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Live like a Fisher at Raleigh Historical Village

Visitors to the Great Northern Peninsula can live and work like the traditional ways of a fishing family at Raleigh Historical Village in Raleigh, off Route 436. 

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For a modest fee you can overnight in the red fishing rooms, that have bunk beds with handmade quilts for your comfort. There is a shared kitchen to have a mug up and of course, there are outhouses. The main building does offer shower facilities. For larger groups prepared meals can be arranged. Classes can also be booked to learn the art of rug hooking and other traditional craft production. Boat tours and walks on the historic wharf and fishing rooms are available. Options of learning about splitting fish, mending nets and making oars are also some of the many things you can do.

This social enterprise is another key tourism asset we have on the Great Northern Peninsula and provides the adventure and cultural tourism that people want. One can learn at this site and just a short distance away is the Norstead Viking Village & Port of Trade, where you can live like a viking and have unique cultural tourism experiences as well. This site is an anchor attraction that is approaching 10,000 annual visitors and is just a stones throw away from L’Anse Aux Meadows World UNESCO Site (only authenticated Norse site in North America – 1,000+ years old). A great means to package, partner and promote our unique tourism offerings. A week will not be long enough to see all we have to offer!

Raleigh has historic fishing rooms, lots of wharves, boats, gardens and viewing areas. If you are unable to make it this season, I highly recommend you begin planning and pre-book for next year. Your family adventure awaits at http://www.raleighhistoricvillage.com/

Live Rural NL -

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

 

 

 

Seeking a Unique Rural Experience? Raleigh has your Answer

The Raleigh Traditional Fishing Village is a unique rural experience. You can experience life as a fisher with an overnight stay in a bunk house. These hostel-style rooms have bunk beds for eight with feather mattresses and a wood stove for heat. There are no modern luxuries of television on site, but real rustic comfort. I hope to overnight there before the season ends, if not there is always next year.

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Raleigh is a place where you can get away from it all and truly enjoy some serene rest and relaxation. This traditional fishing village operated by the Raleigh Historical Society offers guided tours of the “fishing rooms” and provides opportunities to make a net, craft your own oar or prepare the boat. The society also teaches traditional rug hooking, offers boat tours, hiking tours, provides traditional meals and crafts. One can purchase a package at: http://www.raleighhistoricvillage.com/accommodations.php.

NDP Leader Lorraine Michael & I toured the offering at the fishing village on July 28th. It was evident that new marketing and cross-promotion needs to happen to see this site fully utilized within the season. This type of adventure and cultural tourism is a unique product offering on the Great Northern Peninsula. It has potential to be enlarged, create further employment and lasting experiences.

 

Last September on a visit to Iceland, they offered a package of “You can be a fisherman”, which consisted of living at a fishers home, eating traditional meals, touring a fish plant and also having the opportunity to spend a day or two out in boat with a fisher.

People are coming to rural communities craving authentic experiences. The people of the urban world are flocking to rural Newfoundland & Labrador, as they want to relax and learn something on their travels. We must find a way to reduce barriers that limit tourist from having a fishing experience, with real fishers in rural NL. There are mechanisms to make fisheries-tourism synergies work. This can create a win-win situation for Raleigh fishers and tourism operators in the region. Let’s work together to find the solutions. This is one of the many things to experience when visiting the Great Northern Peninsula! Be sure to add Raleigh Fishing Village to your list!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

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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.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Fishing Remains Our Mainstay

Newfoundland & Labrador has been known for hundreds of years for being a fishing economy – even today it is the mainstay of our Great Northern Peninsula. The weather may be colder at the moment as local residents put a log on the fire to heat their home by the old  wood stove.

As I peered out my window today I could see the Strait of Belle Isle in a deep freeze as pack ice began connecting the island to maintain Labrador. Maybe in the future there will be a permanent link that creates a transportation hub that will radically transform our local economy.

In the meantime, the days are getting longer with Springtime quickly approaching. These little boats in the photo below are tied up at the Sandy Cove wharf, they will take to the water. The small boat fisher will be seeking to harvest lobster, herring, mackerel, cod and other species. It will only be a matter of time before the pots, nets and gear hit the water. A flurry of activity will commence through the busy summer season and into the Fall.

Boats at Sandy Cove

The wharf is an essential piece of infrastructure. In the past many fishers had their own private wharves, which led to fishing rooms, drying and gear sheds. One can view many properties driving the Great Northern Peninsula. They make for the perfect photo op.

