From St John’s it’s a 15km drive via Rte-11 to Cape Spear National Historic Site (open access), a rocky, windblown headland that is nearer to Europe than any other part of mainland North America. The cape is crisscrossed by boardwalks, the most obvious of which leads up from the car park past the heritage shop and the modern lighthouse to the squat and rectangular Victorian Lighthouse, the oldest in the province. Built in 1836, the lighthouse’s interior has been pleasantly decked out in nineteenth-century style, down to imitation barrels of sperm oil and the neatly made bed. The other specific attraction is the substantial remains of the World War II gun emplacement at the tip of the cape, but the views are really the main event, right along the coast and up to St John’s. In spring and early summer, the waters off the cape are a great place to spy blue-tinged icebergs, and there’s a reasonable chance of spotting whales.
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