Category Archives: Landscapes/Geography

Grapes are growing on the Great Northern Peninsula

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The Vikings came to the Great Northern Peninsula more than 1,000 years ago. The Sagas of Leif Erikson have named this place “Vinland” or “Wineland”. The land has been a phenomenal source of wildberries, but the presence of grapes have been unfounded, until now…

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The greenhouse in Roddickton is illustrating that grapes can be grown on the peninsula. There are many things growing, from an array of flowers, berry bushes, fruits and a variety of vegetables.

Strawberries, tomatoes, zucchini, lettuce and greens are just some of the locally grown produce available for purchase.  I bought some greens and my mother used them to make a delicious pot of soup with greens.

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You can visit the greenhouse on Monday to Friday and on Sunday. They are located off Route 433, just a couple of kilometres before you enter the residential area of Town of Roddickton-Bide Arm. Place your orders today!

Great things are growing on the Great Northern Peninsula.

Live Rural NL -

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

 

Open Studio – A novel concept in Ship Cove, NL

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A visit to Ship Cove, NL on the Great Northern Peninsula was filled with incredible landscapes, rich history and tradition, as well as people who are doing incredibly big things in small communities. Only few dozen people are left in the community, many are seniors which continue their leadership role to press for enhancements and new developments. The residents are well-served by their Local Service District, that continue to maintain a community centre, have established an exhibit, worked with St. Anthony Basin Resources Inc. (SABRI) to develop and maintain a series of community walking trails and other beautification that helps entice tourists to visit the area.

I’ve been to Ship Cove on several visits, but this time there was something novel, something new – and that was the “Open Studio” founded by Deborah Gordon. A small social space consisted of a screen porch presents anyone wanting serenity to come and visit for a cup of tea or coffee with the most amazing view.

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As a seasonal resident, Deborah understands the value of how people in rural Newfoundland and Labrador use space in their everyday lives. I was greatly impressed by her 2015 piece of art, which is a calendar depicting clothes on the line in communities across the province. Before I left, I had to purchase a copy. Since then, I’ve seen them for sale at the Grenfell Heritage Shoppe in St. Anthony.

A warm cup of herbal tea and a gluten-free cookie, surrounded by her magnificent handmade artwork and a perfect frame with every gaze out the window. We chatted quite a bit about living rural, art, travel and building vibrant communities.

I would recommend anyone to make the trek to Ship Cove for all it has to offer, you will not be disappointed by the scenery, hospitality and will have a unique experience at “Open Studio”. Incredible things happen in our tiny communities of the Great Northern Peninsula.

Live Rural NL -

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

 

 

 

Planting Potatoes & Roadside Gardens

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Maintaining a garden of root crops has always been practiced in my family for generations. I remember spending time there with my father and grandparents, tilling the soil, placing seed and typically digging. For some reason I seldom was around for the weeding process. It was my grandmother who did most of that, as she is the ultimate green thumb. Our family still continues to plant potatoes, as well as carrot, turnip, cabbage, beets, onion and lettuce. I’ve been experimenting with other seeds and spices, and hopefully soon will have a greenhouse to help expand what I am able to grow.

What was needed for subsistence years ago, is now unnecessary given easy access to vegetables at grocery stores. However, it is gratifying to know that so many are continuing this generational tradition. As I travel throughout the District, I see many roadside and backyard gardens that were likely started by their parents or grandparents. There is also renewed interest from younger people to grow different vegetables, establish community gardens, use various techniques and use the space they have available to them in the most productive form.

We have exceptional opportunity to expand farming on the Great Northern Peninsula, in both small and large-scale. We are also lacking a coordinated effort to establish a farmers or local market in many communities. There is opportunity to establish a weekly marketplace where locally grown produce, jams, preserves, crafts and handmade wares are for sale. Coffee and teas and other booths could be set-up, with picnic tables and even some local music.

There are some spaces in the District, where a local marketplace could thrive. Let’s move this idea forward.

Live Rural NL -

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

 

 

 

Golden Sunsets – Green Island Cove, NL

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The golden sun is setting over the Strait of Belle Isle and will disappear beyond the hills of the Big Land – Labrador. This was a magnificent view I experience from my backyard. A truly joy of rural living when you are at water’s edge.

This has been a summer where we’ve experienced the freshest seafood, either at one of our fine local restaurants or at home. Lobsters have been boiling in the shed and eaten outside. Food definitely tastes better when it’s prepared and eaten outside for some reason.

