Winterset in Summer, Eastport, Newfoundland, August 13-15

Graeme Gibson and I finally succumbed to the blandishments of Michael Enright and Richard Gwyn and attended the Winterset in Summer three-day writers’ festival in Eastport, Newfoundland, this August 13-15. For the full lineup and news of future events, see Many old friends and some new ones were there, and the place was pretty much sold out.

First, however, we went to visit our friend and erstwhile travel companion, photographer Dennis Minty and his fabulous-cook wife Antje Springmann (, and their two large dogs – one a Newfoundland – and cat, and flock of chickens, at Clarke’s Beach. We walked the Bay Roberts trail to Mad Rocks (pictured), ate at the Mad Rocks Café (pictured), visited Cupids — the oldest English-speaking settlement in North America — and saw the Elizabethan-style theatre, where a Rabbittown Theatre Company production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream was afoot ( (Puck and Sprite pictured).  We had a great dinner at Sophia’s in Carbonear (, and an exciting time searching for the dogs when they went awol.

We also visited Brigus, home of Captain Robert Bartlett, Arctic explorer  and made off with a copy of The Viking, 1931, one of the first “talkies” ever shot, in which Bartlett plays the captain of a sealing ship.

Once at Eastport — and having realized that our GPS was ineffectual there — we stayed at Aunt May’s B&B,, where we were very well looked after. In between the events and receptions and celebrations, we ate at Vicky’s Internet Cafe (yes! It has WiFi!), visited Eastport Organics (pictured), and went out to Salvage and hiked up to the big rock overlooking the bay. The weather was kind to us — sunny and warm, but not too warm —  and so were the people, and so were the biting insects, which had mostly gone away. And so were the blueberries, which were in season.

Tired but happy, the travellers returned, and after a memorable dinner in misty St. John’s with two of our fellow Aunt Mayers, we made off home with two striking Dennis Minty photographs done up in bubble cloth (one pictured).

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