Get out and go
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.”