At the northern end of the Avalon Peninsula, is a peninsula on the peninsula….and the home of the Baccalieu Trail.
Murph and Danielle are hosting me again today and playing tour guides – very lucky me – and I enjoy their company and stories. Leaving St. John’s and heading north on the 75, we pass Harbour Grace and I can see the wreck of the Kyle in the shallows. Pulling over to get a closer look, I am first distracted by another monument, that of the Spirit of Harbour Grace and a statue of Amelia Earhart. Ms. Earhart left Harbour Grace, Newfoundland on the morning of May 20, 1932 and became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic when she landed in Ireland just over 13 hours later.
The Kyle was one of the coastal service boats known as the Alphabet Fleet that helped to connect remote communities. She was originally built in Newcastle, England in 1913. The Kyle was touted as the fastest and strongest of the fleet and served in search and rescue operations as well as the coastal ferry and supply routes for many years before being grounded in a storm in 1967 at Harbour Grace.
We get to Carbonear just in time to pick up a sandwich and head up the hill in the direction of Victoria and stop at a scenic overlook for a bite with a beautiful view. The Sky is a beautiful, bright blue today and filled with big clouds. It’s summer but I can feel a chill in the air today, already sliding quickly toward autumn. On over the hill to Victoria and I’m wondering if we will happen to pass the small book and bible store Sylvia (Lily’s daughter from another blog post) owns in this small town. As we turn right onto the 70 in town, I see the house and attached shop two doors in and on the right. We pull in and I debate for a minute about dropping in unannounced. I think it’s impolite and really wanted to have a planned visit when I would bring flowers and treats. I’ve had no word of how Lily is doing and think of her and her kind daughter, Sylvia, often….so being a person who recognizes some things in life only come once…I opt to go inside. The store is empty but I can hear voices around the corner behind the counter and take a few more steps in. A woman comes out and stands but neither of us knows the other. A moment later Sylvia peeks out and in a few seconds she is giving me a great big hug. It’s a very brief reunion, but a happy one, as I promise to come back and have a proper visit in the next few weeks. Sylvia invites me in for tea, but I don’t want to impose. At least for a moment I get to see Lily who has been home all of 3 days (such a wonderful bit of news) and is having her lunch at the kitchen table. Another hug before I go, and a big dose of holding back my tears of joy….and we are on the road again – on the 70 heading up the eastern (Conception Bay) side of the peninsula.
We go through many small towns – Salmon Cove, Broad Cove, Gussets Cove, Western Bay, Ochre Pit Cove, Northern Bay, Gull Island, and Burnt Point where we stop at another scenic overlook. As we are about to leave, a woman tells us about the “Drokes” road up ahead at Jobs Cove and gives us directions to get down to a beautiful gray sand beach. Murph has gone ahead and coincidentally is already turned off at the very same road stopping to make sure we don’t miss the road. We drive down a steep shale road and come out at Jobs Cove and a new wharf. There’s a dark beach with a couple of dories perched on the edge. The high cliffs rise above us and dark clouds are building overhead…..it’s beautiful.
As we backtrack up the hill and out toward the 70 to continue driving north we watch a man cutting hay with a scythe. The land is far too rocky for equipment to be used, making me appreciate my summer haying experience not having had to be that much work in comparison. The road goes inland for a bit and then we turn north just outside Old Perlican to head for the town of Bay de Verde.
This community is on the northeastern end of the peninsula and exposed to the incoming iceberg flows and wind that must make winters here unbelievable cold. There is a crab plant in town and a number of boats in the harbor.
We have reached the end of the line (and land) and start to backtrack to Old Perlican and to return south via the 80 on the western (Trinity Bay) side of the peninsula. As we head back I can see Baccalieu Island and its lighthouse in the distance. The road follows the coast on this side as well and the villages are lovely. We pass Sidley’s Cove, New Melbourne with its corona beach, New Chelsea and Winterton, home of the Wooden Boat Museum, and then come to Heart’s Content. This is where the first Transatlantic cable was landed, connecting Europe with the New World. This is a beautiful cove and coast, but it’s time to turn back inland on the 74 for the drive back to Victoria, closing the trail loop and then for home.
Thank you Danielle and Murph, for another incredible day.