Some thoughts after a West Coast vacation and a few days pulling weeds...
The Rocky Harbour-Norris Point area is the province's tourism hotspot. Summer sees the picturesque Northern Peninsula towns swarmed by visitors from near and far, and the locals are responding with quality accommodations and excellent restaurants. Good on them. The area is an example for other places in the province hoping to attract and keep tourists.
Rocky Harbour Pond, with its sandy bottom and beach and Gros Morne Mountain as a backdrop, is an awesome place for a dip.
We're really lucky there wasn't a tragedy when the offramp into Pasadena washed out in late April. Seeing photos or video of the site is one thing, but up close, the drop off is startling. It's disturbing to think what could have happened.
Speaking of Humber Valley-area roads, driving Commerce Street in Deer Lake is like attending a fast-food franchise trade show. All the big players are there, including a new KFC and Burger King. The only thing missing is the Golden Arches.
The Deer Lake strip, which runs parallel to the TCH, is part of the food service transformation that's happened along our highway. I predict the same kind of development is about to happen on the Trans-Canada through Whitbourne. Long gone are the days when service station restaurants - with their delicious soups, fries and club sandwiches - were the only places to eat on the road.
Deer Lake Municipal Park remains an incredible swimming experience. It's the best in the province, with warm water and Florida-like sand.
The glass beehive and the butterfly pavilion at the Newfoundland Insectarium are fascinating. You can spend a lot of time observing the honey bees and the tropical butterflies.
As someone who grew up in Corner Brook, it's depressing to see buildings like the old Woolworth's store and the post office vacant and for sale. Woolworth's lunch counter used to make the best donuts and there was always something special about visiting the big post office as a kid.
Speaking of Corner Brook, the place really needs an economic shot in the arm. The population is between 19,000 and 20,000, a far cry from the 30,000 from my youth. If the mill falls victim to the decline in the newsprint industry, the city will face bigger economic challenges than many who live there realize.
Conversely, Clarenville appears to be booming. The recent development there is unbelievable. New subdivisions and business areas are sprouting up and the place pulses with progress.
Email Steve Bartlett at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter, he's @TelegramSteve.