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Holyrood, located at the head of Conception Bay, is just a half hour drive from St. John's along the TCH, and 28 miles from St. John's along the more leisurely route of the Conception Bay Highway. The population of Holyrood is approximately 2 100.
Holyrood is renowned for its scenic beauty, its beautiful harbour and marina and well kept homes. Holyrood embraces the convenience of urban living with the traditional setting of rural Newfoundland.
Driving down into the town along the Holyrood Access Road on Route
62, visitors will notice Holy Cross Park, with its outdoor swimming pool, picnic areas and
nature trails. Driving through Holyrood, the main Beach area is a good spot to stretch
your legs, and to admire the beautiful nature, Holyrood harbour and the boats bobbing in the
North Arm River, cutting through Holyrood, is a licensed salmon river. For the sports-minded, the open waters of Conception Bay beckon with cod and giant bluefin tuna.
(by Jack A. White)
A visitor to Holyrood wrote this in the Daily News, August 12, 1949 - 51 years ago. Surprisingly many things remain the same.
HERE IS HOLYROOD - a town set with a silver beach by a shining blue sea - a town that for sheer beauty, for restful scenery puts to shade many better known places in the world. What can Waikiki know of the peaceful solitude a tourist finds in the Butterpots, or George's Mount still looking down from their lofty heights unperturbed by the scientific productions of the 20th Century? How can cars or hurrying, scurrying of a busy population, hurt them when upon their backs growled the slow moving ice of the glaciers.
How could hot, but indescribably beautiful Arribida know the calmness of the evening breeze reaching out to touch the su ' mmer cottage on the hill? What would Palm Beach with its artificiality know of the lure of simplicity you find in a cow moving all unknowingly, of the beauty, background, and unrelieved green that the fir trees make?
This is Holyrood, a town of some 800 population (1949), but it is not in statistics you find Holyrood, but in the deep awareness the people there have of the town in which they live, of the memories a tourist carries away of trolling in a motor boat at North Arm, or bathing in the fast flowing river, or taking a stroll up the secluded Witless Bay Line.
Holyrood is the first really definite community on the Bay run. Whereas the earlier villages through which you have passed are so closely knit one hardly knows whether you are out of one, Manuels, or into Long Pond - here the distinction is clear. Its stores, its homes and gardens - these make Holyrood. But its people contribute. An intelligent folk taught by the sea, nurtured by the winds, they are almost a metropolitan type. In close contact with the city they nave consciously or unconsciously copied its ways without destroying any of the simple way of life that is theirs.
Their homes, a majority of them are simple fisherman's homes. Adjoining the homes are small vegetable gardens which are neatly kept and cultivated. As in so many places throughout the country their beautiful Church occupies a commanding site, with presbytery grounds nearby. The town has a school with a fine tradition, a school in which some of the most notable of the country's teachers impart knowledge to the young.
Holyrood was the baiting centre for the ships that prosecuted the bank fishery, and squadding was a sizeable industry in which young and old engaged. In late years, however, the bait fishery has not been so plentiful, and few ships are now seen in the spacious harbour but there is here a large refrigeration plant operated by Fishery Products, where bait fishes are frozen and transported by motor truck to more convenient points of call for the vessels. Blueberries are also frozen. Holyrood is also a town of business men - here are ample stores which supply the area with everything from a needle to an anchor. It caters a good deal too, to summer visitors and its position near the Witless Bay Line makes it a focal point for traffic going there for trouting in summer, the shooting when October crisps the air, and falling leaves float gently down to barrens alive with partridge.
Just behind it lies a place few Conception Bay travellers visit - "The Valley," as it is locally known. Behind the hills the Valley spreads itself with the neat, but somewhat lonely houses and farms. Whilst seemingly in every garden, as if to make up for its isolation, grow wild roses in such profusion they carpet the roadsides with their untamed, half-shy beauty.
A visit to the Valley is well worthwhile. A bit off the beaten track it is none the less such a beautiful place, and completely idyllic for anyone with a picnic in mind. That its being so unused must have one answer - it just isn't well enough known to city folk who take the whole holidays off each summer to drive around Conception Bay.
Holyrood's beautiful North Arm with its sweeping scenic drive, and the railroad tracks making the semicircle parallel to the road has been called the most beautiful part of Conception Bay. Certainly few other spots, along the one hundred and twenty miles of roadway can vie with it - the blue sea sparkling in warm sunlight, the wonderful road winding in the full sweep of forest clad hills, here is magnificent natural beauty at its best.
As you see it you are leaving Holyrood, but seeing it for only one drive will make you never completely forget the town by the sea.
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