Blog Archives

Everything Handcrafted at Stagehead Carving Shop

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A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting with Norman Young at his carving shop in St. Lunaire-Griquet. 

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The shelves boasts a variety of carvings that were handcrafted by Norman from a variety of stones, bone and antler, just as the outside sign states. A beautiful sword, masks, inukshuks, animals and Northern figures capture your attention upon entry.

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We talked about small business, trade shows and opportunities for partnerships, as his products truly deserve a broader audience. If you are en route to L’Anse aux Meadows World UNESCO site, as tens of thousands of people do, I recommend you drop by Stagehead. I purchased a lovely set of whale bone earrings for $30. They will make a lovely present.

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 Before I left, Norm showed me how baby powder was made, as he filed a soapstone to create a talc dust. 

We have incredibly talented carvers, weavers, knitters, potters, artisans and artists of all kinds throughout the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula. Start exploring today!

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

 

Who needs Disneyland when you have Norstead Viking Village & Port of Trade?

There is still time this summer to visit the Norstead Viking Village & Port of Trade at L’anse aux Meadows, our premier attraction. This social enterprise was opened in 2000 as part of the Viking 1,000 celebration and continues to provide the best in travel experiences 15 years later.

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I’ve visited this site on many occasions with friends from Switzerland, Germany and other parts of Canada, but yesterday’s tour was truly the highlight made possible by the incredible, knowledgeable and talented staff. 

The entrance had clearly marked the site as pet friendly, which is a plus for those travelling with their favourite hairy companion. The gift shop has locally produced pottery on-site, handmade viking ships and swords, nine-man mills viking games and a host of runic stones, jewelry and other items of interest. I purchased a lovely handcrafted jug with viking markings. Just spectacular!

IMG_20140815_163928Walking the wooden boardwalk there was a view of an iceberg off in the distance, former fishing boats that are remnants of what was an abundant inshore cod fishery before the 1992 moratorium. Viking dwellings, could be seen off into the distance. Gardens and livestock are part of the viking way of life. It was nice to see the sheep getting feed and the chickens.

The Chieftain told us incredible narratives at the boathouse and answered many questions as the 54 foot replica of Leif Erikson’s Snorri was in the backdrop. The wonderful thing about this open air museum is that it enables one to truly experience by touching tools and items on site and interacting with the characters in authentic attire. The character will read your runic stones or teach you how to play the viking games.

At the main hall, the women are busy working on the loom, using their needle, whorl and spindles, as well as dying fabrics and preparing the meals. They shared so many stories about viking living and were so in character asking, “what ship I had sailed in on?” and “Did I bring anything for trade?” They were also quite eager to share their talents and showing off their wares. Sitting in the Chieftains chair with the sword and horn was a big highlight. On Wednesday nights there is Viking storytelling of the sagas with local Mike Sexton. It comes highly recommended.

A walk further down the road was a visit to the church and forge. The blacksmith was busy with his fire and making tools and jewelry. He took lots of time to engage visitors in conversation, while multi-tasking and completing his current task. He was quite proud of all the tools he had made for the village and took pride in his work. An incredible talent. I thank him immensely for sharing a piece with me, which I look forward to sharing in a future post.

Upon leaving the forge, two vikings were outside and putting on a great show throwing axes and firing their bow and arrow.  

I tried my best with a few attempts at axe throwing, but will need a lot more practice. It is likely best to keep my day job.

The kids certainly love this interaction and ability to test their own skills. Even the big kids enjoy this stuff :). Norstead has experienced much growth and the skies the limit for its future, with the potential to host Viking Weddings, establish the  World Championship of Nine-Man Mill with giant game boards on the lawn, Skyping with a Viking, weaving or potting classes and spending the night on site in hut or tent. In the next 15 years, Norstead will continue to shine as our premier tourist attraction!

If you have not been, its a must. If you’ve been, it’s likely time to return! This is our gem and we are truly fortunate to have such a spectacular attraction on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula. Thank you to the Board, management and staff for the incredible tourism experience. More at www.norstead.com. 

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

Dinner at the Daily Catch

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.

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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.

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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.

