The day dawned foggy and damp but we were convinced it would improve, so the Pie and I piled Rusty, Mags, and Gren into our rented car and drove an hour and a half south of St. John’s to the town of Ferryland (population: ~529). This was the third time the Pie and I had made it to Ferryland, but the first time that we were really able to appreciate it. On previous occasions, we had arrived in town after an afternoon of iceberg hunting and were too tired to take the time to walk around this historical settlement. This year is a bad one for icebergs, however, so we were rested and refreshed and raring to go.
I’ll give you a little background on Ferryland.
Originally an acclaimed fishing location for migratory French and Portuguese fishermen at the end of the sixteenth century, the area, known as “Farilham” by the Portuguese and “Forillon” by the French, was granted to the London and Bristol Company in the early 1610s. “Ferryland” is the Anglicization of those names.
In 1620, the land was granted to George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore (there are nearby settlements called Calvert and Baltimore, respectively, and yes, this is the same Lord Baltimore of Baltimore, MD). In 1623 Calvert appointed a dude named Edward Wynne to establish a colony there, which grew into one of the first successful European establishments in North America. In 1623 as well, King James I granted Calvert a charter creating the Province of Avalon. This gave Calvert carte blanche to control all administrative and territorial matters in the area, and he chose Ferryland as its principal settlement.
Like many settlements in Newfoundland, the rich fishing grounds around Ferryland were much sought after, and Ferryland suffered a raid from the Dutch in the 1670s, before being decimated by New France in 1696. It was soon reoccupied, and has remained so to this day, predominantly by Irish and English descendants. There is an active archeological dig site, which shows you how Lord and Lady Baltimore lived nearly four hundred years ago.
There is lots to see in Ferryland. Unfortunately, when we went this time all of the exhibits were closed due to a water problem. Still, the historic Ferryland Museum has an immense collection of artifacts recovered from the dig site, and is a historical artifact itself, dating back to 1916.
Once you’re settled, they’ll bring you your lunch in a basket: hearty sandwiches on thick oatmeal bread, rich pasta salad, melt-in-your-mouth desserts, and fresh, tart lemonade, served in Mason jars. Just some more shots of this amazing al fresco meal:
A rusty thingamajig:
Check it out for yourself!