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The wonderful surroundings, the fresh air, green space, blue skies, sunshine and tranquility certainly provide the perfect atmosphere. The backyard fire pit and entertaining area is still a work in progress, but even the flames of a store purchased pit can provide just what you need for gatherings of friends and family to share song, stories and enjoy the warmth of the fire when the sun goes down.

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It’s always important in our busy lives that we stop to smell the roses and realize the value of rural living.

The Great Northern Peninsula offers backyards that have golden sunsets and everything you need to enjoy the beauty of your surroundings.

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

Tickle Inn is Tranquility at Cape Onion, NL – Population, 2

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Taking a left turn from the community of Ship Cove, there is a newly minted sign marking the iconic community of Cape Onion, NL. Before I even got over the hill, I had to pull over, stop and take a photo. It truly is a panoramic place that represents what is quintessentially outport Newfoundland & Labrador.

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I pulled up to Jim & Sophie’s house. They are the only permanent settlers in Cape Onion. Like many Newfoundlanders on a nice day, Jim was busy in his shed preparing to install a new window. As my attention veered off as I looked out his shed window, he began to tell me about the “Tickle Inn” and his long family history of it being in passed on through four generations. He explained how the original home was the longer roof structure and when the son took over he built the addition which is closest to Jim’s shed and when the next generation took over a further addition of a larger kitchen was built to the back. I decided to visit and tour this 9-acre property.

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The Adams Family Homestead is a designated heritage structure and is circa 1890, which means the old-family home has been providing hospitality for the owners for nearly 125 years. Quite the milestone! The Bed & Breakfast opened in 1991, after extensive restoration. Without the interest and vision from David & Barbara Adams, paired with the cooperation and work of relatives Jim and Sophie, this crown jewel of the Great Northern Peninsula may have gone the way of some many older family homesteads – just cease to exist. This home is likely the oldest surviving house on the French Shore.

There is value in what is old and preserving the past. The Tickle Inn, illustrates the cultural and economic value our heritage and vernacular architecture can have in creating and sustaining long-term employment, creating unique visitor experiences and also complimenting other small businesses in the region.

People certainly would come just to have this view from the living room window. Exquisite isn’t it?

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Before entering, there is an old bell mounted on the wall next to the door. A sign explains the history of building and the porch is a mini-museum of old artifacts from herring barrels, water jugs, ringer washing machines, barrel guns to pit saws. Actually this continues throughout the house. Upon entering the dining room, there is an old stove, a crank telephone, an old wooden radio on the wall and many other items of interest. The living room has furniture from decades ago, an organ and large Bible prominently placed. Nan’s pantry was filled with some wares people can purchase, with the staircase being a special piece that took you all the way to the Crow’s nest at the third-level. There are four lovely rooms available for let from June until the end of September each year.

Barbara and Sophie provided me with lots of great details. It is no wonder guests keep coming back year after year to this magical place. They also encouraged me to explore the walking trails near the property that lead to the beach.

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This is the perfect place for ultimate rest and relaxation. Tranquility at its finest in this quiet cove of Cape Onion. These pictures speak to the natural beauty of this place.

The Tickle Inn, as their slogan states “offers much more than accommodation, it is a vacation experience!” Their website www.tickleinn.net/ clearly outlines their incredible property, history and offering. It reveals the importance of promoting other local businesses, such as Gaia Art Gallery, Wildberry Economuseum, Burnt Cape, Norstead Viking Village & Port of Trade, Grenfell Historic Properties and L’Anse aux Meadows UNESCO Site.

This property has won me over! I look forward to spending a night or two at the Tickle Inn. It truly is one of our many wonderful experiences you can have on the Great Northern Peninsula.

Live Rural NL -

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

Sustaining a Community takes Commitment – Raleigh, NL

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Raleigh is home to the awe-inspiring Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve, boasting over 300 plant species with 30 being rare. The Burnt Cape cinquefoil is found exclusively on the Northern Peninsula, as it is the only place in the world where this species grows. The Provincial Government of Newfoundland & Labrador has failed to live up to its obligations when it eliminated all interpretation at this Reserve. It has also neglected to install appropriate signage, develop educational material such as guidebooks and panels to preserve, educate, maintain road infrastructure and make available our natural areas to interested parties. These short-sighted decisions by Government impact and harm our rural communities. Where is Government’s commitment?