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I highly recommend the deep-fried ice-cream served with bakeapples.

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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.

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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.

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Have you been to the Hut?

The Hut is en route to L’Anse aux Meadows World UNESCO Site on Route 436 in the tiny community of Noddy Bay. This local craft shop offers a wide selection of Norse and Newfoundlandia – from pins, jewelry, jams, an assortment of clothing, handmade quilts and knitted mittens and stockings like grandma use to make.

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The Hut is the only stand alone seasonal craft shop in the region and is supported by an influx of tourist visiting L’Anse aux Meadows Viking Settlement, Norstead Viking Village & Port of Trade, Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve and various other walking trails and local businesses in the area.

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I chatted with the owner and some customers about the region and checked out the wares. I purchased a Christmas ornament carved from moose bone and made by local Viking re-in-actor Mike Sexton of Goose Cove. We have so much talent and I like to support local artists.

The Hut has some pretty remarkable Norse style jewelry too! It is worth dropping by if you would like to take a Norse memory or something from Newfoundland & Labrador as a souvenir home with you from your visit.

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

 

20 Years of Gourmet Meals Served at the Norseman Restaurant, L’anse aux Meadows

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

 

Coffee in the Cove Serves Only the Finest and Fairest Brews

Coffee in the Cove, Hay Cove is literally located in the backyard of L’anse aux Meadows World UNESCO Site. This bright orange homestead offers fresh, friendly and fair specialty coffees, teas and authentic homemade treats. It is also home to Radio Quirpon (www.radioquirpon.com).

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Yesterday, I had the pleasure to drop by this brightly coloured and welcoming local business in which I’ve wanted to visit for some time. As I walked up the stairs some customers greeted me. They were in fact distant relatives visiting from Stephenville and Ontario. It was quite an exciting feeling as we exchanged hugs, took photos and also talked about seeing each other again at the Family Reunion planned later in July.

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We are so fortunate to have such a cool and groovy coffee shop with the perfect atmosphere and ambiance to enjoy freshly brewed coffee beans. I had a delicious almond flavoured latte and date square. I hear there cinnamon buns are a must try too!

Proprietor, Cheryl McCarron took time to have a friendly chat with me about how her business got off the ground,  exciting new additions such as the on-line radio station and the nifty Newfoundland sayings that are written all around her establishment. She has big ideas, is optimistic about our small rural communities and the promising future we have if we tap those opportunities.

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The back deck or a table by the window presents the most perfect viewing area for the icebergs, which dominant her backyard. The experience simply can not be matched by any city shop or cafe.

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Coffee in the Cove is to be enjoyed not only by tourists, but the local market too! It was positive to hear so many local residents are dropping by to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and support a local business.

One can sit down with one of the shops books, such as the Treasury of Newfoundland Humour and Wit by J. Burke, listen to the traditional music of Radio Quirpon, get lost in conversation or the tranquility and beauty of the view.

Coffee in the Cove is one of our newest gems. I encourage you to embrace this social space and enjoy their offerings. You simply could not be disappointed. Eagerly looking forward to my next visit.

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

 

Icebergs dominate the coastline on the tip of Great Northern Peninsula

As ice remains a pressing problem for our fishers, with delays in the opening of some of our fisheries, it also sets the expectation that this will likely be another banner year for icebergs on the Great Northern Peninsula. It is always fascinating to see the number of people travelling to L’Anse aux Meadows, St. Lunaire-Griquet, St. Anthony, Goose Cove, Conche and Englee to get incredible close up views of icebergs.

In 2011, we had the Peterman Ice Island land here in Goose Cove. An incredible sight!

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Yesterday, I walked along the shores of my own community of Green Island Cove. It reminded me of a Fall vacation to Iceland, with glaciers and the magnificent sight of ice break-up on a day without a draft of wind.

A little further North on the Peninsula in St. Lunaire-Griquet and surrounding areas, icebergs have their full presence. They are right on time, given the Annual Iceberg Festival begins in on June 6th and lasts until the 15th.  You can visit the Facebook “The Iceberg Festival” where the photos below were taken (Photo credit T. Burden) www.facebook.com/IcebergFestival

The Great Northern Peninsula is coined as “Iceberg Alley”. You’ll want to be here during the 9 day festival (Schedule at http://theicebergfestival.ca), but it not be sure to visit throughout the Iceberg Season! The Great Northern Peninsula will not disappoint.

