers are splitting their fish, near Noddy Bay on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula in another. This piece was done by William Bartlett. The artwork has a very unique look, especially when you take a closer look at the facial expressions of people.

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My most recent purchase is “Le Mousse”, the French fisherman. I purchased this on-site at the French Shore Interpretation Centre’s Guardian Gift Shop in Conche, NL (www.frenchshore.com). This was created by the very talented Loretta Decker of L’Anse aux Meadows. She is much better at staging her photos, so I borrowed this image (full credit to Loretta Decker below). I’m told this fisher could resemble me, you will have to be the judge.

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Ms. Decker also does Viking Troll dolls. Images can be found at Norstead Viking Village Inc.’s Facebook Page. We must support our local artists and craft producers. Their ideas and creativity touch the lives of many and do so much more to promote the region, its history, heritage, people and culture.

We must continue to develop unique products that illustrate our rich and vibrant culture on the Great Northern Peninsula. It can be done. There are lots of new opportunities to create, market and share the wonderful stories of our past, present and future.

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Conche, Newfoundland & Labrador on a Winter’s Day

Conche, Newfoundland & Labrador is a Town of the Great Northern Peninsula that is tagged as “The Beauty Spot of the North”. It like Fogo Island, should be one of the Top 10 Destinations to visit in the World – rich in culture, vernacular architecture, French history and overflowing with local knowledge. This place does exist, so add it to your vacation in 2013!

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The view from the cove on a winter’s day can be enchanting…

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Conche is also a vibrant fishing community, with a number of small boat fishers and those harvesting shellfish. An active fish plant still is seeking employees based on advertisements in the local paper. What a wonderful community to be able to earn a living. Why not consider putting in an application at Conche Seafoods Ltd?

What a great view of Lar’s Place in the photo below:

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This wharf depicted below is a pleasure to view. It has since been updated with new lines as it continued to survive elements. The Newfoundland Flag has nearly been weathered away. Don’t despair though, from walking trails, snowmobiling and interactions with local Conchers will make the visit in winter well-worth the trip.

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If you cannot make a winter’s visit to Conche, NL, then drop by in summer. This Town is at the Heart of the French Shore (www.frenchshore.com) and 2013 is 300 years after the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht. It has North America’s only 222 ft tapestry on Jacobian-linen, make by local women depicting the culture, heritage and history on the French Shore and was designed by artist J.C. Roy. As well, July 25 -August 1, 2013 is Conche Come Home Year Celebration. It is not to be missed!

Newfoundland & Labrador Government must commit, develop a plan to pave Route 434 to Conche. It is a 17.6 KM gravel road that has received millions in realignment a few years ago. Without the hardtop, that invest is eroding down to the bedrock.

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Despite a gravel road, this Town is a destination – a must visit! While on the Great Northern Peninsula East, check out communities of Englee, Roddickton, Bide Arm, Main Brook, Croque & St. Julien’s-Grandois – you simply could not be disappointed. Experience the many wonders the Great Northern Peninsula has to offer.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Amigurumi Seals – The Perfect Gift

On February 3, 2012 – NDP Housing Critic, Gerry Rogers and I visited Conche, NL. This community is home to the French Shore Interpretation Centre.

I did not expect be able to buy seal product at their gift shop. I was pleasantly surprised to be introduced to amigurumi at “The Guardian Gift Shop”.

See my seal below:

Amigurumi (編みぐるみ?, lit. crocheted or knitted stuffed toy) is the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small stuffed animals and anthropomorphic creatures. The word is derived from a combination of the Japanese words ami, meaning crocheted or knitted, and nuigurumi, meaning stuffed doll.[1] Amigurumi are typically animals, but can include artistic renderings or inanimate objects endowed with anthropomorphic features,[2] as is typical in Japanese culture.  -Wikipedia

The shop had a lovely assortment of animals from whales, turtles, rabbits, elephants, puffins, seals, fish and more. This is a unique offering that is handmade by local Elaine Dower. If you would like to purchase an Amigurumi Animal, please visit the French Shore Historical Society – their website is www.frenchshore.com. The price of product ranges from $3-$15. A great toy, souvenir or memento to live rural Newfoundland & Labrador.

