Friday, September 20, 2013

Nippers Harbour to Notre-Dame Junction

I left Mom's Place B & B in La Scie and headed for the turn off to Nipper's Harbour.

Blanche had gone ahead in her car.  I parked my bike on the side of the road in a pull out, and climbed in with Blanche.  She's from Nipper's Harbour and needed to check her mail, and she kindly agreed to show me around.

Nipper's Harbour is a very small community these days. At one time, back at the turn of the century, it had about 250 people living there and was one of the only communities in the region that could boast of having a hotel. Cod was salted here and shipped around the world and the community became known as the Capital of Green Bay as it became the economic hub for the region.

Originally settled in 1804, this community was noted for it's fishing; salmon, cod and turbot.

In the early 1,900's a mine shaft was drilled into the ground to see if this land could produce the mineral wealth that others in the Baie Verte Peninsula had. None was found.

In 1950, the government built a bait tank which held frozen squid, caplin and herring. Personal refrigeration was scarce and many of the locals used the bait tank to store personal meats.

In 1960, a road was finally pushed through into the town, until then the most common ways of getting there were coastal steamers in summertime and snowshoes or dogsleds in wintertime.

Nipper's Harbour had a thriving inshore fishery until it was closed in 1990.
It then suffered the fate of many Newfoundland fishing towns. Today the population is about 99.

The road to get to Nippers Harbour is gravel for about 12 KM's and switches to pavement about 5 KM's out.  The region is so rugged and rocky.

The road into Nippers Harbour hardly prepares you for the view as you enter it.

One of the must views in Nippers Harbour is St. Marks Anglican church. It is well over 100 years ago and its use was abandoned 20 years ago. It is surprisingly in very good shape and was, according to Blanche, sold to developers who have done nothing with it.

St. Marks Anglican churchSt. Marks Anglican churchSt. Marks Anglican church

 It looks like mass was held here just last week not 20 years ago!

What a gorgeous old church St. Mark's is!
old church St. Mark's
One of the other of three churches in Nippers Harbour
I walked up the one hiking trail to check out the scenery and I was captivated.
The Nippers Islands were very visible, and the view got better as I went up.

The "Lion" is a weather shaped rock that resembles those of the Chinese style lion guardian statues you see in many pictures from China.

Nippers Harbour from the walking trail
The view of Nippers Harbour from the walking trail
Heading down to the harbour area
Heading down to the harbour area...

I headed up the trail to see where the water fall began. The board walk is in very good shape and can take you much higher than I got to, but I was running out of time.

water fallwater fall

Every little harbour town in Newfoundland has its charm, but Nippers Harbour is a serenely special place and I for one would love to see tourism flourish here.  It's simply gorgeous, but there are no real meaningful amenities like B & B's or other types of accommodations, nor is gas available here.   There is a convenience store to grab microwave sandwiches and cold beverages from, however.

I want to thank Blanche Perry from Mom's House B & B in La Scie (who happens to live in Nipper's Harbour), for taking me on a tour of her gorgeous community.

It's the kind of place that inspires songs, poetry and paintings.
I hope it's around for a long time for visitors to enjoy.

Blanche and I said our goodbyes and I headed off towards Grand Falls - Windsor.

I was hoping to take in one or two of the museums there before I headed to the BlueWater Lodge and Retreat at Notre-Dame Junction.

I got rained on hard which slowed me down immeasurably and by the time I hit Grand Falls Windsor, the museums I had wanted to visit were closed.

The Mary March Provincial Museum is reported to have a wonderful collection of rare coins the exemplify some of Canada's first money. They also have exhibits on Relics of Disaster - all about sunken ships and another on the 1914 Sealing Tragedy when 79 sealers from the SS Newfoundland perished after two nights on the ice fields.

I would have to wait to learn more about the Sealing Disaster until I arrived at the Barbour Heritage Village at Newtown

Mary March Provincial Museum
24 St. Catherine Street
Grand Falls-Windsor, NL
(709) 292-4522

The Loggers Life Museum was another museum I was interested in seeing and it had JUST closed when I got there.

Reportedly here you can visit a recreation of a 1920's loggers camp and try your hand at some of the skills needed to be a logger.

To find out about the Loggers Life Museum
Exit 17 off Trans Canada Highway, Grand Falls-Windsor

Foiled from visiting the museums, I headed to my accommodations for the evening, the BlueWater Lodge and Retreat at Notre Dame Junction.

My first impression of this place was the road going in and it was not a favorable one, the gravel road was actually rocks, large rocks, the kind that can cut tires not a pit run type of gravel that is smooth and packs easily. It was rough as all get out.
I was not feeling very confident going in here and so I stopped about half way up the almost 2 kilometer driveway and called the Lodge.  I expressed to the owner who I was and that I was on a street bike and having a bit of a challenge getting in there.

