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Chapter 18
Awk Island Winery, Heart's Content Cable Station, and The Baccalieu Trail
Monday, June 27
Monday's -- today's -- ultimate objective was to arrive in Newfoundland's capital city of St. John's. However, just going straight there via the shortest possible route wasn't our style. We wanted a to see another slice of rural Newfoundland before having a look at the bright lights of the [relatively] big city.

We spent a bit more time poking around Twillingate, looking at some of the old buildings and churches. The church just behind our Inn, for example, is a 150+ year old wooden church - very old in general for wooden churches and one of the oldest such churches in Newfoundland.
Across Twillingate Harbour
East to Stockley's Hill
St Peter's Church, Twillingate
courtesy JInnes
courtesy JInnes
St Peters and Cemetery
Plaque, St Peter's
19th Century Infant Mortality
We then headed over to the Awk Island Winery, on the opposite side of Twillingate. We'd spotted an ad for the winery in some local advertising literature, and it seemed like an interesting place to visit. They offered tours, free wine tastings, and.... well, I just wanted to know how such a barren place with an inhospitable climate could support a winery!
Luke Cook's Grave
Awk Island Winery
Awk Island Winery
We signed up for a wine tasting and tour, and were introduced to the small and vibrant interior of the winery. The building itself is a converted school, complete with gym flooring still visible in the winery room. At the wine tasting, we discovered how a winery can exist in this area: most of the 'wines' are not produced with grapes. Instead, the Awk Island winery makes all sorts of weird and wonderful wines that are a blend of local wild-berries. The berries are picked by locals, which are then bought by the winery. There are a couple of blends sold that use actual grape-based wine, but those blends use wine that is imported from Quebec.
A wide selection
Fanciful names
Arranged for tasting
There was a huge variety of flavours to try - Moose Joose, made from blueberries and patridgeberries; Spin the Bottle, made from Strawberries and Rhubarb; Wreckhouse, made from Partridgeberry and Apples; and on and on and on. All of the flavours were quite startling to someone who is used to regular wines. Some I liked, some I didn't. Jenn was impressed enough to order a case containing the wines with the flavours she liked most.
Vats and Boxes
Boxes of Moose Joose
Winery floor tour
After a short tour of the winery floor, we were off, carrying additional weight in the form of thirteen bottles of weird and wonderful wine. We headed back south on regional highways, eventually merging back with the Island's main backbone artery - the Trans-Canada. This we followed for some distance, stopping for a quick look around at Terra Nova National Park (nice enough place, but doesn't have quite the scenic grandeur that Gros Morne has).
Twillingate Harbour
St Peter's and Anchor Inn
Buildings of Twillingate
courtesy JInnes
Scenic Durrell Dock Scene
Scenic Durrell Dock Scene
Scenic Durrell Dock Scene
Whale Bones
Bread Cove Hills Lookout
Bread Cove Hills Lookout
After Terra Nova, we continued east on the Trans-Canada for a while longer, and entered Newfoundland's eastern region: the region of the Avalon Peninsula. We turned off on highway 80, also known as The Baccalieu Trail. Highway 80 runs up along the edge of one of the many sub-peninsulas on the larger Avalon Peninsula, and we were hoping to get a taste of the quintissential Newfoundland coastal drive.

Meanwhile, the weather had returned to its seemingly-normal state: overcast, occasionally drizzly, and cool.
On the Baccalieu Trail
South Dildo
Lots of Dildos
Highway 80 starts off modestly, not always following particularly close to the coastline, so views at first are limited. There are many interesting little towns along the way, including many names incorporating either the word 'dildo' or the word 'heart' (the guessed etymology of the word dildo as it pertains to Newfoundland is that it referred to a phallus-shaped peg used to lock an oar in position on a dory).
courtesy JInnes
Shag Rock
Heart's Delight-Islington
Heart's Desire
Heart's Content
Down to Heart's Content
Commemoration of Cable
The third 'heart'-themed town name proved to be the charm: here, at Heart's Content, was quite an interesting historical site that I had not foreseen in my trip planning: the Heart's Content Cable Station. The exterior of the building and the monument outside looked handsome enough - a good example of 18th century industrial construction, and we came close to giving it a glance and moving on. But the memorial outside, to the landing of the first trans-continental telegraph cable, combined with a faint desire to see old tech stuff, led us to have a glance inside. And, we were glad we did. The Cable Station is a wonderfully-preserved example of a budding piece of world-changing technology: telecommunications. All of the original equipment is still in the building, often still in the actuall installed place. There are acres of old telegraph machines, tape machines, relay stations, current meters, switchboards, you name it. And the spot in the corner of one room where the actual original transatlantic cables enter into the building.... well, I suppose that's the tech equivalent of seeing an ancient holy relic, no?
Heart's Content Cable Station
Interior, Cable Station
Documenting the first cable
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[ Return to "Overland to the Rock" Home page | Introduction | French Connection | Transition to the North | Manicouagan & Monts Groulx | Mt Provencher & 389 North | Entering Labrador | Churchill Falls | The Trans-Labrador | Southern Labrador Coast | Northern Peninsula & St. Anthony | L'Anse aux Meadows | Norstead | Limestone Barrens and Wreck | Arches Provincial Park | Green Gardens Backpack Day 1 | Green Gardens Backpack Day 2 | Green Point | Western Brook Pond Backpack Day 1 | Western Brook Pond Backpack Day 2 | Twillingate/Crow Head Hike | Awk Island Winery | Heart's Content Cable Station | City of St. John's | Cape Spear | Ferry to Nova Scotia | Cape Breton to Bathurst | Bathurst, NB | In-depth: Provencher Climb | In-depth: Churchill Falls Hike | In-depth: Birchy Nuddick Hike | In-depth: Green Gardens Backpack | In-depth: Western Brook Pond Backpack | In-depth: Crow Head Hike, Twillingate | Where we drove | In-depth: Quebec Highway 389 | In-depth: The Trans-Labrador Highway | Video Clip Index | GPS Data ]


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