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We pride ourselves in our rich fishing culture in the District. It is our reason for being here, our  mainstay.

Live Rural NL -

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

Cuban Vacation…Part VII

The series of squares and Old Town Havana in part reminded me of being in Europe. The impressive architecture would capture the attention of any North American, as our vernacular architecture is different in many ways – style, size, material, age to name a few examples.

Old Town Square

Church at San Fransico Square.

The fountain in the square.

We took a stroll along the Caribbean sea, along the waterfront promenade.

The Old Town Havana is under restoration with many of the buildings getting a new lease on life, while others still require a facelift. One did not have to veer too far away to see that not all regions of Havana had the same level of prosperity. As we strolled along the water front I was briefly reminded of my roots of rural Newfoundland & Labrador. A series of small fishing vessels were moored in the harbour, while a couple of men were trying to catch some fish at shore’s edge. I reflected of a time, nearly two decades ago when my father and I went fishing on the wharf in an attempt to catch some rock cod. We were successful! I remember also catching some flatfish, unwanted sculpins and even a catfish. I kept the eely catfish for a couple of days before I realized he did not make a good pet and needed to be released back into the ocean.

After spending the morning under the suns rays of nearly 35 degree temperatures, we sought shade under a large tree. We were readily befriended by a local who chatted it up with us. He told us about a concert happening later that night due to the National Holiday. That he could get us cheap tickets. We passed on the offer. He disappeared and came back handing us two cigars. We noted that we did not want. He would not take no for an answer and insisted they were gifts. A gift in fact that you pay whatever you would like to give. :(. I do not miss the constant pressure from some locals to provide them with money. However, it is hard for me to judge as I am unaware of the personal circumstances and adversity that may challenge these  individuals. To move things along we stopped by the Museo de la Revolucion (Revolution Museum). The impressive building had an immaculate dome that caught my attention. It had memorabilia, information and praised national heroes.

The Granma Memorial and Gardens we were guarded. One must be careful not to loiter or sit as they will get a whistle blown from the careful watch of a guard at his post. There is an exhibit of war vehicles, including cars, tanks, planes and boats.

After spending the day sightseeing and walking many streets we had a rest to escape from the shade. Additionally, at the hotel I tried to purchase Internet. It appeared to be a rare commodity. The cards were not for sale at the front desk. The store hours at the hotel werre limited and when I did manage to talk to the worker, she did not have cards for sale. Quite often I heard, check back tomorrow. It was actually a blessing to be away from technology – where I was not frequently checking my Blackberry, Email, Facebook account or even posting on my blog.

That evening we have a meal and a couple of drinks at a quiet restaurant on the square. A great meal for a mere $10.00. It as quite the find. It was time to call it a day and make the most of the final two days of the vacation, as on Sunday I would be starting my way back to Varadero and making a flight that night for Canada.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

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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 
 
 

 

 

 

Scenic Gros Morne National Park

A view of Norris Point, Gros Morne National Park

There is always a scenic photo to be taken when you visit Gros Morne National Park. These are some from my March 21, 2011 visit. The view of the bay is breathtaking. The little wharves represent the  imporance of fishing to the local economy. Although, the tourism industry has grown immensely attracting more than 180,000 visitors annually, the fishing industry is a mainstay for many families. 

A wharf in Norris Point, Gros Morne National Park

There must be a way to blend both industries where tourists can experience a rural fishing lifestyle and these fishers can also realize financial gain that will make their enterprises more viable. If the resource can be properly managed and regulated, why not allow tourists to experience traditional cod jiggin’?  They could also take their catch to a local restaurant and have it prepared to enjoy as a meal.

Boat in the Bay

We need to develop our industries. However, we must  properly manage the resources and tools that we have available to us in rural regions. One inhibiting factor are the regulations  in place by the Federal Government. It is time for government to work with fishers, businesses and community organizations to implement the change that is needed for rural success.

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There is opportunity for Learning Vacations, Fish Markets and Culinary Experieces that pertain to the inshore fishing industry. Rural regions in Northern Newfoundland can have further growth and success! We just need to be included, our voices matter. We have ideas that can improve the quality of life and experiences of living rural. 
 
