The St. Lunaire-Griquet Mussel Festival was founded at the grassroots last year, as a hardworking committee wanted to give back to their community and celebrate with music, locally grown mussels and lots of activities. It was a pleasure to be in attendance and walk the grounds on Friday.
I was impressed by the extremely professional set-up of the bandstand, grounds, picnic tables, kiosks, ticket booth, signage, banners and washroom facilities. The organizing committee had improved upon last years start to host a first class festival. Everything was perfect, right down to the bountiful sunshine.
Opening ceremonies included all you can eat delicious SABRI mussels boiled in saltwater, lassy bread and hotdogs. There was a cake cutting, speeches and bountiful local entertainment. Youth had set up business and so had a number of local retailers and craftspeople. The nights brought lots of dancing and conversations, when mornings included Teddy Bear picnics, rummage sales, tea parties, punt races and a host of other activities. There truly is something for everyone to enjoy! Today is an outdoor Gospel Concert at 2 PM.
Communities grow and succeed when the local people support the ideas, business and development initiatives. This is something that does have that local buy-in. The committee circulated a schedule to all residents via direct mail. In future years, some signage on both sides of Route 436 and a sandwich board of what events are taking place may also help drive visitor traffic. As the festival continues to add new events and activities we will hope to see more exponential growth from those visiting our tourism region of L’Anse aux Meadows, St. Anthony and surrounding areas.
A big thank you to the hard working and dedicated volunteers who have made big things possible in small towns. Mark your calendars for next years festivities! It was indeed, so much fun!Live Rural NL - Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA The Straits-White Bay North @MitchelmoreMHA
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.
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
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?
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.
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.
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
The Daily Catch Restaurant in St. Lunaire-Griquet is located on the top of the hill with a wonderful view. I love dining at this place because it offers such a great atmosphere.
It’s a trendy little spot that specializes in seafood dishes. They always have local mussels, crab, lobster and selection of other seafood, paired with delicious salads and rice. They offer unique berry drinks, iceberg beer and cross promotion of local attractions. It is great to see a small business supportive of places like Norstead Viking Village and Port of Trade. The owner also understands the value of WiFi, as an early adopter of offering customers free access to wireless Internet.
If you like the traditional deep-fried fish n’ chips, they have that too. Usually they serve with homemade fries, which goes down really well with malt vinegar.
I highly recommend the deep-fried ice-cream served with bakeapples.
I was also impressed with the delivery of a jug of ice water, which had a big piece of iceberg ice. These little extras go a long way in adding to the experiences on has when dining at The Daily Catch.
The Daily Catch is certainly delivering on all levels, an all-round incredible product by having great atmosphere, great food and great service. It is one of several fantastic restaurants en route to L’Anse aux Meadows World UNESCO Site. I highly recommend dropping by and stay for a while.Live Rural NL - Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA The Straits-White Bay North
L’Anse aux Meadows with a population of 37 residents is a quaint fishing village that has been placed on the map for being the first part of North America to be authenticated as site of first contact for the Europeans, when the Vikings landed more than 1,000 years ago.
Each year tens of thousands of tourists flock to this community and they are not disappointed by the historical context of the viking discovery provided by both the World UNESCO Heritage Site L’Anse aux Meadows and the social enterprise, Norstead – A Viking Village and Port of Trade. Last year St. Anthony Basin Resources Inc. (SABRI) partnered with Norstead and the Leif Erikson Foundation to have placed a statue of Leif to commemorate his discovery, there are only four in the world of this type and this will be the last.
Additionally, the community is proudly the home to a gourmet restaurant and art gallery and has been for some 20 years! The only of its kind on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula.
