Welcome to Scenic Green Bay
As you cross the island portion of Newfoundland and Labrador, you will encounter a stretch of highway that passes through a breathtaking stand of tall birch trees, followed by a stone fence, proclaiming “Welcome to Scenic Green Bay.” And those sights are just a little bit off the beaten path, along Route 390 where you'll find two small towns that offer visitor experiences on a grand scale: Springdale and King's Point.
Both towns play host to a parade of southward-bound 10,000-year-old icebergs, carved from the giant glaciers of Greenland. These castles of ice can range in colour from snow white to the deepest aquamarines and can be viewed from the shoreline throughout these coastal communities.
A local favourite, Glassy Beach, is a hidden gem at the far end of Springdale. Take the dirt road out of town until you come to a cryptic sign declaring “Bowers 136136.” Here, you'll find a 140-meter-long trail from the road to the beach, a small inlet covered almost entirely in smooth, wave-washed fragments of broken glass. Its origins are a mystery and it has to be seen to be believed. That being said, the town is declaring it a local heritage site and visitors are invited to look but not collect, as a fair amount of glass has been removed in recent years.
Photo Courtesy of Steve Kaufman
If you’re looking for a place to stay in the area, you should consider The Riverwood Inn. It boasts luxurious amenities overlooking the Indian River. This spectacular setting is the starting point for The Indian River Walking Trail featuring boardwalks and interpretive signage that will lead you on your exploration of the river estuary. Be sure to bring your binoculars to help with bird sightings and your camera to capture some of these fantastic views. Not the least of which is the waterfall and adjoining salmon ladder at trails end. Another great place to stay in the Springdale area is at Indian Falls Chalet, an all-season resort which sits on the Indian River and features modern log chalets and immersive guided hikes, wilderness fishing and cook-out experiences.
Photo courtesy of Indian Falls Chalet
Just off the Springdale junction you'll find the smaller towns of King’s Point and Rattling Brook, which pay homage to the mighty humpback whale. Newfoundland and Labrador is home to the world's largest population of humpback whales, who visit our waters annually from May until August. Here in King’s Point, the Humpback Whale Pavilion is an interpretive site featuring interactive information on anything you'd like to know about these incredible sea creatures. The focal point of the pavilion, however, is a reconstructed 52-foot humpback whale skeleton, one of the largest in the world. This breathtaking display is a must see.
A little down the road you'll encounter a studio decorated with starfish. This is the home of King's Point Pottery where local artisans create amazing works of award-winning art. Even the building is a thing of beauty: the beams supporting the gallery deck are carved from trees, their branches forming an intricate railing. Here you can purchase unique pottery along with diverse works from numerous artists. They even offer lessons where you can try your hand at the potter’s wheel.
The King’s Point Museum is also worth checking out if you find yourself in the area. The museum itself was the project of the local heritage society and lives in a 100-year-old house.
For the more adventurous, there’s the Alexander Murray Hiking Trail, named for the first director of the Geological Survey of Newfoundland and an ardent fan of this area. And this trail features views that he wrote about over a century ago. A feat of construction, you will hike through diverse scenery, overlooking vertical cliffs, lofty valleys and lush forests. Well marked, this hike covers 8 kilometres and will take 3 to 4 hours to complete, forming a loop with minimal backtracking. If you hike the main trail, be sure to include the various offshoots where you'll impressive waterfalls. And be sure to start early so you’ll have enough time to stop for lunch at the summit lookout, providing scenic vistas in all directions.
A little further down the track is the sister town to King's Point, Rattling Brook. On one end, this picturesque village features a 1-kilometre trail to its own incredible 800-foot waterfall. And on the other, a true gem in Joshua Toms and Sons General Store. Run for the last 58 years by Dulcie Toms, this store is like a postcard in time – right down to the potbelly stove you can warm your hands by.
This little corner of the province is a place where the quiets are quieter, the greens are a little greener, and the brights are a little brighter.
Scenic Green Bay, indeed.
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COVID-19 UPDATE: Newfoundlanders and Labradorians get to rediscover home this year, and we welcome our Maritime neighbours on July 3. Call or connect with operators / venues before you go, as details on the website may be modified by COVID-19. Future travellers from elsewhere, please keep dreaming and check back for travel updates.