The Road Less Travelled: 48 Hours ‘Unplugged’ In Idyllic Rencontre East, NL

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“…To say that Rencontre East is isolated is somewhat of an unclear statement by today’s standards. They are few and the last of the true Newfoundlander and Labradorean people which tourists really come to see. If you want to see the absolute real province then you need to visit these communities”

48 Hours ‘Unplugged’ In Idyllic Rencontre East – (June 22, 2018 by Experience NL)

For the curious traveler seeking that authentically enriching travel experience, look no further than Rencontre East. Situated on Newfoundland’s south coast, nestled among the magnificent coastal fjords of the Connaigre Peninsula, Rencontre (pronounced RON-CONT-ER) is an isolated fishing village that boasts just 129 residents.

Rencontre East is so remote that there are no vehicles (ATV is the preferred mode of transportation here) and their town sign says it all, “Isolated and Loving It”. But do not let their low population nor isolation fool you, this is a prospering rural community, due largely in part to Newfoundland’s growing aquaculture sector which serves as a major employer here.

Getting Here

Getting to Rencontre East is by provincial ferry only, a wonderful 1 hour and 45 minute commute from the equally beautiful community of Bay L’Argent. The ferry ride was one of the highlights of our trip as we chatted with locals and witnessed stunning coastal scenery.

The Stay

Our hosts, Debbie and Paul of Rencontre East Vacation Homes, were the ultimate accommodation providers. From picking us up and dropping us off dockside at the ferry terminal to zipping us around the community on their 4×4, they were super kind, caring, and attentive. Paul’s roots are from here and we could not think of a better way to give back to this proud Newfoundland community.

Rencontre East Vacation Homes works intimately with their guests, offering a variety of tailored excursions including ‘off the grid’ tours and seafood beach ‘boil-ups’. If you are a self-directed traveler, they are equally happy to point you in the right direction.

Our stay at the Chart House, their lovingly restored heritage home overlooking a nestled bay, appropriately called Little Harbour, was nothing short of heaven. Situated waterside with an extended wharf jutting out into the bay and surrounded by green hills, fishing stages, and sheds, this stay gives you a real slice of what authentic Newfoundland life is all about.

Note For those travelers unable to truly go ‘off the grid’, no worries, your stay here comes with cable television and wi-fi/internet connection. Kayaks are also on hand for you to hop in and paddle your way out the bay.

Fjord Hiking

After settling in, we decided to take a back country hike to the beautiful coastal fjords, often called ‘The Other Gros Morne’ because of their similarity to the fjords of Western Newfoundland. This was an easy 30-45 minute boardwalk stroll that ran parallel with a freshwater lake. Along the way, we stopped and chatted with several fishermen who were bringing in their boats for the winter.

Town Walkabout

An evening walkabout was also in store for us as we stroll into town. Everything about this place is beautiful, quaint and cute right down to the local stores (2 in total).

Saying Goodbye

Our only regret about visiting Rencontre East is that we never stayed longer. 48 hours is not nearly enough time to fully unplug and absorb what true living is really all about.

Rencontre East – Ragged Glory

Experience this remote community with homes on the water’s edge. See salmon jumping the gorge into Rencontre Lake. Stroll the trails and boardwalks to look for bald eagles. We can show you living off the grid. You can learn the local knowledge of cod, lobster fishing and visit salmon farms.

Go to the beach for a boil up or bring your catch back for the dinner table. See the remains of the resettled communities. At Rencontre Lake you can see fjords and waterfalls. Travel up the lake to a remote cabin where lunch is prepared, then hike the mountain tops or stroll along the white pebble sandy beach.

Isolated and Loving it – Rencontre East, NL (by adamjgale | Feb 23, 2016 | Travel)

To say that Rencontre East is isolated is somewhat of an unclear statement by today’s standards. A short time ago, this was much of Newfoundland and Labrador and since many towns have voted for and accepted government relocation programs. Remote communities still exist throughout the coastal regions of Newfoundland and Labrador. They are few and the last of the true Newfoundlander and Labradorean people which tourists really come to see. If you want to see the absolute real province then you need to visit these communities.

Luckily, as a tower company, we get to see a lot of these communities as there are often microwave links to provide service to these small towns. They are often located on mountaintops near the town with harsh, rugged and dangerous terrain and approaches to get to them. This environment provides a unique approach and risk assessment to ensure we access these locations safely yet timely. This often means engaging locals to give you information that you won’t find using topographical or satellite information.

They are few and some of the last of the true Newfoundlander and Labradorean people which tourists really come to see.

On our recent excursion to Rencontre East to assess a tower structure for a new linkup, the experience was more than expected. The ferry service would have us left in the town for a couple of days with no other exit and limited communication. We packed to limit the amount of gear we would need and jumped on the ferry in Bay L’Argent for a two hour coastal run to Rencontre East. We couldn’t see much as it was late in the day and this is winter of course.

Arriving on the dock around 7:00 PM, the ferry is greeted by more than a few of the locals who are waiting with ATVs and trailers to pick-up family members and other wares purchased or those delivered by the ferry. As we hand hauled our gear off the ferry it seemed that within only minutes the crowd had dispersed and everyone was already home. The townspeople are used to this of course and deal with this like clockwork. There are no automobiles in this town; ATVs are the mode of transport to get around the small dirt roads of the town.

We hand hauled our gear a short distance to the “Blue House” owned by a Newfoundlander who has acquired a few properties in Rencontre East as vacation rentals. These rentals can be found at Thanks to Paul’s place, we were more than comfortable with the fully setup accommodations.

Despite being mid-February, Walter and I woke up to what you could only describe as the perfect working conditions (especially for a hike up a mountain). Early in the morning it was already hovering around 0°C with clear blue skies and virtually no snow. The temperatures were set to rise and with very little wind we set to climb the mountain. An existing TX pole line clearly indicated the way and old trails were faintly visible. It didn’t take long to reach the summit and the tower so we could begin our work. The work didn’t take a lot of time as the structure is only 52 ft in height and all the existing infrastructure is at the bottom of the mountain. Normally a site like this in the vicinity of the St. John’s would only take a couple of hours. This location would take three days including travel.

Mountains behind the structure

Salmon farming

Despite the work objective, the scenery was amazing. From this location we were treated to hovering Bald Eagles, a view of the bay, the salmon farm, Little Harbour (including a large waterfall), the town of Rencontre East, and rugged mountains and terrain as far as the eye can see. In perfect conditions, there is little else that you can really ask for. Eventually, as time really was not a huge factor at this point, we traced the TX line back down the mountain to assess it for viability of new TX.

Back at the “Blue House” we unloaded and repacked our gear and ate lunch. We walked the town and looked at the area and met some locals to discuss the “goings on” of the town. We gleaned some understanding of the local economy and what it is like during tourist season and what the locals do here. Perhaps most interesting is that the locals go further inland on a lake in the summer to their small cabins to get away. This pleasantly amused us, even though I myself am from a small town, that the people of Rencontre East would feel a need to “get away” from what the rest of us already consider getting away from it all.

Having our fill of fresh air and some small sight seeing, we finished our packing and some energy replenishment to get some rest for an early Ferry at 7:00 AM

Categories: Newfoundland

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