The Norseman Restaurant and Gaia Art Gallery (http://www.valhalla-lodge.com/restaurant.htm) is a local treasure. It has been a thriving success due to the entrepreneurial owners desire to provide the best visitor experience possible. Their quality food during lunch and dinner meals have a wonderful presentation. I always enjoy the duck or lamb dishes served with a nice glass of red wine. They have an extensive wine list. If you enjoy seafood it is locally caught and the lobster, well you will not get fresher than the Norseman. The lobsters are kept in an enclosed crate in the ocean, just feet from the restaurant where you can pick your own with the chef.
There is local music playing on many evenings, by the talented Wade Hillier of St. Lunaire-Griquet. I love it when he belts out the tune, “Aunt Martha’s Sheep”, it has to be one of my favourites. The service is extremely friendly, professional and they ensure all your questions about ingredients are answered. Truly a great front line and kitchen staff.
The restaurant also supports local artists through their artwork all for sale, which is displayed on the walls, the tea dolls in glass cases and the carvings from antlers on the tables.
The view as well is picture perfect as you see icebergs around every corner of L’Anse aux Meadows. I would encourage you to experience the wonders of the Norseman in its 20 years of operation! There is much more to say about this business and other initiatives by owner Gina Nordhoff, which I’ll save for future postings. Enjoy all L’Anse aux Meadows has to offer, come stay for a while.Live Rural NL - Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA The Straits-White Bay North
As a child, mom and dad would let me take my little bucket and go down to the beach and pick a few mussels close to shore. I remember one time going with my father near the head of Green Island Cove where ice was still in the harbour. I was on the ice pan with the bucket and my father would pass along the mussels he collected in the deep water wearing his long rubber boots and used a rake.
There is nothing like collecting your own or buying locally grown in rural Newfoundland & Labrador. Be sure to add mussels to your list when you visit the Great Northern Peninsula.
Live Rural NL -Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA The Straits-White Bay North @MitchelmoreMHA
I love traditional foods, especially those that focus on local moose, caribou, rabbit, seal and other game animals. Earning a living from the sea for so many on the Great Northern Peninsula brought an abundance of seafood to our diets, which was supplemented by local farming of root crops, especially potatoes, carrot, turnip, cabbage and beets.
Growing up, duck was not served at the table. My father always hunted turr and we had the odd partridge. I believe in the Straits the presence of duck is less, making them more difficult to obtain than other parts of the Peninsula.
The more I travelled, the more opportunity I had to try duck on the menu of restaurants that served it. I love duck, and consider it a delicacy.
I’ve been quite fortunate to have an avid duck hunter from the tip of the Peninsula share with me. This meal will not be forgotten.
If you have the opportunity to try local duck on your visit, I highly recommend.
Bon apetit!Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA The Straits-White Bay North
Crème brûlée is a favourite dessert of mine when it is an option at a restaurant. I think, in part it comes from my upbringing. I have strong memories of mom making homemade custard to pour over jell-o, cake or vanilla pudding on Sunday evenings. The sweet taste of custard would always tantalize the taste buds.
We have a little blue china mug that my father used to help beat the powder using a spoon to make sure the custard was a perfect formula, assisting my mom in the process. There was a lot of love and co-operation that went into this sweet dessert that was enjoyed by the whole family.
Even today my sister makes a great custard sauce. It was a great treat, served over a rich chocolate cake.
Additionally, my Aunt Iris made a traditional bread custard served after Sunday dinner. Everyone, even my grandmother was delighted by this dish.
It is evident, a little custard goes a long way…
Live Rural NL -Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA The Straits-White Bay North @MitchelmoreMHA
What a delicious traditional meal yesterday’s supper turned out to be with homemade baked beans and a slice of homemade bread. Normally it would be beans and bologna (“Newfie steak”), but we substituted for ham and Zest mustard pickles.
