There is lots to do during a visit to the Bonavista Peninsula, Newfoundland, but let’s be honest, not everything is open during the “off” and “shoulder season”. The shoulder season typically takes place from May 1st – Victoria Day Weekend and October 1st -November 1st. Various accommodations and restaurants are open at this time, but the municipal, provincial and national historic sites tend to operate between Victoria Day and Thanksgiving (some closing at the end of September) The Rising Tide Theatre operates between June and Late September and the whales come and go between July and September.
Don’t let this fool you into thinking that you will have nothing to do if you come outside the season. The Bonavista Peninsula is a paradise for hikers, photographers and artists. With some of the most breathtaking coastlines the world has to offer, and a geological history spanning over 600 million years, this is a place to shed the suit and tie and trade high heels for a pair of hikers.
Here is a sample of just three of the must see sites accessible to visitors at anytime of the year.* The added bonus is that they are all free to enjoy.
The Dungeon is a large sinkhole located near the cliffs of Cape Bonavista. Visitors can walk around the top of the sinkhole and look down to witness two large arches letting water in and out from the ocean. Just as beautiful are the sea stacks that emerge from the chilly waters as you stare out into the Atlantic from the Dungeon’s edge. Getting there from the Artisan Inn in Trinity: Exit Trinity and turn right onto Route 239. Turn right on Route 230. When on Route 230 near the town of Bonavista turn right towards Spillar’s Cove and then left to the Dungeon. Signage will indicate when to turn. Alternatively follow route 230 towards the Bonavista Lighthouse and take the road towards the Dungeon (turn right) marked with signage.
2. The Devil’s Footprints in Keels The Devil’s Footprints are cavities left where limestone nodules, called concretions, have weathered out of the roadside outcrops. Maybe the true story behind the “footprints” can be explained away by science, but we like the version where locals say they are a sign that Satan himself has walked this trail. The footprints are located near the parking area in Keels so you will not need to walk far to find them. When you arrive in the town of Keels you will see a hand painted sign indicating where the footprints are. Keels itself is a beautiful spot to hop out of the car and snap some shots of outport life. The Canadian National Consensus recorded 61 residents in Keels as of 2011, that is down from 372 in 1940. Getting There From the Artisan Inn in Trinity: Exit Trinity and turn right onto Route 239. Turn Left onto Route 230. Turn Right onto Route 235. Turn left at King’s Cove to arrive at Keels. Alternative Route From the Artisan Inn in Trinity: Exit Trinity and turn right onto Route 239. Turn right on Route 230. Turn Left on Route 237. Turn Left on Route 235. Turn Right at Kings Cove to get to Keels.
3. Brook Point Lookout on The King’s Cove Lighthouse Trail Along the route of the King’s Cove Lighthouse Hiking Trail, hikers will find a detour to Brook Point Lookout. The layer upon layer of multi coloured sedimentary rocks seen at the lookout are known as the Crown Hill Formation. According to the National Geographic Geotourism Map:
“These sediments accumulated over a span of tens of millions of years, more than 550 million years ago. At that time, the land lay in another part of the globe, part of the ancient supercontinent geologists call Gondwana, which was located south of what was then the Equator. It consisted of present day Africa, Arabia, Antarctica, Australia and India. Over the millennia, the mud, silt, sand and gravel were gradually converted, via heat and pressure, a process called lithification, into sedimentary rocks called mudstone, siltstone sandstone and conglomerate.”
Besides for telling us the story of Earth’s evolution, this lookout is a spot to appreciate just how beautiful Atlantic Canada can be. If you are an artist, bring along some paints or coloured pencils and try to capture the many aspects of this breathtaking view.
Getting There from the Artisan Inn in Trinity: Exit Trinity and turn right onto Route 239. Turn Left on Route 230. Turn Right onto Route 235. Park at the King’s Cove Church to hike to the Lighthouse and Brook Point Lookout. Alternative Route: Exit Trinity and turn right onto Route 239. Turn Right on Route 230. Turn Left on Route 237. Turn Left on Route 235. Park at the King’s Cove Church to hike to the Lighthouse and Brook Point Lookout.
These are just a few of the attractions one can still visit during the shoulder and off season. For more information contact the Artisan Inn at 1-709-464-3377 or 1-877-464-7700 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org visit: www.trinityvacations.com for a full list of things to do in Trinity and the Bonavista Peninsula.
*If there is heavy snow during the winter some of these attractions will not be accessible by car and will be difficult to hike to.
Post and Photos by Marieke Gow