Bonavista makes for a beautiful day trip from Trinity.
Elliston, a short jaunt from Bonavista, is the “root cellar capital of the world” – over a hundred cellars are nestled into the hills here. How many can you find? The shoreline provides a summer home for many Atlantic Puffins, Newfoundland’s official bird. Stop at Elliston Point and wander out to Puffin Rock. You can often get within a few feet of the puffins. Puffins are most active in the mornings, so best to start your day here.
A new monument to mark the 100th anniversary of the sealing disaster has been erected on the shores of Elliston. The crew of the SS Newfoundland were left on the ice for 53 hours in a blizzard, when two ships captains mistakenly assumed that the men were safely aboard the other’s ship.
Dungeon Provincial Park
From Elliston, follow the signs to Bonavista, but turn right toward Spillar’s Cove instead of heading directly into Bonavista. A short distance up the road, you’ll see a turn-off for Dungeon Road – a gravel road. Turn left onto Dungeon Road.
Cape Bonavista Lighthouse & Dungeon Provincial Park
A collapsed sea cave on the rugged cliffs of Cape Bonavista, the Dungeon, warrants a look. Though not well marked, if you stop where you see the wooden boardwalks and railings, you can walk atop of it. Continue on the gravel road (don’t mind the animals grazing) until it intercepts the Cape Road and turn right to Cape Bonavista. The Cape offers unprecedented vistas. You may see puffins nesting in the islands just off shore, or whales or icebergs off in the distance.
The Cape Bonavista Lighthouse is now a provincial historic site. The building and original lighthouse were put into operation on September 11, 1843. The first lighthouse keeper, Jeremiah White, served from 1843 to 1876, when his sons continued the family tradition. Bonavista features rare and old style of light and the light keeper’s house, restored to the 1870 period, has been historically furnished and decorated. Visit the lighthouse for a tour by a charming guide in period dress.
The Mockbeggar Plantation provincial historic site may well be the oldest identifiable fishery plantation on the island. The long salt-box store located on the plantation is believed to have been built around 1733. The residence on site dates back to 1872-1873. Throughout its years the plantation has had numerous owners and served in many capacities including that of salt fish store, salmon packing house, fish dryer, barter shop, residence, a temporary church, and headquarters for the newly established Salvation Army Corps (1886).
The Ryan Premises National Historic Site of Canada commemorates five centuries of commercial fishing on Canada’s east coast. A 19th Century saltfish mercantile complex, the site was officially opened on June 24, 1997, by her majesty Queen Elizabeth II. This restored merchant’s premises served as a key economic centre behind Newfoundland’s inshore fishery in the early 1800s. The buildings include Proprietor’s House, Retail Shop, Fish Store, Salt Shed and Carriage Shed.
On site attractions include the internationally acclaimed exhibit, Cod, Seals and Survivors, which features multimedia displays, models, dioramas, archival films, artifacts, traditional songs and interactive components. Various live events, interpretive programs, dramatic performances, and demonstrations take place throughout the season.
Ye Matthew Legacy
John Cabot’s famous voyage of discovery to Newfoundland was made in a 65-foot caravel called the Matthew, almost certainly name for Cabot’s wife, Mattea. The Matthew was a decked vessel of 50 tons, with a high stern castle and three masts. A full-scale replica of the Matthew made a transatlantic voyage in 1997 to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Cabot’s discovery, arriving for a ceremony on June 24, 1997, presided over by Queen Elizabeth II. The Matthew now has its own dock in Bonavista and is open for tours throughout the summer months. Visit Ye Matthew Legacy to experience Cabot’s life and times firsthand.
Bonavista Social Club
The Bonavista Social Club is a wonderful place to dine on your way back to Trinity. Located in the small community of Upper Amherst Cove on the Bonavista Peninsula, you will have a beautiful view on their ocean view deck. It is home to the only commercial wood-fired bread oven in Newfoundland and Labrador. The bread oven is the centrepiece of an open kitchen where customers can experience the production process. Breads such as sourdough, baguette, molasses raisin, multigrain and bagels are baked daily. The menu includes soup, sandwiches, salads, pasta, pizza and a moose burger.