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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

 

 

Skyping with a Viking

L’Anse aux Meadows on the Great Northern Peninsula, Newfoundland & Labrador was the first point of re-discovery by the Europeans to North America more than 1,000 years ago. At L’anse aux Meadows World UNESCO Heritage Site and/or Norstead Viking Village and Port of Trade we have an incredible opportunity to use technology to continue the unique cultural connection by offering new programming such as “Skyping with a Viking”.

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Skype is a free voice over Internet protocol and instant messaging service that also allows for video with a peer or in multiples.

These attractions mentioned above, have Viking reinactors that practice a Norse way of living a millennium ago. There are also Viking sites across countries in Europe. There is an ability to cross promote, share knowledge, culture and experiences with the world by using such an application. I think the concept of “Skyping with a Viking” could be popular.

However, rural Newfoundland & Labrador needs more advanced telecommunications, such as improved broadband and cellular coverage. These applications require a certain bandwidth to be effective. L’anse aux Meadows lacks the needed coverage. I’m advocating on a regular basis for these investments as they are key to developing our economy.

We are big on ideas! Rural Newfoundland & Labrador on the Great Northern Peninsula can be sustainable and grow, if we invest in advance telecommunication and transportation initiatives.

I for one, would love to have the opportunity to go Skyping with a Viking!

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

Mitchelmore recognizes Barbara Genge Induction into Canadian Tourism Hall of Fame

I made the following statement in today’s House of Assembly:

NOVEMBER 4

Christopher Mitchelmore
MHA, The Straits-White Bay North
Private Member’s Statement
Barbara Genge – Tourism Hall of Fame 

Mr. Speaker, I rise to congratulate Barb Genge, a successful entrepreneur, engaged community leader and champion for sustainable development for being inducted into the Canadian Tourism Hall of Fame.

Barb is President of Tuckamore Lodge Ltd., an award-winning hunting, fishing and adventure tourism lodge located in Main Brook, which is considered one of the best outfitting lodges in all of Canada. She believes in full economic utilization, without abuse, of nature’s resources and operates her lodge by these principles.

Barb is an inspirational entrepreneur and true leader of the north, exhibited through a lifetime of advancing the profile of tourism on the Great Northern Peninsula. She was a founding member of Viking Trail Tourism Association and its predecessor which levered millions in funding for Viking Millennial Celebrations at L’Anse Aux Meadows. She served 15 years as an Economic Development Officer at White Bay Central Development Association establishing community partnerships and investing millions into environmental and tourism related-projects.

In addition, she is a recipient of the Sustainable Tourism Award, Entrepreneur of the Year, and PRIDE award for excellence in tourism.

I ask all hon. Members to join me in congratulating Barb Genge on her business and community success.

Thank you.

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

Gateway to Market Great Northern Peninsula at Deer Lake Airport

Deer Lake Regional Airport is the gateway for visitors travelling the Great Northern Peninsula. This summer was record-breaking registering more than 40,000 passengers in both July and August. Last year more than 300,000 passengers passed through Deer Lake Airport earning it the record of the 4th busiest airport in Atlantic Canada.

While waiting for my bags at the carousel, I peered up at the wall and was pleased to see Parks Canada advertising L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site. It got me thinking about how airports are gateways to promote local business and the tourism industry. We need to move past static signage and use more dynamic means of promotion – interactive screens.

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In the 21st century we have the ability to utilize technology and what better place than when waiting for baggage to come, sometimes 15-30 minutes of a captured market. Deer Lake Airport could have five large screens promoting distinctly the five economic regions: Tip of Great Northern Peninsula, Gros Morne National Park area, Corner Brook/HV, Stephenville & Port au Port, and the Southwest Coast. This was a message I relayed to Jamie Schwartz, CEO of Deer Lake Airport.