There are so many talented individuals on the Great Northern Peninsula, making things by hand. Let’s support our local markets, local gift shops and help strengthen rural communities.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Another Reason to Live Rural Newfoundland & Labrador

There are many reasons to Live Rural NL – the image above is certainly one of those. This winter scene from Croque, NL instantly brought warm feelings and a smile to my face, despite the cold day of January 24, 2012.

The proportion of snow on the rooftops of the fishing rooms is the perfect contrast to the slowly fading red paint. It is evident the burgeoning fishery is in decline. Although, the community like Grandois, faces a decreasing population – it offers endless opportunities for tranquility and is a photographers dream.

Croque is 20 km via gravel road from neighbouring Main Brook. This community has a French cemetery, waterfront properties, walking trails and many natural wonders.

Experience the Great Northern Peninsula -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Our Wooden Homes – Bell Island, NL

When European’s first re-discovered North America on the Great Northern Peninsula at L’Anse Aux Meadows some 1,000+ years ago homes were built with sod. As society progressed we adopted wooden structures to create the traditional salt-box home. Very seldom will you see a home built of stone in Newfoundland & Labrador. This is a stark contrast from many parts of Europe. At the time I did not realize how big a deal this was, until one of my friends said you have to make sure we get an image of this outer building so I can show my friends how stick homes are constructed.

The image above is a testament to maintain elements of past heritage pieces, incorporating them into a modern home. The bright red clapboard and the glass sun room to the porch was common in the past. This home is much larger and also shows the change in transportation as the garage will house several vehicles, in the past a fishing room and stages would be needed to store gear, nets and fish.

As we advance into the 21st century we are seeing larger homes and less of the traditional salt-box style or the vernacular architecture of the past. However, one thing remains quite common – we continue to use wood to build our homes.

We need a Provincial Strategy in place to ensure that we utilize our forestry resources that are sustainably managed through a total annual allowable cut under the Forest Management Plan. Fundamentally, we need to make an effort to purchase and utilize more locally produced lumber and other timber products. We need to stimulate an industry in this province that was dependent on news print and wood fibre as the current global marketplace is not interested in what we are selling. More consideration should be placed on local jobs, local marketplace – as with any natural resource of this great province.

Bell Island is home to some remarkable vernacular architecture. I also recommend one to visit Conche, Englee, Croque and St. Julien’s on the Great Northern Peninsula.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Local Conche Artist has Talent

I love art that comes from the local region. These past few days I have been able to visit gift shops and talk with some local artists about their wares. I have purchased a hodgepodge of Newfoundlandia, including sealskin miniatures, snowshoes, Labradorite, prints, shells, rocks, pottery and more. The region has so much to offer! Including Conche, NL – the new venue for the Centre for Textile Art at the French Shore Culture Centre.

I have purchased artwork in the past by this local Conche artist, but was greatly impressed by her newest additions displayed in the photo below:

Her work brings to life in vibrant colours the icebergs and outports. These miniature pieces of art have their own easels and can be put on display. They may remind you of a time when you saw these icebergs in person on a past visit to Rural Newfoundland & Labrador.

One can purchase these products at Stage Cove B&B and Bits-n-Pieces Cafe, Conche, NL. This business is a wonderful place to grab a cup of joe, many mouth-watering appetizers, excellent soup de jour or my favourite – a sweet dessert.

If you are fortunate enough to find yourself in Conche – please do not pass up a meal at the cafe and you too can fall in love with the talent of a local artist.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

Twitter/LiveRuralNL

Trekking the French Shore with the Swiss – Conche, NL

Saturday, July 16, 2011 – The view from Sailor Jack’s Hill gives a powerful showing of the winding road leading to the Town of Conche. The stairs may be a little intimidating but are certainly well-constructed. My Swiss friend climbed them at record pace as she was quite excited to see so many icebergs to the right.

