August 13, 2017, 215.8 miles
Peyton’s Woods Park, Twillingate, NFLD
Guy and I have once again scored with our camping site, we have a marvelous view of the ocean. We can sit in our chairs and just stare, even from our dining room in the coach we have an awesome view.
I think, I have fallen in love with Newfoundland, with its numerous different shapes, sizes and different colors of the trees, lakes, streams and ponds at every open area, the tundra that goes on for miles only broken up by the ponds, rocks and pine trees surrounding those ponds, the rough wildness about the area, the cliffs that surround the coastline, crystal clear blue water.
The colorfully scattered houses, bright yellows, reds, greens, purples, the lush green grass surrounding homes, moss on the roofs, sitting on low hills with views of the bays or ocean. The wildflowers, reds, purples and yellows all along the roads, in yards and popping up around the ponds. The stunted trees from the wild winds and bitter cold winters. Small and large gardens surrounded with old wooden fences. The mountains interspersed with rocks and trees so thick there is no way you could walk thru them. The old coloful fishing sheds and wooden docks, wooden dorries (boats) sitting beside the shed waiting for their return to the water. The signs of times gone by…The small villages where everyone knows each other, the pride the people have for their wonderful Newfie Land. But most of all the people who are so happy that you are visiting their Newfie Land, always ready to help or tell a story, always with a smile on their faces.
Then I think about the winters and realize….snow, wicked, wild, cold winds…icy roads…..no can do….I will stick with the South.
Twillingate is a town off 3,000 people which consists of two islands connected by a causeway. The town is at the mouth of the Exploits River that flows into the Notre Dame Bay. The islands provide an excellent sheltered harbor and access to fishing grounds. Twillingate is know as the “Iceberg capital of the World”. Due to the location of the town icebergs pass by and get stuck at the mouth of the harbor or on some of the small islands off shore. We kept looking and looking for icebergs but they were as elusive as the moose. The icebergs are the most plentiful and come through the north area of the island in April and May. Since we were now into August it was very unlikely that we would get to experience seeing them. There are many boat operators you can hire to take you on a tour of the icebergs, whale watching and out to watch the numerous sea birds.
Newfoundland has gone through its hard times, due to the moratorium on Cod fishing put on by the Canadian government in 1992 that last for 25 years. Imagine that after years of making a living from cod fishing, you wake up one morning and it’s all over…a whole town…all the towns in Newfoundland, what was going to happen to all the people….most people had never gone to school, they started fishing, cleaning fish, salting fish with their families at the age of 7…they say the lights went out in most of the villages…the government had to help with a stipend, some people went to bigger towns, some went to school to get a degree…committees were formed to find a way to put people back to work….by opening museums, giving fishing village tours, lighthouse tours, harbor tours, house tours, whale watching tours, iceberg tours, all were tried to attract the tourist and bring in money. There were fines to pay if you were caught with a fish in your boat, so boats sat, the wood rotting where it sat…Fishing has started again but you must buy a license and can only catch 5,000 cod a week and it must be from 200 miles off shore. Their way of life will never be the same, fishing will never be their primary source of income again.
Our first stop while in Twillingate, was the Prime Berth Fishing Museum, (meaning “the best spot”). Dave, 70 yrs old, and a long time cod fisherman, his wife, Christine and their cat, started and still run the museum.
They have 6 buildings sitting along the water, with one being his dad’s old fishing shed, these buildings are loaded with every kind of fishing artifact, as a tribute to his fisher forefathers. Dave told of his time spent and the lessons he learned in his father’s fishing shed. Dave is the son of many generations of fishermen and he has taken it upon himself to help preserve the knowledge and tools that were used by fishermen up until 1960. He has collected many artifacts from his father and others to help start the museum, he now is dependent on visitors to earn a living.
This place was just amazing to see, we felt it was much better than most of the Canadian museums we have been to. It was much more interesting to see how they process a real fish verses the stuffed animal that was used at the National Historic site. When he finished there was nothing left except a perfectly butterflied cod fish ready to be salted.
Of course, if there is a brewery or winery around our noses will always lead us in that direction..and it did not fail us…we soon arrived at the Auk Island Winery for a tour and all you can drink wine tasting….ok, now we are talking our language….
This wine is made with the fruit and berries found around the island of NFLD. They also make some speciality wines using iceberg water. The majority of the berries used, are wild and free of pesticides or fertilizers. None of their wines are made from grapes. The wines are sold locally and in area restaurants, they do not ship to the US. They stated that the wine will only last about 5 years in the bottle before turning into vinegar.
Some of the wine names are;
Fifty Shades of Bay (blueberry/blackberries ), Funky Puffin (blueberry/rhubarb), Jelly Bean Row (strawberry/partridgeberry), Moose Juice (blueberry/ partridgeberry), and Krooked Cod (blueberries/rasberries). Guy and I tasted 3 or 4 but we like a dry wine and since these are fruit and berries most were to sweet for us, we did buy the Fifty Shades of Bay, it was the driest and not as fruity.
We attended two shows while spending time in Twillingate, one was a dinner and musical show, “Newfie Dinner & Show”. There were 3 men and 2 women who performed skits, music and singing. One of the men, Jody Hale, sang and played banjo, guitar, mandolin, and flute, while two others played the squeeze box and guitar.
The Split Peas were performing at the Touton house, which is an all women group that could sing accapella, or with 2 women that played the banjo. All 7 are retired and have been performing for 25 years. They bring the “Kitchen Party” to the stage every Tues. and Thursday.
The music was Irish and quite lively, they had the audience up dancing or up playing with the “Ugly Sticks”, which are carved wooden sticks with heads, shoes and bottle caps down the side which make a big racket. At intermission we were served tea, coffee and “Toutons”, which are fried bread dough with cloudberry jelly.
Guy and I finally took an off day to get a few chores done….he cleaned the truck and coach, then got out his banjo and sat outside to play but soon was reading the inside of his eyelids…I stayed inside and did 7 loads of laundry…which took all day as the electricity went on and off all day…cleaned the inside from front to back…gave LaciLou a bath, much to her dismay…cut and colored my hair…took a walk down to the little fishing sheds along the water…took pictures and LaciLou and I put our feet in the water.
There was an active lighthouse about 5 miles from the campground at the tip of the island. It is located 331 feet above sea level, off the northeast coast of Twillingate at Crow Head. The lighthouse was completed in 1876 and is historic to the town. It is said that you can walk the scenic trails along the coast that surround the lighthouse and watch icebergs and whales. Because I am very scared of heights there was no way I was walking the trails. We did not go into the lighthouse, the museum is $8.00 per person and $4.00 to climb to the top where the lights are.
The time we spent here in Twillingate was filled with plenty of different experiences but once again it was time to move on. Our next adventure takes us to St. Barbe where we will tour the Insectarium and Butterfly Pavillion and take a day to ferry over to Labrador. Come on along with “Our Rovin Journey” and check out what we see and do next.
Thank you for following along with us on our journey thru this amazing country.