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Report 1901: A Month on the Rock

By Eleanor from UK, Fall 2010

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Page 17 of 31: Gros Morne - Norris Point and Lobster Cove

photo by Michael

Disused root cellar at Norris Point

Next morning the weather looked better than the forecast and there were a few breaks in the cloud as we drove to Norris Point. This is a nice drive with some good views of Long Mountain and Gros Morne Mountain above the trees. We stopped at the photographer’s view point at Jenniex House for the view across Norris Point to Woody Point. The orange rocks of Tablelands were catching the sun although the tops were still in cloud. The rest of the landscape was still quite dark.

We dropped down into Norris Point and parked up by the cafe and admired the remains of a root cellar in the bank by the car park. This was the first one we had seen. We went for a walk round the town. It is a spread out settlement with three churches, a couple of shops, post office, craft shop, Bonne Bay Marine Centre (interactive tours of the aquarium) and a cafe which is also the booking office for boat tours. There were several quite old wooden houses and a large new development being planned at the edge of the town. There is no fishing although there were a few pleasure boats in the very sheltered harbour. Because of reduced cod stocks, locals are only allowed to fish for cod for a couple of weeks in the summer and a week in September. They are restricted to five fish per person or 15 per boat and there are strict penalties if they are caught breaking the rules.

We then went back to the Jenniex House. This is a 1926 pepper pot house which was moved from Neddie’s Harbour to its present position high above Norris Point in 1995. The house had a log foundation of six inch logs fastened to floor joists. The walls were built from rough lumber one inch thick and insulated with sawdust and wood chips. The floor insulation was birch bark and tar felt. Hanging up in the doorway was a blown up brown paper bag. It was meant to look like a wasps' nest and was supposed to stop wasps entering the house as they avoid a strange nest.

Mrs Jenniex had raised 14 children in this house. Her husband had fished in the summer and worked in the lumber camp at Lomond in the winter. In the spring boats arrived to take the lumber to Corner Brook to the pulp mills.

The ground floor had a craft shop (all locals' work) and a small refreshment area selling tea, coffee and a slice of homemade bread with molasses. The original range and washing machine are in the kitchen. Upstairs were two bedrooms and a large through room with assorted artifacts. It was an interesting visit, especially talking to the curator who was a niece of Mrs Jenniex.

We did the walk through the trees to the ‘viewpoint’ but in fact views weren’t as good as those from the house. There was rampant vegetation with hazel and maple seedlings growing beneath the conifers.

By now the weather was beginning to improve and there were some patches of sunshine. We decided to go to Lobster Cove Lighthouse. This is a pretty, photogenic white building with red brown trim at the end of the headland marking the approach to Rocky Harbour and Bonne Bay. It was built in 1892 but automated in 1970 when it became an artist’s studio. It is now run by Parks Canada and there is a small display on archaic and palaeoeskimos as well as more modern photographs. The Lighthouse keeper's office was furnished but there is no access to the light. We spent a long time talking to the curator who was garrulous and the stories poured out.

By the time we left, the sun had come out and it was a glorious afternoon with a blue sky. We did the short trail round the headland for views of Lobster Cove which was resettled when the National Park was established. People were given a new house but the old folk were very upset about having to leave.

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