NLOWE’s staff shares picks for places to visit this summer that might not be top of mind for most.
Gander International Airport, Gander
Betsy Saunders, Business Growth Advisor, Central/Eastern
Opened on June 19th, 1959 by the Queen, the historic international lounge at Gander Airport has been visited by global leaders including Nelson Mandela and Margaret Thatcher, as well as cultural icons like The Beatles. While you can no longer visit that side of the airport today, from the second floor you can view the Italian marble floors, vintage designer furniture, and colourful mural Flight and Its Allegories by Canadian artist Kenneth Lochhead.
“You can still see the glamour that was part of world travel,” says Betsy. “This was where I was first bitten by the travel bug.”
Bottle Cove, Bay of Islands
Carla May, Business Start-Up Advisor, Western
A scenic one-hour drive from Corner Brook, on the southern shore of the Bay of Islands near Lark Harbour, is Bottle Cove. Although a favourite spot for locals, it remains natural and untouched, save for a picnic table or two. The cliffs surrounding the cove are part of the Appalachian Mountains, and while they are rugged and geologically rich, the cove is pristine and beautiful, featuring naturally formed caves and beautiful hiking trails.
“Growing up, my friends and I passed many hours exploring, picnicking, and watching the spectacular sunsets here,” says Carla. “Now, I take great pleasure in sharing this experience with my little family.”
Woody Island, Placentia Bay
Paula Flood, Business Growth Advisor, Eastern
Woody Island, located in Placentia Bay, is a 40-minute boat ride from mainland Newfoundland. Early settlers to the island came from England, and fishing became the main industry. While the community was resettled in the 1960s, many of the original houses and buildings are still on the island. During the summer, Woody Island is still a thriving fishing community, a summer home for many, and a great place to beachcomb, kayak, and whale-watch, among many other things.
“I have great memories of fishing from the wharf, exploring the coves, and having boil-ups on the beach,” says Paula. “You can still experience the peacefulness, and step back in time to enjoy traditional Newfoundland food and music.”
Table Point Ecological Reserve, Great Northern Peninsula
Kristy Martell, Director of Programming & Events
Located near Bellburns on the Great Northern Peninsula, Table Point Ecological Reserve was created to protect rocks and fossils that document changes to the continental shelf. It features limestone that is 470 million years old, along with an array of fossils, including ostracodes, trilobites, brachiopods, bryozoa, crinoids, abundant sponges, and gastropods.
“My parents have always been into fossils, so we visited Table Point often to search and explore,” says Kristy. “I believe I even earned a Girl Guide badge hunting for fossils here. In later years, as a geocacher, I placed a find here so others could enjoy the site.”
Centre Hill Wilderness Trail, Trinity Bay
Deborah Youden, Export Consultant
Located in Sunnyside on the Avalon Peninsula, Centre Hill, an old volcano, at 384 metres, is the highest point in eastern Newfoundland. This 10 km round-trip features forest, barrens, and after a steep climb, an incredible panoramic view from the top, including Conception, Trinity, Bonavista and Placentia Bays.
“We hiked there one May 24th weekend, taking advantage of a warm, blue-sky day and no flies,” says Deborah. “Lunch at the summit and spectacular vistas were the best rewards.”
The Beaches of Lumsden, Bonavista Bay
Denise Cornick, Business Growth Advisor, Avalon
Many locals in Bonavista Bay will tell you “Lumsden has the best beaches in Newfoundland.” Windmill Bight Park is located on one of those great beaches. Here you can enjoy a freshwater lagoon and a saltwater beach, and it is a great place to camp, hike, or swim. You can also fish for salmon and pick berries or mussels.
“As a child, I spent countless hours swimming, chasing waves, and collecting seashells on the white sand beach. And now I bring my own daughter here, and she shares my love for this special part of the province,” says Denise. “To me, this is the most beautiful place.”
Beothuk Interpretation Centre, Boyd’s Cove
Julieanne Reddy, Director of Marketing & Communications
The Beothuk Interpretation Centre in Boyd’s Cove sits on a 300-year-old Beothuk village. Here you can view exhibits and artifacts and learn about the Beothuk people, an important part of history. Walk the trails to see the remnants of where they once lived and view a sculpture by celebrated Newfoundland artist Gerald Squires that reminds us of the tragic end of the Beothuks.
“My father grew up in Embree, a town close to Boyd’s Cove, and he always had a fascination with the Beothuk people,” says Julieanne. “When we would venture out to Embree to visit family, my father would point out areas where the Beothuk may have walked. On a recent visit to Twillingate, I took a detour to the Beothuk Interpretation Centre with my husband and son, and I was excited to see the fascination with the Beothuk way of life sparked anew in my own family.”
Northern Bay Sands, Bay de Verde Peninsula
Colette Crosbie, Business Start-Up Advisor, Eastern
Northern Bay Sands Park, on the northern tip of Conception Bay on the Bay de Verde Peninsula, has a pristine sandy beach. The beach has a natural freshwater pool with a waterfall that spills into the Atlantic Ocean at one end of the beach and campgrounds at the other. For anyone who enjoys breathtaking scenery and beautiful sandy beaches, this is the perfect place to visit.
“I have fond memories of my parents taking my siblings and me to the beach, having a boil-up, making sandcastles, swimming in the freshwater pool, and playing in the ocean. As teenagers, we would pitch a tent, play beach volleyball all day, and roast marshmallows and wieners over the campfire at night,” says Colette. “As parents, we brought our kids here, and as teens they still go there with friends.”
