Bound for Bonavista

  • Downhome Magazine
  • Posted: Feb 29, 2008 10:55 AM
Catalina, a good base for touring the Bonavista peninsula

Helen Young of Port Dover, Ontario wrote to Downhome about her trip to Bonavista Bay, Newfoundland.

In July 2003, we planned two nights' stay in Catalina, Newfoundland, about midway between Trinity and Bonavista. Our hostess was Sheila Hart, who wasn't sure she would open her B&B that summer as she had a new baby. We were glad she consented to take us in; she really made us feel at home.

Our first stop was the Trinity Loop train ride. Two Women's Institute members made us feel very welcome at their craft shop in Port Union as we browsed through their wide variety of handmade crafts. We drove on to the Bonavista lighthouse and later went to see the replica of Cabot's ship, the Matthew, before photographing another breathtaking sunset.

Next morning, we headed out early after breakfast to spend the whole day in the historic town of Trinity. We decided to purchase tickets to visit the six historical sites in Trinity, rather than take the 10:00 a.m. walking tour. Several of the premises had interpreters who gave us a fine description of each building.

We barely had time to eat our picnic lunch in the little park in the centre of town before the Trinity pageant began. Many tourists joined us for this three-hour presentation in story and song. Together we travelled to various venues around town on a magical journey following the story of sailing and sadness, tears and laughter, the story of "The New Founde Land" that spans two centuries.

We had pre-ordered tickets to the dinner theatre presented at the new Rising Tide theatre at 5:30 p.m. Great roast beef dinner and wonderful singing and entertainment was enjoyed, including a band of mummers.

The day was completed as we returned to the theatre to see the play As Loved Our Fathers, the story of a family torn between voting for or against Confederation with Canada. The fog was dense for our drive back to Catalina, but we were fortunate to be able to follow three other cars, whose drivers were much more familiar with the road.

One of Elliston's famous root cellars

Sunday morning, we headed for Elliston to view many of the 135 root cellars there, and join in the final day of the Bird Island Puffin Festival. We took the short road to Coles Gulch and watched as whales jumped in Trinity Bay. We returned to the festival grounds by noon, as we didn't want to miss the Jiggs' dinner being prepared and served to the awaiting crowd. We enjoyed the live gospel music and conversation with those who sat near us. Unfortunately our time was too short, and the trip was over too soon.