Whale of a time in Kings Point

ArtSmart project between Kings Point Pottery and students from Valmont Academy. Humpback Whale mosaic
ArtSmart project between Kings Point Pottery and students from Valmont Academy. Humpback Whale mosaic

In late July we headed out for the Great Northern Peninsula at a more leisurely pace than usual. Having a room booked in Deer Lake at the new Holiday Inn Express meant we had a lazy start from Gander in the morning and had time to make a detour to King’s Point for a bowl of soup (“code” for buying pottery).

Kings Point is about 15 minutes off the TransCanada Highway at the Springdale Junction. A smaller community, it is steadily offering more and more to the tourists visiting. A few years ago we lucked into Jiggs Dinner at the By the Sea Café and it’s been a favorite spot ever since. Homemade meals right down to the pickles served with the fish cakes. We’d decided on pea soup before we left the highway!

As we drove into town we passed the Alexander Murray Hiking Trail and the Tourist information parking lot seemed quite busy. Heading towards our lunch spot I was confused by a large, new construction and then realized that it was attached to the restaurant. Last year when we were out, they were building a large exterior deck. This year’s project was massive.

By the Sea Café and Resort, Kings Point, NL under expansion again!
By the Sea Café and Resort, Kings Point, NL under expansion again!

When we went inside, we realized the large deck from last year was now enclosed and the dining room had actually more than doubled in size. We were there on a Saturday so there was no construction ongoing but the work was well underway to put in rooms or suites judging from the plumbing layout and framing. Focus, we need soup!

The dining room offers a water view on three sides with seating outside on the front and one side. It was just after a rain so the deck was empty but the potential was easy to appreciate. So was the huge bowl of pea soup with the dumpling served on the side so it didn’t take up space in the full bowl.

Expanded Café in Kings Point
Expanded Café in Kings Point
Construction of addition to By the Sea Café and Resort, Kings Point, NL
Construction of addition to By the Sea Café and Resort, Kings Point, NL
A view from the deck added last year.
A view from the deck added last year.
By the Sea Café Pea Soup and doughboy! With tons of salt beef!
By the Sea Café Pea Soup and doughboy! With tons of salt beef!

The picture doesn’t do justice to the size of that bowl of soup, but for sure it was two cups and the doughboy was the size of a softball! So delicious. We’d also decided soup and dessert before we left the highway but there was no way we could eat dessert after this. Of course, there was no way we were leaving without dessert either so take out it was!

Kings Point Pottery Craft Shop had now added Fine Craft Gallery to their moniker and they aren’t kidding. This well established potter couple have also expanded their business physically and in the content they carry. I’ve been using Linda Yates whale mugs and bowls for over 20 years and have been hoping to add some plates to my collection. There were none fired  but as I write, I’m reminded I need to order some or see if they have been fired since our visit. There was no shortage of other tempting items in all price ranges and mediums.

Woodworking available at Kings Point Pottery Gallery, NL
Woodworking available at Kings Point Pottery Gallery, NL
Pottery by various Atlantic Canada potters. Kings Point Pottery, NL
Pottery by various Atlantic Canada potters. Kings Point Pottery, NL
Folk art sea critters and sea birds and on the sideboard by the window, the Kings Point Pottery capelin collection. Cast pottery from capelin caught on the beach!
Folk art sea critters and sea birds and on the sideboard by the window, the Kings Point Pottery capelin collection. Cast pottery from capelin caught on the beach!

Her partner David seems to be involved in everything in the community in addition to their business. He’s got a very community and business minded direction from my observations and works tirelessly to further develop and promote the tourist industry in Kings Point and area. He is very active in the Newfoundland Craft Council, I think, and the caliber of the works in their gallery show their striving for and achieving excellence.

On our last visit, we went to Rattlin Brook Falls but this time we wanted to see something new.

From the gallery we headed to the Humpback Whale Pavilion. This is our first “in season” visit and summer staff was available to have it open. What a treat!

“Blog version” is that this is a community project that took years in the making. David Hayashida, potter by day, seems to be an expert in whale museum building and developing too. Not only did he and Linda participate in an ArtSmarts Project with Valmont Academy to create a beautiful whale mosaic, there are pictures of him helping to actually clean and prepare the carcass of a dead humpback whale that had drowned. The museum teaches about the migration of humpback whales but has an underlying message of the resilience of a community working together towards a common goal. David was one of many who worked long hours to preserve and prepare the skeleton so it could eventually adorn a museum they were only dreaming of at the time. And the dream is reality now.

The humpback mosaic is beautiful with a tile created by each student, obviously showing a topic of their choice. By design, the colour of the tile and their placement create the humpback whale. What a great way to have the children a part of this community project.

Close up of some tiles in the mosaic.
Close up of some tiles in the mosaic.

Our guide was lovely and knowledgeable. Most of the interpretation is on story boards but her personal touch certainly added to our knowledge and appreciation. Great job.

Humpback Whale Pavilion, Kings Point, NL
Humpback Whale Pavilion, Kings Point, NL

In addition to admittance to this museum, our small fee also gave us admittance to another local museum but it was not open on the day we visited. Oh dear, I might need another trip to Kings Point again soon.

We eventually got on the road and after a torrential thunderstorm, checked into the lovely Holiday Inn Express in Deer Lake with Peanut Butter Pie and Apple Pie for snacks. How good have we got it, really?

Holiday Inn Express, Deer Lake, NL
Holiday Inn Express, Deer Lake, NL
Like the Humpbacks and the nomads, I love to roam!
Like the Humpbacks and the nomads, I love to roam!

Any we were hungry… very hungry.

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