The Stevens Family Trip to Newfoundland Aug 2015
Aug 6th 2015 (St Johns)
My self and my family recently traveled to Newfoundland as a tribute to my Mom who passed away last year. Wow from day one we where gobsmacked (amazed in Newfoundland lingo) on the beauty everywhere to be seen. Our drive to St John’s for our first 3 days amazed with the rocky mountains, jellybean houses and just vast amounts of raw land. It was like driving into San Francisco as we went up and down the roads, the houses built on downgrades and upgrades joined together and painted the most amazing colours.
We spend our first day touring around the shops along Water Street, looking at our heritage in the shops, as expected lots of very friendly folks ready to help and listen to the details of our adventure and make great suggestions of where to go and what to see. After a long flight (we boarded the plane at 6:30 am and really didn’t sleep with all the excitement. Back to the hotel we went for some R & R in the pool and whirlpool as we waited for the rest of the family who took a longer flight. Derrick, Ingrid, Carly and Sharon arrived later that day and we ventured out to find some Newfoundland fish. We chose the Yellbelly Brewhouse.
The food was just amazing and it was so nice to be with family, we joked and talked about where we where going next, stories about family, our future travels, plans for the next day.
Aug 7th 2015
The next morning all excited about what the day would bring we We got up late and traveled to Petty cove to visit family that we haven’t seen in almost 20 years and a couple of family members we haven’t seen in 30 years, we talked about our memories and parents, events of the past. Joked about our younger days and in all it was a great visit with our hosts
Gerald & Lillian.
Next we traveled to signal Hill and the road trip was amazing, the hills and dips are just an adventure each one, the mountains are breathtaking
And the jelly bean houses ledged so neatly into the hills are a site to see. The Signal hill was a little windy today but the view from a top the light house keepers residence is wow. The guide explained that the keepers would have been highly paid and the luxuries in the home where evident for that time period. We have many photo’s and video’s of this great day.
Aug 8th 2015 (Trinity Bay)
We continued on to a little place called Trinity Bay, again the visuals while driving are simply amazing. We stopped along the way at a truck stop and picked up probably the most amazing fresh home made loaf of Bread I have eaten. We arrived in Trinity Bay after dinner and settled into our rented house. Trinity has been a viable North Atlantic community for hundreds of years. Its defensible harbour, with abundant room for the ships of the day and shores well suited for outbuildings, wharves and fish-flakes, made it ideal for the early migratory fishery. Later, merchants from Poole, England, made Trinity the base for a new-world fishery.
During the 1720’s Trinity was home to about 30 permanent families and host to 200-300 seasonal fishermen per year. By 1869, the population peaked at more than 800 people. Until recently, the inshore, Grand Bank and Labrador fisheries sustained the community. Lumbering, coopering, shipbuilding and other trades have been prominent. Historically, education was an important component of the community, with navigation and business education being taught at Trinity’s Commercial School. Eventually, this school was merged with the grade school into a general High School. The teachers who taught in these schools included some of Newfoundland’s leading educators and scholars.
The preservation of Trinity’s cultural and built heritage has made it perhaps the most notable “heritage community” in the province. Sustainable growth in existing and new businesses, including theatre, is clearly evident as Trinitarians, along with residents of the surrounding communities, play host to thousands of visitors per year.
Trinity is centrally located and generally within an hour’s drive of other points of interest on the Bonavista Peninsula. It is about 3 hours by road from the capital city, St. John’s.
This is Morris Manor, a completely restored home with amazing views of the ocean and all the modern needs of a traveler. Nestled in the beautiful and historic community of Trinity, the Morris Manor is a mid 19th century home (c. 1862) that has undergone extensive renovations while retaining the original Newfoundland character. Originally owed by Nathaniel Morris or “Gentleman Nat” as he was referred to, this house is a two-and-a-half-storied, fully-studded wooden dwelling constructed from local fir. Registered as a heritage home, our guests will be certain to experience the authentic charm of the Morris Manor, while being pampered with all the amenities of our luxury accommodations. Situated in the heart of the community, we invite our guests to experience the Newfoundland culture and spirit Trinity emulates.
Rising Tide Theatre, Trinity Bay
Dark humour is the silver lining of Newfoundland and Labrador’s colonial history. Those early European settlers were the original survivors. Pirates, unpredictable weather, buccaneers disguised as governors, hard labour, wars, privation – all easy targets for the wits and wags who laughed and struggled onward through the fog of mercantile exploitation and inept colonial administration. Laughing in the face of danger may seem unseemly, but when the alternative is tears, you might as well laugh. And that’s been our motto ever since.
That tradition lives on in the narrow lanes of Trinity, Trinity Bay, where each summer actors with Rising Tide Theatre take history to the people with the New Founde Lande Trinity Pageant, the anchor event of the Seasons in the Bight Festival. It’s really a walking tour of the historic village, but it’s also a trip through time, with skits depicting various eras performed on a wharf, in a meeting house, on the beach, and in a church, among other locales. Tag along for an hour and meet some of the colourful characters from our history, and join in the grande finale – the singing of the Ode to Newfoundland in St. Paul’s Church.
