Blog Archives

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!

Live Rural NL -

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 Reservehome 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!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Inspired by our Lifestyle & Fishing Heritage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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


Where the Norse settled 1,000+ years ago…

This is where the Norse lived more than 1,000 years ago. The remains of houses, workshops and outer buildings are present by the impressions still left in the ground. Imagine living in L’Anse aux Meadows and having to withstand the harsh winter climate. Today this is a Parks Canada and World UNESCO Heritage Site which in season has more than 30,000 visitors.

A look from the mounds one can see a re-constructed site, where one can get educated on a day in the life of a Viking. This was my first time visiting during the winter. It was bitterly cold, as the wind came from the water. If I was living as a Viking, I would stay near the fire or make sure I was wearing my sealskin boots (they probably used sheep skin).

The Great Northern Peninsula is home to many firsts – including the Norse being the first to re-discover North America, as Native people were already inhabiting this island. We have a connection to many parts of Europe as a point of first contact with the Basque coming in the 1500′s, Captain James Cook, the French, English, and Irish settlers shortly thereafter. We have a long-standing history from the First Maritime Archaic Indians, Paleo-eskimo, Groswater-Eskimo and recent Indians to the point when Europeans came to North America. The proof is at L’Anse aux Meadows, NL on the Great Northern Peninsula – you may want to find yourself here too!

This site has been showcased in the Province’s Award-Winning Tourism Ads – you too may want to find yourself exploring the Viking Trail, Route 430 and experiencing what life was like living as a Viking more than 1,000 years ago.

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

 

Our Wooden Homes – Bell Island, NL

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

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

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

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

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

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Does Anyone Know the Story behind this Snowmobile?

A miniature replica of an old snowmobile was displayed on the yard in the Town of St. Lunaire-Griquet while I was searching for the Petermann Ice Island! I passed by this item, but was told to take a snap.

Does anyone know the history behind this piece of art?

Live Rural NL -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

Twitter/LiveRuralNL

 

A Small Iceberg in Green Island Brook

Last month en route to Norstead - Viking Village & Port of Trade at L’Anse aux Meadows, I captured this small iceberg at Green Island Brook (July 7, 2011).

This small berg was so close to land, making for a great snap of the camera capturing the small fishing shed in the corner.

Travel Tip: Between the communities of Green Island Brook and Eddies Cove East is a brilliant area for watching whales passing through the Strait of Belle Isle.

I’ve read articles today still noting that along the Labrador coast and around the Northern tip of the Peninsula there are close to 200 icebergs.

Enjoy the Great Northern Peninsula Experience -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

Twitter/LiveRuralNL

Happy Anniversary Norstead – Eleven Years and more than Tens of Thousands of Visitors

Let’s rewind to July 28, 2000 – More than 17,000 people were on site during the unveiling of Norstead – A Viking Village &  Port of Trade (www.norstead.com) as they celebrated 1,000 years since the Vikings were the first Europeans to re-discover North America. The Province did a tremendous job marketing this summer festival.

Can you imagine the excitement on site for this new addition - an open air museum; one which provides a unique approach to education and culture, where one can gain an enriched understanding of Norse life. More than 28,000 visitors trekked through this site during the first season alone.

I have to extend a big thank-you to the interpreters and all who work at Norstead – this non-profit just 2 KM from L’Anse Aux Meadows (UNESCO Site).  Some have been on-site, showing tremendous dedication to the organization for the past 11 years.

It is a pleasure to walk through the gift shop, which has an array of local product – Dark Tickle’s Teas, Jams, Sauces and Syrups; Handmade Soap, Handmade Jewellery, Norse Swords, Norse Game – 9 Man Mills, Postcards, Local Art, Pottery, Knitted Items and more. The employees make products on-site and also during the off-season.

There is a wealth of knowledge from the employees and they are quite willing to share with you – creating a warm and inviting learning experience. You have the ability to try your hand at living like a Viking.

There is much opportunity to expand on this already wonderful gem on the Great Northern Peninsula. I see much potential to work with regional partners, develop further products, expand into Learning Vacations – live like a Viking (day, weekend or week-long stopovers), workshops and other activities. The future is bright for this not-for-profit entity.

It has added much value to our Rural Economy and also the travel experience of those who are fortunate enough to take the time to visit.