This is an opportunity to promote business, local attractions, events and images of landscapes and natural areas via short clips or imagery. This is what visitors really want. A partnership should be struck with Department of Tourism, Culture & Recreation; Department of Innovation, Business & Rural Development; Airport Authority; Western DMO and local industry stakeholders to add technology and pilot a project.

The screens and other static displays should have bar codes to provide further information by using tablet or mobile devices. This is being pursued by many countries in Europe. If we want to grow the tourism industry, we as well need to get with the technological times.

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We have so much potential to use our best assets to drive tourism, extend the stay of visitors and wanting them to come back for another stay before they even leave the airport on their current visit. These are simple matters that does not have a huge cost attached and the reward – significant.

Let’s reach Vision 2020 by 2018! It can be done if we put our creative ideas into actions.

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
NDP Tourism, Culture & Recreation critic
 

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

It’s All About Regional Marketing…

In 2010, my mom and I traveled to Ireland. We rented a car and went from Cork-Kinsale-Killarney-Galway-Sligo-Belfast-Giant’s Causeway-Dublin-Kilkenny-Waterford-Wexford-London. Cork is Ireland’s second largest city (about the size of St. John’s, NL), however, just a short distance away is Kinsale, a small town that is known for its food culture. With 2,257 people it is about the size of St. Anthony on the Great Northern Peninsula. The regional marketing had us take the drive to the neighbouring community. It was an experience!

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The Provincial Government has cut its marketing budget by 25%. Despite winning 183 awards and being internationally recognized, the market for the International, out-of-province and local market is highly competitive and stakeholders will have to do more to market their business to maintain their bottom lines. I believe it’s all about regional marketing, let’s pool our resources and develop vacation guides, business directory, updates, mini-sites and more in a modern Viking Trail Tourism website.

Check out how Kinsale market’s itself: http://kinsale.ie/.

The Great Northern Peninsula has many reasons for which one must visit. Here is a short-list:

  • Gros Morne National Park, WORLD UNESCO Site – home to the Table Lands and 155,000 visitors annually.
  • L’Anse aux Meadows, WORLD UNESCO Site – more than 1,000 years ago, the Vikings were the first Europeans to re-discover North America. The only authenticated North American viking site. Nearby, Norstead Viking Village & Port of Trade is home to the replica viking ship, the Snorri. Wonderful cuisine en route: The Daily Catch, Northern Delight, Snow’s Take-out and The Norseman Restaurant.
  • Community of 50 Centuries, Bird Cove – for more than 5,000 the Maritime Archaic Indians, Paleo-Eskimo, Gros-Water Eskimo and recent Indians. As well, a Basque presence and Captain James Cook cairn. Port au Choix National Historic Site has unique interpretation of archaeology and history.
  • The French Shore (Petit Nord) – Conche’s Interpretation Centre is home to a 222 ft tapestry depicting the French history, the Granchain Exhibit is found in St. Lunaire-Griquet
  • Grenfell Historic Properties – highlights the legendary Sir Doctor Wilfred Grenfell, his International Association, residence and his economic development through the co-operative process. Grenfell Historical Foundation and Handicrafts remain an integral part of the continuing story. Grenfell Memorial Co-op is the Newfoundland & Labrador’s oldest consumer co-op. Nearby are the Jordi Bonet Murals, Northland Discovery Boat Tours, Polar Bear Exhibit & Fishing Point Park.
  • Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve – home to more than 300 plants, 30 of which are rare and one Burnt Cape cinquefoil, which the Great Northern Peninsula is the only place in the world where this species grows. Raleigh is also home to a fishing village and carving shop.
  • Leifsbudir – The Great Viking Feast is the only sod restaurant in North America, built into the rock of Fishing Point, St. Anthony
  • GNP Craft Producers – a unique gift shop that makes seal skin products and shares the history of seal skin boot making. In nearby Flower’s Cove one will find “Seal Skin” boot church. The community is also home to thrombolites (existing on just a few places on earth).
  • Deep Cove Winter Housing Site – a National Historic Site is an open air museum which highlights the way of life residents experienced in both summer and winter living. It is south of Anchor Point which is home to the peninsula’s oldest consecrated cemetery.
  • Torrent River Salmon Interpretation Centre - the Interpretation centre in Hawke’s Bay is a must for the salmon enthusiast. Beyond the mighty Torrent, many salmon rivers exist in Main Brook. Roddickton-Bide Arm is a great place to also participate in recreational hunting and fishing, it is home to the natural Underground Salmon Pool.

