Blog Archives

Picturesque St. Lunaire-Griquet & Gunner’s Cove, NL

The Town of St. Lunaire-Griquet  and Gunner’s Cove on the Great Northern Peninsula are completely picturesque and there is no wonder more than 30,000 visits during the summer season. This place is steeped in history from the Aboriginals, Vikings, French, English and other settlers given the presence of the mysterious markings at St. Brendan’s rock.

IMG_20141205_142640

The presence of traditional saltbox, biscuit box or two-story homes can be viewed along winding roads with ocean views and craggy coastlines. There are many unique pieces of vernacular architecture you will not want to miss on your visit.

IMG_20141205_151039

There will be root vegetable gardens near roadside and flakes of salt cod drying in the sizzling summer sun. A host of accommodations are available from motels, cottages, cabins, bed & breakfasts, vacation rentals and hotels to meet any travellers needs.

IMG_20141205_142628

There are unique attractions, a network of walking trails, eco-museums, craft and carving shops, boat tours, festivals and an array of activities in the surrounding areas from the Viking Settlement, Norstead Viking Village and Port of Trade, Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve, Raleigh Historical Fishing Village, Grenfell Historic Properties, Radio Quirpon, Coffee Shops, Kitchen Parties at the Legion and Screech-ins at Skipper Hots with traditional music by the Skipper Hots band.

IMG_20141205_142613

People come and are wowed by the icebergs of the Great Northern Peninsula. They are much larger as they snuggle into our harbours and coves. Watch small boat fishers as they bring in their daily catch or have a yarn at the small wharves. Rural Newfoundland & Labrador is truly about interaction with out people. The Great Northern Peninsula offers a truly unique and authentic experience.

IMG_20141205_145618

The culinary experiences are exceptional, with two of the restaurants ranking in the top 10 for the best fish n’ chips in Newfoundland & Labrador. The Daily Catch, Snow’s Take-out  and Dark Tickle Cafe are in St. Lunaire-Griquet, with Northern Delight in Gunner’s Cove. L’Anse aux Meadows is home to the Norseman Restaurant, Coffee in the Cove at Hay Cove and Burnt Cape Cafe in Raleigh.

Northern Peninsula eateries praised for their fish and chips

IMG_20141205_151030

The tip of the Great Northern Peninsula is the perfect get-a-way to be one with nature. Moreover, it has the distinction of being the one place in the world where humanity came full circle – an event more than 100,000 years in the making!

IMG_20141205_150330

Now that you know there are lots of places to stay, eat and experience – pack your camera and begin planning that trek up the Great Northern Peninsula and start snapping images of the picturesque communities of St. Lunaire-Griquet and Gunner’s Cove on Newfoundland’s tip.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)

The New Land with the Green Meadows

526884_10151491452714259_1776962623_n
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.

Vinland11

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.

DSC_0480

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.

IMG_00001054

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.

IMG_5351

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

 

 

Caribou Crossing on Viking Trail

The Great Northern Peninsula has many natural wonders from fjords to forests, rivers to seascapes and wondrous wildlife. For the nature lover, it is a place to explore.

This past Monday (November 12) when driving the Viking Trail (Route 430) en route to Englee I had to make an unexpected stop for the mighty caribou.

A total of four caribou had crossed the highway and not a hunter in sight. I had taken my professional camera and quickly grabbed it, only to find it was missing its memory card. Despite loss of time, I did manage a few photos with the camera on a Blackberry Torch. It was a wonderful sight! I drive the Viking Trail and Route 432 on a regular basis and on occasion get the pleasure of spotting these animals.

It is evident there has been a population decline of the caribou. As a child one would quickly regularly spot herds of caribou in the St. Paul‘s region or around the St. Anthony airport. A significant decline in population has local impacts on other animal populations,  local food supplies, outfitting, eco-tourism and other economic and cultural opportunities.

When visiting the Great Northern Peninsula, you too may catch a glimpse of the mighty caribou, moose, array of birds or other wildlife on your journey. Keep your eyes peeled and safe travels!

Live Rural NL

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Marketing Rural Newfoundland & Labrador & the VTTA

Today I attended the Viking Trail Tourism Association’s Annual General Meeting at the Plum Point Motel. The chairs were filled tourism operators, employees, government workers and development organizations. We recognized our role and the role we have in advancing tourism on the Great Northern Peninsula. There was much talk of partnership, packaging and being creative!

The Viking Trail Tourism Association is a member-based non-profit industry association that promotes  its members and the greater region since 1988 – entering a milestone of 25 years of service. It continues to purchase advertisements in magazines such as “Downhome” and “Sledworthy”, attend trade shows, and provide members updates. However, it recognizes that it must reach out beyond traditional means of print advertising and is also focusing efforts on the social media.

  • Facebook Page: Viking Trail Tourism Association.
  • Twitter/@vikingtrail

I encourage you to like/follow them and share with friends. Start interacting, ask questions and post your own travel experiences and stories about the Great Northern Peninsula. Visit www.vikingtrail.org/contact.php or email info@vtta.nf.ca if you would like to contribute, become a member and help this non-profit member-based group advance its tourism initiatives.

Today’s meeting got me once again thinking about marketing the rural experience…it’s sometimes the little things we do…

I recently stayed at the Battery Hotel & Suites, which has the most amazing view of St. John’s harbour, NL en route to Signal Hill. As I checked into my room, I had to pass Room 400 Flower’s Cove which is just 14 KM from my hometown and has a unique tourism experience of Thrombolites (living rocks), White Rocks Walking Trail, Marjorie Bridge, Seal Skin Boot Church, Flower’s Island Lighthouse, local foods and great conversations. I immediately felt at home! A place I truly could relate…I immediately told other guests about Flower’s Cove.

