Imagine traveling to a location where you will feel as if you have taken a giant step back in time and escaped the rushed lifestyle of today's world. This is exactly what you awaits on Bell Island, an island of 34 square kilometers with an estimated 2500 residents. Bell Island is accessible through a 15 minute ferry ride from Portugal Cove, St. John's, Newfoundland and a great place to include in your Newfoundland travel itinerary. #bellisland #newfoundland #explorenl #tourism #tourismnl
One of the first things that impress me about Bell Island is its majestic, pure, landscape. Massive cliffs sit at the ocean's edge as sea birds flitter along their mountainous peaks and glide through the tunnels at their base. #cliff #mountain #seabirds #ocean #sea #landscape #newfoundland #bellisland
Ascending the sloping road that leads from the ferry terminal to the community, you will notice "Harry's lookout", a memorial to the late Harry Hibbs, a Newfoundland singer / songwriter who was born on Bell Island but later moved to the mainland at age 20. #bellisland #harryhibbs #harryhibbsmemorial #wharf #culture
A short distance from the memorial, you will notice a rest area with engraved benches and handcrafted murals, a testament that family, culture, and community are strong values held by the residents of Bell Island. #memorial #historyandculture #culture #bellisland #tourismnl #newfoundland
Many landmarks throughout the community highlight the historical importance of the iron ore mining industry. For 71 years, iron ore mining had seen the island thrive economically, something that remains strong and proud in the hearts of these amazing Islanders. #bellisland #islander #ironoremining #mining #canada #bellislandeconomy #history
Since its abrupt closure in 1966, the negative economic impact has been quite evident.
Despite the many losses the island has suffered, many residents remain friendly and optimistic. From my experience, many residents are seniors and quite willing to share their memories and life stories. #friendlypeople #community #bellisland #rural #memories
One man told me of how his ocean-side family home received crew from the ill-fated SS Rose Castle after it was torpedoed by German U-boat in 1942. He then gave me directions to the Seaman's Memorial site which, when I visited, found quite moving. #seamansmemorial #rosecastle #memorial #shipwreckmemorial #bellisland #tourismnl
He also gave me directions to a lookout point that offered amazing coastal views and a panoramic view of Conception Bay across the ocean. What a wonderful place to stand and contemplate life as the warm ocean breeze sweeps your face! #conceptionbay #coastal #panoramic #nature
On my journey back to the ferry terminal, I stopped at the Bell Island lighthouse hoping to take a tour. However, I was told that the lighthouse tower was not open to the public and that the lighthouse cafe (which offers ocean and lighthouse themed decor). #bellisland #dory #lighthouse #lighthousecafe #tourismnl
The lighthouse tower, operated by the Newfoundland coastguard, was manned by a very friendly worker who provided me with even more detail about the island of Bell Island, informing me of a place called Grebe's Nest. Naturally, I just had to visit! You can see now why I recommend a full day to explore Bell Island. #bellisland #grebesnest #naturallandscape #touristattraction #placestovisit #tourismnl
Interesting tunnels were seen throughout the oceanic landscape at Grebe's Nest, Bell Island. I later learned that these were entrances through the underground mining tunnels, something that I found completely amazing! #undergroundmine #abandonedmine #bellisland #tourismnl #newfoundland
I did not have time to visit Dick's fish and chips, a popular stop over for many visiting the island but will be sure to do so on my next visit to Bell Island. #restaurant #dicksfishandchips #fishandchips #placestovisit #bellisland
Be prepared to enjoy the simple, personal, touches through the community on your visit to Bell Island. However, a word of advice, travelers should check with the ferry service to determine arrival and departure times and to ensure that both ferries are operational. It is not uncommon for one of the ferries to be pulled from service and lead to more extensive transit times. However, on the many occasions that I have travelled to Bell Island, thankfully, there were no transportation issues. #bellisland #personaltouch #lawndecor #tourismnl
Please continue to follow my blog to share more of my Newfoundland travel adventures and itinerary tips.