Beat the Crowds to Up-and-Coming Destinations

10 Feb 2011

The New York Times - Article Excerpt -  View Source Article

Labrador:

The last leg of the Trans-Labrador Highway, a two-lane road that stretches 655 miles from Labrador City in western Labrador through sub-Arctic wilderness and remote villages to the coast, opened for public use last summer, offering visitors a new route through one of the last frontiers in North America.

“It’s the first time that you can drive a loop from eastern Canada through the province of Newfoundland and Labrador without retracing your steps,” said Keith Small, business development manager at Destination Labrador, a marketing group.

The new section of the road passes to the south of the Mealy Mountains to the seaside communities of Port Hope Simpson and Mary’s Harbour, the gateway to Battle Harbour National Historic District, a restored 17th-century fishing village. From there, travelers can drive to Iceberg Alley (Route 513) to St. Lewis, where icebergs can be spotted offshore.

The mostly gravel road is generally driver-friendly, with wide shoulders and fairly level terrain. But it’s still remote. Gas, food and rest stops are up to 200 miles apart, and there is little cellphone coverage. To improve access to emergency service, the government has purchased 65 satellite phones, which travelers can pick up at participating hotels, and use free of charge with a credit card number.

Mid-June to the end of July is the best time for whale watching. For leaf peeping — and to avoid summer mosquito swarms — go in September.