The one meal I would never eat as a child was baked beans, not even to taste them. I even lived and worked in London, England from January to September 2007 where I would get an English breakfast served everyday with a helping of beans. I would not even consider touching the stuff. It was not until a stopover in Belfast, Northern Ireland during December 2007 that I re-call ordering the traditional breakfast one last time before I would return the Czech Republic to complete my studies and then home to Newfoundland for the holidays. On my plate again, were the ever present baked beans, likely predicting their faith of being left behind. However, after rejecting them for twelve straight weeks that summer, something in me decided I should give them a try, especially when in the UK. It might have been my last time to experience that traditional cuisine. Who knew when I would return? To my surprise, I did not detest them.
Why then for 22 years had I been so unwilling to try them? I guess there are always decisions we make around our likes and our dislikes as children when it comes to food. I never liked spaghetti sauce, just “plain noodles for me”, or gravy, many of the condiments and a few others. Today, a nice helping of well-crafted sauce adds so much flavour and excites the taste buds. There is nothing I can think of now that is an outright NO when I look at a menu or pick up ingredients at a grocery store. Taste is certainly acquired and if at first you’re not quite sure, then I would suggest to try it at least another time.
Expand and broaden your palate, especially when it comes to traditional Newfoundland foodstuffs.Live Rural NL - Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA The Straits-White Bay North
I always manage to have a big helping of my Grandmother Mitchelmore’s raisin pudding. It has that great vanilla flavour, bountiful amount of raisins and texture of sweetness, creating a perfect pudding – ones only grandmothers seem to know how to prepare. The raisin pudding during a Sunday dinner at Nan’s house is truly a treat. Maybe the art of food for traditional meals get enhanced by the younger generation over time.
It has been quite awhile since I’ve had the pleasure of Nan’s homemade soups, puddings, bread and other treats. While on vacation this past August, I got news that my grandmother at the ripe age of 81 years had broken her leg.
My Nan is a very active senior, as she maintains large flower beds, vegetable gardens, does crafts, makes quilts and also does quite a bit of travelling. Although, the past few weeks have been the quiet road to recovery, no doubt in the coming weeks she’ll be back on her feet as busy as ever.
I’m certainly looking forward to sitting with her, chatting and enjoying her traditional meals in the near future. The time we spend with our family in rural Newfoundland & Labrador, will be treasured memories.
Live Rural NL -Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA The Straits-White Bay North
There are certain things you must do where you visit certain places – like having a Beaver Tail on the Rideau Canal, drinking a Mojito in Cuba and tasting a crepe in Paris. In Newfoundland & Labrador we have many traditional dishes you should try while here, including:
- Split peas soup & dumplings
- Lassie Bread
- Fisherman’s Brewis
- Baked beans & hash
- Jigg’s Dinner
- Fish & Potatoe w/ Pork scrunchions
- Rabbit & Paste
- Moose Burgers
- Caribou Steak
- Moose Stew
- Fish Cakes
- Figgy Duff
During a visit in late-June to Montreal, I was introduced to a traditional taste enjoyed by many Montrealers – the bagel. The overpowering aromas filled the air of freshly baked bagels. There were racks upon racks – several being loaded on a truck to go to market. It was great to be able to purchase directly from the producer at “La Maison De L’Original Fairmount Bagel”.
My friend who lives in Montreal introduced me to this place and also to Smoked Salmon Spread, which we was delightful to the taste buds. Although, I must admit that I was skeptical at first.
It just goes to show sometimes we need to be open-minded. You may realize that by giving something chance you may find a new joy.
Consuming culture can be as simple as eating the sesame seed bagel with salmon dip from a local bagel shop. When you visit a new place, I encourage you to try local foods. As I try to prepare often local dishes for myself and those who come and visit me in Rural NL.
Bon A petit!
Christopher C. Mitchelmore
I look for products that are Made Right Here, in Newfoundland & Labrador. Sometimes, I am able to find them when I catch NTV‘s Danielle Butt on her weekly segment, Made Right Here. However, on this occasion I was at visiting Gros Morne Cabins and Endicott’s Convenience in Rocky Harbour. This business has a wide-retail selection of food items, convenience goods, camping supplies, crafts, tour options, information and some locally made products. I found Jumping Bean’s Blueberry Tea.
