The Cove: Rural NL in All Its Finery & Beauty

From the view, to the artwork, and the comfort and cozy interior, The Cove is a get away you won’t want to get away from

As an artist, Michelle Rowe knows beauty when she sees it, generously sharing that beauty with others at The Cove B&B and in her art studio as well, Ocean View Gallery and Gift Store located in the town of Carbonear. 

Rowe, who was born and raised in the Carbonear area, shared that she never even knew “The Cove” existed, it was that well hidden and secluded. 

“We were thinking about an old saltbox somewhere on the water and we were just kind of driving through (Freshwater) and I saw a for sale sign on the road and we went, ‘Oh, I can’t believe this is here,’” she said.

She’s long gravitated towards the ocean, she said, and the second she saw the property – perched on the edge of the ocean overlooking Carbonear Island – she was hooked.  “It was immediate for me. I instantly fell in love,” she said. 

An artist’s dream

It’s easy to understand why. Most every window overlooks the ocean, and those that don’t have an ocean view showcases instead the serenity and the peacefulness of the garden or the history of the century year-old property.

As a painter, inspiration is often found in nature, and The Cove is an artist’s dream cone true. 

“I live, breathe and sleep art. I’ve been teaching art as a career now for 15 solid years and painting longer than that, but now there’s a freshness to what I create since owning the property,” she shared.

On the day we visit, Rowe decides to teach this writer to paint – something she says “anyone” can do. 

From hanging dried salt fish and icebergs to old fishing store doors and more, if you have seen it around this province of Newfoundland, she has probably painted it. On this day, it’s fishermen mending nets against a brilliant sky that we are painting. Beginning with a blank canvas, with every paintbrush stroke, the painting takes shape. 

 ‘It’s only paint’

“I think if you have the right person to guide you through a painting, it will take all the worry away. Yeah. There are things that I can do for you to make things much easier, but I think more than anything, I’m just a motivational speaker. And I’m there to say, ‘Try this or do this,’ and to remind each student that it is only paint.” 

With Come Home Year 2022 in full swing, what’s she looking forward to most? Making connections with people again, she said. “Over the years, we’ve always had people come through the doors. During the winter months, it’s very much community oriented, but during the summer months it’s always about visitors and the experience of getting around the bay to explore and we’ve always been about providing something for them to take away with them, whether it’s through the gift store or if they get to create their own piece. Either way, they get to know you a little bit and you get to know them. It’s not just a painting relationship. It’s an experience,” she said. 

With all the beauty of the area and with the view from The Cove, we surmise that she will never run out of inspiration. Rowe smiled.

“I will never be bored in my lifetime. There’s not enough lifetimes out there for me to create everything that I’ve had the honour of seeing or experiencing.”

Her main inspiration comes from this province’s unique outport history. 

“If I see a piece of wood sticking out of the ground, I’m like, ‘Oh, what was that?’ I’ll do the research and I’ll find out what it was. If I see an old house with a curtain blowing out a broken window I go, ‘Oh, somebody lived there.’ I’ve gone through abandoned homesteads, I’ve walked through people’s gardens and there you can see the pits and the raspberry bushes and the remains of a vegetable garden. And there’s an outhouse out back and there’s an old twine loft there. There was life then. It’s just so sad that it’s gone and I just want to hold on to it and give it life again.”  

Come Home Year 2022!

There’s much going on in the arts world this Come Home Year, she added. From artist showcases to live painting events where spectators can watch the magic happen in real time.

“You’re painting outside and you’re not going by a photo. You’re looking at the colors as they are changing every few seconds. The clouds are moving and the lighting’s changing and you have to think differently and your paintings are more expressive and much more free,” she said.

Rowe hopes this year of Come Home celebration is an inspiration to everyone. 

“I have a real passion for this province, and so many others do as well, and I’m privileged that I get to capture the beauty and share my version of that with others.”

For more, visit The Cove at The Cove Vacation Rental, Carbonear on Facebook or or Michelle’s Fine Art on Facebook