Sandy Hook, south coast of Labrador
Betty Morris, Business Growth Advisor, Labrador
To get to Sandy Hook, one has to travel the gravel Trans-Labrador Highway to Port Hope Simpson, and then go by boat. Then you are off the grid—no electricity, running water, roads, or Internet. But, there are many outdoor adventures waiting to be had: hiking, fishing, berry picking, swimming in a pond, or just relaxing and enjoying the beautiful scenery and, of course, the peace and quiet.
“When I was a child, every year, my family would move from Port Hope Simpson to Sandy Hook, where my father used to fish. We would spend many hours fishing, picking berries, hiking, swimming, and playing outdoor games,” says Betty. “The people there are very friendly. If you are lucky enough, have a meal of fresh fish and a good old chat with the locals.”
Bowering Park, St. John’s
Suzanne Fogwill, Chief Operating Officer
Bowring Park is located in Waterford Valley, St. John’s, and offers lots to do for the whole family. You can enjoy spending time at the swimming pool, playground, tennis courts, and walking trails, and lots of green space is ideal for picnics. Beautiful flowers and a duck pond are great for photos, as are a number of statues throughout the park, including the Peter Pan statue and the Caribou and The Fighting Newfoundlander by Basil Gotta.
“It was nothing for our family to arrive there early on a Saturday morning and head home after the sun went down,” says Suzanne. “This was my mother’s favourite place to go when she was a child, then mine, and now my children love it too.”
La Manche, Southern Shore
Nicole Bruce, Business Start-Up Advisor, Avalon
La Manche is located on the Southern Shore, between Tors Cove and Cape Broyle. It was once home to a bustling village that was originally settled back in the 1840s. In 1949, La Manche had a population of 54, but a declining population and a winter storm in 1966, which demolished buildings and a suspension bridge that crossed the inlet, ultimately resulted in the village being abandoned. Today, the once-beaten path is now well cleared and part of the East Coast Trail, and in 1999 a suspension bridge was rebuilt across La Manche inlet.
“I felt like an archaeologist digging for artifacts—finding old horseshoes and empty glass jugs was like finding a pirate’s buried treasure,” says Nicole. “Peering through the glassless windows of the last remaining house that stood sent my imagination soaring about what it must have been like to live during those times.”
Watt’s Point, Great Northern Peninsula
Marvella Wells, Business Growth Advisor, Western/Labrador
Just northeast of Eddies Cove on the Great Northern Peninsula is Watt’s Point Park Reserve, an ecological reserve home to endangered plant species, including some so rare that they are not found anywhere else in the world! Watt’s Point barren has thin vegetation that covers the calcareous gravel and bedrock; this, along with the climate, yields arctic alpine plants like the Purple Mountain Saxifrage and wind-pruned shrubs. The endangered Barrens Willow and threatened Fernald’s Braya are unique to this place.
“I really got to know this area as a summer student hired to research the rare flowers and to document the area,” says Marvella. “The hike is challenging and remote, the winds are often strong, and the weather unpredictable, but seeing the unique plants and a beautiful yellow lady slipper make braving the terrain and wind well worth it.”
Leading Tickles, Notre Dame Bay
Jenny Mercer, Business Start-Up Advisor, Central
Leading Tickles is a picturesque town on the shores of Notre Dame Bay, about a 70-minute drive from Grand Falls-Windsor. In spring and early summer, it’s the perfect spot to view passing icebergs, and, in the summer, Ocean View Park is a great place to visit. Here you can camp, swim, picnic, and hike three lovely trails: Bear Head Lookout, Western Bear Cove Lookout, and Oceanside Nature Trail.
“I love bring bringing my kids to Leading Tickles in the spring to see icebergs,” says Jenny. “And, in the summer we get a season pass to the park. It’s such a beautiful little spot.”
Grates Cove, Bay de Verde Peninsula
Judy Raske, Office Manager
Grates Cove, on the tip of the Bay de Verde Peninsula, has a rich history including tales of the Mollie’s shipwreck of 1944. Its walled landscape was designated a national historic site in 1995. While it was first settled in 1790, it is believed that John Cabot and other seasonal fisherman may have visited as early 1497. Today you can visit Cabot Rock Monument, an inscribed rock believed to bear the names of Cabot and his son Sancius. There is lots to see and do in Grates Cove, from watching whales and seabirds to exploring rock walls and historic buildings; it has something for everyone.
“Both of my parents grew up in Trinity Bay, mom is from Old Perlican and my father from Grates Cove. We spent many summers in the area at my grandparents’ home,” says Judy. “Often we would pack up the car and head off for a day of blueberry picking, and when we were done we would have an old-fashioned boil-up in the woods.”
Western Brook Pond Fjord, Great Northern Peninsula
Paula Sheppard, Chief Executive Officer
Carved by glaciers, Western Brook Pond Fjord boasts breathtaking scenery, including wildlife and waterfalls that cascade from 2000 feet. Pissing Mare Falls, at 350 metres, is one of the highest waterfalls in North America. Located in Gros Morne National Park, Western Brook Pond is the largest pond in the park and is home to Atlantic salmon, brook trout, and Artic char, as well as a colony of cliff nesting gulls.
“My father, originally from Ontario, came to Newfoundland and fell in love with the culture and scenery. His way of sharing his love with us was to drag us all over the island to experience it ourselves,” says Paula. “Western Brook Pond fjord was a favourite. I clearly remember walking the boardwalk and enjoying the boat tour. Even as a child I appreciated the scenery, which is unlike anything you will see anywhere else in Newfoundland.”