I enjoy the local berry teas, especially the ones I have sampled from the Dark Tickle Company, St. Lunaire-Griquet (one of our many Northern Pen Gems). You may purchase their product online by visiting www.darktickle.com.
This particular tea caught my attention as it was loose tea. Only a few weeks prior my grandmother told me how the tea they would get came in wooden boxes. It was loose tea leaves packed in a foil to protect it from getting damp. I’ve had loose tea before when I was in Egypt, but never prepared a pot myself.
I got a chair, my arms extended to the top shelf of the cupboard to carefully pull out a tea-pot that my mother received as a wedding present more than 30 years ago. She has an exceptional memory and told me the people who gave her and dad the present. It is remarkable! She remembers birthdays, telephone numbers and other every life events. If an elephant never forgets, my mother is like an elephant. However, that may be the only similarity as she has quite the petit figure.
I normally would have asked my mother how to make this stuff; however, she is not a tea drinker. I am not sure if she has ever had a cup in her life. My father, on the other hand would always have a cup of Tetley with his morning breakfast meal. Since this was my first preparation, I looked at the directions, which read:
Directions: Place the desired amount of tea leaves in the tea sac and twist the top to close. Steep for 4-5 minutes in freshly boiled water and enjoy!
Somehow, I feel the directions should be written with more structure to appease the novice tea drinker. I really had no idea how much of the stuff I should be throwing in and what amount of water to use. Some recommendation would be nice, in combination with…. or as your tastes desires.
In the end, I must have done something right as my cup of tea turned out to be a hit. It had natural berry flavours that were silky smooth and relaxing. I look forward to another cup of tea with my raisin cake in the near future.
If you would like to find out more about Jumping Bean, you can visit them on the web at www.jumpingbean.ca. They also make a variety of coffees, which include East Coast Roast and my personal favourite, Newfoundland Screech!
If you have the chance, pour yourself up a cup of loose blueberry tea from Jumping Bean.
Live Rural NL -
Christopher C. Mitchelmore
“HAM AND EGGS – A day’s work for a hen; A lifetime commitment for a pig”
Purity Factories continue to provide me with the Hard Bread (Hard Tack) that I need to make a meal of delicious brewis. Most of us have beloved memories of foods that are the heart and soul of our upbringing – Purity Factories does just that for many Newfoundlanders & Labradorians.
This company continues to provide the staple foods demanded by locals, which includes a diet of Jam Jams, Syrups, Hard Bread and more. It was such a relief when the lock-out ended and the company started producing again. Before Christmas there was no hard tack to be found anywhere. If other bakeries did not consider making the stuff, I could only imagine the rioting that may have happened in the streets. :) Well maybe that is a little far-fetched, but Newfoundlanders & Labradorians feel a close connection with Purity Hard Bread. It truly is part of our traditions, passed on from generation to generation.
There are times when I get a craving for the foodstuff that is uniquely ours. Last night, the hard bread was soaking in preparation for brewis in time for noon, which we refer to as dinner, not lunch. I love the fluffy stuff with a bit of sugar sprinkled on top, served up with a couple of eggs. It is a real treat!
My mother made the comment, “wondering why local restaurants do not promote this and have brewis and eggs on the menu for breakfast and dinner?” It seems like a good idea to me. Maybe a local restaurant will add this traditional delicacy to their menu or maybe one already has it, if so, please let me know and I will update this post.
We have an opportunity for a rural food revolution, to have culinary experiences and foodstuffs on menus that are not found elsewhere. We have a history that spans 50 centuries, with so much to offer. The Great Northern Peninsula can be a great place for some good grub.