An array of walking trails, nature, wildlife, icebergs, whales, recreational hunting and fishing, picturesque outport communities, attractions, shops, restaurants,  crafts, festivals, events,  local culture and heritage and people who will make any visit a treasured experience on the Great Northern Peninsula. We make need to take a page out of Kinsale’s book, and work as a region to pool our marketing resources and create a more dynamic on-line presence that takes in our region’s unique offerings!

Experience the Great Northern Peninsula & start planning your vacation today!

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Inspired by our Lifestyle & Fishing Heritage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

A Snow Covered L’Anse Aux Meadows, Newfoundland & Labrador

L’Anse aux Meadows located 41 KM from St. Anthony, is home to WORLD UNESCO heritage site. It was originally named  L’anse aux Meaduses (Jellyfish Bay) by French migratory fishermen; the latter presence of English settlers, would alter it to the current name.

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This community boasts panoramic view scapes and has been well-captured under the lens.  During summer tens of thousands of tourists flock here and even a number cruise ships pull up to the dock.

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Today, I visited the snow-covered community and was able to talk to local residents. One resident loved  how she was fortunate to be surrounded by water from the front and rear of her property. Another couple also liked the peacefulness of the community at this time of year. I was told the Mummer’s also made their presence known in during the holidays.

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L’Anse aux Meadows, like many Newfoundland & Labrador outports’ primary economy is maintained by fishing.

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It has also grown to be a burgeoning centre for tourists. Each year more than 30,000 visitors come to L’Anse aux Meadows World UNESCO Heritage Site, several thousand visit the open-air museum “Norstead – Viking Village and Port of Trade”, while others frequent the Gaia Art Gallery and experience the fine dining of the Norseman Restaurant.

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To experience North America’s only authentic Norse site, you have to drive Route 430 ‘The Viking Trail” and turn at Route 436 to L’Anse aux Meadows. There are many lovely B&B’s, Cottages, Efficiency Units, Motels, RV Parks, and Heritage Rentals along this route.

It is another truly unique place to experience on the Great Northern Peninsula. Start planning your visit today for summer 2013!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Family Time – Remember when the capelin rolled in…..

I remember the excitement in Green Island Cove when the capelin rolled in the beach one summer around 1991.  It was the year my father made my little dip net. With all the fuss we rushed to the shore to join other members of the community with our buckets and started filling them with our dip nets. You had to be quick, because it was only a matter of time and they would be gone.

My great-great-aunt Lavinia, who turns 98 years-young this year was on the beach that day. She arrived a bit later and didn’t quite have her bucket full, so we helped her top up her catch. She remembers that day and we have talked about it on occasion in my past visits. She’s a lady full of energy and she has a remarkable way of telling a story. I know from our conversations she was always up for a good joke or a bit of fun.

If you ever get the opportunity to see the capelin roll, it’s one of natures wonders. As they rolled around Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove this past summer on the Avalon, it brought droves of locals and tourists alike, creating much traffic congestion.

The capelin – a small forage fish is often the lunch of cod. It is good to see them a plenty. I certainly saw much capelin coming ashore in Englee this past summer. The cod are back and there are giant cod-fish out there.

I have a capelin that was made locally, which I hang on my Christmas tree each year.

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There are many opportunities to show off your talents. The College of the North Atlantic, St. Anthony Campus has a glass art studio and Norstead – Viking Village and Port of Trade, L’Anse Aux Meadows has a pottery studio available for us to make unique product. Why not carve and create a capelin mug, bowl, jewelry, Christmas ornament, glass coaster or pendant? We have so many opportunities, potential markets from local shops, craft outlets, on-line, Come Home Year celebrations and a number of cruise ships that visit the area. Now is the time to start marking product, be ready for those who visit and experience The Great Northern Peninsula.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

REYKJAVIK OPEN AIR MUSEUM ARBAER

During September 2012, I traveled to Iceland on the low-cost orange airline, EasyJet, for less than $200 return from London. I wish there were more direct connections to Rekjavik from Newfoundland & Labrador, as one doesn’t have to go far to find similarities, especially my home of The Great Northern Peninsula.

