The Coastal Drive

“And on the eighth day, after a good rest, God created Newfoundland”

It is hard to find the adjectives to describe just how beautiful this place is. It’s like nowhere I have ever been before. Words like spectacular, breathtaking, jaw-dropping, stunning, only hint at the beauty of this province.  It took all of five minutes after driving off the ferry for me to bring to mind the words of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz “Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.”  I don’t know what I expected Newfoundland to be like, but nothing prepared me for what it is actually like – towering mountains, lush valleys, and vistas that make you wonder if this province is a portal to heaven itself.    I have had the privilege in my life of driving through the Rockie mountains, around the Cabot Trail, along the Klondike Highway, and on the road north of Superior, but this is something very unique.   It falls into the category of, “you have to see it, to believe it.” 

I can well understand why people say that Newfoundland is Canada’s greatest treasure.

After arriving on the island, I drove two hours to Corner Brook, and by the time I arrived at the Comfort Inn, I knew I was in love (with Newfoundland, not the Comfort Inn, but the Comfort Inn is nice too).  Corner Brook might just be the nicest city in Canada.  Nestled between two massive mountains, on the shores of water that stretches on forever, and protected by forests greener than a leprechaun’s vest, it has found the sweet spot for all that we love about our country.  It is no wonder it is rated as one of the best places in Canada to live. Sadly, I didn’t have time to explore it like it needed to be explored, I had to get back on the road the next morning because I was driving to St. Anthony at the northern most tip of Newfoundland. This six hour drive would take me to the heart of Viking territory!

The drive to St. Anthony was an interesting one to say the least.  It started by going through Gros Morne Park.  I will say more about that later, as I will be spending more time there at the end of the trip. Sufficed to say, WOW!!!!!!!!  From there, the highway threaded itself along the coast, going in and out of tiny outports with names like “Savage Cove”, “Sandy Cove”, “Lobster Cove” and my favourite, “Nameless Cove” (I figured the early explorers were running out to ideas by the time they got here).  Each of these communities hugged the shore, as if their life depended on what the ocean had to offer.  I suppose they do.  And I noticed something else when I passed through these Coves, there were no fences between the houses.  None.  Not a single one.  All the homes were built close to each other, with nothing to divide one from the other.   In Ontario we like to delineate our properties, and claim our space, but not so in the outports of Newfoundland.  It makes sense. Survival here requires a communal mentality, a need to rely on others.

When I finally got to St. Anthony, it was rainy and foggy and only 9 degrees.  I found my hotel and asked about the Viking ruins. She told me they are about a 45 minute drive out of town.  She suggested I wait until tomorrow.  I think she’s right.  It’s been a lot of driving, so I am going to find a restaurant that serves seafood, and bathe in my new found love for new found land.