You’ll find this quaint lighthouse just beyond the colony of Avalon, which was established in 1621 as a British outpost in Newfoundland and is now a tourist and archaeological destination in its own right.
The Ferryland Lighthouse was built in 1870 to guide sailors along the oft-foggy coast. It contains plaques that tell the stories of some of the shipwrecks that occurred just offshore both, before and after the lighthouse was constructed.
For instance, in 1856, the brigantine Heather got stuck in the ice, and several of its crew abandoned ship for a pan of floating ice. Ten Ferryland villagers risked their own lives to save the men. Another ship, the Torhamvan, transporting macaroni as well as other goods, ran aground in 1926, and local lore claims the shores were “white with macaroni for weeks afterward.”
The last lighthouse keeper left in 1970. Soon after, a Newfoundland artist moved in to live and conduct art classes for the next 10 years. The lighthouse was then abandoned until 2003, when two friends started a picnic business there, restoring the building in 2004. Visitors can now bring their own picnic or buy one at the restaurant that operates in the lighthouse, then walk among the rocks and heather, find the ideal spot, spread out a blanket, and enjoy watching the many whales that congregate in the waters below while having lunch.
Know Before You Go
Drive as far as you can past the Colony of Avalon on the paved road toward the lighthouse. The road will turn to gravel, and after a few minutes is a parking lot. Visitors then need to walk about 10 to 15 minutes to reach the lighthouse. For a small fee, an ATV service runs for those who don’t want to or cannot walk. Reservations are recommended for the picnics that run out of the lighthouse, or bring your own.