The Kittiwake Coast (aka “Road to the Shore”) is a breathtaking, off the beaten path, region situated on Newfoundland’s central north/easterly coast.
Auntie M’s B&B
Auntie M’s in Carmanville is the ultimate country stay, a lovingly preserved salt box home situated on a large beautiful lot. NL art adorns the warm pumpkin colored walls throughout the house. Each well appointed bedroom includes comfy beds, full en-suite bathrooms, and ocean/yard views.
Owner Myra lives next door and is the ultimate host who cooked us a delicious full breakfast. Auntie M’s is that lovely ‘home away from home’ stay.
Noggin Cove Head
Located a mere five minute drive from Auntie M’s, at the end of Main Street, is the Noggin Cove Formation, a Middle Ordovician deposit. This scattering of glacier rock and black fossilized lava rock jutting into the Atlantic is the largest volcanic unit of its kind in the eastern Exploits Subzone. Approximately 1 kilometer thick, it consists mainly of stratified mafic volcaniclastic rocks with subordinate pillowed basalt and black shale.
You can easily spend the day out here, this is also a popular spot with the ‘locals’ during summer months to picnic, hike, and pick wild flowers and berries that grow in abundance here. Noggin Cove Head is a beautifully serene, natural, and wild slice of NL’s coastline.
See this interesting scientific article on Noggin Cove by the Department of Geology, University of New Brunswick.
The Town of Eastport boasts a series of beautiful, nearly interlocking, sandy beaches, with a boardwalk through the forest that takes you to additional beaches nestled in tiny, isolated coves.
Sandy Cove Beach, located near Eastport, is snuggled below sandy forested embankments with beautiful ocean views. Overlooking the beach is a lovely interpretive park with informative panels and a hiking trail that leads to higher elevation lookouts.
Washed Ashore Antiques & Coffee Bar
Washed Ashore, located in Centreville-Wareham-Trinity, is a wonderful place chock full of antiques, local crafts, and oddities. Owner Kirk was equally delightful, we chatted endlessly with him as we had one of his delicious coffees. We could have easily spent the day at his lovely shop, there is nothing contrived here.
Dover Fault Line
Located in the Town of Dover, this is where the ancient continents of North America and Europe collided and then broke apart. Still visible to the eye today, a series of steps took us to the lookout with breathtaking views for miles around.
Modern history and tragedy are also on display here with a plane wreck and a commemorative plaque in honor of lost fishermen. There is also an interpretive center at the town hall with information about the fault and history of the town.
Note Be sure to drive further into town to view the beautiful cultural murals on display harborside.
The Town of Gander is steeped in aviation history, playing a pivotal strategic role in both transatlantic flight and the allies WW2 effort. Their North Atlantic Aviation Museum offers an amazing presentation of flight history from communications, espionage, fashion, and regrettably, tragedy, including that fateful day of September 11, 2001, when the town opened their homes to thousands of stranded passengers. Particularly poignant is a billboard of thank-you letters and a portion of the World Trade Centre’s structural beam. A walk about the museum grounds is also a must to view various planes on display.
Silent Witness Memorial
On our trip to Gander, we also visited the Silent Witness Memorial, a tranquil park located 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) east of town, just off the Trans Canada Highway (Route 1). The memorial and park are dedicated to 256 individuals who lost their lives in the Arrow Air Crash.
Arrow Air Flight 1285 was a DC-8 jetliner bringing American troops from Cairo, Egypt, to their home base in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, via Gander. On the morning of Thursday, December 12, 1985, just after takeoff, the plane lost power, crashed, and burned half a mile from the Gander runway, killing all on board. As of 2020, it remains the highest death toll of any aviation accident on Canadian soil.
Gander Bread Box Bakery & Cafe
Brightly lit with funky colours, Gander Bread Box is passionate about their food and work hard to maintain their impeccable reputation. This place is arguably one of the best bakeries/cafes in NL with great prices, menu variety, and warm welcoming service.
Our orders were toutons and molasses and a chicken wrap (did I mention they have an all day breakfast). Before we left, we also purchased a loaf of homemade cinnamon bread and a box of Rocky Road, all of their food is exceptionally delicious.
Greenspond is one of Newfoundland’s oldest communities (first settled in the 1690’s), that became a major trading port due to its location on the north coast and its proximity to major sea lanes. Once known as the “Capital of the North”, Greenspond is connected to ‘mainland’ Newfoundland by a causeway (only since 1985).
This ‘island off the island’ experience was a definite highlight of our Kittiwake Coast journey. Greenspond is a breathtaking natural and cultural landscape that easily rivals other tourist hot-spots around the province. We descended on the Greenspond Trail, which is an easy hike that took us 2 hours to complete and which follows roughly half of the island’s coastline.
After our island hike, we decided to stop into Ida’s Place, a tea house situated in a centuries old, lovingly preserved saltbox heritage home. Upon our arrival, Ida and her mom, who cook everything fresh from scratch here, welcomed us with open arms.
Located ‘on the point’, as ‘locals’ like to call it, Ida’s offers one of the best vantage points on the island, overlooking the ocean from the front and bordering the harbour in the back.
Given the beautiful weather, we decided to eat on the front patio, but inside is equally enticing with quaint tables, window views of both the harbor front and ocean, and historic artwork adorning the walls.
Before we left Greenspond, we decided to take a stroll down to the waterfront. A jaunt here is truly a return to yesteryear, with colourful, character rich, heritage homes sitting atop narrow, rocky strips of land.
Beothuk Interpretation Centre
Beothuk Interpretation Centre, located in Boyd’s Cove, is one NL’s newer provincial historic sites (only opening its doors in 1995). The centre is a world class cultural, historical, and natural museum which marks another heart-breaking, dark chapter in European-Indigenous relations.
Among the exhibits for viewing here are exquisite artworks, recovered artifacts, and sculptures by renowned Newfoundland artist Gerald Squires, in addition to, human-size Beothuk models and scale models of Beothuk traditional villages, all of which brought us back to a vanished people and culture.
Outside the centre is a beautiful 1.5 kilometer (1 mile), 20 minute, easy walking trail through the forest which leads first to a viewing platform and then onward to the village site. Discovered in 1981, the site is where the Beothuk people lived 300 years earlier, until, ultimately, Tuberculosis and skirmishes with European settlers led to their demise.
A highlight of the trail is a Beothuk statue, another beautiful work by Gerald Squires, as well as, marine life and plant life interpretive panels which line the trail.