The Kittiwake Coast
The Road to the Isles
The Islands Experience
The Road to the Shore
The Road to the Beaches
Driving Distances
Tourism Links
Site Map
Contact Information

Tourism Books

Newfoundland Books

Newfoundland and Labrador Genealogy


Bookmark and Share

The Road to the Shore



This tour takes you to the historic coastal communities of Gander Bay and northern Bonavista Bay. On the way, you will travel through a wilderness of tall trees, blue lakes and crystal-clear streams. In between the settlements, you will find white sandy beaches that stretch on forever and grassy fields that are perfect for picnics.

It all begins at Gander, home of Gander International Airport, the Crossroads of the World. Milepost 213, as the then-isolated location on the rail line was known, was chosen by the British Air Ministry in the 1930s as the site of a new air base because of its low incidence of fog. The anticipated boom in commercial transatlantic air traffic was replaced by wartime traffic.

During the war years, thousands of aircraft passed through Gander en route from North American factories to the battlefront overseas. In addition to its vital role as the refuelling base for the massive flow of military aircraft, it served as a key base for convoy escort and coastal patrol aircraft. The Commonwealth War GravesCommission Cemetery is just east of town on Route 1.

After the war, Gander became the hub of transatlantic commercial airline routes and the town site was moved from just north of the airport to west of the airport. The old town site is completely overgrown now, except for the paved streets that cut right through the stands of deciduous trees. It's a good place to walk your dog. There's also a seaplane base near the airport.

Like any airport town, Gander has seen its share of tragedy. Perhaps the most mysterious was the 1985 crash of a plane that took the lives of some 259 members of the U.S. 101st Airborne Regiment. They were returning home from peacekeeping duties in the Middle East and their plane had refuelled at Gander. It crashed just after takeoff. The area of the crash is now Peacekeeper Park, about four kilometres east of town on Route 1, where the Silent Witness Memorial stands in memory of the soldiers and crew.

The story of aviation in Newfoundland and Gander is told in the North Atlantic Aviation Museum on Route 1. There are aircraft on display, including a Canadian fighter jet. The international terminal has a variety of exhibits on the history of aviation, including a second floor display of photos and models.

Behind the Visitor Information Centre on Route 1 is Gill's Trail, which provides a great opportunity to get into the woods. The trail has several loops and takes you to the shore of Gander Lake. Gander's winter park - appropriately called The Runway is between Route 1 and gander Lake, and features downhill skiing and snow boarding. Gander also features excellent cross-country ski-trails and a golf course.

Before you start down Route 330, you may want to take Route 1 west for 20 km to the towns of Glenwood and Appleton, home of the Gander Bay boat. These unique craft once took supplies from the rail line down the Gander River to Gander Bay communities. The sturdy boats are still used today by hunting and fishing guides who navigate the river inland. The Gander River is one of the best salmon rivers in the province.

Return to Gander and branch off onto Route 330 to Jonathan's Pond Park which is nestled in a stand of white birch 15 kilometres north of Gander. The park is a favourite haunt of water skiers and salmon anglers. It's also a good place to see the White Admiral and Atlantis Fritillary butterflies.

This scenic tour also takes you through Gander Bay to Carmanville. One of the eeriest attractions along this part of the coast is a rusting ship, the Ahearn Trader, that went aground at Frederickton, at the end of Route 332, in 1960.

Half an hour from Carmanville a road branches off to Ladle Cove and Aspen Cove, two of the prettiest coastal communities along the tour. Aspen Cove, a lobstering community, stretches along the shoreline to the left at the end of 10-minute drive. To the right are Ladle Cove and its old root cellars. A pebble beach and a path stretch along the shoreline. The road is just above the high tide mark. Take a walk here and feel the power of the sea.

At the fishing community of Musgrave Harbour you can visit the Fisherman's Museum. Housed in a building constructed by Sir William Coaker, founder of the Fishermen's Protective Union, this building was the first retail store for fishermen in the area. Just off Musgrave Harbour, the Wadham Islands were used as a navigational guide to the Notre Dame Bay coastline in the early days of sea travel. Captains recited a prose poem to get their bearings from the `Offer Wadhams' Islands, from which the poem took its name. You can obtain details on the area's boat tour at the Spindrift Motel.

There's a long, long beach here and there are several excellent salmon rivers in this area. In winter cross-country skiing and snowmobiling are popular. The beaches attracted migratory fishermen to the area in the 19th century because they offered vast expanses for drying their catch. Today they attract beach volleyball enthusiasts and bird and iceberg watchers.

The municipal park is named for Sir Frederick Banting, the Canadian doctor who helped develop the insulin treatment for diabetes. Banting was killed in a plane crash near the town during World War II. The municipal park also includes an Interpretation Centre which details the various aspects of the Banting plane crash.

