North Avalon Peninsula Driving Tour
A short route round the Avalon peninsula can be covered in one or two days, starting at St John's and following the north coast, with its picturesque fishing villages.
Marine Drive, one of the oldest roads in Newfoundland, begins in St John's on Highway 30 and meets Highway 20 in Torbay. There are good views of the Atlantic from several points.
Logy, in North America, means slow or listless, and is also the name given to the big, slow fish caught in this bay.The Marine Sciences Laboratory located in Logy Bay carries out oceanic research, and has guided tours.
Flat Rock, Canada
Flat Rock has a history going back at least to 1689. The village, where the sea has a very heavy swell, has indeed a huge flat rock forming a natural jetty and beach.Flat Rock is also known for its cave containing an altar to the Virgin which brings many pilgrims to the village every year.
Pouch Cove, Canada
There is proof of the existence of Pouch Cove, one of Newfoundland's oldest settlements, as far back as 1611. Its rather perilous harbour offered sanctuary to illegal immigrants in the 17th and 18th c. when permanent settlement was banned.The Community Museum recounts the history of this little place which, like Flat Rock, has a very impressive swell, so that boats have to be hauled out of the water on sledges since there is nowhere for them to anchor with safety.
Portugal Cove, Canada
Close on 30 km (19 mi.) south of Pouch Cove lies one of the very oldest villages in Newfoundland, Portugal Cove, where the inhabitants still mainly rely for a living on fishing (cod and salmon in particular).A ferry from Portugal Cove runs regular service to Bell Island.
Harbour Grace, Canada
Highways 72 and 70 lead onto the Port-de-Grace Peninsula, with its lovely coast and scenic fishing settlements, chief among them being Harbour Grace. This flourishing little town on Conception Bay gets its name from "Havre de Grace", as it was christened by the French in the early 16th c. At one time the second biggest town on Newfoundland, a series of massive fires between 1814 and 1944 slowed down development of this "harbour of grace".It is probably the only place in Canada to have a monument to a pirate. Captain Peter Easton based himself here in 1610 and pressed hundreds of Newfoundlanders into his buccaneer fleet, beating a French squadron in 1611. Eventually, having amassed an immense fortune from plundering the ships of all nations, he retired to Savoie in France as a Marquis. His pirate fort was in the east part of town where the old Customs House (1790) stands today. Now an excellent local museum with a beautiful view of Conception Bay, it has a large local history collection, including model ships, 19th c. furniture, photographs, etc. Harbour Grace also has the oldest stone church in Newfoundland, St Paul's Anglican Church, which was built in 1835.A number of transatlantic flights set out from here, such as the Wiley Post world trip of 1931.
Heart's Content, Canada
Heart's Content, in its lovely setting, was founded in 1650, making it one of the oldest places on the coast.In 1866 the first transatlantic cable reached here, covering a distance of about 4440 km (2760 mi.) from Ireland, and for a century it remained North America's most important relay station, taking 3000 messages a day, until automation led to its closure in 1965.The cable station has been declared a provincial historical site and has been converted into an interesting museum which is open daily in July and August. It tells the story of communications from earliest times to the present, with a separate section dedicated to the transatlantic cable and the role that Heart's Content played in it, plus a replica of the cable station's first office.The 81 km (50 mi.) journey south back to St John's via Highway 80 passes through scenic fishing villages such as Heart's Delight, Cavendish, Whiteway (strange rock formations) and Green's Harbour, picking up the TransCanada Highway at the end of Trinity Bay.