Norstead is a wonder we have, it is possible because f the wonderful people who show up and do their part every day. For that,  I thank you.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore 

 

Deep Fried Ice-cream – A must have treat at the Daily Catch, St. Lunaire-Griquet, NL

On several occasions I have seen Deep Friend Ice-cream on menus at various restaurants and have wanted to try the dessert. However, the portion sizes are often quite large, leaving little room for the sweet delights.

The The Daily Catch Restaurant in St. Lunaire-Griquet, en route to L’Anse Aux Meadows (World UNESCO Heritage Site) specializes in seafood. The food is delightful. In fact, they were even mentioned in the Globe and Mail.

And on the Great Northern Peninsula where the Vikings settled long before Columbus sailed from Spain, a sophisticated little establishment called The Daily Catch in St. Lunaire-Griquet (www.thedailycatch.ca; 709-623-2295) is an oasis of finely prepared seafood. The basil-buttered salmon is on par with the very best in Water Street dining. (Source Article – Click)

This is a true gem of the North, with superior food, excellent menu options, great wine list and the atmosphere to match. I have enjoyed the pleasure of the cook’s culinary skills a few times at this venue. They produce inviting salads, savouring seafood mains and create a happy mood as the traditional Newfoundland & Labrador music plays in the background.

Today was my time to shine - I was prepared and would certainly get my must have treat of Deep Fried Ice-cream today.

I ordered up their Drink of the Day, which was a surprise concoction known only by the server. I was presented with a bakeapple flavoured martini, which had the traditional berries at the bottom and was topped off with real iceberg ice. The iceberg ice really adds to experience, with purity and crackles as the shards gently melt. In 2010, a Youth Ventures participant pursued bagging the shards of icebergs as ice to sell during summertime at a local service station. Why are we not selling the ice on a larger scale? Opportunity knocks.

As I awaited my appetizer – the steamed mussels,  I took notice of the two icebergs positioned perfectly in view of the two windows in front of where I was sitting.

I struck up a conversation with the table adjacent. We talked about icebergs, local area, opportunities, culinary experiences and more. It was so fluent that I did not take a picture of the delicious mussels. However, I would not forget to snap my first trial with delectable Deep Fried Ice-cream.

The dessert menu claimed this is a “Must Have Treat”. It had the option of being served with Partridgeberry or Bakeapple. I am a fan of the bakeapple, as I find the partridgeberry a little tart. Served with whipped cream, a generous portion of local berries and wrapped in a secret coating – certainly makes this a field trip for the taste buds.

A nicely brewed cup of coffee with deep friend ice-cream was a culinary experience. I only wondered if this could have been enhanced, if I added some of my Screech Chocolate Sauce, purchased earlier at the Dark Tickle Company just a short jaunt down the road.

I left the Daily Catch completely satisfied, which is no surprise. So local or  traveller alike, if  you have never tried this treat, you can at this venue for a price of $4.75.

Get lost in a world of experiences on the Great Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland & Labrador.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

Twitter/LiveRuralNL

Massive Icebergs on the Loose in Goose Cove, NL – Draw Crowds

Icebergs surround the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula. They have been spotted in Conche and can be seen from Sailer Jack’s Lookout, St. Carol’s, St. Lunaire-Griqurt, L’Anse Aux Meadows, Englee, St. Anthony and Goose Cove.

I had the privilege of driving to Goose Cove, NL today. It is another picturesque Town that is not far off Route 430, a mere 8 km from St. Anthony.  Although it gets much traffic, it does not see 30,000+ visitors that other attractions see. Locals know – so I encourage you to add Goose Cove, NL to your travel plans when driving the Great Northern Peninsula for your Rural Inspired Travel Experience (RITE)

Today, there is an extremely large drawing card with towering ice mountains that could be spotted from the harbour.

Here they are peeking out….

I had to get a closer look…

They were just breath-taking. On my return from the Pumley Cove Trail, I opted to take one last sneak peek of the bergs by the wintertime sleds.

There were so many wonderful photo opportunities that I’ve decided to post a second part and continue my Goose Cove Story. So hop in your car and get up to Goose Cove – before they are gone!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

Twitter/LiveRuralNL

Trekking the French Shore with the Swiss – Conche, NL

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

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

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

 

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

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

Live Rural NL -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

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