Live Rural NL 0
Christopher Mitchelmore
 

HAVE A SCOFF – Gourmet Cooking, Newfoundland Style

A recent vacation, led me to visit the pristine oasis of Main Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador. If you ever have the opportunity, visit and stay awhile.
Tuckamore Lodge

 I decided to stop by the Tuckamore Lodge, a wilderness retreat located in the centre of a vast region of exceptional natural beauty. Upon stopping, I was greeted by the proprietor, Barb Genge and instantly invited into her home. She is a visionary.  I enjoy every conversation we are able to have with respect to  marketing, packaging, the industry and the great outdoors.  Yes, this woman is a titan for the Viking Trail and its remarkable tourism and outfitting offering. 

While at the Tuckamore Lodge, I was privileged to enjoy a great lunch, what a “scoff”. You see the cuisine of Newfoundland and Labrador is as diverse as the heritage. We have Jigg’s Dinner, Toutons, Mug-ups and various wild game and seafood dishes that have been passed on from generation to generation. Tuckamore staff strive to provide an experience to its customers and not just a nights accommodation, with the food being a big part of the experience. 

Juicy scallops, seared with hollandaise sauce

The Scandinavian Decor, placement setting and experienced staff set the mood and  atmosphere. Lunch was served; on thick slices of freshly baked homemade bread was a gourmet sandwich and  side salad so fresh, you would think the vegetables came from a backyard garden. Yes, this lunch was an unexpected treat and so was the dessert that followed. A bakeapple square with a heaping scoop of vanilla ice-cream. This was incredible, as I found my way into dessert heaven. It was so enjoyable to the tastebuds I asked the chef for the recipe. She provided it instantly, despite being very busy with a number of other tasks. Now that is exceptional customer service. I’ve since prepared the dessert, not really comparable to the first, but I will keep trying. If you would like to eat at Tuckamore, it would be best to make a reservation in advance. You will certainly not be disappointed. 

I wish, there was more time to inhale the natural beauty of the lake, the sights and sounds of nature and the great outdoors. The countryside teams with wildlife: moose, caribou, black bears, salmon, trout, birds and other animals. Truly, something for everyone – the nature enthusiast, photographer, eco-tourist, hunter and anyone who would like to get-a-way from it all without having to “rough it” since there is a sauna, billiards room, hot tub, library, fitness equipment and more… 

Check out their website and see it for yourself: http://www.tuckamorelodge.com/ 

A Recommended Rural Retreat – 

CCM

Live Rural NL: Boyhood Fishing

Yesterday I began reading The Lure of the The Labrador WildThe classic story of Leonidas Hubbard, written by Dillon Wallace, which is an account of an expedition undertaken by these two into the unchartered interior of Labrador in 1903.

As I thumbed the pages, my youthful sense of adventure spurred. Leonidas Hubbard was co-editor of an Outdoor Magazine, Explorer, Adventurer and Enthusiast. I felt similar traits as I took stock of myself, after scribing several articles, traversing 27 countries and yearning for new experiences both near and far.

As Hubbard and Wallace trekked the rivers, Hubbard cast his rod and caught many trout. It brought back memories as a teen when I would walked with my comrads to a friend’s cabin in the wilderness. We were 5 and spent a weekend fishing during July. It was salmon season and two of our party spent their day on the river, while the rest of us cast our rods for trout from our little rowboat on the brook. The lucent sun was warm, nature was all around us – a beaver was swimming to his home, birds chirped, wild geese flew overhead and how can I forget the swarms of flies. Yes it was a sure sign of summer!

On one occasion I remember catching a fair size trout, one of my first. I was quite ecstatic! A sense of accomplishment overcomes a person when they are able to provide for themselves. I think it is a part of a person’s coming of age. Later that day, the trout was gutted and fried in the pan and it was delicious! My mouth waters for the flavourful fish. Can you reflect on a fishing experience, one of your first? Share with us, by posting a comment.

Brook Trout

Fried Trout 

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 5-10 fresh trout
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4-5 slices of salt pork (optional)

Wash trout well. Remove entrails and wash again. Dry trout and dip in a mixture of flour and salt. Fry trout in hot pan on fried-out salt pork until golden.

We were truly with mother earth -no internet, television or cellphones and content with our lack of ammenities.  We were not far from civilization, but for those days in the wilderness, the rest of the world could have been a million miles away. I certainly yearn for those boyhood days of summer where we fished, boated, built fires, camped and had fun; a time when we were carefree, spirited and daring. Those days are no more, as I have grown into a man, my friends too.  As well, we have since went our seperate ways. Although, times and situations change, the experiences can remain. I look forward to more days of summer when I take to the water and paddle my canoe. Freely flowing down a river and back again, exploring Rural NL. I post pictures when I do again.

Live in the moment, experience earth and all her beauty -

CCM

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