Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Top Coastal Destination: Avalon Peninsula, Newfoundland

" National Geographic Traveler magazine has selected Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula as its top rated coastal destination.

The magazine’s November issue says the peninsula, the easternmost point in North America, is a "blustery realm" that is home to "brightly painted fishing villages and the lively city of St. John’s."

The magazine says visiting the Avalon is "like going back in time — close-knit communities, a strong local culture reflected in music and art, and unspoiled scenery."

This confirms what I have come to believe over the summer. I have travelled extensively around the Avalon and accumulated many images of the rugged coastline, lighthouses, fishing communities and so much more. Some of the sights are so breathtaking that little can compare. While I have many landscape photos that I may share over time through this site, I have chosen to show you a very unexpected and charming addition to my summer travel experience.

While driving to Witless Bay to go on a boat tour, I noticed a small brook in Mobile with several small boats on it. I hit the break right away. I am quite practiced at doing that because I have slammed on the breaks many times
when birdwatching. When I walked back to the brook, I was so surprised and pleased to see more than a dozen hand-crafted boat models. They were meticulously crafted. When I went down the embankment to get a better look, I was awestruck. There, built into the hillside, was this wonderful miniature fishing stage. There is so much detail showing the fisherman's work. The women are also actively involved in splitting, salting and drying the codfish. This is a wonderful little treasure found quite by accident. There is no fee nor fanfare, just an
artisan who loves his heritage and has chosen to share it in this way.

Two weeks later following a tour to Mistaken Point near Cape Race, I was driving back to the Trans Canada Highway when something small and unusual caught my eye. I hit those brakes again and returned to the spot. I couldn't believe it. Someone had crafted an entire miniature fishing village around a stream. The village had fishing stages, homes, outhouses, laundry handing on the line, a school, a church - everything you can imagine. It must have taken years to build this little community. There were no signs, no advertising, and no barriers. Visitors are welcome to take a stroll through this little community that sits on private property and must be a great source of owner-pride when visitors stand and stare.

It seems to be that these wonderfully crafted, three-dimensional works of art capture the real spirit of the people who inhabit the top coastal destination in the world.

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