A Travellerspoint blog

Lighthouses of the Northern Peninsula

Keppel Island, Point Riche, Flowers Island, Cape Norman and Fox Point Lighthouses

By this point in your tour of Newfoundland, you might be out of vacation time and need to drive your rental car to Deer Lake to catch a flight home. You would be leaving with great memories of St. John’s, Bonavista, Fogo Island, Gros Morne, and the many other beautiful places along the way.

But maybe you have a few days remaining. Wonderful, because there are still more fantastic places to visit in our beautiful province.

Up the Northern Peninsula we go.

The next big stop on your Newfoundland tour will be the former Viking settlement at L’anse aux Meadows, which sits on the top of the peninsula. It will take you a bit over 5 hours to do the drive on the two-lane road that goes along the Straight of Belle Isle.

But I think you should stop along the way. You can check out some lighthouses and thrombolites, and maybe a shipwreck.

With its rugged coastline and stormy weather, Newfoundland and Labrador has seen hundreds of shipwrecks. Before leaving Gros Morne, we stopped at the remains of the SS Ethie. It sits just south of Cow Head. The Ethie was a steamship that serviced the Northern Peninsula and the Labrador Strait. The ship ran aground in December 1919.

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We did not get great weather when we drove through this area in July 2010, especially when I was taking the photos of these next lighthouses.

Keppel Island lighthouse is in Port Saunders, a town just south of our destination that day, Port au Choix.

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From there we drove to the Port au Choix National Historic Site where one could take a nice hike on the limestone barrens and check out the shoreline fossils. With the fog and drizzle, we did neither, but I was able to take photographs of the Point Riche Lighthouse.

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After our night in Port au Choix we took the ferry to Labrador. That will be a future post. But for now, I will assume that we are driving up the peninsula, with our next stop, Flower’s Cove. We had heard all about Flower’s Cove from a charming 90-year lady (mother of the owner) at our B&B in L’Anse Amour in Southern Labrador. She had lived most of her life in Flower’s Cove, which was tantalizingly close, only about 15 kilometres away across the Strait of Belle Isle, but a few hours away by road and ferry.

Our friend told us all about Thrombolites. They are rare fossils, about 650 million years old, and are only found here and in Western Australia.

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The lighthouse is on an island.

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Old rusting fishing boats suggest a more prosperous time.

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I have no idea if the views from the Cape Norman Lighthouse are nice. It is likely, but we could barely see the lighthouse. The terrain at Cape Norman did look interesting through the fog.

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From there it is a short drive to our destination at L’anse aux Meadows, which is a National Historic Site, as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It contains the excavation of an 11th-century Viking settlement and is the earliest evidence of Europeans in North America. The site includes dwellings, a forge, and workshops. There are Vikings there to tell you stories. There are eight turf structures of the same style as those found in Greenland and Iceland from the same period.

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This sculpture is the Meeting of Two Worlds and is a collaboration of two artists, Richard Brixel and Luben Boykov.
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There are lots of moose in the area.

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We spent two nights at a B&B in the tiny community of Hay Cove.

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Root Cellar
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There we experienced the typical Newfoundland B&B experience which is about as far from an anonymous hotel experience as it gets. When we checked in, we were given a warm welcome and told that supper was available. We had planned to eat at a highly rated restaurant down the road but decided that we could do that the next night. We thoroughly enjoyed a family style meal of cod with the other B&B guests. We were then told that moose was on the menu for the following evening and gave up on the fancy restaurant plan.

We had a Viking for a fellow guest.

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During supper we were told of a big iceberg in the area. Our hostess arranged two places for us on a tour boat out of Saint Lunaire-Griquet. It was a good thing that we had a reservation, since we arrived to find that two ladies were ready to take our places if we did not show. They went away disappointed.

It was a foggy outing, but maybe it was good to get some moody photographs of an iceberg in the fog. Maybe. The sun was trying hard to shine through.

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At one point I could not find my wife. I then looked up and saw her up with the captain.

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From there we drove to St. Anthony, where with the sun now shining, we enjoyed a great hike at the Fox Point Lighthouse.

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We also visited the various Grenfell Historic Properties where we learned about the work of Dr. Wilfred Grenfell. Dr. Grenfell is renowned for his work in bringing health care to the people of Northern Newfoundland and Labrador after arriving from England in 1892. Dr. Grenfell was often the first doctor to visit remote outports. He worked to establish hospitals, schools, and orphanages.

There is a walking trail up Tea House Hill where Dr. Grenfell and his wife are buried. There is a great view of the town and harbour.

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The Jordi Bonet Murals grace the rotunda of the Charles Curtis Memorial Hospital. The artist, originally from Spain, became a major Quebec artist even though he had lost his right arm at the age of nine. His work adorns many public spaces including the Montreal Metro and JFK Airport in New York City.

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We left Hay Cove with a parting gift of moose sandwiches to eat on the way. This was a thank you for us taking our hostess to the grocery store the day before. Her husband was off fishing (commercial type, not trout), so she needed a ride. If you are looking for an anonymous stay, do not book into a Newfoundland B&B. But if you want to have a nice people experience as you interact with your hosts and other guests, then do it. We have had some really great experiences.

Posted by Bob Brink 12:22 Archived in Canada Tagged lighthouses canada newfoundland

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Comments

I"ll not get to see these lovely places in person, but i"ve been with you in spirit. Thanks for your blogs. Alec.

by alectrevor

Happy to share it with you, Alec.

by Bob Brink

Absolutely wonderful Bob. What an amazing part of the world you live in. Your photos are fantastic too. 😀

by katieshevlin62

Thank you, Katie. Yes, our home is a special place.

by Bob Brink

The Thrombolites sounds fascinating. Are they not fenced off to stop people walking on them?

And I love the sound of your B&B - I'll be asking for the details if we do get to visit the area one day!

by ToonSarah

Sarah, I can provide you details for "when" you visit, but since it has been 10 years, I wonder if the same owner is there.

by Bob Brink

Ah yes, good point Bob!

by ToonSarah

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