Live Rural NL -
Christopher C. Mitchelmore
- Fisherman’s Brewis for Sunday Dinner (liveruralnl.com)
Moose Burgers, Moose Stew and Caribou Steak have made the menus of some local restaurants and have made appearances at various festivals and special events throughout the summer. They sell like hot cakes. But seal meat does not make the cut? I have been hearing that seal flippers have been for sale recently at the waterfront at St. Johns, NL in a large supply over the local radio network. However, that is not Rural NL.
After travelling to many countries, there always seems to be a mobile food service stand that sells something significant to the culture. In Paris there are crepes made at street vendors. They are incredibly delicious. In Switzerland and the Czech Republic at Christmas, roasted nuts appeared to be a staple. New York has their famous hot dogs and Belgium – waffles, of course.
- Live Rural NL retaliates against Ellen’s stance of “Stop Seal Hunting in Canada” (liveruralnl.com)
- Moose Hunting at Gros Morne & Terra Nova National Park (liveruralnl.com)
- An Opportunity for More Rural Social Space – The Coffee Shop? (liveruralnl.com)
In previous posts, I have mentioned the highly talented baking skills of my Grandmother Pearl and the delicious squashberry jam she prepared. On Monday, I dropped by her house and was greeted by the pleasant smell of freshly baked homemade bread.
We had a wonderful conversation over a steeping hot cup of coffee and tea at the kitchen table, as we peered out the window at the setting sun over the Strait of Belle Isle. I remembered as a child picking blackberries on the barrens near the ocean in her backyard. I would bring them in for her to make me the most delicious blackberry puddings. It would be a real compliment with Sunday’s Dinner.
- Squashberry Jam from Grandmother Pearl (liveruralnl.com)
My grandparents have always maintained two large gardens between our house and theirs. At this time of year as a little boy, I was quite eager to help in the garden. Maybe some of the excitement stemmed from the fact that I spent all day in the mud and the work felt more like play; it could have been that tracking around mud got on my mother’s nerves or maybe just spending time with my grandmother, grandfather and other relatives was full of enjoyment.
The garden provides our family with enough potato to last the season. As well, an abundance of turnip, carrot, greens, radishes, cabbage and onions. Additionally, my grandmother has a strawberry patch she maintains and a beautiful flower garden.
I only hope to have some of her green thumb, as I am trying to grow tomatoes, peppers, asparagus, green onion and other vegetables I enjoy, but at times are difficult to obtain or costly to purchase. The project will lead to a greenhouse to transplant and nurture these vegetables.
A visit to the grocery store this week set off an alarm that food prices are certainly climbing at an alarming rate. Three tomatoes were priced at nearly $5.00, brocoli was $4.00 and there was no asparagus. Food prices and food security has become an increasing issue, especially for rural regions. In the past, we were able to subsist of food we grew on our own. Although there are gardens at roadside, far more people are opting to buy from the California Farmers or elsewhere than from our own backyards.
- Get Your Garden Going: Tomato Growing Tips The Gardenist (apartmenttherapy.com)
- Tomatoes in my Living Room (hortophile.wordpress.com)
- Growing…Vegetables at Least (goingbackwards.wordpress.com)
The Lingonberry in Rural Newfoundland & Labrador is referred to locally as the “Partridgeberry”.
After reviewing From Our Atlantic Woods -Non-Timber Forest Product Directory 2009-2010, a recipe supplied by Pure Labrador seemed like a delicious use of for local berries.
Apple, Walnut and Blue Cheese Salad with Lingonberry Vinaigrette (Serves 4)
- 3 tbsp (45 ml) Lingonberry Syrup
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) red wine vinegar
- 3 tbsp (45 ml) olive oil
- Salt & Pepper (dash)
Mix all together and shake well
- Mixed baby salad greens
- 1 apple
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) crumbled blue cheese
- Spread a bed of salad greens on 4 plates
- Core and quarter the apple
- Thinly slice each quarter into 6-8 slices and place on the greens in an attractive fan
- Sprinkle 1 tbsp (15 ml) each walnuts and blue cheese over the apple and greens
- Drizzle the Lingonberry Vinaigrette over the salads.
