Updated: Dec 29, 2022
Hubby and I took a day cruise to Bell Island and had the best time. This tiny island in Conception Bay really is a fun little get away for a day or a week. There is so much to do there.
There are two ferries, the MV Legionnaire and MV Flanders, that sail the 5KM trip across the Tickle 21 times a day. Ferry service begins at 5:55am leaving Bell Island and ends at 10 PM daily. Ferries depart from Portugal Cove. You can get the daily ferry schedule from the Department of Transportation’s web site
First stop when you get off the ferry must be lunch at Dicks' on The Beach. The fish and chips are delicious. They were the best french fries I have ever eaten and the fish must have been caught the morning.
After lunch we took a drive around this scenic Island and visited the Bell Island Lighthouse. The views are spectacular! The lighthouse stands 290-feet above sea level and has come to the rescue of many fishermen over the years. The area is excellent for viewing many species of birds and wildlife as well as whales and icebergs when in season. It is a great place for pictures and for walking.
I love hiking and Bell Island has four easy to moderate trails. The Gregory Normore Walking Trail is 21km in length. It is named after the first settler on Bell Island. The trail is a photographer’s paradise. It takes you to the Lighthouse and the Keeper’s Cafe, the Grebe’s Nest, Pulpit Head, Ochre Cove, #2Cove, Historic Lance Cove Beach and The Seaman’s Memorial, Scotia and Dominion Pier. It will skirt past #2 Mines Collar, the home of the Haunted Tours. It will also take you down to the WW11 guns that overlook the Tickle. If you prefer a shorter trail there are three trails that are about 5km in length. Guides are available to give you the historical information on each tour. These trails are excellent if you are doing the Duke of Edinburgh program at the Bronze or Silver level and need a day or a one/two overnight trip. They are also excellent for Cubs, Guides or cadets who are looking for a day or overnight trip.
Contact the Mayor or town councillors. They are extremely helpful if you’re planning a visit.
I have visited the Bell Island #2 Mine and Community Museum several times. It is fun to do with kids or without. The tour lasts about one hour. A tour guide will entertain you with tales of the miner’s history and amazing stories about the hard working men who risked their lives to supply the world markets with iron ore. It is open seasonally 7 days a week from 10 AM to 6 PM from June 1 to September 30. It is just extremely cool to go down into this mine!
I plan on going back with a group of friends next summer to do an overnight at the Grand Wabana Inn, 82 Memorial Street. We drove by and had a look. It is a beautiful, historic mansion that has been remodeled and has some great reviews on TripAdvisor https://www.tripadvisor.ca/Hotel_Review-g1414270-d8486890-Reviews-The_Grand_Wabana_Inn-Bell_Island_Newfoundland_Newfoundland_and_Labrador.html
During our visit we stopped to take pictures at the #4 Mines Shaft. A very friendly man stopped his vehicle and asked if we would like to go in. He was a town councillor and a member of the Tourism Committee. This lovely gentleman unlocked the door to the mine and give us a personal tour inside this historic mine shaft. To my delight, it has been turned into a Theatre of the Mine! He explained that it is now used for plays and movies. His enthusiasm was so infectious that we decided Bell Island has to be our next vacation spot.
Then again, he could have been a ghost because Bell Island is one of the most haunted Islands in all of North America! So, I will be doing the Haunted Walking Tour; The Ghosts of Bell Island during my trip and paying a visit to the Theatre of the Mine. This walking tour informs you on the folklore of Bell Island. During the haunted tour, you will meet ghosts, angry spirits and the hideous Ghost of Dobbin’s Garden, the vengeful and beautiful White Woman and the seductive Queen of the Fairies. The play is held Friday and Saturday evening; half an hour before sunset. The play begins at the old #4 Mines Shaft, better known as #4Mines Collar. There is a maximum of 15 people per tour and no children under 15 years old are permitted.
For the life of me I can’t understand why Bell Island is not full of exclusive cottage rentals and homes for the rich and famous. This secluded island is only 9.7 kilometres (6.0 mi) in length and 3.5 kilometres (2.2 mi) in width, it has an area of 34 square kilometres (8,400 acres). The scenery is breathtaking and there’s so much to do from horseback riding to kayaking to ATV tours. It is a tourism jewel. Remember nobody thought an exclusive hotel on Fogo Island would work, now it’s book for years in advance!
To read more about Bell Island and to plan a trip visit http://www.tourismbellisland.com
This beautiful little island has me hooked. I can’t wait to go back for a night or a weekend. Give it a visit!