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Additionally, rural communities are facing pressures from out-migration, aging population and changes to the dynamics of the economy that sustained them since their beginning all across the globe. Sustaining our small towns takes commitment and I see that in entrepreneurs Marina and Ted Hedderson  of Raleigh, NL.

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Yesterday, I was amazed by the creativity, commitment and desire to see the Town of Raleigh with a population of less than 200 survive and thrive. The current owners have been running Marina’s Mini-Mart & Gas Bar since 2001. They saw an opportunity to get into the accommodations business to compliment the neighbouring Pistolet Bay – Provincial Park, which is typically at capacity for tents and RVs throughout the season.

I was given a tour of the cottages, which include 4 two-bedroom, 3 one-bedrooms and a newly added vacation home that has the most incredible ocean view. The vacation home is very spacious and family focused with two queen and a twin bed, laundry facilities, BBQ and a view you won’t want to leave. The two bedroom cottages are very immaculate, offering two queen beds, laundry and wooden finished interior. The three one-bedroom cottages have leather furniture and laundromat access, but the best feature is that they sit with a breath-taking ocean view from a large deck to sit and enjoy your morning coffee or evening beverage. There is an entertainment area for evening fires right at water’s edge. There 4-star accommodations are priced at an incredible value, ranging from $109-169.

The Burnt Cape Cafe is a must if you are in the area. It truly understands the importance of experiential tourism. The Cafe takes lobster to a whole new level of fresh. The patrons, if they choose can go to the local wharf and select their own lobster and get their photos taken before and after. An incredible experience!

After stepping into the cafe, my attention was immediately drawn to the back which includes a comfortable seating area, big screen television playing traditional Newfoundland music and I thought was a great place to sit and relax. They also know the value of WiFi, which is provided for free.

The original six hockey jerseys are proudly displayed as in the off-season this area becomes on Monday nights, open to the dart league.  There is a wide-selection of crafts, souvenirs and other products. I purchased a Mummer’s shot glass, as I love the jannies.

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The Newfoundland tartan on the tables is a nice touch to compliment a menu that caters to those who love high-quality seafood dishes. I was treated to some phenomenal chowder, it comes highly recommended to start. It comes with generous portions of salmon and cod, great creamy flavour that is amplified with a touch of cheese melting as you eat. As a main, I’ve had pan-seared scallops and shrimp in garlic butter that would melt in your mouth with Parmesan mashed potatoes that kept you wanting more. To top the meal off, the deep-fried ice-cream was superb. The rich coating ensured the ice-cream was cold and in tact while I slowly enjoyed this treat drizzled with bakeapples. If you have not eaten at the Burnt Cape cafe you are truly missing out.

Small business and innovation is the key to dynamic growth, especially in small communities. Ted and Marina have a vision for their Town, their home. The business currently offers everything you need at your fingertips. However, they have more big ideas on how to  add accommodations, entertainment and experiential offers that appeal to locals and visitors. They are a partner with the annual Iceberg Festival, believe in strong promotion and understand the value of packaging and providing their customers with the highest in services and unique experiences.

Sustaining a community takes commitment and these two truly have what it takes to build a stronger community. I would encourage you to drop by and support this locally owned and independent business that is doing incredibly big things in a small town.

Visit their website at: www.burntcape.com

Live Rural NL -

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

Grandois to host Come Home Year in 2015

The census lists the population of Grandois (St. Julien’s, used interchangeably) at 50, but there are far fewer reside there today. I visited this picturesque community a few weeks ago and took in a service at St. St. William’s Church which overlooks the harbour.

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St. William’s Church houses a wooden folk altar built by Jack Fitzgerald in the early 1900s. The intricate details was carved by a pocketknife. It is a wonderful piece of history and depicts the talents of the people in the region.

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The community is steeped in French history and has beautiful walking trails that lead you to old French fishing sites, such as French Point. There are tent platforms, barbecue pits and picnic tables along some of the trails. Visitors can also experience St. Julien’s Island, Fischot Islands and Harbour de Vieux, which were re-settled communities. A boat tour can be arranged in summer, which may include up close views of icebergs and whales.

Additionally, the community Grandois (St. Julien’s) sits on an abandoned copper mine that has been re-discovered in recent years with high concentrations of deposits. The population would drastically increase for this and surrounding communities with the development of a commercial mine. There are lots of untapped mining exploration on the Great Northern Peninsula, waiting to be unearthed.