There are an abundance of icebergs in St. Anthony and St. Lunaire-Griquet. However, they can be easily spotted on the Northern Peninsula East nestled just outside of Conche.

We toured the picturesque Town. Below I’ve chosen some of the highlights:

 

I have been to the French Shore many times over the past couple of years. I usually make the loop from the Straits to Plum Point – Roddickton-Bide Arm – Englee – Conche – Main Brook – Straits. It is a full day, but each visit offers a unique experience. Although I have travelled many countries, there is something amazing about experiencing the beauty and offering of what you have in your own backyard. If you are just visiting, spend lots of time on the Great Northern Peninsula, as it has so much to offer. If you are lucky enough to live here – it is a lifetime of experiences.

The French Shore is one of many places to add to your list. If you’d like more information visit www.frenchshore.com.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

Caring for the Birds – Conche, NL

I have once again visited the sanctuary called Conche! It is one of the island’s best kept secrets that is no longer secret. Be thankful we have revealed to the world the opportunity to know the beauty that exists in this tiny town nestled at the heart of the French Shore. The 18 kms of gravel road and a little dust on your vehicle is well-worth the journey. However, I’ll save my most recent photos and share with you some from a previous trip this year that also provides a small sanctuary for the birds.

There is a Look-Out behind the French Shore Cultural Centre. A pebble trail leads you past the French Oven and outside instruction area. I believe instructional classes are held teaching various skills from the past, including French bread-making.. Most likely, the making of the bird feeders were directed just below. After carefully climbing the stairs to the Look-Out, I noticed the first colourful bird feeder. I have taken this walk several times and this was the first time these new additions were present. They are visually appealing and have attracted magnificent chirping from the birds, heightening the experience.

These small feeders are a rather small and simple addition, yet were enough to garner my attention. I thought about the beauty of design, each piece is unique. I imaged the children using their own creativity – a splash of red and a dash of blue. These young people learned several skills – woodworking, art and preservation of nature. There is value in small projects that can enhance a visitor’s experience and further build on the development of the community.

Conche certainly has several crafty artists that have cut outs of the island of Newfoundland, crabs and sea gulls posted around sheds, houses and even garbage bins. A splendid touch as you take the scenic drive. The people may be future instructors, if not presently.

Keep up the excellent work! I hope these classes continue and expand. The Live Rural NL blog wishes you every success with the opening on July 26th and of course continued operation of the French Shore Centre for Textile Art. Basket weaving does sound enticing.

If you would like to experience Conche, please contact the French Shore Historical Society @ frenchshorehs@nf.aibn.com.

One truly has to love the Life of Rural NL -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

 

News Release: The French Shore Historical Society To Launch The Centre For Textile Art

More developments in Conche, NL according to News Release:

P.O. Box 29, Conche, NL  A0K 1Y0

Tele:  709-622-3500   Fax:  709-622-3510

E-mail:  frenchshorehs@nf.aibn.com

 

For Immediate Release             Contact:  Joan Simmonds/Colleen McLean 709-622-3500

THE FRENCH SHORE HISTORICAL SOCIETY TO LAUNCH

THE CENTRE FOR TEXTILE ART

CONCHE, NL    ———-     On July 26, 2011 the French Shore Historical Society will officially open a Centre for Textile Art.  The purpose of the Centre will be to encourage the art of handmade textile crafts and to promote the art and history of textile-based traditions, especially of the Northern Peninsula. The Centre will focus on the historical textile development of northern Newfoundland by acquiring, preserving and making accessible a research collection of textiles and relevant documents. It will sponsor exhibitions, conferences, symposia, oral history projects, publications, fellowships and grant funded initiatives.

Since its founding in 2000, the French Shore Historical Society has showcased textile work by craftspeople in the region, including exhibitions of hooked rugs, knitting, embroidery, and included textile objects in its permanent exhibit. It has sponsored several workshops on textile art and in 2009 added the unique French Shore Tapestry, embroidered by women from Conche, as a major part of its exhibit.

