ST. JOHN'S, Newfoundland, October 4, 2006 "“ Aiming to keep the welcome mat out longer and encourage more visitors, Newfoundland, one of the four provinces of Atlantic Canada, along with 38 of its travel industry partners in the Discovery Trail Association "“ small inns, B&Bs, whale watching tours and the province's highly acclaimed Rising Tide Theatre "“ is extending its season, staying open later and offering value-added packages to attract U.S. travelers.
Not that Americans need enticing. Stunning natural scenery, nature up close and personal, centuries-old fishing villages, fabulously fresh seafood and Newfoundlanders who take the time to chat have been luring visitors for years. Award-winning nature cruises, kayaking adventures and scenic hikes attract the active traveler. Majestic icebergs, pods of whales and puffin colonies lure nature lovers. There's something to interest every visitor from a weekend workshop with famed artist Gerry Squires to peeking at the puffin colony in Elliston or lazing away an afternoon picking partridge berries "“ all at prices 30 % to 50% lower than in the summer season.
One of the most picturesque spots along the Discovery Trail is the charming national heritage community of Trinity. Here, narrow lanes lead to restored 19th century merchant houses "“ there are some 50 architecturally significant buildings in this small town of 350. Whale watching is a popular activity from the port and twenty-two species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises swim along the coastline. Rising Tide Theatre "“ located on Green's Point where there has been an enterprise since 1700 "“ is presenting a full program of plays. The movie, "The Shipping News," starring Kevin Spacey, Julianne Moore, and Dame Judy Dench was filmed here. Bonavista was discovered in 1497 by John Cabot, or as his Genovese neighbors called him, Giovanni Caboto. Four years later on a Sunday, the explorer sailed into Trinity.
Beginning at Chapel Arm, just 62 miles outside of St. John's, the Discovery Trail stretches almost 75 miles to Port Blandford along the Trans Canada Highway and from there extends another 68 miles to the tip of the Bonavista Peninsula. Retracing four centuries of settlement, the Discovery Trail has a vast network of foot and cart paths that lead to lighthouses, fishing ponds and favorite berry picking spots. Eight designated hikes take active travelers from the abandoned community of British Harbour and the lighthouse of Kings Cove trail to the site of a natural fort used during Queen Ann’s War of 1703-13. Designed for serious hikers as well, the well-marked trails range up to ten miles long and maps are available for purchase.
"The Discovery Trail has a rich history and we're working hard to preserve it," explained, Tom Hedderson, provincial Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation. "Visitors can see the only union built town in Canada dating from 1917 at Port Union, which was just restored last year," Hedderson added.
A number of very reasonably-priced packages "“ as much as 50% lower than in the summer "“ are being offered by Discovery Trail Association members through the end of October including:
Â¨ Newfoundland Vacation Homes has a three-night package at Eagle Peak in Trinity East that is 30% off and includes two guided nature hikes (a $77 value) priced at $108 per person, based on four person occupancy. www.newfoundlandvacationhomes.com
Â¨ Trinity Experience offers a two-night package for two with tickets to the Rising Tide Theatre at The Eriksen Premises, one of their B&Bs in Trinity that was a general store in the 1800s, starting at $177, a 30% discount. www.trinityexperience.com
Â¨ Boasting the closest viewing of puffins in North America, the Bird Island Inn is offering a two-night "Friends Weekend Getaway," for six friends in three rooms that includes two free bottles of blueberry wine and root cellar vegetable appetizers upon arrival and Saturday evening dinner with live entertainment for $71 per person, double occupancy www.birdislandinn.com
Â¨ Overlooking the ocean, Terra Nova Golf Resort and its 18-hole Twin Rivers course "“ rated one of "Canada's top 100 courses" "“ is offering a one-night stay on a Sunday or Monday with two rounds of golf per person and complimentary continental breakfast for only $66 per person, double occupancy "“ a 50% discount off the regular rate. www.terranovagolf.com
Newfoundland is part of the Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership (ACTP), a nine member pan-Atlantic partnership comprised of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the four Atlantic Canada Tourism Industry Associations, and the four departments responsible for tourism for the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador. For further information about the province, go to www.newfoundlandandlabradortourism.com and for further information about the Discovery Trail and its packages go to www.fallfordiscovery.com