 

I would encourage people to experience the beauty of this tiny community, which requires nearly 30 km travel over a gravel road (Route 438 Croque road) off Route 432 near Town of Main Brook. Grandois will host Come Home Year from July 17-20th, 2015 and it surely will be a wonderful celebration of community and place. Population may increase or surpass historic highs.  I look forward to it!

Big things happen in small communities.

Live Rural NL -
Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

 

I’m from around the Bay, and I throws rocks!

Noddy Bay, NL is a beautiful community that loops around both sides of the bay, with houses scattered along the coastline. It is just minutes from L’Anse aux Meadows World UNESCO Heritage Site – The Viking Settlement and always seems to have an abundance of icebergs.

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On a recent visit to Noddy Bay, I saw two women enjoy the remarkable beauty and partake in a traditional activity experienced by anyone who grew up near water, “throwing rocks”, skidding or skipping them. I remember many summer days down in the beach or “landwash” and find some smooth and flat rocks with my friends as we would give them a toss on many afternoons. Every now and then someone will here me say the line, “I’m from around the Bay, and I throws rocks!”

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The Great Northern Peninsula is a playground for these types of experiences and ability to re-live your youthful days. I encourage you to come and explore the beauty of all things rural.

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Not to mention all the icebergs hanging out in every nook and cranny of the tip of the Peninsula. So practice your arm swinging so you too can make a big splash when you see this view.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

 

Bell Island Aerial View

I took this photo of Bell Island on my way to the Great Northern Peninsula.

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I always look forward to my next trip across the tickle to view the beauty of Bell Island and of course, get a feed of Dicks’ Fish and Chips.

Live Rural NL -

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

 

Lobster season is just around the corner

After taking a few seals in April, the first week of May had always represented a time of urgency for my father to get back on the water.  After a long winter of making new traps, sometimes building a new flat bottom boat and obtaining knitted lobster heads from my grandfather, May was the true start of a busy fishing season that would last into the Fall.  My father was a lobster fisher until his death in 1999.

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These are modern lobster traps taken in St. Paul’s at roadside on the Great Northern Peninsula. They are unlike the wooden ones I am use to, which had concrete poured into them to give the added weight to sink to the bottom of the ocean floor. It is evident that things are rapidly changing, even in the fishery. We are losing some of our very important traditional and institutional knowledge. My father was a boat builder, he could make a lobster trap and knit a net. These are all skills, in which I did not learn.

In modern times, it appears there is competition for new technology and the continuation of our traditional ways. There is value in both.

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I remember each year when lobster season opened. The now re-settled community of Barr’d Harbour would be one of the most populous places with fishers, partners, their children and helpers would be out in full force to get their lobster pots in the water as quickly as possible.

There was a real sense of urgency, creating a need for co-operation. All available hands would make for easier work, as we cut, baited and stacked dozens of traps into a truck to deliver to shoreline. Some traps were collected by steaming to islands and others were already loaded or near the shore. A real strategy was deployed by the license holder, ensuring they could work with the rising and falling tides.

I have always been impressed by the complexities of fishing and how our skilled and experienced fishers knew exactly where they dropped hundreds of traps, intermingled with other fishers scattered along the coastline over several miles.

The short time I had with my father on the water, will always be held as treasured memories. This was the place where he earned his living and provided for us, his family. He was very proud of what he did, fishing was in his blood extending many generations.

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The shoreline continues to be packed with ice despite lobster season being just around the corner. There is a real sense of urgency that this ice go as quickly as possible or an intervention as in the past for an ice compensation package for those impacted. It is essential that our fishers be able to earn a living and provide for their families.

I’m looking forward to getting a feed of fresh lobster from the Great Northern Peninsula. I believe local lobster tastes better.

Live Rural NL 

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


The Great Northern Peninsula was carved by giants

The Great Northern Peninsula, Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada is a magical place that was the point of first contact when the first Europeans were to discover North American more than 1,000 years ago when they established a Viking Settle in L’Anse aux Meadows, which is now a world UNESCO site.

To the southern extremity of the Peninsula is Gros Morne National Park, which also boasts UNESCO status for the unique Tablelands. A place visited by more than 150,000 tourists annually.

Fjords of Gros Morne

Depicted above are the fjords of Western Brook Pond, which are part of the Appalachian Mountain chain that can also be found on the tip of the Peninsula. This is a magical place has been carved out by giants and are worthy of exploring. There is a boat tour “Bon Tours” that does regular trips in season, as well a lovely walking trail that takes you into the fjord. The walking trip will take your approximately 30-45 minutes.