The comment that came back to me over the phone is, well there are two other street bikes here.
I said awesome, I am a handicapped, female rider on a bike that is top heavy and I am fatigued and would appreciate having some back up just in case.  "No problem" came the reply!

A few minutes later, the owner and one of the riders came up the road to meet me.

They followed me into the Lodge, I rode it all the way in, but was grateful for the back up just in case. 
The gent who had driven up with the owner expressed that he and his buddy had ridden in here and that even though they both ride Dual Sports, they found this road challenging on their street bikes too.

Sometimes riding on different terrains can cause us anxiety, especially on street bikes, it was a much needed confidence booster to hear a fellow rider accustomed to riding on rough terrain had found it challenging as well.

The ride into here might have been challenging but it was more than worth it as I would soon find out!
Blue water Lodge
As I unpacked my bike I drank in the surroundings.  The beautiful gardens, the beautiful trees and flowers,  the magnificent log building. I walked around taking photos and then the rain caught up to me again.
Beautiful gardensBeautiful gardens

Inside the lodge, Gary Sargent, the co-owner, greeted me and gave me the information on my room.
He had already had my bags in my room for me!

I had asked about Internet as I had planned on doing some uploading to the Eastlink server, but dial up connected to their own computer was the only thing available and so, I chose to do some writing later that night.  At first I was anxious at the lack of connectivity, but I soon felt that anxiousness melt away.

As I looked around the lodge I took in the fact that they display a lot of local artists work.

My room was comfortable with a reasonable amount of space and an amazing view from the window.
The private bathroom had a shower with wonderful water pressure and lots of hot water.

Every room in the place has a different theme, mine was the Balsam Sunset I believe.
Very peaceful and tranquil. I needed that.  No TV, no radio, no Internet to work by!
My room
My room
The private bath
The private bath is reasonable in size and the shower had ample hot water and pressure.
A double room
A double room
Cloud berryBirchy Ridge
Pine Hills
The theme of each room is described on handpainted panels
I headed out to the dinning room to eat and the 4 riders that were there invited me to join them.
They were at a large table for six and I was at a table for one.
There was one other gentleman staying here and he had his own table for dinner.

The choices for dinner were salmon glazed with maple or chicken breast in a cream sauce.
Both came with a garden fresh salad and dinner buns.

For dessert we were offered a rich chocolate cake served with whipped cream.
We were served our dinners by Gary who was very formal and polite.
His wife, Winifred is the cook.
And can this lady cook.

The salad was refreshing and light, the buns were crispy on the outside, light and chewy on the inside.

The chicken I ordered was tender, juicy and had this flavor I couldn't identify fully. I could taste the whiskey in the sauce, but what was the breast stuffed with? None of the other riders could identify the taste either. It was so subtle, but definitely there.

Brie and apples...and with the whiskey cream sauce shot through with peppercorns, the chicken was positively delightful.

The vegetables came from their garden and were steamed to perfection.

And the dessert was melt in your mouth delicious. The chocolate was rich without being over sweet and the whipped cream was the perfect accompaniment as was the rich cup of coffee served afterwards.
After some lively discussion with the other riders, I headed off to my room and they to theirs.

The bed was comfortable and the room peaceful.
My cell phone worked in a sporadic kind of way and since I was pretty much off the grid, I set about tagging photos, clearing camera chips and writing.

At about 10 pm, I shut the lights off and drifted off into a peaceful sleep and woke up feeling refreshed.

The view from my room gave me pause for thought. It's so beautiful, even on an overcast morning.

I repacked my bags and bike and headed off to the dining room for breakfast.
I again joined the two couples of riders for a meal. We were not offered a choice for breakfast other than the type of toast we wanted.  We were served bacon covered with poached eggs and covered in cheese that had been baked.  The jams on the table came from the table grapes and other berries grown on the property. I chose the white grape jelly and it literally popped with that refreshing taste that only white grapes offer.  I was fueled up and ready to ride.

I was a wee bit concerned with the skies that were still pretty overcast and the wind not to mention the 2 KM's of very course gravel I had to traverse to get back to the highway, but I also knew I had done it once and could do it again. Slow and steady, I headed out.

Pretty soon I found myself heading towards Twillingate, Newton and Greenspond....

To find out more about the BlueWater Lodge and Retreat visit:

BlueWater Lodge and Retreat
Winifred & Gary Sargent
P.O. Box 1449, Lewisporte, Newfoundland,
Canada, A0G 3A0
Telephone 709-535-3003 

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