Elliston surprise number two

July 30, 2019

Not only was I in for a pleasant surprise in Elliston, turns out it would be a twofer!

On my way into town I saw this sign:



Walking down the path to see what I had actually COME to Elliston to see were these two root cellars:



This was looking inside the very short open door (after bumping my head on it while turning the flash on my camera on):


And when I was finished viewing what I had come here for I found this out by the road I had driven in on, near someone’s house:


I half expected a Hobbit to come walking out of it (although it didn’t have a round door…)


Elliston surprise number one

July 30, 2019

When planning this trip I had a boat ride in Witless Bay on my short list of things to do.  Witless Bay is south of St. John’s, Newfoundland, where I would be staying multiple nights.  I hadn’t booked the boat ride yet because I wanted to wait until I got here to see how the weather would be.  When hearing of my plans, my Airbnb hosts in St. Andrews, where I stayed the first night on the island, suggested I go to St. Marys instead.  They had done a similar boat ride there and said it was incredible.  So that was Plan B.

They sent me a message two days later saying they had seen on the news that what I was seeking could be found in Elliston and that a boat ride, while nice in itself, wouldn’t be required.  I don’t mind paying for a boat ride but I like FREE….  This became Plan C.

Elliston is out on the Bonavista Peninsula (Newfoundland has various regions, each with their own name) between Bonavista and Catalina.  The thing I was going there to see – not whales, as you might have guessed…. Puffins!

Last year when I was on the northwest coast of the US I was hoping to see Puffins but they had already migrated north and I was too late.  I was hoping to see Atlantic Puffins this trip and my wish has been fulfilled – big time.


Is this really Elliston?  You don’t seem to be too sure….


Yup – this must be the right place.


There was a short walk out onto a peninsula….


… and maybe 200 feet past the cliff on our side, an island with hundreds of Puffins milling about.

Enough talk, JohnBoy!  Let’s see some Puffins!








And not only were they on land, they would fly down and float on the water.


I had taken a photo of the water when I arrived and didn’t notice any.


A few minutes later, this was the scene:


Not only do they swim but they can dive into the water from high altitude and achieve considerable depth.


They are so small there was no way I could catch them in flight, but how entertaining, flapping their short little Puffin wings.  They almost look like hummingbirds in slow motion.  The cutest thing EVER.

I took some video with my smartphone but because they are small and I was far away it isn’t very good (but will at least reinforce what I watched with my own eyes).  By all means, go on YouTube and find some good videos of Puffins flying – what a hoot!!

I am soooooo glad my Airbnb hosts told me about this place!

Oh, and down on the rocks below I saw this black guillemot – sulking because no one was paying any attention to HIM.


HEY….. GUILLEMOT….. you made it onto JohnBoysTravelBlog!


Terra Nova National Park

July 30, 2019

After taking my fabulous scenic drive I continued just a few miles south on the TCH and stopped at Terra Nova (which means Land New.  Newfoundland – get it?).  This isn’t a very big park, only about 150 square miles – a little bit smaller than Zion National Park in Utah.  As I always do, I went first to the Visitor Center to get a map.  It is undergoing complete renovation and was effectively closed (but looks like it will be beautiful when completed) but I did get my map and asked the young lady working there for suggestions as to things I could do while there.  She sent me to two of their overlook areas, at the two highest points in the Park.

This was the view from Blue Hill on the north side of the Park (I had actually driven past the entrance road on my way to the Visitor Center).



Those were both taken looking southeast, towards the late morning sun.  There was something else there which I probably should have mentioned earlier in this trip.  Two red chairs.


This is part of Parks Canada program promoting their National Parks.  They have placed two red Adirondack type chairs (plastic) at prime viewing sites in their parks and encourage visitors to sit and take a few moments to enjoy the view.  What a great idea!!  They also mention that while they’d like you to savor the moment to please not hog the chairs if there are other guests waiting…..

After savoring the moment, as I ALWAYS try to do (after I take my photos I just stand and LOOK at what I’m seeing), I drove back down the hill and went to the Ochre Hill overlook.  This is the highest point in the area and in addition to the steps leading to a large observation deck there is a tall fire tower right next to it.


This view was looking west (note the change in water color).  Looks like a great place for two more red chairs…


There was a sign on the observation deck explaining various things, among them an animal which is unique to Newfoundland – a subspecies of the Marten family called the Newfoundland Pine Marten.  These animals are very shy and are usually found deep in the woods.

Here are some photos of them I found online:


(Photo credit: en.wikipedia.org)

Newfoundland Marten tree

(Photo credit: Brendan Kelly Wildlife Photography)

Newfoundland -Marten

(Photo credit: Kelly Wildlife Photography)

While researching this post I learned that this variation of Marten is the only one with semi-retractable claws.

After viewing the area from Ochre Hill I crossed the TCH to a walking path which would take me around a lake and perhaps offer some wildlife and bird photo ops.  I did walk down to the lake but there were lots of people there (it was becoming a warm day) making noise and it was approaching noon.  I generally don’t have good luck seeing animals mid-day, plus I still had a long drive ahead of me to my next venue, so I passed on the walk and got back on the road.

