A Travellerspoint blog

Cape St. Francis Lighthouse, Pouch Cove

I began my new blog with the Fort Amherst Lighthouse since it was the first Newfoundland lighthouse that I saw after our arrival in Newfoundland. I will do the rest geographically, starting with the Avalon Peninsula which I will do clockwise, starting at the top of the Northeast Avalon. First up will be our own little lighthouse at Cape St. Francis.

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In my last post I told the story of how we had read an ad in the Globe & Mail and ended up on a 10-day vacation in Newfoundland. I will now tell the story about how two “come from aways” now live down the road from a Newfoundland lighthouse.

On our second morning in St. John’s, Po and I were having breakfast at our B&B and discussing our plans for our last day in the city before embarking on our self-drive tour. Po mentioned a place called Pouch Cove (pronounced pooch cove). She wanted to check out their artist residency. A fellow guest sitting next to us immediately chimed in to tell us about his visit to Pouch Cove the previous day and about the nice café with a really large (fat) resident cat. He highly recommended the town and the café.

So, easy decision. After breakfast we headed up the road to Pouch Cove which is about 25 kilometres north of St. John’s. We took the scenic road along the coast (officially called the Killick Coast in the tourist information). We passed by Logy Bay, Middle Cove, Outer Cove, Torbay and Flatrock. The scenery was spectacular.

Here are some later images of Logy Bay, Flatrock, and Torbay.
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It was easy to find Pouch Cove.
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We did not find the residency but kept driving until we came to the Rock Crest Cottage café. We got out and met the cat. We later found out his name was Tibbles. By the next year we knew him well, especially Po, who would end up helping the owner, Nora, serve customers. But I am getting a bit ahead of the story.

The Rock Crest Cottage
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We also noted a small single-story house across the road with a for sale sign. After ordering our coffee, we inquired as to the price of the house. After Nora told us the price, I did a rude Toronto thing and mimicked looking into my wallet for the funds. It was about a fifth of the cost of the absolute cheapest house in all of Toronto. That was all it took to plant a seed. We now knew that we could afford to have an ocean view vacation property in Newfoundland. But we had no plans to buy a second house. We already had one in Toronto. But I took a couple of photographs of the house and the view with my new little Nikon camera. You never know….

We headed out for Trinity the next day. I took many photographs. And when I would review them, there would be all the ones of Pouch Cove. And we kept discussing this little house in Pouch Cove.

We spent the last couple of nights of our road trip in Carbonear. Our plan was to return to St. John’s on Friday in order to catch our flight home on Saturday. Friday started quite grey with some showers. Rather then driving along the coast the car just seemed to steer itself back to Pouch Cove. We arrived at the café where Nora met us with a laugh. She knew what was going to happen. We were not the first tourists to decide to buy a house. She gave Po the number of the realtor, Sarah, who agreed to meet us the next day before our flight.

We met at the little white house. It was in rough shape, but Po had seen another for sale sign down the road. Sarah was the listing agent for that house as well. Off we went, Sarah knocked on the door, the unfortunate teenage daughter was hustled out of bed, and we had a quick viewing.

I took some more photographs. There were no clouds in the sky. A Newfoundland pony was grazing in the field in front of the rocky coastline. We both had a feeling of being at home. I could not believe that we had a chance to buy the house with that view.
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Then we flew back to Toronto. A month later we had finalized a deal to buy the house. We had not been looking to buy a vacation house in Newfoundland, did not look at any other towns besides Pouch Cove and only looked at the little white house and the house that we now live in. It was not logical at all. And 14 years later we are still here.

We took possession at the beginning of September and flew out to check out this house that we had barely seen and now owned. We bought folding chairs and a coffee machine at Walmart and slept on an air mattress (with a slow leak).

We came back at Christmas and on Christmas day we drove out to the cape for the first time. We always think about it as “going up to the cape” since it is north. Locals call it “going down to the cape”. But by whatever means you get there or whether you are going up or down, the cape is an incredibly special place.

Beautiful Biscayne Cove was once home to a small fishing community by that name. Like many places here in Newfoundland, it is not pronounced like you think it would be. Instead it is “Bissen” or “Biscan”. Several families lived there. There was a church and a school. During the second world war the families packed up. Most moved into Pouch Cove and some brought their houses with them. They were cash poor, so it was better to take apart their homes, built with lumber they had cut themselves, then to tear them down and build from scratch.

Some of the homes were left there and are now family cottages. There is also a caboose. Our friend Helen lives there in the summer.
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It was cold and blustery that Christmas afternoon. It usually is. We were too busy trying to stand up in the wind to really appreciate the place but have been back many times over the years. We have driven, hiked, and once even passed by on a fishing boat. We have seen icebergs, whales, sea otters and seals.

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The lighthouse was put into use in 1877. There used to be a lightkeepers house, but that was torn down in the 90’s after the light was automated. There is a helicopter pad now. The coast guard keeps fencing it off and locals keep tearing the gate apart. Last year the gate was thrown onto the rocks.
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The Biscan Cove Pave hiking trail goes from Pouch Cove to the cape. A new trail, the White Horse Path, goes from the cape to the neighbouring community of Bauline.
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There used to be a foghorn. I loved listening to the horn on foggy nights. It reminded me of listening to trains at night when I was a little boy. Unfortunately, the foghorn has been removed.

A note on the drive to the cape, the road is marked as 4-wheel drive only, but most of the time a regular car is okay, as long as you drive carefully. A tourist mistake is for them to start the drive up the hill, change their minds partway, and then reverse back down. They then forget the curve and end up in the ditch. Once I had to phone a tow truck for a couple of ladies from Alberta. The road is not maintained in the winter, so please do not try. I had to phone a tow truck for someone this past winter. He thought it would be a nice Sunday outing.

Here are some photographs of our beautiful town of Pouch Cove.

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Posted by Bob Brink 18:56 Archived in Canada Tagged lighthouses canada newfoundland pouch_cove

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Comments

Amazing scenery - I can see why it drew you to live here :) And seeing icebergs floating past is something really special!

by ToonSarah

Yes, Sarah, we never get tired of the view. I am thinking that it will not be a big iceberg year. I had hoped that the icebergs could help make up for me being here and not in Russia.

by Bob Brink

Spectacular scenery. The icebergs are amazing.

by Beausoleil

The icebergs are a spring thing, especially in Pouch Cove. Some years we get lots, other years not so many. This year when I was stuck at home with the pandemic we did not get any.

by Bob Brink

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