L’Anse Aux Meadows World UNESCO Heritage Site has always been a fascinating place to visit. I have been privileged to live near where the first Europeans would re-discover North America more than 1,000 years ago when Leif Erikson came on Snorri to the Great Northern Peninsula – a place he called “Vinland”. A sign on Route 430, which is named the Viking Trail welcomes you to Erikson’s Vinland!
July 2013 saw the unveiling of a new Leif statue in the very place where he became the first European to set foot on American shores. A special ceremony was held in partnership with the Leif Erikson International Foundation, Norstead Viking Village & Port of Trade and St. Anthony Basin Resources Incorporated (SABRI). Leif looks out toward the sea.
I want to thank all the donors, supporters and volunteers, who worked to ensure Leif would be a permanent fixture at L’Anse aux Meadows. This was a remarkable moment, that included an Icelandic Choir, a representative from the Norwegian Embassy, Parks Canada staff, local residents and Benedicte Ignstad.
Benedicte is the daughter of Helge and Anne Stine Ingstad, the archaeologists who made the discovery of L’Anse aux Meadows as the only authenticated Norse site in North America in the early 1960′s.
I have travelled to Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden to experience more of the Viking/Norse culture. However, Benedicte offered me and others the insight into the process and the way of life in L’Anse aux Meadows, some 50 years ago.
I attended her reading of her mother’s book “The Land with the Green Meadows” by Anne Stine Ingstad. This book was first published in Norway in 1975 and translated in 2006 to English. The Historical Sites Association of Newfoundland and Labrador gained permission from Benedicte to have the book lightly edited and available to a new generation of readers.
I spent multiple hours of a plane and many more waiting at an airport just over a week ago, when I began Anne’s book. I could not put it down, because it told a real story. It described the people of L’Anse aux Meadows and of nearby Straitsview and the struggles they faced. The Decker’s, Blake’s, Anderson’s, Colbourne’s and others are very real people. The book highlights how a community comes together to look after one another, the building of the highway to connect the communities to L’Anse aux Meadows and the shift from coastal boat to air transport saw a dynamic shift for such an isolated place as L’Anse aux Meadows. Over the course of the book, one got to know Anne and Helge, experience the great discovery, as well as the local people and the kindness of others, including those who worked at the Grenfell Mission.
There was much pioneering happening on the Great Northen Peninsula. There always was and there always will be. From the very first sod buildings to the current day residents, L’Anse aux Meadows is a place you want to visit and experience for yourself in your lifetime.
Summer is when the land is green, and the best time to visit. Begin your trip planning today. A Viking Experience awaits!
Live Rural NL -Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA The Straits-White Bay North
L’Anse aux Meadows located 41 KM from St. Anthony, is home to WORLD UNESCO heritage site. It was originally named L’anse aux Meaduses (Jellyfish Bay) by French migratory fishermen; the latter presence of English settlers, would alter it to the current name.
This community boasts panoramic view scapes and has been well-captured under the lens. During summer tens of thousands of tourists flock here and even a number cruise ships pull up to the dock.
Today, I visited the snow-covered community and was able to talk to local residents. One resident loved how she was fortunate to be surrounded by water from the front and rear of her property. Another couple also liked the peacefulness of the community at this time of year. I was told the Mummer’s also made their presence known in during the holidays.
L’Anse aux Meadows, like many Newfoundland & Labrador outports’ primary economy is maintained by fishing.
It has also grown to be a burgeoning centre for tourists. Each year more than 30,000 visitors come to L’Anse aux Meadows World UNESCO Heritage Site, several thousand visit the open-air museum “Norstead – Viking Village and Port of Trade”, while others frequent the Gaia Art Gallery and experience the fine dining of the Norseman Restaurant.
To experience North America’s only authentic Norse site, you have to drive Route 430 ‘The Viking Trail” and turn at Route 436 to L’Anse aux Meadows. There are many lovely B&B’s, Cottages, Efficiency Units, Motels, RV Parks, and Heritage Rentals along this route.
It is another truly unique place to experience on the Great Northern Peninsula. Start planning your visit today for summer 2013!
