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Please visit our Newsletter section for the latest edition of the Bed and Breakfast Traveller.

Edition 28: September 20, 2002

In our Twenty-Eighth edition of the Bed and Breakfast Traveller, we take you to the well-travelled Avalon Peninsula in Newfoundland.

The Avalon Peninsula is shaped like a double-decker anchor that's been dragged about the bottom for a long time. Or you could consider it a collection of peninsulas connected to an isthmus. The marine and geological comparisons are both apt because this easternmost part of North America has a rugged shoreline surrounded by an ocean teeming with life.

Just half an hour south of St. John's, the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve is the summer home of millions of nesting seabirds, thousands of migrating whales and, most years, rapidly melting icebergs. It's a trio of natural wonders, either of which on its own would make the place famous. This is where you go to sea to smell a berg - actually, the air bubbles escaping from a 10,000-year old berg - and have a whale cock an eye at you while a blizzard of seabirds overhead hunts for seafood for hungry hatchlings.

If the thought of bobbing about on the ocean makes you queasy, you can hike the East Coast Trail and take in the same three wonders from shore.

Further afield, at the southwestern tip of the Avalon about two hours' drive from St. John's, the Cape St. Mary's Ecological Reserve wows thousands of visitors every year. You can stand overlooking a huge colony of nesting Northern Gannets just 50 feet away and wonder how, out of the thousands of nests atop this sea stack, can the adults pick out their own young. This is a loud bird colony: thousands of birds squawking at the same time creates quite a din, but the birds don't seem to mind.

As the closest place on this continent to Europe, the Avalon's history is full of seafaring, from fishing to piracy to wartime squadrons - as in, the Seven Years' War. The last battle in that war was fought on Signal Hill in St. John's in 1762 when the English routed the occupying French. The military tradition continues today with a military tattoo on the hill during summer.

Signal Hill overlooks both St. John's and the adjacent coastline, including the harbour. This nearly perfect shelter from the Atlantic remains a busy port, where offshore oil service vessels have replaced fishing draggers as the main traffic. Surrounding the harbour, the "old city" is not that old, its current layout dating from only 1892 when fire destroyed just about everything. The city was laid out for horse and cart, not auto, and its hills are, well, just a tad steep in places.

The nightlife belies the town's age. This is a lively place, but also peaceful. The main nighttime combat is a constant battle of the bands waged in pubs where musicians of many tastes tempt strollers to drop in and stay awhile.

The northern part of the Avalon - Conception and Trinity Bays - retains many traditional ways that date back hundreds of years to when fishermen settled the coves and inlets to be near the fish. It was here that pirate Peter Easton terrorized the first English colonists in Canada in the early 1600s, and where the first successful trans-Atlantic telegraph cable came ashore in 1866.

The southwest Avalon, around Placentia, is where the French settled. One of their old forts is now a National Historic Site.

Wherever you go, the roads are paved, there are loads of B & Bs, and when someone asks you if you like cod tongues, say yes. They're unusual yet familiar. But so is the Avalon.

Oct 14
Mount Pearl, Route 60 K19
Contact: Karen Bowering
Tel: 709-748?1008 Fax: 709-364?9429
Choose from over 40 exhibitors and enjoy a sausage & sauerkraut luncheon. Location: Reid Community Centre.

Oct 16 - 20
St. John's, Route 1 K19
Contact: Katie Nicholson
Tel: 709-754-3141 Fax: 709-754-3143
Join us in celebration of women and film making, in the city by the sea, St. John's. Come be entertained and enjoy learning about the latest technological and stylistic developments in the film industry through our exciting workshop series.

Oct 23 - 27
Mount Pearl, Route 60 K19
Contact: Sandra Myler
Tel: 709-738-1750 Fax: 709-738-1755
A festival of craft and art featuring exhibitors from Newfoundland and parts of Canada. 175 booth showcase representing approximately 200 craft producers and artists at the Glacier in Mount Pearl. In its 10th year. Date & location subject to change.

Late Oct
St. John's, Route 1 K19
Contact: Barry Ross
Tel: 709-722-6907/753-9866 Fax: 709-722-3099
Haunted house for kids (under 10 must be with an adult). Four floors of frantic fright and fun.


Nov 9 - 10
St. John's, Route 1 K19
Contact: Debbie Garland
Tel/Fax: 709-437-1785
More than 50 breeds of dogs will be judged by an international panel. Call for exact location. Three Conformation Shows & two Obedience Trials.

Nov 14 - 17
St. John's, Route 1 K19
Contact: Renee Finlayson
Tel: 709-753-2749 Fax: 709-753-2766
The annual four-day market of the finest crafts of Newfoundland and Labrador. Works range from high quality traditional knits to contemporary expressions in every craft medium. A St. John's tradition for over a quarter of a century.

Nov 24
St. John's, Route 1 K19
Contact: Bob Fagan
Tel: 709-726-8244/578-4139 Fax: 709-579-1636
Join over 50,000 spectators as historic downtown St. John's is transformed into a magical Christmas wonderland. See magnificent floats, marching bands, cheerleaders and a cast of crazy clowns and characters delight both the young and old.

Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador:
107 LeMarchant Road
St. John's, NF
Canada A1C 2H1
Phone: (709) 722-2000
Toll-free: 1-800-563-0700
Fax: (709) 722-8104

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