Despite the star marking the location of Flower’s Cove being a little too far south I thought this little marketing initiative was powerful. My own room was historic Cupids, the oldest continuously settled British Colony in Canada and the second oldest in North America – what a view the room boasts. Neddie’s Harbour Inn (www.theinn.ca) on the Great Northern Peninsula also has local names for their rooms.

Now imagine if each room at the Battery had content from across the Province. Why not have a story board of Flower’s Cove with local sights, history and stories inside Room 400? Let’s create a means to further cross-promote regions, businesses & attractions. There may be a role for the VTTA, Destination Management Organizations, Business & Department of Tourism, Culture & Recreation to find new creative ways to ensure we reach out in new ways to share the beauty of rural Newfoundland & Labrador.

I commend the VTTA and your efforts to date. I know you will work with your members and others to build upon the tens of thousands of tourists that experience Route 430: The Viking Trail every year.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

New Opportunities for Northern Peninsula, Labrador & the World….Sept. 8,2010

Canadian Geographic Magazine ran a feature on the Northern Peninsula in its October 2009 issue under the headline, “Newfoundland’s Northern Peninsula is a region of depleting human and natural resources. Just the sort of place for a fisherman to be reborn as Bjorn the Beautiful.” (For the article visit: http://www.canadiangeographic.ca/magazine/oct09/northern_peninsula4.asp).

It is certainly true, the Northern Peninsula’s population has been reduced drastically since the closure of its primary industry; the cod fishery in 1992. The statistics speak for themselves as a number of communities and towns saw sharp declines as the world attempts to become more urban. However, our population decrease has slowed with signs of greater stability as more younger families build homes and lives around rural economies. I am proof of another young person that chooses to live rural Newfoundland & Labrador. Although the economy has yet to rebound to levels prior to 1992, I disagree with the author that the region has depleting natural resources. 

Nearly 20 years later, the fishery still remains the backbone of the rural economies, with the forestry a close second. Moreover, today, the rural economy has diversified – the Northern Peninsula is engaged in various sectors, including secondary-food processing, value-added manufacturing, biomass fuels, oil & gas exploration, agriculture, aquaculture, manufacturing, construction, tourism, services, retail/wholesale, craft/gift/apparel, information technology, healthcare, education and transportation.

The article states, “An optimist will say that, through all the ups and downs, residents of the Northern Peninsula have always looked after themselves. After all, their connection to the rest of Newfoundland did not come until 1962, the year Route 430 opened, so they have a long history of living in isolation” (Russell Wangersky).

Imagine, it was not until 1962 in a country as rich as Canada that we as Canadians were isolated from the rest of the country. Yet, we overcame these obstacles and our communities adapted to change. Can you imagine that it took nearly 50 more years before the Trans-Labrador Highway was open!!! This highway now connects Red Bay to Goose Bay eliminating a long ferry run. Now visitors can drive from Montreal, QC – Labrador City, NL – Goose Bay, NL – Blanc Sablon, QC and take a 1 hour 30 minute ferry ride to St. Barbe on the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland and drive Route 430 to Deer Lake, NL and then take the Trans Canada Highway to the Capital, St. Johns, NL or to Port Aux Basque to take Marine Atlantic to Nova Scotia. This is an incredible achievement that presents a number of opportunities for not only residents, organizations and business owners of the Northern Peninsula and Labrador, but the entire world!

The recent completion of the Trans-Labrador Highway has already had a significant impact on business on both sides of the Strait of Belle Isle. The M.V. Apollo has adjusted to increased demand to ferry traffic by adding an additional run on Friday and Sunday during peak tourist season. There has been large increases in commercial traffic using both the service and the highway. The opening of Hotel North (former Vinland, St. Anthony) on September 1, 2010 which will include a Jungle Jim’s adds much-needed accommodations to the region. Although, not all businesses are ready for the spike in demand. For instance, if you wish to rent a car, make sure you book well in advance, or you may find yourself in a crunch when it comes to transportation.

On September 8, 2010 the Nordic Economic Development Board and Red Ochre Regional Board, among with its many partners are hosting a Transportation Forum at the St. Barbe Arena to reveal key findings of a study completed as a result of this new transportation link. The impacts it has had on road, marine and air transportation routes and what this has meant for business will be discussed. There are new business opportunities and areas of improvement that we all have a stake. If you are interested in attending please contact Mr. Andre Myers, Economic Development Officer at Nordic Economic Development Corporation via email at amyers@nf.aibn.com as soon as possible as space is limited, registration is free.

We no longer live in isolation and we are open to the world to see what we have to offer! We have in my view the best concentrated and diverse group of cultural assets that can rival any region. This includes two WORLD UNESCO Heritage Sites- L’Anse aux Meadows (First known Europeans to re-discover North America more than 1,000 years ago) & the Tablelands), Gros Morne National Park, archaeological finds and discoveries noting Maritime Archaic Indians, Paleo-Eskimo, Groswater Eskimo, Recent Indians (Beothuk, Innu, Inuit, Metis), Basque, Portuguese, French, British and others, a number of provincial and national historic sites, ecological reserves, abundance of natural resources, wildlife and natural beauty, high-speed internet access (in most regions), airports, ferry services, shipping/trucking, low business tax and low-cost of living. These highlights complimented by the Northern Peninsula’s strategic location to enter markets of Canada, Greenland, Iceland, New England States and Europe presents excellent opportunities for a company to export.

I will dismiss Wangersky’s Canadian Geographic article written just 2 months prior to this road opening, as the highway simply does not end at Route 430, The Viking Trail – but begins. We are now a pathway to the rest of North America.

Don’t miss out, as this could be the best investment you ever make.

Live Rural Newfoundland – CCM

%d bloggers like this: