Before coming to Newfoundland, Steven and I had been told by my/our friends Rosemary, Diana, and Ellen how unbelievably stunning they had each found their time on the island to be. I trusted each of them implicitly and knew we’d also have the time of our lives visiting Newfoundland but don’t think I realized we’d also fall in love with the scenery, the fishing communities, the trails, and everything else until this day when we traveled the short distance from Corner Brook west to the Bay of Islands. It was heaven on earth with awe-inspiring views virtually all day long. Since we had another two whole weeks on the island, I had to wonder if we had seen the very best or could we be even more gobsmacked.
The temperature in Corner Brook on the west coast of Newfoundland had dropped 20 degrees overnight so, instead of wandering the province’s second-largest city, we decided to stay warm in the car and head west toward the Bay of Islands on the coast.
Frenchman’s Cove Beach:
What an apt name for the islands as there was literally one island after another in the bay.
Spotting the colorful sign and chairs at The Roost in the small fishing village of York Harbour was all I needed to ask Steven to stop so I could explore the artists’ cooperative.
As popular as rug hooking had been in the Acadian village of Cheticamp on the west coast of Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island, we discovered the craft was even more in favor in Newfoundland. I couldn’t resist buying the hooked mat under the basket below as a token of our visit.
As it must have been close to 45 or 50 years ago when I had last seen items made of sealskin, I spent a while admiring the purses, gloves, etc in the shop. It was a little shocking to read later that the US Humane Society describes Canada’s annual commercial seal hunt as “the largest slaughter of marine mammals on the planet.” One of the two areas where Canada’s commercial seal hunt occurs was on the ice floes off the Gulf of St. Lawrence west of Newfoundland. The primary target of the commercial seal hunt is harp seals, with 97 percent of those killed being pups under three months of age, with wooden clubs.
Seals are killed primarily for their fur, which is used to produce fashion garments and other items. No seal items are allowed to be brought legally into the US because the government doesn’t approve of the hunt.
I could have sat forever taking in the view outside the shop.
Captain Cook Drive on the south shore of the Bay of Islands was indeed named after the famous South Seas explorer who first refined his surveying and mapping skills along this part of Newfoundland’s coast in the 1760s. His charts of the Bay of Islands were so accurate still now that, remarkably, they could be used today!
We followed the Cook Heritage Trail to the observation deck to get a better view of the beach.
We then followed the trail back to the beach via the far more challenging Governor’s Stairway.
On a peninsula between York Harbour and Lark Harbour was Blow Me Down Provincial Park which provided magnificent views of the mountains of the same name. Across the bay was Lark Harbour, our next destination.
Following the road to the very end, we reached the community of Lark Harbour where it seemed its cemetery was larger than the fishing village.
Steven and I were very surprised by the uniformity of siding on virtually all the homes in each of the fishing villages. Never had we seen the exterior of all homes looking identical.
We followed the Bottle Cove Boardwalk along the shores of the bay from the village.
The Blow Me Down Mountains:
This was definitely our first time hiking and coming across a boat that had been cut in half even though it was just to add interest to the trail!
From the Bottle Cove Trail, we accessed another trail for even more glorious views.
If you click on the photo, you’ll notice the sign honored Captain Cook.
The trail was so steep and so uneven we held onto the rope for dear life!
We kept saying to ourselves, “It doesn’t get more beautiful than this!”
We could see across the bay the harbor in Lark Harbour where we’d been earlier.
The narrow bench came in handy after the slog uphill.
Down, down, down we go!
Back in Lark Harbour, we were so relieved to find the only restaurant anywhere on the south shore, Myrtles on the Bay, open for lunch as we were so hungry.
Steven celebrated with a Black Horse, a local beer, and I with fried chicken that was as good as it gets!
I can’t tell you how many homes we saw while in Newfoundland that had front doors that didn’t reach the ground. Nor were there any paths to the front door – all quite, quite odd. Update on 9/1: My sincere thanks to Lina who commented: “there are multiple theories for this odd Newfoundland phenomena .. folklore suggests they are jokingly called “mother-in-law doors” to discourage visits, others suggest they are elevated for the snow banks that are sure to appear in the winter making exit from them easy.”
From the outport village of Little Port Harbour, we started hiking the Cedar Cove Trail.
We had to be ultra-careful to stay clear of the spikes on these trees.
Another not-so-easy trail!
Unusual features had been attached to trees for some reason.
The trail ended at the almost deserted Wild Cove, another Newfoundland OMG sight that took our breath away!
Diana: Did you and David ever make it to Wild Cove? If so, I wonder if you found it as unbelievably beautiful as we did. It just reinforced what you and others had told us about what we’d love about Newfoundland.
It seemed like an almost never-ending amount of driftwood had come ashore!
We spent a couple of blissful hours just taking in the views at Wild Cove and hated to leave but time and annoying midges forced us to head back to Corner Brook.
Another house with an ‘unusual’ front door!
Corner Brook was home to a massive lumber mill and an …
avante-garde City Hall:
We stayed outside of the city at the Marblewood Resort which attracted ski enthusiasts from all over Atlantic Canada.
Next post: Heading further north on the west coast to Rocky Harbour via the Tablelands.
Posted on August 31st, 2022, from our home in Denver hours after returning from a fun road trip to Taos, New Mexico, with a friend.
Oh how I love some of the names of places in Newfoundland (Blow Me Down) and the iconic elevated front doors to nowhere … there are multiple theories for this odd Newfoundland phenomena .. folklore suggests they are jokingly called “mother-in-law doors”, to discourage visits, others suggest they are elevated for the snow banks that are sure to appear in the winter making exit from them easy. There are always great stories attached to Newfoundland sites; just ask the locals about anything you note and you’ll get a great tale! Love Lina xoxo
4 thoughts on “6/9/22: Corner Brook – Bay of Islands & the Unbelievably Beautiful Wild Cove”
Stunning place, I can see why you guys loved it so much. It has reminded me a lot of Norway, even the houses look quite similar.
Beautiful photos ❤️
Sorry to be late replying to your nice comment, Gilda. I would love to return to Norway someday so I could also see the similarities you picked up on.
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Those front doors are indeed very intriguing. Michaela (5ft nothing tall) says she’d never be able to get in her own home! Shocking reading about the seal trade – I really thought such things no longer took place in the western world. Awful. Dramatic scenery throughout though, and yes we laughed at “the Blow Me Down Mountains” too- great name.
Thanks for the comments on several fronts, Phil. I was of two minds regarding whether to include the information on the ongoing seal hunts from a non-Canadian perspective without also providing the opposing view. In the end, though, I felt comfortable with how I left that part of the post. Glad that you were able to smile about the unusual doors and the name of the mountains so it wasn’t all serious.