A Little Bay Islands July Baycation

An Overnight Trip in Late July, 2017, Revealed Something Unexpected

A Little Bay Islands July Baycation

There was a time, in the distant past, that Little Bay Islands was a prosperous go-to place in the Green Bay area. Its merchants supplied our early settlers. Schooners were built there. It was an active place with multiple shops, social groups, a doctor, a bank and a customs office.

As many people now know, the much quieter community of Little Bay Islands is inching closer and closer to resettlement.

If (probably when) the residents receive government financial assistance to move to bigger centres, Little Bay Islands will officially be shut down.

Even though it is just outside Halls Bay, Little Bay Islands seems very far away. In a sense it is, being reachable pretty much only by a ferry service that is dependent on agreeable weather, ferry maintenance and Government-generated scheduling.

I am ashamed to write that I expected on my very first visit to Little Bay Islands I would find a gray depressed outport community wheezing its last breaths.

I was wrong.

Little Bay Islands is a special place.

Much is closed down forever in Little Bay Islands, but what I found on those small islands was a community still buzzing with… life.

It is a beautiful community in a small sheltered harbour. Wild flowers grow tall along foot paths. The roads are narrow, winding within feet of houses and hinting at the past. Oil lamps can be seen in windows. The air seems cleaner. The water seems clearer.

It’s not so easy to tell. There’s water over these rocks. This photo is of the water in the bay at Little Bay Islands. Yes, these rocks are under water.

The tie to the sea at LBI is obvious. Small boats can be seen coming and going out of the harbour. Red anchors decorate many gardens. Stages are many, now well bleached from the sun.

On my overnight visit, the quiet was broken by the sound of seagulls and not much more. Waves lapped lazily on the shore. The sounds of children playing could be heard: “1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, on your mark, get ready, get set…”

I could hear other voices drifting clear across the bay.

They were laughing happily.

The islands: The view of the community of Little Bay Islands from the Pole Hill walking trail. It takes only about a 10 minute walk to get to this popular photo spot. There are many walking and hiking trails at Little Bay Islands.


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Aunt Edna’s B & B in Little Bay Islands

aunt edna's b n b little bay islands newfoundland

little bay islands newfoundland

Peddle bikes leaned against sheds. Properties, if not closed up completely, were very well organized. (The residents of Little Bay Islands are rich with elbow grease, apparently.)

People waved as they drove by, and waved as they rode by on bicycle.

Little Bay Islands is a special place.

I don’t mean to imply that there is no reason for resettlement. A summer visit is a far cry from the realities of winter living on an island. Only those with residences in LBI can have opinions on that complex topic.

But there just is something about Little Bay Islands, a magic.

The paint on the railings may be flaked, but the view is pristine: the lookout at Pole Hill at Little Bay Islands

My trip to LBI took 24 hours in total, from pulling out of my driveway in King’s Point to pulling back in the next day. Yet I felt I had been gone for a week. This one-night ‘baycation’ was the get-away that didn’t take long to get to.

That overnight stay was at Aunt Edna’s B&B, the only business in the community. Staying there added an extra layer of interest to the trip. It is a 100+ year old house with period decorative touches and a million stories to tell, if it could talk. The hostess, Sharlene, is one of the friendliest women I have ever met.

Best of all was what I took away on the ferry with me: a feeling of being a little mentally lighter.

Little Bay Islands may be officially dying but it can still teach us what it is to be alive. At Little Bay Islands you have to slow down, stop. Then you see what is around you.