Get out and go

The Compass - - CLASSIFIED - BY EMMA GRANEY

If there is one piece of ad­vice Jan­ice Wells could give to ev­ery New­found­lan­der and Labrado­rian, it would be to get out and ex­plore.

“I’d tell the peo­ple in the east to go west, and the peo­ple in the west to go east,” she says.

Ms. Wells is the author of ‘ The New­found­land and Labrador book of musts: The 101 places ev­ery New­found­lan­der and Labrado­rian must see’.

Geared to­wards lo­cals rather than tourists, it’s a shiny-cov­ered map-sized book con­ve­niently sep­a­rated into chap­ters on each re­gion — and the chap­ter on the North­ern Penin­sula is a doozy.

From the writ­ers and mu­si­cians at the an­nual Writ­ers at Woody Point fes­ti­val in the south up to L’Anse aux Mead­ows in the north and down the French Shore, the book waxes lyrical about the at­trac­tions along the “ long rugged fin­ger” of New­found­land.

Flip over the page to the Labrador sec­tion and first off the rack is a sec­tion that takes in the coastal drive from L’Anse au Clair to Red Bay, then the author takes us north to Bat­tle Har­bour.

The big thing about this lit­tle book, says Ms. Wells, is to en­cour­age peo­ple liv­ing in the prov­ince to go out and see more of their own back­yard.

“ There was never re­ally a road sys­tem around New­found­land un­til the six­ties so pack­ing into a car and go­ing on a drive was never some­thing that fam­i­lies did,” says Ms. Wells, who grew up in Corner Brook.

“As a re­sult I think there’s a lot of the prov­ince that most peo­ple have never seen and don’t even know that there are these great lit­tle spots or lit­tle com­mu­ni­ties that have re­ally sig­nif­i­cant his­toric spots in them. They might drive by those com­mu­ni­ties for years and never know any­thing about them.”

And that, she says, is what she hopes this book will change.

Packed with must-sees from na­tional parks to mu­se­ums, white wa­ter raft­ing, fes­ti­vals and even a gi­ant squid, the book gives an out­line of each ‘must’ as well as di­rec­tions and gen­eral guide-book in­for­ma­tion.

As much as you might think writ­ing a ‘101 best places’ book would ne­ces­si­tate the author to travel across the prov­ince, Ms. Wells ad­mits she hasn’t seen ab­so­lutely ev­ery­thing in the prov­ince that she’d like to.

But writ­ing the book in­spired her so much, she and her hus­band went out, bought a camper van and went on a road trip around the ‘Ir­ish Loop’ tourist drive on the Avalon Penin­sula, and they “ab­so­lutely love it.”

“ We never re­ally learnt much about New­found­land his­tory grow­ing up but this place is re­ally just steeped in his­tory,” she says, “and I think if only peo­ple re­al­ized just how much there is to see they’d make an ef­fort to go to these amaz­ing lit­tle com­mu­ni­ties and re­ally his­tor­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant spots.

“ There’s so much here to see.”

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