(Ron Writing) Our overnight parking spot was a little noisy with intermittent traffic most of the night. Other than that it was a great spot.
We left Witless Bay this morning and continued south on Hwy. 10, also called the Irish Loop Scenic Route. We drove to the town of Ferryland to tour the site of Lord Baltimore’s Colony of Avalon which he founded in 1621. This is one of the most well preserved and richest archeological sites of any very early European settlement in North America. The archeological excavation is ongoing and yields additional artifacts and remains of the original structures every day. We took a guided tour of the site and our tour guide, Donna, did an excellent job explaining the history of the site and the current activities related to the excavations.
After or tour we hiked out to the end of the long headland where there is a lighthouse on a high bluff overlooking the Atlantic. We enjoyed the great views and looked at the displays inside the restored lighthouse. Many people were enjoying the nice weather and a picnic lunch purchased from a concessionaire in the lighthouse.
We also walked over to the Holy Trinity Church nearby. It is one of the few stone buildings we’ve seen in Newfoundland. It was built in 1865 from stones gathered from Stone Island, 2 km offshore. Local residents gathered all these stones, loaded them in rowboats and brought them to the building site over a 2-year period. The church is currently undergoing restoration.
We continued our drive around the Irish Loop. Much of this drive was somewhat inland and on a high plain with very few trees but many ponds and marshes. As we drove around the south end of the Avalon Peninsula we encountered heavy fog. This made the driving rather slow and we were unable to see much of the scenery. The area around Trepassey is known for having herds of caribou and the area around St. Stephen’s is where many whales are usually seen. Today, while we were in those areas, it was too foggy to see anything but the road a short distance ahead. By the time we got to St. Mary’s it was getting late and still foggy so we decided to spend the night here. We’re parked at the side of a large gravel lot near St. Mary’s Catholic Church.