Let remote Green Bay′s beauty and
friendly folks win your heart
By Dave Tilley, Nicky′s Nose Cove, Newfoundland
A PIECE OF THE ROCK. Trails in Green Bay lead to dramatic views like this one at Gull Cliff Lookout (above) at Harry′s Harbour.
WHEN I RAVE about Green Bay, Americans might assume I′m talking about Wisconsin′s famous football town. But my Green Bay lies long the remote north-central coast of Newfoundland and scores big with stunning ocean vistas, unspoiled wilderness and residents′ heartfelt hospitality.
This undiscovered gem-located north of Trans-Canada Highway 1, roughly halfway between St. John′s and Channel-Port-aux-Basques-boasts miles of jagged coastline and dense forest. . .deep fjords.. .majestic passing icebergs. . .and plenty of eye-popping coves, arches and sea stacks. It′s also studded with more than a dozen pretty coastal fishing villages that were once easiest to reach by water and saw few visitors; I suspect that′s why these quiet hamlets still welcome folks so warmly today.
A good place to start is the Green Bay Visitor Information Center, right where Highway 1 meets Route 390 outside Springdale, the area′s hub. Here you can obtain good information about where to see icebergs, whales and shipwrecks open May 15 through October 15 1-709/673-3110.
I highly recommend you explore our dramatic coastline by tour boat or sea kayak. Green Bay Venture Tours in Springdale offers outstanding 1 - to 5 day tours aboard the Ancient Mariner.
They′re especially exciting in spring or early summer, when icebergs arrive in the bay. I′m always thrilled to see prehistoric mountains of ice-sporting everything from cathedral-like spires to flat-topped hats-calve (break apart) and tumble to the sea. In their wake come pods of magnificent humpback or minke whales. Don′t forget your camera!
Hunt for Artifacts
Route 380 out to Robert′s Arm is known as the Beothuk (pronounced "bay-OTH-ik") Trail, named after a now-extinct tribe that lived here. It′s fun to look for native artifacts on area beaches; tour boats can take you to likely sites.
For an in-depth look at both local marine history and early artifacts, check
out the Mainmast Museum, built right over the water in Springdale.
This area′s a paradise for hikers, too -novices included. Many of the trails feature amenities such as steps, gazebos, benches and bridges, and take you past pristine forests, waterfalls and pastoral scenes that include abandoned settlements.
Among my favorites is the 6-mile Alexander Murray Hiking Trail through hills above the Southwest Arm. It starts at a helpful visitors center in the pretty village of King′s Point, then climbs to spectacular Haypook Lookout at an elevation of 1,150 feet. Breathtaking views of the deep-blue fjord below and
TIP OF THE ICEBERG. The area features several nice campgrounds, such as Kona Beach Park (above) near South Brook (1-709/657-2400; open from mid-May through September; $14.25 to $16.25 a night for partial hookups. Mighty icebergs float right into Green Bay (at right) in spring and early summer. You also might see humpback whales (below) nearby they follow schools of fish that are attracted to plankton dredged up by the icebergs.
Green Bay beyond it make this half-day hike unforgettable.
Savor the Catch of the Day
Hungry yet? Mouth-watering seafood, of course, is available virtually everywhere. But don′t leave without trying local favorites like a jiggs dinner, a salt beef and vegetables dish, or fish and brewis (pronounced "brooz"), which is salt cod and hardtack, typically served with scrunchions-crispy bits of fried salt pork.
You can′t beat the waterfront charm of By the Sea Cafe, located in King′s Point just where the name and address indicate (16-18 Bayside Dr.; 1-709/268
2181; open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. from June through September.
Or pop into the friendly Iceberg Alley Chalet in tiny Sheppardville, which is where Route 410 meets Highway 1 (1-709/673-5072; open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily from July 1 through mid-October. The eatery offers down-home cooking, not to mention tall tales and traditional tunes from owner (and accordionist) Maurice Budgell.
I haven′t even touched on beautiful Green Bay′s logging heritage, charming craft shops, delightful Little Bay Islands or other fascinating trails and museums. But I promise that after one visit, you′ll be a Green Bay fan, too!
Newfoundland is accessible only by ferry or plane.
Provincial Ferry Services offers 1-3/4-hour-long ferry rides
to St. Barbe on Newfoundland′s northwestern coast from
Blanc Sablon, Quebec, from early May through late December, weather permitting. For details, call 1-866/535-2567. WWW
Marine Atlantic offers 5-hour-long ferry crossings to Channel-Port-aux-Basques from Sydney, Nova Scotia; for schedules and fares, call 1-800/341-7981. WWW
Green Bay Venture Tours, based at the Burnt Berry Lodge on Highway 1 in Springdale, offers boat tours and other expeditions, including winter activities To leam more, call 1-709/673-3926. WWW
The Mainmast Museum is on Bay view Road in Spring-dale; it′s open from 2-5 p.m. daily from May through OcŽtober. Admission (in U.S. dollars) is about $2.12 per perŽson. For details, call 1-709/673-4279.