Beyond Musgrave Harbour is Deadman's Bay, an exposed stretch of sandy beach that is a treasure trove for beachcombers.

The next town along this shore is Lumsden. Originally Cat Harbour, it was renamed for the Rev. James Lumsden , the Methodist minister in the area in 1885. The community as it stands today is fairly new. Its people were resettled from Lumsden South and Lumsden North. This is a good place to buy fresh lobster in season before you carry on along Route 330. At Windmill Bight Park you will find a number of attractions including a shallow fresh water lagoon that's just right for a family swim, and a sandy beach that is perfect for a moonlight stroll. This is a good place to collect delicious mussels.

Nearby, on the exposed terraces of Cape Freels you can follow in the footsteps of the Beothuks who lived here between 1,200 and 1,700 years ago. Both Cape Freels and nearby Newtown are located along a strip of coast known as oceanic barrens. There's no forest cover and lots of fog, but it's also close to fishing grounds and, in spring, seal herds. Oddly enough, it has cooler summers but milder winters than the rest of Newfoundland. At sea level you'll find arctic-alpine plants growing in the same habitat as various southern species. Only on the oceanic barrens will you find this kind of mix.

Newtown, part of the town of New-Wes-Valley, is a remarkable community just off Route 330 that is built on several tiny islands joined by bridges. Here you will find the architectural gem of the Road to the Shore: a Queen Anne-style house built for Alphaeus Barbour in 1904. It's part of the Barbour Living Heritage Village. The wealth generated from seal hunting and fishing made this grand house possible. The three-storey structure was acquired by the local heritage association and was opened to the public for the first time in 1993.

The house has a unique collection of period furniture and artifacts. Its staircase was built by a specialty carpenter imported from England to do the job. In the foyer are poster-size portraits of King Edward VII and his Queen. Upstairs is a suit Mr. Barbour wore only once: when he had an audience with the king. The extent of the family's business is outlined in a series of ledgers.

Newtown was also the home of Captain Job Barbour, a man with a remarkable story. In November of 1929, he was driven off course in a fierce storm while returning from St. John's to Newtown. After forty-eight days of drifting on the North Atlantic, he arrived at Tobermory, Scotland, where he and his crew were given a fine welcome and his schooner was fitted with an engine for the journey homeward. His is just one daring tale along a coast that is famous for its seafarers.

At Wesleyville you can visit the Bonavista North Regional Museum and learn more about the people of the Northeast Coast, the hearty souls who developed a unique adaptation to a harsh environment. The museum's most notable artifact is a huge, horse-drawn hearse that the town purchased in 1925. There are also aboriginal artifacts and displays on the fishery and the seal hunt.

This area of Newfoundland is featured prominently in the work of the painter David Blackwood. His dark colours and themes reflect lives of struggle and survival.

A few miles past Valleyfield and Badger's Quay (pronounced ‘key’), Route 320 takes you across a causeway to Greenspond. Once a thriving commercial centre, the now quiet town has a history dating back to the late 1600s. Visit the Community Museum, housed in the old courthouse which tells of these first English settlers.

One bit of advice: Greenspond was invented before the automobile, so it's best to park your car and walk around. That's also a sure way to meet the people who live here.

The tour continues as you wind along the coastal highway of Bonavista Bay, past the colourful towns of Wareham, Centreville, Trinity, Dover and Hare Bay. This is another area of the province where a fall tour has the added bonus of fall colours.

In Gambo is David Smallwood Park. Named for the grandfather of the late Premier Joey Smallwood, this park is built on the Middle Brook River, a scheduled salmon river flowing from the interior to Freshwater Bay. The fishing is great here. One of the park's main attractions is a salmon ladder that permits salmon to bypass a waterfall and go upstream to spawn.

Premier Smallwood was born here and there's a lookout on Route 1, appropriately, Joey's Lookout, that provides a great view of the town. Down in the town there's a statue of Joey, and the Smallwood Interpretation Centre devoted to his life and work.

Logging used to be the main industry here, but a major fire in the early 1960s devastated the forests. The area is still famous for its red pine groves. The sandy terrain contrasts with peat bogs recently drained to grow hardy vegetables.

From the highway lookout where Route 320 connects with Route 1, you can look down on a glacial ‘kame’ deposit which flowed off the sides of glaciers 10,000 years ago. This is an excellent photographic vantage point overlooking the entire river valley.

West of this intersection on Route 1 is Square Pond Park. The kids will love the playground and anglers can fish for landlocked Arctic char unique in Newfoundland. The char are more plentiful in winter during ice fishing season. There are also a boat launch and hiking trails.




Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved BNE Web Creations : : Privacy Policy : : Disclaimer : : Terms of Use