I’ve talked about open-air museums in previous posts. I value these types of experience so visiting Arbaer Open-Air Museum was an obvious choice. Arbaer is a collection of older homes, representing a working village of the past inclusive of fishers, farmers and significant cultural values.

Typically this is a working village in peak tourism season with more than a dozen workers dressed in period attire and able to share their experiences with the visitor. During the off-season tourists can wander around the open air museum; however, unable to view the interior of the buildings. They do offer once a day, a tour at 1:30 PM. I arrived a few minutes late, was told that the I could catch the tour at the farm houses on the corner. I hurried down to what I thought looked like a farm-house, only to crash a lecture given to students of architecture. Needless, to say, we shared a good laugh and off to the farm I went (farmhouse depicted above).

In passing, there were sheep, Icelandic horses, chickens, pigs and other livestock.

The interior of the farmhouse illustrated how the older homes were built and insulated. The farm animals were kept in a compartment of the house, partly for warmth. We were able to see the cooking areas, stables and where the workers slept.

Inside the main house was typical living quarters of dining, one upstairs bedroom for all and a kitchen with cast iron stove. Below the iron is a cast iron waffle maker, has anyone seen one in Newfoundland & Labrador?

The tour continued to other small homes. These were typically fishers. The people on the corner are the architectural students, which I crashed their class earlier, measuring the home. The interior was quaint but had all the necessities.

After visiting the farm house, farm, multiple homes and a large warehouse filled with a period model of the city, transportation elements, including one of the island’s two locomotives the tour concluded. For more information visit http://www.nat.is/Museums/reykjavik_arbaejarsafn.htm.

I had the opportunity to ask many questions, feeling much richer about Icelandic culture and way of living.  I had mentioned to the guide that we have a similar open air museum called “Norstead – Viking Village & Port of Trade”. During summer, one can visit L’Anse aux Meadows and live like a viking. Maybe we can create a network of Norse sites?

I was able to sit in the Chieftain’s chair, hold his sword and drink mead. Visit http://www.norstead.com for more information. I’ve been to this site many times and so have thousands of others.

You too can find your route to the Vikings on the Great Northern Peninsula, Newfoundland & Labrador just minutes from North America’s only authentic Viking site, L’Anse Aux Meadows World UNESCO Site. A must see if visiting and learning our rural ways.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Tourism tips from Copenhagen

I had visited Aarhus, Denmark, in 2007. Being the second largest city, the  influx of young people and students pursuing education make it a natural place for cultural activities and meetings spaces, which include cafes, theatres, museums, social spaces, concerts and festivals. Additionally, it has a history of Viking culture dating back to the 7th Century. I live near L’Anse Aux Meadows World UNESCO Heritage Site where the Vikings were the first known Europeans to re-discover North America more than 1,000 years ago (Read more at Parks Canada www.pc.gc.ca/eng/lhn-nhs/nl/meadows/index.aspx). Therefore, I was interested in visiting the Viking Museum, which was in a small room in the basement of a financial institution. The city had much to offer, so much that I planned a vacation to return to Europe in 2012 that incorporated this country and Iceland as I pursued some further exploration of the Viking.

A weekend in Copenhagen with a Swiss and Swede proved to be quite exciting, from walking the waterfront to riding the world’s oldest roller coaster in Tivoli, it was more than memorable. I’ve selected a few images, which I thought would get the movers and shakers of the Great Northern Peninsula thinking of new ways to share our unique experiences.

A walk through a park incorporated a number of notable figures. It was interesting to see the bar code by the statue’s nameplate, highlighting a simple scan of a tablet or mobile device would link to a website with more information about the attraction, history and artist. This use of technology is adaptive and  tapping into the new wave of tourist. Websites can list additional information and can be translated in many languages, which is far more limiting with storyboards and panels. However, you need to have basic telecommunications infrastructure to fully utilize this marketing initiative.