In 2010, as a foundation for developing the centre, a research project was undertaken by the French Shore Historical Society in partnership with the Port au Choix – St. Anthony Regional Council of the Rural Secretariat.  The purpose of the research was to document the traditional craft skills on the Great Northern Peninsula, with particular attention to crafts using or creating textiles. An inventory of the research, done by Memorial University student Lisa Wilson, can be accessed by visiting the MUN Digital Archives Initiatives. 

In the Fall of 2010 a steering committee was created and consists of:

Anne Manual – Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador

Barb Hunt- Grenfell Campus, Corner Brook

Brenda Stratton – Dept. of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development

Candace Cochrane – Quebec Labrador Foundation

Denise White – Dept. of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development

Gerry Pocius – Memorial University of Newfoundland

Joan Simmonds – French Shore Historical Society

Lisa Wilson – MUN Research Student

Nina Mitchelmore – Regional Planner for Rural Secretariat

Susan Furneaux – College of the North Atlantic

The French Shore Historical Society is a non-profit organization founded to preserve  the natural and cultural heritage of the communities of Conche , Croque, Grand Oies/St. Julien’s and Main Brook on the Northeast coast of Newfoundland.   The FSHS has successfully managed many projects which have created great economic benefits, employment opportunities, and great tourism potential on the Great Northern Peninsula.

The Opening will be a Basket Weaving Workshop with Helga Gillard .  Funding was provided by the International Grenfell Association through fundraising efforts of the French Shore Historical Society.

 

      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Beauty of it All – when you do not rush

 
Lar’s Place, Conche, NL
 On February 12, 2011, I visited Conche, NL. It truly is one of the wonders along the French Shore. In my 25 years, I have never taken the time to visit this breath-taking Town outside of the summer season. It was long over due and certainly did not disappoint.

Dock w/Store house and iceflow

 Snow patches were present on the rolling hills and the harbour filled with ice, as I drove the winding roads. For the first time, I was not in any rush to get somewhere or meet someone – it was just perfect. I had taken time to explore the landscape, the houses and just get lost in the wonder that is quintessentially rural Newfoundland & Labrador.

Frontage of Lar's Place

 
I was taken aback by the brightly coloured fishing rooms, stores, stages and sheds that were bountiful along the harbour. It spoke the importance the fishery has played on this small Town throughout its rich and vibrant history. I stopped and took several photos of Lar’s Place (depicted in the photo above). The well maintained property had a mis-matched set of antlers tacked on the front. One half of the antlers boasting a much larger size than its counterpart, if that makes any sense at all. It was of interest, so I stopped for a little while. The weather vane was something I do not re-call ever seeing in any of my home communities in the Strait of Belle Isle. The door had a wooden cross, which was painted white and placed on the door, as well as, a perfectly cut island of Newfoundland to match. Conche has notable folk art, something I did not realize on other visits – from the crabs on outer buildings to cut-outs of birds on store roofs that from a far looked strikingly real.

Crab folk art on outbuilding, Conche, NL

 
My advice is to take some time to truly stop and smell the fresh air and all the hodgepodge that makes rural Newfoundland & Labrador a lifestyle. In a world of rush and go, we often miss the beauty that truly exists in our own backyards.
 
Live Rural NL -
Christopher C. Mitchelmore 
 
 

 

 

 

Vernacular Architecture thrives in Conche, NL

The road to the French Shore will ultimately take you to Conche, NL. This is a must see Town on the North Eastern part of the Great Northern Peninsula. One must stop at the French Shore Interpretation Centre, where you will get the opportunity to see a 222 ft tapestry that has been embroidered on Jacobean linen by local women of Conche and designed by J. C. Roy.

After a visit to the centre, I recommend you take some time to explore the colourful homes and outer dwellings that scream Rural Newfoundland & Labrador.

Crab pots by Store, with snowshoers in the background

Traditional Home with Porch

An old red shed that has seen better days

A restored home

A view of Conche

I have only shared a sample of the many wonders one can find in the Heritage Corridor of Conche. One must see it for themselves to truly understand the marvels of its beauty.

Live Rural NL 0
Christopher Mitchelmore
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