I am looking forward to trying this salad, which will have local wild berries. Be creative with locally grown products and start your own FOOD REVOLUTION!
3 ½ – 4 qts. Cold water
The Holiday season is to be spent with loved ones. Sometimes they are not always with us in a physical sense, but are in our hearts.
This Christmas will be the 12th on celebrated without my father. He is still present and ever remembered. I will not forget all the times we would spend together searching for that freshly cut Christmas tree. My father would take extra care in trimming some of the branches. Not to mention drilling holes and filling spaces it branches. Our tree had to be very full of life! As a family we all had a part in the decorating. It was tradition. Over time that has changed as we have an artificial tree, which certainly does not have the same appeal but does the job. It is now my time to string the lights (something I never wanted to do as a child, guess it is part of growing).
I remember hanging lights outside. My father would give me the task of organizing all the lights, creating a pattern of red, green, yellow, blue. It was a challenge with all the bulbs that needed replacing and having to use a potatoe or vaseline sometimes to remove them. My father trusted me and as a team we would get those lights up all around the house. Last year I gave up on the old strings and started buying some LED lights (still multi-coloured, of course) and have added again this year. They are up hanging with plastic clips. I smile as there are remains of staples on some shingles (reminding me of assisting dad) :).
We always delivered presents on Christmas Eve, ate pizza at my aunt and uncle’s house and went to church late at night before leaving milk and cookies for Santa and some carrots for his reindeer. Christmas morning after opening our presents would be spent with grandma and grandpa opening their gifts.
Times have changed as my mom usually works Christmas Eve, so I am typically tasked with delivering presents (sometimes with my sister). This year my aunt and uncle will spend Christmas Eve with their kids and grandkids away, so no pizza with them. It has been several years since we all attended church service or even spent Christmas together as a family. As well, my grandpa passed away this year.
This year 2010, my sister and her husband will be home for the holidays. For me it is my first time since 2006 and long overdue. We will create new traditions, while hanging on to some old ones, which include the lunch for Santa!
Think about your Christmas times with friends and families, old traditions and new ones! It is just two weeks and change away….so enjoy! Make new memories today, tomorrow and always.
From Live Rural NL – CCM
Newfoundland & Labrador is well-known for a summer of events, activities and festivals.
The Brigus Blueberry Festival is Award Winning and in its 23rd year! I dropped by this summer along with the other 17,000 plus visitors during August 12-15, 2010. It was my first time in historic Brigus on this lovely Sunday afternoon. The event coordinators expected a large crowd and had made the main streets one way to help with the flow of traffic. It took a little while to get a packing space, as it seemed everyone was arriving at the same time. After safely parking in a large field, I was not disappointed as I walked through the streets of this quaint town that boasts beautiful vernacular heritage architecture. There were large crowds and great photo opportunities.
The festival activities include: A Royal Shag Up” – comedy dinner theatre, Steps Through Time – walking tour, Newfie night with Screech Ins, community breakfasts, dinners, and suppers, a two-day Folk Festival with well-known Newfoundland talent, visits by Miss Teen Newfoundland and Labrador and Miss Newfoundland and Labrador, the Missed Blueberry Pageant, raffles, craft stalls, baked goods, a pie eating contest, games of chance, mooseburgers, cash bar, children’s games, dances, and fireworks at the Brigus Waterfront. (http://www.brigus.net/blue.htm)
We stopped to have a mooseburger and beer, which went down very nicely! It was followed by a good drop of moose soup. It was good, but not comparable to my grandmothers…she makes the world’s best! There was a large queue to enter. The toll was $2.00 for the complete weekend pass. A number of booths and stands were set-up with local artisans, organizations and entrepreneurs selling their wares. We made our way pass the many games of chance and listened to some traditional Newfoundland music.