Gander to Sunnyside, NL

July 30, 2019

Tuesday morning I left Gander and headed south on the Trans Canada Highway.  On the agenda for today – one of my primary scenic roads just before getting to another one of Canada’s National Parks, the Park itself, and a surprise destination recommended by the Airbnb hosts I stayed with my first night in Newfoundland.


When I reached the exit for Glovertown I got off the TCH and drove east on Route 310.  This would take me out to some small towns described in my Scenic Roads in the Maritime Provinces book my friends Eric and Shawn gave me, the basic for this trip.

These were taken when I reached a lake near Traytown:



This is the little village of Burnside, where I had a wonderful conversation with a woman who was sitting outside enjoying her morning coffee (and trying to get a signal on her cellphone.  She said the best reception to be found locally is by being out on a boat!).  Burnside is a periodic retreat for her and her kids.



This was heading back towards Eastport.


This is the harbor in the little town of Happy Adventure:



The beach at Sandy Cove (clever name):


And a rock on a rock….  I saw this while walking back to my car from having taken the Sandy Cove beach photo.  I have been seeing more and more of these in my travels, small painted rocks left various places.  Kind of like being on an Easter egg hunt.


This tall wooden lighthouse model was up on a retaining wall in someone’s yard.  I didn’t get up to check but I bet it’s 5 feet tall:


And this was the drive back out to the TCH, over a bridge and long causeway I had crossed earlier.


By the way, I’d be staying in the small town of Sunnyside Tuesday night but Goobies is what I have highlighted on my map.  Sunnyside is a few miles south of Goobies.

Gander, Newfoundland

July 29, 2019

I spent Monday night in the town of Gander, located in northeastern Newfoundland.  When I arrived in town this was on top of the Welcome sign:


For those of you who don’t know me, I am a helicopter enthusiast.  I have been fascinated by them since I was a kid and for several years, before getting the Airbnb bug, I was learning to fly radio-controlled helicopters.

Exactly two minutes after I took that photo a large, yellow helicopter flew over:


Literally, the time stamp on the first photo is 17:18:45 and second is, you guessed it, 17:20:45.

When I got to my Airbnb I asked my hostess, who lives about a mile from where I took those photos, if there is a reason for the helicopters.  Sure enough, there is a Canadian Search and Rescue squad based next to the Gander International Airport.



This was the helicopter I saw flying.  I took this photo the next morning as I was leaving town to head south to my next stop.


Twillingate to Gander, NL

July 29, 2019

These are some photos taken at a look off near where Route 340 ends in Twillingate.  There was a high rock peninsula I could walk up on to look out over the water.  The first two are looking down into a cove near where I parked my car.



I had an incredible view over a large expanse of water.  I won’t post those photos (just water, folks, and boo-hoo – no icebergs…) but it was neat to just stand there for a while, ponder the meaning of life and enjoy the journey I’m on.  And in case those of you familiar with this area are wondering, I am NOGO FOGO.  Fogo Island and Change Island are located just off the coast east of here.  Time does not permit me to take the ferry out there this trip but I have already decided I am coming back up here next year (woo-hoo!) to see some of the things I didn’t get to this time around.  The next photo is just a random shot before I left Twillingate and has nothing to do with the islands I just mentioned.


I turned around and started driving back south towards the TCH:




I followed the map in my book to see several small villages off the main road.  This is often where I take many of the photos you see.


I took some other “regular map indicated” scenic roads over towards Musgrave Harbour.  In the little town of Frederickton I saw a sign for Shipwreck Point and of course I had to drive out to the end of it:


The photo above shows what’s left of the SS Ahern Trader which ran aground here in 1960.

This was off Route 330 near the communities of Aspen Cove and Ladle Cove.  The scene below wasn’t staged.  This was exactly how I found it.


These three buildings were just up the road.  Remember the middle one because you’ll be seeing that theme again in a few days…




Deer Lake to Twillingate, NL

July 29, 2019

Before I post photos from this leg of my journey I have 3 more pictures from up near Quirpon which I want to share.  This shot is in that village itself.  At the extreme northern end of the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland I noticed that many of the bodies of water, both large and small, had huge rocks (too big for a single person to move) in the shallow water close to the shore.


These two shots are from just down the road in little Saint Lunaire-Griquet:



OK – now that I was back in Deer Lake (Monday morning) I headed east on the Trans Canada Highway towards my next overnight stop in Gander.


As I drove east I saw several good photo ops.

Someone thought this sign needed a visual aid:



The State of North Carolina would run out of these signs…





When I got to Route 340 I turned north and took one of my primary scenic routes (from my book – they are always highlighted on orange on my maps) up to Twillingate.

This was a Railroad Park in Lewisporte:



This was further north up the road:


This is the Interpretive Centre near Boyd’s Cove.  As I drove out the very bumpy road to get to it I couldn’t understand why it wasn’t IN the town of Boyd’s Cove until I got there and found that it is mainly about the indigenous Beothuk people and is out in the boonies next to a reconstructed village (which I didn’t pay to go in to see).


Back out on Route 340 here are more things I saw as I drove north towards Twillingate, at the end of the highway.



The shot below was taken just before I got to town.  You are now looking out northeast towards the Atlantic Ocean beyond the two rock peninsulas.