Live Rural NL -Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA The Straits-White Bay North
- Reykjavik Open Air Museum Arbaer (liveruralnl.com)
L’Anse Aux Meadows is home to a World UNESCO Heritage Site – as the Vikings came more than 1,000 years ago to a place they called “Vinland“. To celebrate the new millennium and 1,000 years of history a non-profit entity of Norstead was established. It is near the UNESCO site further on Route 436, a sign will guide you down a short gravel road to a Viking Village and Port of Trade. I travel there several times throughout the summer, it should also be on your list.
Norstead has a really cool landscape as it is nestled in its own little part of the cove. The ocean and islands are forever in the backdrop, making for a photographer’s paradise.
My European friends are posing by a symbolic rock that has an image of the viking ship. The long sod covered building in the background is home to the Snorri. The boat house boasts a life-size replica and was actively sailed from Scandinavia, Greenland, Markland and finally Vinland. During the summer season you would be greeted by the colourful Lambi, all too willing to explain the ship and viking life.
The Viking church and forge are part of the Village. During summer one will find the Blacksmith hammer out some nails, a sword, helmet or other necessary item to survive in rural Newfoundland & Labrador in the year 1,000.
I would make a pretty serious blacksmith’s assistant. I am not sure I have the look of the Vikings though with all that British and Irish Ancestry.
The Vikings and the animals that spend late-Spring until early Fall have all gone. The site is quiet during the winter. I would imagine the Vikings 1,000 years ago found the weather on the Great Northern Peninsula extremely harsh.
As we walk away, we know there is a valuable experience waiting for the everyday visitor. Be sure to visit Norstead on your next time on the Viking Trail Highway, Route 430.
Experience the Great Northern Peninsula -Christopher C. Mitchelmore, MHA The Straits-White Bay North
This small berg was so close to land, making for a great snap of the camera capturing the small fishing shed in the corner.
I’ve read articles today still noting that along the Labrador coast and around the Northern tip of the Peninsula there are close to 200 icebergs.
Enjoy the Great Northern Peninsula Experience -
Christopher C. Mitchelmore
- Massive Icebergs on the Loose in Goose Cove, NL – Draw Crowds (liveruralnl.com)
- Norstead – Viking Village & Port of Trade (liveruralnl.com)
- 25,000 Year Old Iceberg Water Makes the Perfect Brew (liveruralnl.com)
- I AM A Viking at L’Anse Aux Meadows World UNESCO Heritage Site (liveruralnl.com)
Let’s rewind to July 28, 2000 – More than 17,000 people were on site during the unveiling of Norstead – A Viking Village & Port of Trade (www.norstead.com) as they celebrated 1,000 years since the Vikings were the first Europeans to re-discover North America. The Province did a tremendous job marketing this summer festival.
Can you imagine the excitement on site for this new addition - an open air museum; one which provides a unique approach to education and culture, where one can gain an enriched understanding of Norse life. More than 28,000 visitors trekked through this site during the first season alone.
I have to extend a big thank-you to the interpreters and all who work at Norstead – this non-profit just 2 KM from L’Anse Aux Meadows (UNESCO Site). Some have been on-site, showing tremendous dedication to the organization for the past 11 years.
It is a pleasure to walk through the gift shop, which has an array of local product – Dark Tickle’s Teas, Jams, Sauces and Syrups; Handmade Soap, Handmade Jewellery, Norse Swords, Norse Game – 9 Man Mills, Postcards, Local Art, Pottery, Knitted Items and more. The employees make products on-site and also during the off-season.
There is a wealth of knowledge from the employees and they are quite willing to share with you – creating a warm and inviting learning experience. You have the ability to try your hand at living like a Viking.
There is much opportunity to expand on this already wonderful gem on the Great Northern Peninsula. I see much potential to work with regional partners, develop further products, expand into Learning Vacations – live like a Viking (day, weekend or week-long stopovers), workshops and other activities. The future is bright for this not-for-profit entity.
It has added much value to our Rural Economy and also the travel experience of those who are fortunate enough to take the time to visit.
Norstead is a wonder we have, it is possible because f the wonderful people who show up and do their part every day. For that, I thank you.