The Great Northern Peninsula was meant to be explored and enjoyed. It has been the place of first contact in North America for more than 1,000 years. Plan your vacation today!

Live Rural NL -

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

 

The New Land with the Green Meadows

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L’Anse aux Meadows – Summer

L’Anse Aux Meadows World UNESCO Heritage Site has always been a fascinating place to visit. I have been privileged to live near where the first Europeans would re-discover North America imagesV76QS5EZmore than 1,000 years ago when Leif Erikson came on Snorri to the Great Northern Peninsula – a place he called “Vinland”.  A sign on Route 430, which is named the Viking Trail welcomes you to Erikson’s Vinland!

July 2013 saw the unveiling of a new Leif statue in the very place where he became the first European to set foot on American shores. A special ceremony was held in partnership with the Leif Erikson International Foundation, Norstead Viking Village & Port of Trade and St. Anthony Basin Resources Incorporated (SABRI). Leif looks out toward the sea.

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I want to thank all the donors, supporters and volunteers, who worked to ensure Leif would be a permanent fixture at L’Anse aux Meadows. This was a remarkable moment, that included an Icelandic Choir, a representative from the Norwegian Embassy, Parks Canada staff, local residents and Benedicte Ignstad.

Benedicte is the daughter of Helge and Anne Stine Ingstad, the archaeologists who made the discovery of L’Anse aux Meadows as the only authenticated Norse site in North America in the early 1960’s.

I have travelled to Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden to experience more of the Viking/Norse culture. However, Benedicte offered me and others the insight into the process and the way of life in L’Anse aux Meadows, some 50 years ago.

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I attended her reading of her mother’s book “The Land with the Green Meadows” by Anne Stine Ingstad. This book was first published in Norway in 1975 and translated in 2006 to English. The Historical Sites Association of Newfoundland and Labrador gained permission from Benedicte to have the book lightly edited and available to a new generation of readers.

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I spent multiple hours of a plane and many more waiting at an airport just over a week ago, when I began Anne’s book. I could not put it down, because it told a real story. It described the people of L’Anse aux Meadows and of nearby Straitsview and the struggles they faced. The Decker’s, Blake’s, Anderson’s, Colbourne’s and others are very real people. The book highlights how a community comes together to look after one another, the building of the highway to connect the communities to L’Anse aux Meadows and the shift from coastal boat to air transport saw a dynamic shift for such an isolated place as L’Anse aux Meadows. Over the course of the book, one got to know Anne and Helge, experience the great discovery, as well as the local people and the kindness of others, including those who worked at the Grenfell Mission.

There was much pioneering happening on the Great Northen Peninsula. There always was and there always will be. From the very first sod buildings to the current day residents, L’Anse aux Meadows is a place you want to visit and experience for yourself in your lifetime.

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The New Land with the Green Meadows – during Winter.IMG_5348

Summer is when the land is green, and the best time to visit. Begin your trip planning today. A Viking Experience awaits!

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

 

Caribou continue to be present on tip of Northern Pen

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Caribou have been spotted at St. Anthony airport for the past few weeks. If you want to catch a glimpse of these animals, now is a great time to visit the Great Northern Peninsula. However, one must drive with caution as they like to spend time on our highways.

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

The Mighty Caribou is King Again on the Great Northern Peninsula

Dr. Wilfred Grenfell brought the first team of reindeer to the Great Northern Peninsula, about 300 of them in 1907. Some of these animals carried a parasitic roundworm that spread to the native caribou herds.

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Over the years, the caribou has seen upswings and almost decimation on the Great Northern Peninsula. There is renewed hope that these majestic animals are seeing their population grow. I continue to spot caribou all over the District from Croque (Route 438), Main Brook (Grenfell Drive), Cook’s Harbour (Route 435) and ofcourse the Viking Trail (Route 430), especially near the St. Anthony airport.

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In recent weeks you could spot several dozen. On my flight home from Saturday travelling the St. Anthony airport road, I had to stop several times to enable the caribou to cross the road. Be sure to be extra vigilant when driving our highways. The caribou can take it in their mind to cross the road on a whim and like sheep, typically others follow.

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Winter is truly a wonderland on the Great Northern Peninsula. We have incredible wildlife and immense beauty. Why not experience it for yourself?

