Stephenville (Newfoundland and Labrador)
Stephenville was settled late by Newfoundland standards. The first settlers did not arrive here until the mid 1800's, and for different reasons than the rest of the island. The first people of Stephenville were not fishers from the British Isles but rather farmers of French descent. More specifically, Acadians from the west coast of Cape Breton island. These people settled on the rich farmland that lay at the head of Bay St. George, just inside the sheltering arm of the Indian Head Range. This range is a part of the Long Range Mountains, which are in turn part of the Appalachian Mountains. The Long Range Mountains continue up the coast east of the bay, while the Lewis Hills, home of Newfoundland's highest point, Cabox, lay to the north.
The geography provided isolation from the rest of Newfoundland, allowing the people to continue on the culture and tradtions of their Acadian heritage. This includes the use of the french languague, which was the primary mother tongue of the area until the 1950's.
In 1940, the United States Army Air Force began the construction of an air field at Stephenville. After studying the east coast of Canada and all of Newfoundland, they chose Stephenville for its incredible weather record, which includes the most clear weather flying days in Atlantic Canada. In a few short years, the french farming village was transformed into a modern town of over 5,000 people, predominantly english speaking. Today, the people of Stephenville look to their military past with pride. Despite the almost universal use of english as the primary language, the people of Bay St. George are still noted for a certain french flair in their dialect, especially just west of town on the Port au Port Peninsula.
You can reach Stephenville easily. Firstly, if visiting from the mainland or anywhere off the island, you can reach Stephenville by air. Stephenville has its own international airport with connections to just about anywhere, but first you have to connect through Halifax or St. John's as they have the largest airports within the Atlantic region.
Provincial Airlines offers daily service to and from Stephenville International Airport (CYJT) year round, while Sunwing offers weekly service, to and from Toronto - Pearson International, during the tourist season.
DRL Coachlines offers daily service to and from Stephenville. Departing at 10:15am going east and departing 7:00pm going west from Stephenville Airport.
If travelling by car, you first have to take the Marine Atlantic Ferry from North Sydney to Port aux Basques. From there it's a 2 hour drive north on the Trans-Canada Highway to Stephenville. Turn off the Trans-Canada Highway onto provincial Route 460 - White's Road (also known as Hansen Highway) or Route 490 - Stephenville Access Road. Both roads leads into downtown Stephenville.
Once in Stephenville you can get out and enjoy the region by car or on foot. The flat topography of downtown Stephenville makes getting around as easy as can be, no matter how you choose to do so.
The town offers no mass transportation system of any kind besides taxi. Two taxi companies - "Bluebird" and "Crown" - operate in and around town. Each one offers a flat rate of $8 dollars for in town trips, $10 dollars for a round trip and an additional $1 dollar for each stop.
By car you can take route 460 along the French Ancestors route around the Port au Port peninsula, Newfoundland's only truly bilingual region. On the Port au Port penisula make sure you drop by Sheaves Cove for some beautiful scenery it's located near the limestone mine at Lower Cove.
If you prefer to walk, then get out and explore the town, walk through and see the former American Air Force Base, with streets named after American states.
See the sites, the French heritage, the American influence, the fishing outport history. It's all in one town.
If you enjoy camping, Barachois Provincial Park is located just under 30 mins from town on the TCH. Indian Head Park is located along the beach of Bay St. George and offfers a true camping experience. Zenzville Campground is also located just outside town in Kippens. The campground offers full serives like Barachois and is closer to town. If you enjoy hiking check out the Port au Port walking trail located in Port au Port west just before Abbott's and Hailburton's 20 minutes outside Stephenville.
Buy souvenirs at shops downtown from the historic Arlims Co. to the modern Wal-Mart. Riffs on Main St. also has a wide variety of quality clothing for anybody. For Quality footware and sports clothing Byrnes on Main St. in Stephenville is the place to shop.
If it's good, homestyle food you are looking for then visit Hartery's Family Restaurant on Main Street, or Emile's Restaurant and Pub at the Holiday Inn. Stephenville is also known for Dominos Pizza House--not the chain restaurant, but a small local restaurant opened in the 1950's that known locally for its great pizza and submarine sandwiches, friendly atmosphere and low cost. Chinese food is available at Three local restaurants, but most eating establishments serve only Canadian and Newfoundland foods. Finally, no visit to Newfoundland is complete until you have tried Mary Brown's Fried Chicken, which in Stephenville is located on West Street.
Newfoundland is known for great drinking, and Stephenville is no exception. Bars and Clubs are located throughout town. The 104 is the most popular nightclub in the area for the younger generation. Clancy's is located downstairs from Razoolies, which is on the edge of town. Jacob's Place is also in that area. Visit Main St. and any one of the many bars: The Redwood, The Bar, The Brown Derby, Paddy's Pub and more.
If you need a place to stay because camping isn't your thing, don't worry, we have you covered. The Holiday Inn is adjoined to the Stephenville Mall and offers fully serviced rooms at an affordable rate. The Dreamcatcher Lodge also offers great accommodation in both hotel and motel forms. The Hotel Stephenville is located on the Base and is very affordable as well, it has rooms in the main building as well as in the unattached Annex. Keyano Motel also offers 10 rooms and is located near town. The Inn at The Cape are located on the Port au Port peninsula and offer incredible accommodation and an amazing view, with beautiful scenery.
Get out and see what you can, go golfing at Harmon Seaside Links on the 18 hole golf course, hike the Lewis Hills and visit Newfoundland's highest point. Experience true Newfoundland hospitality, then leave and come back again next year! Or if you don't want to leave you can always stay.