You could never say that Steven and I are averse to road trips having just completed a 13,000-plus-mile one over the last three-plus months. However, much as we fell in love with the island of Newfoundland, we did find the road conditions from the northwest tip all the way to the center particularly daunting. We did luck out spotting another moose and enjoyed a couple of brief rest stops as well as some beautiful views so all was not for naught!
It was a daunting drive ahead of us as Steven and I left Gunner’s Cove near the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula for Grand Falls-Windsor in the center of the island of Newfoundland as it was a full seven hours away without any stops. Normally, we’d have no issues with ‘only’ a seven-hour drive except the condition of the roads here wasn’t quite up to snuff.
Shortly after we started our trek south, we passed a mini farm where local residents had planted vegetables in the limited arable land beside the highway.
We were pretty excited seeing our second moose of this trip as so many people we talked to hadn’t yet come across one. This one was near Northwest Arm.
When we’d stopped in Flower’s Cove a couple of days previously to see the unique thrombolites, we hadn’t taken the time to see the unusually named Skin Boot Church. We didn’t want to miss this last opportunity to view the church.
After many pairs of skin boots were sold for the church’s building fund, Skin Boot Church, also referred to as St. Barnabas Anglican Church, was built in the summer of 1920.
With roads like this, it was going to be a very long day before we made it to Grand Falls-Windsor. The conditions reminded me of the book by Judith Viorst I used to read to our third child, Alexander: the road was “terrible, horrible, no good, (and) very bad!” What made it even more difficult was there were no middle line markings.
Though we’d only had the one stop to see the Skin Boot Church, it’d still taken 4.5 hours to drive all the way back to Rocky Harbour on the west coast of the island which we’d left three days before to head so far north. However, we were blessed to get more glorious views of Gros Morne National Park from the East Arm of Bonne Bay.
When we found out the temperature was an almost balmy 71 degrees, we wished we weren’t ‘wasting’ our warmest day yet on the island in the car!
Finally from Rocky Harbour, we headed east and two hours later reached the small town of King’s Point where there was definitely a whale theme going on!
Luckily Steven didn’t mind stretching his legs while I checked out King’s Point Pottery for a few minutes. There were naturally lots of pottery items but there was also some beautiful glassware among other award-winning art.
What caught my attention were these toy mummers that were based on the Newfoundland custom of people wearing a costume to disguise their identity and then going from house to house to visit their neighbors. At each stop, hosts try and guess the identity of the mummers! They would have made a cute conversation piece no doubt but I didn’t think of that when I was there.
The King’s Point Whale Pavilion housed the world’s largest reconstruction of a humpback whale. Unfortunately, the center was closed so we couldn’t see the 50-foot whale skeleton on display except through the windows. I’m sure Steven heaved a sigh of relief as he didn’t want to extend our drive even more.
King’s Point was situated on Green Bay where whales and icebergs are often common sights.
I don’t know about you but I’ve always gotten a hoot out of mileage markers like these!
After driving from the far north of the island all the way to Grand Falls-Windsor in the central part, we lucked out finding Lefty’s Pizzeria & Lounge. Though it didn’t have a lot of atmosphere, it made perfect sense that it did a booming takeout and sit-down business as our pizza was among the best we’d had anywhere!
Remember seeing photos of homes with elevated entries and no stairs from a previous post on western Newfoundland? I smiled again when spotting this house with the ‘door to nowhere’ in town! As my Ottawa friend Lina commented in a previous post, there are different theories about these homes that are unique to Newfoundland. Some believe (jokingly, I hope) they’re “mother-in-law doors” for ushering out unwanted in-laws. The quirky design may also result from new fire regulations that required homes to have two ways of egress even though stairs weren’t included in the law.
Other possibilities included that by leaving off stairs, homeowners might be eligible for a tax break as the house was ‘unfinished,’ or the higher doors would deter thieves. The most logical and accepted rationale, though, was because the island receives so much snow, it conceals ground-level doors. I understand that but that still doesn’t answer the question of why there are no stairs!!
Next post: Visiting the Salmonid and Beothuk interpretation centers as we headed toward the northeast part of the island.
Posted on September 15, 2022, from our home in Denver’s burbs after baking a final twenty loaves of zucchini bread thanks to a friend’s gardening largesse!
- You pack in so much in a day even when that day is spent mainly in the car ; and you are equally productive while at home… mmm mmmm 20 loaves of your fabulous zucchini loaf. xo xo Lina xo xo
- Yup, can’t accuse us of being slackers, Lina! With the 40 plus loaves I made last week, we certainly have enough until next summer now.
5 thoughts on “6/14/22: A Long Day’s Drive from NW-Central Newfoundland”
That’s certainly a taxing drive, especially on those roads – it looks like some of the ones we drove on in North Korea! As to those high up doors, if they are there because deep snow sometimes blocks the ground level doors, presumably that snow is then high enough that people don’t need steps to exit from the upper door, they can just jump down? Although getting back in might be harder, especially if the snow melts a bit while they are out!
More varied delights on the road Annie. You’ve just gotta love the name Skin Boot Church, appreciated the explanation behind the name. What a bummer about the whale centre, I recall similar unfortunate timings around the world over the last 20 years. You win some, you lose some. At least Steven could see the funny side of it. I’m glad the pizza delivered, despite the somewhat unconvincing restaurant facade, sometimes appearances can be deceptive.
Leighton, No way could we miss the Skin Boot Church in Flower’s Cove as the name was too intriguing! Though it was a long drive, I was sure glad we were able to break it up a couple of times. We were certainly fortunate that appearances were deceptive when it came to the restaurant in Grand Falls-Windsor!
Thanks for reading the post and taking the time to comment. It’s much appreciated.
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It’s been fascinating following you along this journey, Annie. I know that feeling – all day in the car when the sun is shining – mixed feelings huh.
Looking on the very bright side, Phil, it could have been raining and miserable while we drove all that way so this was far better! Thanks, too, for reading and commenting.