Road-tripping Newfoundland’s Baccalieu Trail, west of St. John’s, is a chance to revel in icebergs and outports, in extraordinary history and romantic and curious town names. Running for 230 kilometres up the western half of Conception Bay, down the eastern side of Trinity Bay and back to the Trans Canada, this picturesque route is full of surf, sunrises and surprises.
Cupids’ claim to fame is impressive—it’s Canada’s oldest English settlement, founded in 1610, and the original site of the colony is now a provincial historic site. The modern Cupids Legacy Centre and Cupids Cove Plantation Site archaeological dig tell the town’s history. Make a day of it, enjoying Shakespeare at Perchance Theatre and hiking seacoast and forest trails at Spectacle Head and Burnt Head trails.
Toutons and Tunes
In Bay Roberts, take the Toutons and Tunes Tour, a guided coastal hike along the Shoreline Heritage Walk, stopping at a fisherman’s shed for traditional tunes and toutons (fried bread dough slathered in molasses).
Aviation History in Harbour Grace
Amelia Earhart’s famous 1932 transatlantic solo flight started at an air strip in Harbour Grace. The town celebrates her exploits at Conception Bay Museum‘s aviation exhibit and through a statue and storyboards at a nearby park.
As you drive to Grates Cove, at the peninsula tip, trees go away, terrain turns rocky and a small outport on ocean cliffs springs into view—an unforgettable locale for icebergs, whales and international cuisine. Terrence and Courtney Howell (he’s from Newfoundland, she’s from Louisiana) run Grates Cove Studios, an artist studio and café specializing in Newfoundland-Cajun cuisine. They’ll pack picnics for a hike along kilometres of historic rock walls that were once used in the barren landscape to fence boundaries and protect gardens. Nearby hiking trails overlook the Baccalieu Island Ecological Preserve and its large sea bird colony.
New Melbourne’s beach, on the coastal drive down Trinity Bay, is one of Newfoundland’s few places to see surfers. Bring wine and picnic fixings, as this is a dreamy spot to dine alfresco.
Wooden Boat Museum
Winterton’s Wooden Boat Museum stands out especially for the workshops given by master boat builder Jerome Canning, a true Newfoundland character who spins yarns while you work.
Connection at Heart’s Content
The first permanent telegraph cable connecting Europe and North America was hauled ashore nearly 150 years ago in Heart’s Content (you can still see cables on the beach). Visit the Cable Station provincial historic site in this romantically named town, a popular spot for engagements and weddings.
Sunsets at Shag It Café
Hearty chowders, sandwiches and freshly baked bread are served at the Shag It Café and Gift Shop (named after Shag Rock) in Whiteway. Snag a patio seat to wash your meal down with some of the province’s best sunsets.
Five Places to Visit On Newfoundland’s Irish Loop
Newfoundland’s Irish Loop, located on the southeastern part of the Avalon Peninsula, is named for its Irish history, which spans 400 years. Take this scenic road trip from St. John's and make stops along the way at charming spots such as Lighthouse Picnics in Ferryland and the Colony of Avalon.