The pageant is performed several times a week from mid-June to mid-October. If you arrive on an off-day, there are indoor performances of the current season’s crop of plays at the new theatre. Many of these works have sprung from the hearts and minds of local playwrights. There are also dinner theatre productions, plays for kids, and maybe a premiere of a new work.
But the biggest star of all is the town. Only 300 people live here, but they have more than their fair share of excellently preserved and restored traditional architecture,en historic sites, outstanding scenery and that indescribable feel of being in the centre of something magical. The surrounding area, Trinity Bight, has been the pretty backdrop for the feature film The Shipping News and the TV miniseries Random Passage.
This church in Trinity is filled with so much culture, history and charm, the adjoining cemetery made some really interesting sites as many of the grave stones where so old and aged you couldn’t hardly make out there owners.
We walked the streets of Trinity and spoke with many residents, we where somewhat surprised to learn how many occupants where second or third generation. One couple we meet from Ottawa, ON had an amazing home overlooking the harbor. we chatted about how his Grand Father built the house.
The next leg of our trip was to Burin, the birthplace of our Mom and many relatives. All of us on the trip had this anticipation in our stomachs about going to Burin, we hadn’t been there since we where kids, we know the house where my Mom was born had changed but it didn’t matter because Mom walked the same streets, maybe touched the same tree’s we where seeing. As we arrived at our rented houses
Cook’s Cottage on left is a beautifully restored 150 year old traditional Newfoundland home with breathtaking views of the many islands which line the coast of the Burin Peninsula. Perched high on a cliff over looking the ocean, this perfect getaway provides one a bird’s eye view of the natural beauty of the North Atlantic Ocean.
Skipper’s Landing above right is ideally situated on the hillside, offering spectacular views of the North Atlantic Ocean. Overlooking the many previously resettled islands.
As we drove into Burin the chatter in the cars, the text messages going back and forth about maybe that’s Mom’s house or I remember that house, road or tree. We had no idea at this point where Mom’s house was. We settled into our rented houses and me and my Brother jumped into the car to find some answers. There was a house down the street with a sign “the Mayo’s” I knocked on the ladies door and being in Newfoundland she answered.
We chatted about Mayo’s, that her husbands name was Gerald Mayo but we weren’t sure if or how we could be related. She pointed across the street to a house on the corner with a sign out front “the Footes”. My Aunt Rachael married a Foote so off I went, Dad and Son where chilling on the porch, I asked them about the Mayo homestead and they remembered the house but Dad said his Wife knew all the Mayo’s. She came onto the porch and we had hit pay dirt. She knew my Mom and all the Mayo kids. Me and my brother where gobsmacked when she said the homestead was at the end of the road and down the hill, all this time our rented houses where less than 1/2 km from the homestead. We tried our best to not just head in that direction immediately. We thanked them and jump into the car and down the hill we went, immediately we where back over 40 years before. We stopped the car at the top of the hill and immediately everything became familiar, sure the house had changed, it was now a one storey bungalow as there was a fire years before but the outbuildings and Mosquito cove looked about the same as I remember 45 or so years before.
My Brother Derrick and I noticed a couple of fellows standing in the driveway of Mom’s homestead, we walked up and introduced ourselves and in Newfoundland tradition where immediately in conversation. Mr Beck had purchased the house 21 years before after the fire and removed the second floor. He lived there with his wife and 2 dogs. He is a commercial fisherman which also is what our Grandfather did most of his life.
We headed back up the hill to our rented house and shared the good news we had found the homestead and they wouldn’t believe where it was. We all headed back down the hill and Mr. Beck had no problem at all with us looking around, taking pictures and some more questions.
Me and my brother in front of Mom’s house
Mayo homestead as it looks today
Mosquito Cove beside Mayo Homestead
Amazingly I remember the cove like it was yesterday but in fact it was 43 years ago that I played in the sand in Mosquito Cove. Myself and my cousin Michael used to play around the buildings, fish off the pier and get into all kinds of trouble. We walked up and over the hill to the cemetery looking for our families plots.
Ida and Nathaniel Mayo (our Grandpa and Grandma Mayo) and our Aunt and Uncle Rachel & Alfred Foote. Like in most small towns and inlets there where lots of names on the stones that could have been related to us but that is another quest to find out.
We had an amazing time in Burin, we visited cousins, we had family dinners and played cards, walked and drove the streets that seemed like yesterday we ran up and down as kids on those visits over 40 years earlier.
As we walked one day in Burin, we noticed a house just up the hill from Mom’s childhood home and asked Mr. Beck about it. He said it was for sale and that we could most likely buy it for $3000 dollars. This house was a wreck but I instantly thought I could either fix it up or tear it down and reuse the lumber to built something smaller and maybe use it down the road for a month each year and rent it out the rest of the time. Well I didn’t go for it and I think I made the right decision for now!!
Our last day on the rock was a little sad, there is so much to see in Newfoundland, I think you need a month at least to see everything. We will go back but for now we have our photo’s and memories.
Thanks for reading, if you have a storey about your travels please contact me to share it on my site, I would love to read about your travels and learn about great places to visit in the future.