- Northern California
- Colorado Rockies
- 1 Week in Quebec
- Southeast Coast
- Graduates' XC Trip
- NH Backpacking
- Martha's Vineyard
- Yosemite & Nevada
- Southern Alaska
- Colorado & Utah
- Canadian Maritimes
- Best of Utah
- Southern Loop
- Pacific Northwest
- Midwest & Rockies
- Los Angeles to NYC
- East Coast Trips
- RV Rentals
Rocky Harbor, NFL
Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - 12:30pm by Lolo
55 miles and 1.5 hours from our last stop - 1 night stay
After leaving the south section of Gros Morne, we continued north on the Viking Trail (Route 430) to the village of Rocky Harbour. I’m certainly glad that we stocked up for the week in Corner Brook, because even though this was the tourist center of the park, there really wasn’t much here, just a small grocery store, a liquor store, and a few small hotels and campgrounds. This, rather than Corner Brook, was more of what I expected Newfoundland to be like, and I mean that in a positive way. The villages and the people of Newfoundland are very quaint and real, which is quite refreshing.
Right outside of town along the road to Norris Point, we found a nice campground set on a pretty mountain lake, called Spirity Lake Campground. The weather was still pretty lousy, but the rain had improved to a light mist so we were optimistic that we would eventually get to see this beautiful island in the sun.
We spent the rest of the day enjoying the campground facilities. Andrew, who is very into track, did a couple of laps on the “Moose Path” around the lake, Herb and Tommy tried their luck fishing in the lake, and I dealt with our first laundry facility in 10 days.
The next morning we were quite excited to see that the sun was finally shining. We went for a swim in the lake—so that I could say that I swam in Newfoundland—and then the boys rented a paddle boat to explore the lake. I spent the hour while they were out in the boat talking to a girl that worked in the campground, another very friendly “Newfie.” She certainly knew a lot more about life in the U.S. then I did about life in Newfoundland, and it was quite interesting to hear her perspective on U.S. politics. As we were speaking, I could see the boys' paddle boat antics out of the corner of my eye and I hoped that no one else could. For some reason, one or sometimes even both of them, would dance around on the front of the paddleboat and then go tumbling into the water—not something that happens often on a paddleboat. Then I saw them peddling ferociously to see how far they could drive the boat up on the opposite shoreline. I was feeling a little bit like a crazy American at this point, or at least like the mother of some. Oh well, they do know how to have a good time.
Since the sun was shining, we headed to Photographers Point Overlook in Norris Point to enjoy the views of Bonne Bay and the Tablelands. Almost as good as the view was the chance to talk to the locals that were hanging around the nearby Jenniex House, a Newfoundland home that is now a kind of small museum. In the house, you can buy a “Newfie mug-up”, which consists of a mug of tea and a snack. I’m not sure if that was what attracted the locals or just the chance to meet and talk to people, which is something they seem to love to do. It was here that I met my personal, all-time favorite “Newfie,” an extremely friendly and talkative elderly gentleman that addressed my as “Me Love.” He was absolutely delightful. I was quite surprised to learn that he had a better knowledge of U.S. history and politics than most of the people I knew back home. In my narrow-mindedness, I had expected the people in these small villages to be backwards and not very sophisticated or educated. Boy was I wrong.
Our next stop in the Rocky Harbour area was the Lobster Cove Head Lighthouse at the entrance to Bonne Bay. Although there is no longer a lighthouse keeper, the keeper’s house is still there and it is open as a park interpretive exhibit. We spent some time in the small museum and then went outside to clamber around on the rocks by the lighthouse.
Having seen most of the Rocky Harbour area, we got back on the Viking Trail and headed north to Shallow Bay, the northernmost part of Gros Morne, where we had camping reservations for the next two nights.
The village of Rocky Harbor along Route 430 (The Viking Trail) has the most tourist services of any village in or near Gros Morne, but that isn’t saying much. The main national park visitor center, which is just south of the village, contains interesting exhibits and films on the park’s geology and wildlife as well as lots of information on exploring the park.
South of Rocky Harbour and the Visitor Center is the village of Norris Point, where there is a spectacular view of Bonne Bay and the Tablelands from the Photographers Point Overlook, next to the Jenniex House. The Jenniex House is a functional Newfoundland home maintained and operated by the Norris Point Heritage Committee. Stop in for a "Newfie mug-up" (mug of tea and a snack). Other things to do in Norris Point include whale watching cruises and the aquarium at the Bonne Bay Marine Station.
North of Rocky Harbor, off of Route 430, is the picturesque Lobster Cove Head Lighthouse, which has marked the entrance to Bonne Bay since 1897. The light is now automated, but the lighthouse keeper’s house is open as a park interpretive exhibit, chronicling a history of life along the Newfoundland coast.
There are several commercial campground in Rocky Harbour as well as two national park campgrounds nearby. The Berry Hill National Park Campground is 3 miles north of the village near the Lobster Cover Head Lighthouse. It has 152 sites. Another 4 miles north of Berry Hill is the Green Point National Park Campground, a small 31-site campground on a cobble beach.
Rocky Harbor location map