Cow Head: lobster, no beef


Another great Newfoundland day …. Running the roads and having a wonderful time.
We decided to get up early because we had to switch cottages today — the excellent Mountain Range Cottages are often full. The cottage we booked for four days is lovely but more of a large studio with a bed at one end than a more traditional set up so, having the opportunity to switch to a cottage with separate bedroom and kitchen and living room for the first two days, we took it. Not any effort for us since the excellent staff moved our things but we did want to pack our suitcases at least.
We left at nine, heading north to take another crack at The Arches. We’re going nearly that far north today anyway, heading for the Lobster Festival at Cow Head. I wonder why it’s called Cow Head?
Any road — and really, there’s only one, highway 430 — we decided another stop at Payne’s Bakery in Parson’s Pond was important. Tea and Molasses Bun for me, tea and lemon square and marshmallow squares for Phil. And we picked up more date squares for the cottage, of course.
Before reaching Payne’s, however, the highlight of the day:   A moose on the highway. He — or she? — stood placidly, half on the highway, half on the shoulder, facing the adjacent woods. I saw him well in advance of coming close and, with no traffic behind, was able to slow down from 90 kph to a gentle rolling stop and still be 100 yards away from him. He looked at us. We looked at him. We were too awestruck and dumbstruck to even think of the cameras. After a few minutes, he walked off into the forest.
Well, we’re three for three — we wanted whales, icebergs and moose.
After Payne’s we find The Arches which is magnificent in person as it’s been impressive as the iconic Newfoundland tourism photo.
Then it’s off to Cow Head for a church ladies’ lobster supper for lunch, part of the 28th Annual Cow‘s Head Lobster Festival. On the way, we stop at a lookout where an excellent telescope is set up to get a very close view of the 360 degrees of mountains that are around us. Even I can work the thing and we get incredibly intimate views of the towns and mountains and coastlines that are all around us.

We take a walk through town before lunch to work up an appetite. We stop at the Post Office to mail post cards and then check out the local community museum and gift shop. Like another museum we saw yesterday, it basically an old house with bits and pieces of this and that — flatirons and old Twinings tins, ladies hats and rocking chairs made from barrels — you get the idea – with bored young interpreters who don’t know much about what’s there. Nice people though and you get the sense these communities are very proud of their museums. IMG_0154a

At St. Mary’s Anglican Church there are big bowls of homemade salads set in ice in a rowboat in the middle of the hall with communal tables all around, nicely decorated with Canadian and Newfoundland flags. Instructed to fill a plate with salads , you then chose your seat at the tables laden with homemade white bread, butter, raisin scones, molasses buns and homemade Newfoundland berry jams. After you’re seated, one of the members of the ladies auxiliary brings you a big oval platter with your very own lobster… cracked and ready to pick and eat. Everyone is friendly and it’s nice to be part of a community in that way.  And Phil enjoyed killing the lobster.



After lunch, we toured the modest botanical gardens adjoining the church and then went over to the library to use the free wireless internet. Librarian Nora Shears is pleasant and helpful despite the fact that half the community of Cow Head drops by during the hour we’re there, some to use one of the six computers, others to hook up with their own laptops.. In the age of the internet, the library is an important hub.

Finally, back over to the museum for an outdoor afternoon concert by the traditional Newfoundland music group Neddy Norris. Highlight of the show were the anti-Confederation songs, one dating back to 1869 and the other to 1948, the Log Driver’s Waltz — you’ll know it from the NFB animation — and Hunting the Duck, a rendition of the anti-hunting tune by Buddy Wassisname and The Other Fellers.  My favourite — How Good is Me Life by Jim Payne.


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