We decided to drive through Cupids, celebrating 400 years as the oldest Town in English North America! As well as visit Carbonear and Harbour Grace. The SS Kyle still remains aground as you enter this town.
It was a wonderful day, filled with lots of fun, food, sounds and sights! I recommend you to put the Brigus Blueberry Festival on your list of things to do. So make sure you mark your calendars for the 24th annual in August 2011!
Live Rural NL – CCM
The tour began at 8:30 AM at the docks in St. Pierre. We previously purchased our tickets at the Tourist Information Office the previous day for just 60.50 Euro (~$80.00 CDN). At the docks we were greeted by the “tour opérateur” Monsieur Jean Cloony and handed life preservers; then took our seats on a large zodiac with two powerful motors. The sky was a little grey, but the rain held and we had a very nice ride to a sea cave formation, where we crept inside and once beyond we saw a group of harp seals resting on the rocks of the island. It was quite a treat, to see these white coats watch as we passed on. Some decided to plunge into the ocean, maybe they were startled by the sound of our engines or just hungry. It has been a long time since I’ve been so close to such an animal.
The Great Seal Hunt has historical significance and plays a role even today as we continue to live our rural heritage. In winter I proudly wear a pair of seal skin boots. The leather was prepared, barked and tanned by my father. They are the last pair I will ever own that have his talent and craftsmanship. Although they are more than 11 years old, I hope to have them for the rest of my days. A future article will be dedicated to the Great Seal Hunt.
The zodiac ride was 40 minutes. We passed a few fisherman’s camps that were strategically placed between the cliffs, well sheltered from weather and perfect for launching a boat. We landed in Langlade to be met by friendly locals ready to pull our boat to shore. It was time for breakfast at “Chez Janot”, the only restaurant in town!
After a cup of coffee and croissant we boarded an air-conditioned bus with seating capacity for 20 and bilingual audio. We visited Langlade, which has beautiful sites and is basically untouched and uninhabited (excepted during summer months). The population goes from 0 – 200 people. Some of these people have summer houses, but most are like Newfoundlander‘s, they enjoy camping! Our first stop was a lovely French garden. My grandmother certainly would have smiled seeing all the love gone into caring for the variety of flowers. We continued to view l’Anse du Gouvernement, the Bellai Bridge (which crosses the Belle-Riviere), the Ste Therese Chapel, the Belle-Croix, the Debon brook and a lovely view from the Petit-Barachois.
We returned to Chez Janot for a French-style meal, which included wine and a dessert with coffee. Tres Bon! We continued the afternoon on the bus, we drove on a sandy beach and stopped by the campground. One of the proprietors invited us all to stop for an aperitif. This alcoholic beverage was mixed with sparkling water and had hints of licorice. It was quite pleasant! The people on this quaint island we incredibly hospitable to their guests. We continued on our way to pass several wild horses. The children on the bus stopped to feed them some bread. Even the older people were smiling and in love with these animals. A little further up the road, one horse spotted “Chez Janot” bus and decided he would come visit.
This horse was either well-trained or just curious, because none of the others decided to come near. He received some treats and we continued on our merry way to Miquelon.
Miquelon and Langlade were once two separate islands. Since the end of the 18th century, they have been reunited by a sand isthmus on which a road was built. The drive from the beach in Langlade to the village of Miquelon is about 24 kms. Upon arrival to Miquelon, which has a population of about 600 people we stopped and viewed the church, craftshop and harbour. We walked the streets and saw the Cap Blanc lighthouse. There is a museum for those that are interested.
After a day of discovery, we returned to the zodiac. We arrived in St. Pierre at 5:30 PM. This enabled us to relax and returned to our friend’s house before we would dine for the evening over some delicious French-style cuisine and good wine!
If you want a memorable visit to the French Islands of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon you must consider this tour, if you wish to really experience the entirety of their adventurous archipelago.
For more photos of my trip, visit my Facebook Group at: “Live Rural NL”.
From Live Rural NL – CCM