The typical Newfoundland settlement pattern, however, is not its larger or newer towns but its string of fishing villages along the shore, many of them more than two centuries old. The usual site is at the head of some cove where more gently sloping land gives space for the houses and fish flakes or drying platforms. In some places, however, the settlements cling precariously to rocky cliffs. The villages are entirely planless yet a rough pattern of functional zones is often apparent.
The places of business, fishing rooms, stages and flakes are close along the water's edge separated from the houses by a narrow, winding and often rough and grassgrown road which, however, does not extend beyond the settlement. Somewhere along the uneven line of houses there may be a small church or school building. Adjoining each house is a small kitchen garden and perhaps a small weatherbeaten shack which protects the family cow from the winter weather. Farther back, if surface configuration and soil permit, there may be small fields of hay and patches of cabbage, turnips, carrots and potatoes. Such fields may not adjoin the village, however, but be located in a clearing a mile or so away in some spot where easily tilled soil has been discovered.
The place names of Newfoundland are as distinctive and quaint as its scenery and settlements. European origins are commemorated by English Bay, French Bay, Portugal Cove and Jersey Harbour. Early hardships are recalled by Famish Cove, Empty Basket and Bleak Point while success and satisfaction are reflected by Heart's Content, Safe Harbour and Little Paradise. Other unusual names include Main Topsail, Maggoty Cove, Noggin Cove, Blow-medown, Juniper Stump and Horse Chops.