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What strikes you about Carbonear is the history. Enter from the old Harbour Grace Road site of the Great Atlantic Air Races of the 1920s and 1930s and then turn right off the main road through the valley to get to Saddle Hill.
Stop and look. Aptly named Saddle Hill was a terror for trucks leaving Earles, Moores, Saunders and Howells and other busy businesses up to the 1980s. The icy climb by truck was legendary but you see the town spread out below you like an Ontario lake, superb on a fine summer's day.
Drive down past the hospital just past where Rex Murphy was born to take the Beach Road just past the Gut Bridge where you turn left to Princess Sheila's grave. The burial site is supposedly of one of the first white mothers giving birth in Eastern Canada--legnd has it she was an Irish princess of sorts captured by a famous pirate (Peter Easton) and she fell in love with his first mate. Out of a Russell Crowe movie, eh? They both helped stake out an English claim to the new Founde lande.
Then you head to the Carbonear Museum, an old railway station, and Rorke's Balancing the Scales exhibit is a stone's throw up the road. Those two museums are well worth the visit packed as they are with exhibits of Carbonear's proud nautical past. You'll even see a picture there next to what was for decades the biggest fish ever caught by jigger off NL--it was 5'7" and 157 lbs--no fish story!
Proceed along Water Street to the Legion Park where Terry Fox's mother stopped to dedicate a small memorial. Keep going east to the old Post Office on your left and the wharf on your right (5 and 6), site of Charles and Diana's memorable visit in 1982 and then to the old merchant section near Bond Street, last remains of the Earle and Moores fishing empires of the last century complete with a doctor's house on the left that is still a fine mini-mansion with a wonderful display of flowers each summer straight out of Midsummer's Night Dream.
Keep going to Harbor Rock Hill for 7plus 1 and see the park and cannon noting the French and American wars of the past when invading ships would battle the English for possession of this fine old fishing port. Go through tree-lined Crocker's Cove and then along a section like the Cabot Trail in miniature for a beautiful view just outside Freshwater of the whole harbour entrance and historic Carbonear Island.
It resonates with history and scenery and giving visitors this grand little tour.