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Add Raleigh to Your Summer Trip Plan

Raleigh Historic Village is a family adventure, where you can experience cultural tourism and live like a fisherman for a day, two or a week. They have bunkhouses where you can book accommodations, boat tours and various classes around rug hooking, oar making and net mending.

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Their website is: http://www.raleighhistoricvillage.com/

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The historic fishing rooms are being maintained in Raleigh.

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This  attraction is located on Route 437. In the community there is a restaurant, cottages, carving shop, Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve, walking trails and panoramic scenery. Also it is just a short drive from L’anse aux Meadows World UNESCO Viking Settlement and the commercial centre of St. Anthony, which is also home of the Legendary Sir Dr. Wilfred Grenfell and his historic properties.

The Great Northern Peninsula has an experience in every outport. Add Raleigh to your list of places to see.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Scenic Winter Beauty

The Great Northern Peninsula is incredibly scenic, especially after a blanket of snow. We have beautiful forests, mountains in the backdrop and the sea is all around us. The wonder of living rural!

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These photos were taken on Route 434 (Conche Road) on a visit to the Northern Peninsula East. A friend and I took a number of photos in Bide Arm, Roddickton and Conche during the winter of 2011. We captured snowmobiles, sheds, boats, mountains of snow, wharves, ice pans and of course shared many moments of laughter. It is nice to explore what is in your own backyard, one never knows where that turn in the road will take you.

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Today, I will be travelling to Main Brook and Conche, as part of my duties as the Member of the House of Assembly. It is only a matter of time and winter beauty will surround the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula.

Enjoy the great outdoors and experience the Great Northern Peninsula!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

 

Caribou and the Great Northern Peninsula

Sir Dr. Wilfred Grenfell, who founded the Grenfell Mission more than 100 years ago, was the first to introduce reindeer to the Great Northern Peninsula. After reading Rompkey’s “Grenfell of Labrador” it is clear Grenfell purchased some 300 reindeer from Scandinavian countries to help provide a food supply to locals of the North.

In North America, reindeer are commonly referred to as the caribou. On the Great Northern Peninsula we are seeing the caribou coming back in larger numbers.

The Great Northern Peninsula has a unique offering including the presence of abundant nature and wildlife. This past winter when I drove from St. Anthony to Green Island Cove I was greeted by a small heard of caribou in Eddies Cove East (Route 430 – Viking Trail) and pulled over to wait for them to cross the road. After driving through this tiny community in “The Straits” to the south I saw a total of nine caribou. It was unusual for them to be grazing for food on the opposite side of the road adjacent to the frozen Strait of Belle Isle with Labrador dominating in the background. It was one of those moments when you just stare in amazement.

In late May, when attending the graduation of students at James Cook Memorial, Cook’s Harbour I also saw a bunch of caribou off Route 435.

Enroute to Croque and St. Julien’s, I met these caribou trotting along Route 432 (Grenfell Drive) near the Town of Main Brook.

The Great Northern Peninsula is a place to visit at any time of year, especially if you want to view the majestic caribou (reindeer).  The Christmas season is quickly approaching, reminding us that Santa and his reindeer will be on his way in just a month from today.

Here is a link to another posting with some great shots of caribou on the Great Northern Peninsula: What a view today on the Great Northern Peninsula…

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

Underground Salmon Pool – A Natural Wonder

The Underground Salmon Pool is the only known place in the world where Atlantic Salmon swim through underground river caves to get to their spawning grounds. Hiking & walking interpretative trails. Guide service provided by Mayflower Adventures in Roddickton. (According to the Province’s Tourism website www.newfoundlandlabrador.com.)

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I encourage residents and visitors of Newfoundland & Labrador to enjoy this natural wonder. Interpretative panels explain the nature of the old growth forest, the rich lumbering history of the Canada Bay Area and the boardwalk offers incredible viewing vistas.

Here are some photos taken on a visit, where I captured anglers casting in designated area, birds, squirrels, views of salmon, natural erosion of limestone and the underground river. There are two entry points if you take Route 432 (Grenfell Drive) you will see the signage directing you to this destination.

Share your angling stories in the comments section. Have you visited the Underground Salmon Pool? If not, add it to your next “To Do” list. You simply could not be disappointed if you like the beauty of the great outdoors!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

It’s never to early to start planning your Winter vacation on the GNP

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1311172644-1The Great Northern Peninsula has one of the longest winter seasons on the Island portion of the province of Newfoundland & Labrador. We are the ideal location for an array of winter activities and enjoy the scenery as you experience the countryside, view the frozen Strait of Belle Isle with Labrador as the backdrop or snowmobile on our most Northerly section of the remaining Appalachian mountains.