Just across the courtyard at the castle, prior to entering there was a sign. It notes, “if you have a similar 2-D scanner you can scan your way through the castle, or explore just a little bit more. Throughout the castle are stickers, that reveal a small story.”

The Town of St. Anthony in partnership with Grenfell Historic Properties may want to consider adopting this technology given the number of tourists and good cellular coverage. Additionally, Parks Canada’s L’Anse aux Meadows World UNESCO Site and Norstead – Viking Village & Port of Trade would also benefit, yet they have less desirable or nil cellular coverage.

On the waterfront there is a Speakers Corner set up. This is a simple offering, but certainly one of which we stopped and delivered compelling speeches on issues. There is an Agree section and a Disagree section where people can stand. It may be fun to take a minute or two with friends or group of passer-bys. Whatever the case, this simple addition is a photo-op waiting to happen.

The iconic 4 foot little Mermaid statue is nearly 100 years old and a relative long walk from city centre. Yet, a place tourists flock to get a snap. A simple statue has created economic spin-offs that have local venders, buskers selling miniatures, postcards and another reason to visit. Manneken Pis is another small iconic statue of a little boy urinating into a fountain in Brussels, Belgium. The statue gets dressed in costumes several times a week. While in Brussels in 2007 I paid admission to the museum which is home to the hundreds of past articles of clothing inspired by countries all over the world he has worn. The Canadian outfit was past Montreal Canadians hockey attire. If we get creative we can develop unique economic spin-offs. People may want to purchase a souvenir of this small statue wearing their countries clothing or begin a collection of their own.

Volkswagen hosted a two person racing competition in the street. There were line-ups of people wanting to participate. The business community can sponsor an event, get involved to promote their products and services.

Every place I visit, either large or small has a unique offering. I get inspired by visiting new places, talking with new people and encourage you to do the same. The Great Northern Peninsula has a unique product – if you choose to visit, you surely will take away memories that last a lifetime.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Our Historic Raleigh in Newfoundland (not North Carolina)

Hockey fans may be well aware of the Carolina Hurricane’s home base of Raleigh since 1997. However, that Raleigh is not to be confused with our Historic Raleigh near the very tip of the Great Northern Peninsula. Historic Raleigh is a tiny fishing village of less than 200, formerly known as Ha Ha Bay. A place to visit when you trek the Viking Trail Route 430 en route to L’Anse Aux Meadows World UNESCO Heritage Site.

On a summer visit to Raleigh one will see the beauty of Pistolet Bay – including the many wharves and stages, painted fishermen red scattered along the shoreline. The fishing activity in this Town has been in decline since the cod morotorium of 1992 and so is the population with the closure of the school in 2007. We’re continuing to lobby for a cellular tower in the region to service Cook’s Harbour, Raleigh, St. Lunaire-Griquet, L’Anse Aux Meadows and surrounding communities and waterways. However, there are bright spots for those wishing to get-a-way from it all.

For the avid camper, Pistolet Bay has a well-maintained Provincial Park just outside the Town. As well, there are efficiency units, cabins and fishing rooms one can overnight once in Raleigh. Tours can be arranged to understand more about the fishing and culture of the area. A visit to Raleigh will not be complete without a stop at Taylor’s Carvings where 3rd and 4th generation carvers display their unique skill set.

For the nature lover – one must visit the Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve. The area boasts several species of plants found nowhere else on earth except Burnt Cape. There are three dozen rare plants surrounding the Cape. When in Raleigh you can watch passing icebergs, find fossils, spot wildlife and if your lucky, you may even get a boat ride! As well, in winter, Raleigh is an excellent location for ice fishing.

This tiny Town may be small in population, but it is full of authentic life experiences. Take some time to talk to the locals and if your lucky you may even get to share a story and cup of coffee with the dynamic Mayor.

