A 1529 map shows it as a land called Terra del Labrador with the notation: "This country was discovered by the people of the town of Bristol, and because he who first sighted land was a labourer from the island of the Azores, it was named after him." That "Lavradour" was Joao Fernandes. The year was 1501. Today, if you sail due west, along the 52nd latitude from Chester, England, the first land you would see would be the land Fernandes saw: "in all the earth...no coast so desolate, so brutally beautiful.. a coast strewn with rocks scoured clean and smooth by the ice and storms of centuries"
Beyond this necklace of smooth grey stones and rugged black cliffs lies a still mainly roadless wilderness lush with the varying greens of the larch, the fir, the spruce, and the birch. A land carpeted in pale mint green and grey foot-deep caribou moss. A land where the willow and the alder creep along the ground to escape the breath of winter’s winds. It is a place called "wild," "a place apart" and, to this litany, borrowing from the title of Dana Lamb’s book, Some Silent Places Still, one may add a "a silent place". Indeed, a, place where the primal silence of the wilderness still lies, as yet, mainly undisturbed.
What was it that drew the 16th century sailors from England, Portugal, and the Basque regions of Spain and France across the route, the shortest distance by water to the New World? What brought them to this silent place east of Quebec and north of the Island of Newfoundland? The answer is fish. Whales, cod, herring, and big trout, and bright Atlantic salmon.
Now it is your turn to come to Labrador,
"one of the last blank spots on the map of North America."
Your turn to hear the profound silence of her pristine wilderness
and to experience, for yourself, the Spirit of Labrador. To fly fish
for the precious Atlantic salmon, still as strong, as bright, and as
wild as they were in Fernandes' time. And, finally, to enjoy the warmth,
the comfort, the cuisine, and the camaraderie that you will only find at
the Rifflin' Hitch Lodge.
(We've turned down the quilt for you.)