My husband and I are enjoying our second week away from home, spending most of our time in my birthplace, St. John’s, the capital city of Newfoundland. This past weekend, however, we took a short trip to Grates Cove.
This little community is the most northerly one on the Avalon Peninsula, and is my mother’s hometown.
My father’s maternal roots are also here, so most of my relatives originated in Grates Cove. Some of them still live here, and others have summer homes.
Grates Cove is actually a National Historic site, recognized for its acres of rock walls.
From the last of the 1700’s to the early 1900’s, local residents used the rocks to define spaces within their environment. The rocks were thrown, stacked and piled into more than 160 acres of land to set aside fields, create gardens, store vegetables, protect livestock and to use as cemeteries. (source: beyondbaccalieu.com)
Like many of the coastal communities in our province, Grates Cove was a desirable place because of its prolific fishing grounds. First settled in 1790, its population has shrunk over the years, but it still supports the livelihood of a number of local fisher-persons, and is a popular tourist destination.
Many of these tourists have loved the place so much, they bought property of their own and put down roots. It has been reported that Grates Cove has the highest per capita in all of Newfoundland of “Mainlanders” buying up houses to live.
If you are ever in the area and get a chance to visit this picturesque little fishing village, I am sure you will understand why the “come-from-aways” fell in love with it and made up their minds to stay.
Have you ever visited tiny, out-of-the-way communities like Grates Cove? Are any of your relatives still living in places such as these?