There is a number of trail networks for cross-country ski-ing or snow-shoeing, as well as the opportunity for the adventurous type to visit alternative locations.

You can enjoy ice-fishing activities, pond skating or a good ol’ hockey game that really immerse you in all the fun and enjoyment winter brings to the people of the North. We embrace winter activities and have a love for spending time in the great outdoors, whether it be at the cabin with a crackling fire, game of cards and a cup of tea or at home with the family building a snowman and making those snow angels we all did when we were kids.

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It certainly is never too early to begin your plan to enjoy all the Great Northern Peninsula has to offer.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Picture Perfect in Norris Point

Norris Point is picture perfect. A beautiful community surrounded by the mountains and pristine waters of Bonne Bay.

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I spent a lot of time on the beach growing up in Green Island Cove, hearing the waves gently touch the shoreline, picking mussels or throwing rocks. However, the beach was not sandy like the one here in Norris Point. There is something about sand, that makes me want to stop and play for a little while, whether it be writing my name, building a castle or getting my toes buried into the fine grains. On many of my vacations, I have a photo of “Christopher” and ‘whoever’ ‘place’ and ‘year’ drawn in the sand. There is something special about the water that will also have me coming back for more.

I made a few footprints in the sand on this beautiful March day in Norris Point back in 2011. These old photos remind me of the prayer, “Footprints in the Sand” which reinforces about in times of need, we should look back and see the footprints in the sand to realize that Jesus is, has and always will by our side.

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Enjoy Sunday and Live Rural -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Icebergs are your doorstep

In June the icebergs scatter the coves, bays and shores along the Strait of Belle Isle and surround the entire Great Northern Peninsula.

These icebergs were taken from the doorstep in L’Anse au Clair, Labrador this past summer:

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The Peterman Ice Island left these icebergs in Goose Cove, Newfoundland on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula in July 2011.

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The Great Northern Peninsula hosts an annual iceberg festival, which is scheduled to run from June 6th to June 15th, 2014. Check for updates at www.theicebergfestival.ca.

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Icebergs are at your doorstep on the Great Northern Peninsula. You can see them on boat tours, at Festivals, with binoculars, on walking trails, up close or on the distance.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Have you been to Bide Arm?

Bide Arm was the only new community created under the Resettlement Act in 1969. Residents from Hooping Harbour, Williamsport, Little Harbour Deep, Englee, and Fox Harbour relocated to the new community (Source: roddickton.bidearm.ca)

My former co-worker during 2008, Tony was a resident of Bide Arm. He would talk about his beautiful community with much pride and one could hear the excitement 2009 would bring with Come Home Year. I felt the same sense of excitement as my hometown, Green Island Cove would also be celebrating Come Home Year in 2009.

The Come Home Year would ensure resettlement was a focal point, with a replica of Ashton House being towed and many other homes depicting a sign, saying “The Family Name and I was towed…”

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This summer, I visited the community on the day LG Health sent an advisory concerning air quality as forest fires raged in Labrador. One could certainly see the haze, but the beauty of this magical place remained.

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I would encourage residents and visitors to the Great Northern Peninsula to add this place to your experience – there is the Armistice Park (which highlights the rich history of boat building (http://roddickton.bidearm.ca/armistice/), walking trails, Ashton House, Scenic Pursuit Boat Tour (http://www.scenicpursuit.com/), playground, family owned small businesses, Apostolic Faith Church and a photo waiting to be snapped around every corner.

There is a scenic view from the doorstep of serene water, groves of trees and hills surrounding the arm. In July 2011, I drove with my friend, Riley from British Columbia as the Municipal roads were being paved for the very first time (See photos in post: http://liveruralnl.com/2011/07/26/offer-more-grants-to-towns-less-grants-to-big-business/). However, there is still needed infrastructure when it comes to road repairs to Route 432 and Route 433 to help drive passenger traffic to this community, as well as addition of high-speed Internet. I encourage you to sign petitions by clicking here. Let’s do this together!

