Four Reasons to Take a Trip Down the Heritage RunBy Newfoundland and Labrador
The Heritage Run – or “The Boot,” as locals call it — has lots to offer when it comes to scenery, heritage, and culture, but is often overlooked in favour of more well-known regions. For the traveler looking to get off the beaten path and explore all that rural Newfoundland has to offer, here’s our list of the top four reasons to take a drive along the Heritage Run.
Geologic wonders in Fortune
The Heritage Run is home to some pretty special rocks. Most notably, it is the site of the Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP), marking the geologic time boundary between the Precambrian Era and Cambrian Period. In simpler terms, this is where you can actually see the 541-million-year-old rocks and fossils that mark the beginning of increasing biological diversity of life on Earth. The knowledgeable staff at the Fortune Head Geology Centre will fill you in on the significance of this area, and a short hike out to Fortune Head will allow you to get up close and personal with the geologic features and fossils. Geology buffs rejoice!
How to do it: Venture off the beaten path by heading south on route 210 at Goobies. From here you’ll enjoy a scenic drive through a landscape shaped by the wind. When you arrive in Fortune, visit the Fortune Head Geology Centre and book a guided tour out to Fortune Head.
A gateway to France
Did you know that your trip down the Heritage Run could include an international trip? Fortune is home to the Saint-Pierre and Miquelon ferry office, where an 55-minute ride across the water will land you in North America’s last remaining French colony. Plan to spend a couple of days exploring the French archipelago’s three islands – Saint-Pierre, Miquelon, and Ile-aux-Marins – before continuing your Eastern Newfoundland adventure. You’ll find delicious French cheeses and wines, jaw-dropping landscapes, and a culture unlike any other. Plus, you’ll get bragging rights: how many travelers in Canada can say they hopped over to France for a couple of days during their trip?
How to do it: Visit the Tourism Saint-Pierre website to book accommodations and plan your visit to Saint-Pierre and Miquelon. Ready to go? Book your ferry online and head to the terminal in Fortune for your departure. Bon voyage!
Bittersweet history in St. Lawrence
When you arrive in the town of St. Lawrence, you will immediately notice that it is a place where memories of the past are held dear. The region’s history of fluorspar mining is one that still marks its residents; with a lack of health and safety standards in the mines, many workers fell victim to serious health problems and early deaths. In contrast to this dark side of history, you’ll also find one of hope and community in the story of the Truxtun and Pollux, two U.S naval ships that ran aground during a winter storm in 1942. Thanks to the determination and humanity of the miners and their families, many lives were saved after members of the community worked tirelessly to haul injured sailors up over towering cliffs and into the warmth of local homes. It’s impossible not to feel moved by the power of this community and its willingness to extend a helping hand, and you’ll leave the town of St. Lawrence with a renewed appreciation for the resilience of its people.
How to do it: From Fortune, enjoy a scenic coastal drive around the bottom of the peninsula, where you’ll find many picturesque communities and heritage museums. When you reach St. Lawrence, start with a visit to the Miner’s Museum, where you’ll learn about the region’s history and discover stories and artifacts from the Truxton and Pollux disaster. Be sure to polish a piece of fluorspar to keep as a souvenir! Spend the afternoon exploring Chamber Cove, where you’ll marvel at the natural elements that were overcome by stranded sailors and heroic locals.
Picturesque photo ops in Burin
Nearly any Newfoundland coastal community you wander into will offer up its fair share of photo ops, but a drive around the town of Burin and its many surrounding coves will leave even the most seasoned photographer speechless. After visiting the town’s quaint heritage square, plan to spend the day exploring every nook and cranny of the surrounding coastline. You’ll find tranquil coves, colourful cliff-top homes, and weathered fishing stages barely clinging to the rocks. There’s something beautiful around every bend, so leave no road unexplored!
How to do it: From St. Lawrence, continue up the eastern coast of the peninsula, where you’ll find rugged scenery and lots of evidence of the region’s history in the fishery. When you reach Burin, head to the heritage square and take a walk along the boardwalk. For a panoramic view, head up the Cook’s Lookout Trail, named after Captain Cook, who was said to use the lookout to keep an eye out for approaching troublemakers. Plan to spend some time exploring every side road you come across… you never know what you’ll find!
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