Other Attractions in the Area
Newtown was once referred to as the “Venice of Newfoundland” as it was built on several tiny islands joined by bridges. The Barbour Living Heritage Village is located on a point of land surrounded by tickles and beaches and it is highly visible when entering Newtown. Newtown and Cape Freels are located along a strip of coast known as oceanic barrens.
There plenty to see and do when you head out on the Road to the Shore. In addition to taking in all the attractions at the Barbour Living Heritage Village, we highly recommend you plan the following:
- Visit the Greenspond Courthouse and walk the trails
- Walk the Cape Island Walking Trail
- Take in some bird watching
Greenspond was once known as the “Capital of Bonavista Bay” and has a history dating back to the late 1600’s. It had a customs office and its own courthouse, where many cases were tried. At the peak of its settlement, it had a population of 1,800, but has less than 400 residents now.
The Greenspond Courthouse is located in Greenspond, Bonavista Bay, Newfoundland. Along with a tour of the Barbour Living Heritage Village in nearby Newtown, it is another ‘must see’ when you visit our area.
Designed by the Superintendent of Public Buildings, William Henry Churchill, in 1899, the Greenspond Courthouse is one in a series of courthouses built on a standard plan. It remains an important example of this period of courthouse design in Newfoundland. It has a dome, jailrooms, and upstairs living quarters, which are features unique to the property. The building has been restored to its 1899 state.
Both the courthouse and the Barbour Living Heritage Village, Newtown are supported by a wealth of scholarly books, anecdotal accounts, letters, photographs, and original art. Also available for viewing is a multitude of artifacts relating to the seal and cod fishery, related business activity, and courtroom cases, which demonstrate the extraordinary qualities of courage, ingenuity, and tenacity of the rural Newfoundlander.
The Courthouse is open to the public during the tourist season. Friendly hosts will show you around the main floor of the courthouse, the jails and the upstairs quarters. Crafts, souvenirs, and gifts are also available in this historic building.
While visiting Greenspond, take a stroll around this historic town and walking trail. At the lookout, you will have a glorious view of Puffin Island and the majestic icebergs that frequent the area. But drop by the Olde Shoppe Restaurant at the Barbour Living Heritage Village in Newtown first to pick up a picnic lunch to take with you.
For information regarding the Greenspond Courthouse, contact us.
Cape Island Walking Trail
The community of Cape Island was abandoned 1951-1953 as a result of a decline in the fishing and sealing industries. Until that time, people made their living from a small boat inshore cod fishery, capelin and seal hunting. Situated off the eastern tip of Cape Freels in Bonavista Bay, along the northeast coast of the island of Newfoundland, it had been settled in the late 18th century by fishermen and trappers from nearby settlements such as Greenspond and Bonavista. By the time of the 1836 Census of Newfoundland, there were 100 people living in this tiny fishing village. Many artifacts have been found along the trail.
Look for a copy of the book at the Poop Deck Craft and Gift Shop located in the Barbour Living Heritage Village, Newtown. Drop by the Olde Shoppe Restaurant to pick up a picnic basket before heading out to the walking trail in Cape Island.
Bird watchers will find the community of Cape Freels particularly interesting since the beaches are heavily populated with hundreds of small seabirds. The Piping Plover was once common here. An interesting fact about this area – Beothuk Indians are known to have lived in this region. Enjoy a stroll on the new walking trail.
For more information about bird watching in Cape Freels, click here.