Bonavista Peninsula

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Just for fun…

  • We were intrigued to see garbage boxes on almost every curb and discovered they were used to keep the garbage bags from scavenging birds and other animals. Clever idea, and very decorative too!

On this bright and sunny day, we are off to the Bonavista Peninsula. Highway 230 took us straight to Cape Bonavista Provincial Historic Site (the highest point of the peninsula), where a lighthouse went into operation in 1843. Restored to the 1870 period, it is now open to visitors and provides a glimpse of how the light keeper and his family were living on this rugged shore.

We Continued on to Bonavista, a fairly large community, where we visited the replica of The Matthew, a wooden ship that set sail from Bristol, in May 1497, for the Far East. Italian explorer Giovanni Caboto (John Cabot) believed that it was possible to reach Asia sailing West across the Atlantic ocean… The rest is history. It was fun to explore the replica and descend into the belly of the ship.

Lunch stop: Mifflin’s Tearoom, where we enjoyed fish cakes and the famous Fish Brewis, a NFLD classic dish.

Newfoundland Brewis

Newfoundland Brewis

A word on FISH BREWIS:

  • Fish and brewis (pronounced “brews”) is a traditional Newfoundland meal consisting of codfish and hard bread or hard tack. With the abundance of cod around the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador, it became synonymous with many Newfoundland households as a delicacy to be served as a main meal.
    The typical recipe calls for salt fish that is soaked in water overnight to reduce the salt content of the fish. The hard bread is also soaked separately in water. The next day, both fish and bread are boiled separately until tender, then mixed together.
  • The traditional dish is served with scrunchions (salted pork fat which has been cut into small pieces and fried). Both the rendered fat and the liquid fat are then drizzled over the fish and brewis.
  • Fisherman’s Brewis is the same as fish and brewis, but the fish and bread are chopped while hot and mixed together with the scrunchions, and often fresh cod is used instead of salted cod.

The highlight of the day was a long visit of Ryan Premises National Historic Site. Interesting and very well done! (Side note: in national sites, all the information is provided in both English and French, while in provincial sites, it is offered in English only.) Here too, we were given the undivided attention the staff, since we were practically the only visitors. We learned a lot about the fishing industry, vital for both our country and the world. Not an easy life in those days, but the principles of commerce were the same as today.

Next stop:  Elliston, where we watched puffins in their natural habitat. The community of Elliston is also famous for its root cellars, a creative way of preserving vegetables through the long winter. About 130 cellars dot the landscape, ingeniously constructed in the rugged terrain. Some have been there for 165 years.

Root Cellars in Elliston

Root Cellars in Elliston

Today’s grand finale: a lobster dinner! In the middle of nowhere, between Elliston and Bonavista, a modest church had been converted into a restaurant (still boasting “In God we Trust”), where we enjoyed a wonderful lobster meal. Wow…

Lobster dinner in Elliston Church

Lobster dinner in Elliston Church

Until tomorrow,

Ray’s Perspective…
Here are a few more photos from today’s visit to Bonavista and Elliston.

Early Morning Lupin.

Early Morning Lupin.

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