Bide Arm is certainly beautiful beyond the summer months. As recent as this past week one could see the bright leaves as they have changed colour and the peaceful surroundings of a small Town that has so much to offer. If you have been to Bide Arm, share your experience. If not, please add it to your places to go…

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
 
Recommended Reads:
Scenic Pursuit Boat Tours- Tourism at its Finest.

Underground Salmon Pool, Roddickton-Bide Arm, NL

Winter road to Roddickton-Bide Arm

Roddickton Come Home Year Exudes Community Spirit

It’s All About Regional Marketing

 

Scenic Hay Cove – Your Northern Coffee Experience

Hay Cove is a tiny fishing village on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula, located just minutes from L’Anse aux Meadows World UNESCO site, where the vikings were the first Europeans to re-discover North America.

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The population is not large, the census notes just 32 residents. However, these are likely not year-round livyers. Yet for a tiny community, there are three Bed & Breakfasts (Marilyn’s Hospitality Home. Viking Nest B&B and Viking Village B&B), walking trails, icebergs and a newly opened coffee-house that offers freshly brewed coffee, espresso and other drinks from flavored beans and at times entertainment. I look forward to getting a fresh cup of coffee when next in Hay Cove.

During my last visit, I was pleasantly surprised by freshly baked cinnamon roles at Mrs. Hedderson’s house when visiting residents. They were delicious.

It is great to see local residents of Hay Cove create small business and expand local opportunities. This region is supported by a strong local independent business community. Let’s build stronger communities and create new opportunities.

Plan you trip to the Great Northern Peninsula today!

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Town Infrastructure Vital to Rural Economic Growth – Conche Roads Dire

Conche, NL just hosted a successful week of Come Home Year events, where hundreds of Die Hard Conchers’ came back to celebrate the place they call home.

As visitors turned off to Route 434 (Conche Road) they hit a very dusty gravel road that is wearing away to the bedrock. It has been a complete failure of current and past Governments to address the need to remove this gravel road from Provincial inventory. Despite rebuilding and realignment of this road in the mid-2000’s, the current Government has not committed to completing the job of paving the highway. This is coupled with the decision-making of cutting the calcium chloride program means more dust will leave the highway, creating unsafe driving conditions. Each passing day without paving Government is not getting best value for our tax dollars. This 17.6 KM of gravel needs pavement and we’ll continue to press Government to make this a priority.

The unpaved and dusty Route 434 to Conche:

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The pavement before Town that was not re-surfaced:

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Last year, Government re-surfaced 5 kilometers of road through Town which is of Provincial responsibility that was announced in July 2011 that did not get complete in that fiscal year. The Great Northern Peninsula continues to see late tender announcements and work happening very late in the year or carried over. Government voted against our caucus Private Member’s Motion regarding transportation strategy http://www.nlndpcaucus.ca/nr042413VoteAgainstStrategy.

This 5 KM of Provincial road should not have required repaving, at least not in less than 4 years since it was first paved. It was actually part of a pilot project announced in June 2007 cost shared between the Town and the Department of Municipal Affairs. At the time it was a 75-25 ratio meaning the Town chipped in nearly $125,000 to see this and it’s Town roads paved using this bituminous surface treatment (BST). It was supposed to be cost-effective and prolong the life of a highway. It failed and it left the Town in crisis because it had invested 25% and was left in just a couple of years with paved roads in worse condition than a gravel road, that the Town could not maintain. To make matters worse, shortly after this investment by the Town, the Government changed it’s municipal cost-sharing agreement to a 90-10. This small Town expended a large sum of money and is left with crumbling infrastructure.

I took a some photos of a few kilometers into Town, coupled with some scenic shots. The stops were quite frequent as the lower roads are deplorable condition and it would take more time to fully document condition of all Town roads.

Brush clearing and completion of line painting must occur and be completed earlier in the year, not still pending in mid-August.

Town infrastructure is vital to rural economic growth. The re-surfacing on Conche road was needed and Government at that time should have also re-surfaced the failed pilot project for Town roads.

The Town of Conche sees thousands of tourists annually and could easily be branded as a “tourism destination” with unique scenery, the French Shore, cruise ship visits, vernacular architecture and numerous attractions. It also has an active fish plant that sees product and workers commuting over this route. Development of Conche is being stagnated due to poor road infrastructure – it’s time for change.

I welcome any investment Government will make into our Municipal and Provincial road infrastructure in the District, as there are significant needs.

We need multi-year planning and create an economic master plan. I look forward to continuing these conversations with my constituents to redefine rural Newfoundland & Labrador.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
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