Put Historic Raleigh, Newfoundland & Labrador on you list of places to visit when you make your plans to travel to the rock. You will not leave disappointed.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

A morning’s view from Deadman’s Cove, NL…

Deadman’s Cove, NL is a tiny community nestled in the Straits region that presents some of the first views of Labrador. A number of people stop to take walks along the beach and venture onto the “head” (end of land) and watch the waves crash against the rocks. I’ve been often tempted to drive some eco-friendly golf balls from this point.

On Tuesday, I took this image of an old timberjack and the remains of pack ice that regularly fill the Strait of Belle Isle during winter. I hope this remaining piece is a  good sign for icebergs this summer. Last year, we saw the massive icebergs from the Peterman ice island make their way to Goose Cove, St. Anthony, St. Carol’s, Conche, Main Brook, Englee, St. Lunaire-Griquet, L’Anse aux Meadows and surrounding areas.

I encourage those to make plans earlier than normal, as there are several Come Home Year Celebrations in the District this summer and accommodations may book up earlier than usual. Anchor Point & Deadman’s Cove will jointly host a Celebration from August 12-18th, 2012. Be a part of the celebration of what it is to Live Rural NL!

Experience the Great Northern Peninsula -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Lovely L’Anse Aux Meadows – Population under 30


L’Anse aux Meadows has a population under 30 – although not by years of age but by people. It is a quaint little community that is truly nestled at the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula. It is home to Norstead – Viking Village and Port of Trade, the Norseman Restaurant (Fine Dining) and the Gaia Art Gallery, as well a World UNESCO Heritage Site that was incorporated in 1978.

During the winter, the traffic is much less and the town is even quieter. As we drove around a community of less than 30 we say some snow hardened and clinging to rocks, it could not possibly be an iceberg at this time of year.

The shed depicted below, no doubt that of a fisherman as the splitting table is still present on the private wharf. It is nice to see these structures maintained. They become less and less around our shorelines as storms have wreaked havoc on many causing much hardship.  Also, there is an impressive rack of antlers over the door.


L’Anse aux Meadows is not a question of if I visit, but when and how? There are cruise ships that dock at the wharf with planned excursions, access by car and air (St. Anthony Airport or Deer Lake Regional Airport). This place may be just what you need to truly live Rural.

Experience the Great Northern Peninsula -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

Wind Power….Why Not?

During a visit to L’anse Aux Meadows, this photo of an overworked Canadian flag was found. It clearly illustrates the tremendous impact the wind has on that area. In Conche and Englee, I have similar photos of worn out flags by wind. As well, in my own community in the Straits region – flags are replaced on a regular basis due to the consistent amount of wind. So I ask, wind power? Why not?

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North


Where have all the Vikings gone?

L’Anse Aux Meadows is home to a World UNESCO Heritage Site – as the Vikings came more than 1,000 years ago to a place they called “Vinland“. To celebrate the new millennium and 1,000 years of history a non-profit entity of Norstead was established. It is near the UNESCO site further on Route 436, a sign will guide you down a short gravel road to a Viking Village and Port of Trade. I travel there several times throughout the summer, it should also be on your list.

Norstead has a really cool landscape as it is nestled in its own little part of the cove. The ocean and  islands are forever in the backdrop, making for a photographer’s paradise.

My European friends are posing by a symbolic rock that has an image of the viking ship. The long sod covered building in the background is home to the Snorri. The boat house boasts a life-size replica and was actively sailed from Scandinavia, Greenland, Markland and finally Vinland. During the summer season you would be greeted by the colourful Lambi, all too willing to explain the ship and viking life.

The Viking church and forge are part of the Village. During summer one will find the Blacksmith hammer out some nails, a sword, helmet or other necessary item to survive in rural Newfoundland & Labrador in the year 1,000.

I would make a pretty serious blacksmith’s assistant. I am not sure I have the look of the Vikings though with all that British and Irish Ancestry.

The Vikings and the animals that spend late-Spring until early Fall have all gone. The site is quiet during the winter. I would imagine the Vikings 1,000 years ago found the weather on the Great Northern Peninsula extremely harsh.

As we walk away, we know there is a valuable experience waiting for the everyday visitor. Be sure to visit Norstead on your next time on the Viking Trail Highway, Route 430.

Experience the Great Northern Peninsula -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North


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