Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Whales, Trails and Mussels in Gros Morne National Park

   by Keith and Heather Nicol
   On June 24 we decided to head to Gros Morne National Park on a spur of the moment trip to do some of our favourite activities before the summer throngs descend on the Park. We started out with a boat tour of Bonne Bay aboard the Emm Cat.  Bontours ( runs this popular 2 hour boat tour starting from the wharf in Norris Point. It was a windy afternoon for our 2:00 pm sailing and this prevented the boat from getting out in the open Gulf of St. Lawrence. However, this didn’t really matter since we saw a couple of eagles along the steep sides of Bonne Bay as well as a minke whale feeding near the surface. The whale cooperated and even swam toward the Emm Cat on one occasion! The crew does a great job of entertaining the passengers with a lively and informative commentary along the way . They even performed a few toe tapping songs as we steamed back to the dock. 
We saw a Minke Whale feeding near the surface.
Next we checked into one of our favourite places to stay in Rocky Harbour, the Oceanview Hotel (, which is centrally located and as the name suggests overlooks the water. We love their well appointed rooms with large windows facing the ocean.
The Ocean View Hotel is a favourite place to stay in Rocky Harbour
      That evening we ate at the Justin Thyme Bean and Bistro ( in Norris Point which we had discovered shortly after they opened in May, 2013. They quickly became one of  “the places to eat” in Gros Morne Park and we were keen to see how they were doing. On our first visit we ordered the best mussels we have ever eaten and noticed that they were still on the menu under the name-Just Incredible Mussels, and they are incredible.  Lynn Daley, wife of the chef and a co-owner  told us that their mussel recipe includes pesto, cream, a balsamic reduction and a special secret ingredient.  As well we ordered another appetizer, Sweet Chili Thai Shrimp which were also delicious and we had apricot glazed duck and black angus rib steak for our mains. We barely had room for a piece of apple pie with ice cream for dessert. Yum, yum!  Lynn told us that they are very busy (reservations are recommended) and now are even offering a late night pick up menu for the summer months. 
Check out the  Justin Thyme Bean and Bistro in Norris Point
Heather at the top of the Rocky Hills Trail
Visit the Glass Gallery in Rocky Harbour
  Taking in all those calories we decided we needed to get some exercise and then watch the sunset. Thank goodness for the long daylight hours of late June! We headed to Rocky Hills Lookout trail , enroute to Lobster Cove Lighthouse which is one of our favourite places to watch the sunset. The Rocky Hills Lookout trail is just 350 meters one way but offers fine views of Rocky Harbour and the Lookout Hills.  It was a lovely short hike but our plans for a sunset were short lived as a large bank of clouds obscured the sun almost as soon as we reached the Lobster Cove. We did walk some of the trails near the lighthouse and then decided to visit the Glass Gallery which has Even though it was 9:15 pm, Urve Manuel ( ) welcomed us in and told us about the gallery. She has created some amazing works of art and the Glass Gallery is a great addition to the art scene in Gros Morne National Park. It has
just opened for business this spring.

The sunset at scenic Lobster Cove

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