Live Rural NL -
Christopher C. Mitchelmore
- Norstead – Viking Village & Port of Trade (liveruralnl.com)
- Babe, Orson, Wilbur, Porky? ….All Famous Pigs, but this fellow’s name is Willie (liveruralnl.com)
- Deep Fried Ice-cream – A must have treat at the Daily Catch, St. Lunaire-Griquet, NL (liveruralnl.com)
- I AM A Viking at L’Anse Aux Meadows World UNESCO Heritage Site (liveruralnl.com)
- A day in the sun – L’Anse aux Meadows, Canada (travelpod.com)
- Viking settlement discovery celebrated (cbc.ca)
The Giant’s Causeway is a natural wonder formed millions of years ago. The image to the left illustrates the sheer height of some of the pillars.
David, myself and Tobias look quite miniscule in comparison. We pretended to blend in and be part of the causeway.
We have been to the edge….and back! The formations combined with the powerful waves presented a very unique feeling of experiencing a natural wonder.
I probably took 300+ pictures at the Giant’s Causeway. Certainly enough to make our fourth friend, Marcel jealous for missing it. Sorry Marcel.
I am quite familiar with WORLD UNESCO HERITAGE SITES as I live in between two on the Great Northern Peninsula, that is L’Anse Aux Meadows World UNESCO Heritage Site (the site of the Norse, who re-discovered North American more than 1,000 years ago) and The Tablelands at Gros Morne National Park. This comment reminds me of one Sarah Palin made during her 2008 ticket for vice-present when McCain claimed she was an expert in foreign policy. She backed this statement by noting Canada was next to Alaska and that she practically could see Russia from her window.
On a serious note, the Tableland experience near the Discovery Center, between Woody Point and Trout River, NL provided a similar feeling of awe. I participated in a guided tour and walked the trail during the summer with my friend Benoit (who I also met while studying at the University of Economics, Prague, Czech Republic). Parks Canada has done a fabulous job!
Newfoundland and Ireland have many connections. World UNESCO Heritage Sites are another link.
I’ll post some additional photos of the Causeway. The farther I walked the more I loved taking it all in, just like Gros Morne National Park.
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We were fortunate to miss out on this wonder the day prior, as it rained early evening. During our visit Friday afternoon we were greeted with many rays of sunshine.
As we look back we see some fisher people in their little outboard boat.
The walked was certainly worth seeing the thousands of hexagonal pillars ranging in varying heights.
We spent awhile admiring the nature’s beauty. Stay tuned for additional posts relating to the Giant’s Causeway.
It is a must see in Northern Ireland!
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Newfoundland & Labrador has kilometers and kilometers of beautiful landscapes and coastlines. It boasts three national parks, two world UNESCO sites, first re-discovered by the Vikings (more than 1,000 years ago) and over 5,000 years of inhabitation. We are proud Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, known for our hospitality! An earlier post notes some interesting facts and firsts from our province and people.
The rural economy has an abundance of natural resources including, fish, forests and farms, which all support the urban economy. The success of rural regions and urban economies are interlinked. Infrastructure and services are put in place through local revenues. However, most rural economies are feeling the crunch as revenues decline and cost of services increase. It is no wonder our municipal leaders scratch their heads when it comes to planning for future development. What services will have to be cut to ensure that essential services can be maintained. We see all too often this challenge as we enter small towns and noticed their paved roads are less than acceptable. One will almost get swallowed up in the Town of Flower’s Cove as they drive to the only Bank for service.
However, the reality is – there are less local dollars flowing back into the local economy. The budgets are shrinking and costs are escalating. There are fewer babies in rural Newfoundland & Labrador. Kids are moving away after high school and not choosing to live in rural areas. The baby boomers are getting grey and there is an aging workforce. This presents an evident labour shortage. How can we keep doing more with less? Where is the sustainability? Property taxes can not be increased to meet adherent demands.
No town or community is immune. Even Minnesota, with more than 800 cities are feeling the crunch as noted in the Youtube video below. With less money we will see parks and trails not mowed and other services cut back, longer wait times for medical and emergency services.
According to this video, the solution is community co-operation:
Everyone participating is the fix – no matter what political strip you are. The right mix of dollars and common sense. So off the fence, we need your talents to find balance. Time to share and be aware and care about unity in our communities. Minnesota is our home, we can’t postpone. We must proceed to think and choose services we need and how to pay.
Individually our communities face these challenges, but together we can gain sustainability. We must work together with our neighbouring communities and regions to plan for a stronger more vibrant tomorrow.
- Offer More Grants to Towns – Less Grants to Big Business (liveruralnl.com)
Canadian Geographic Magazine ran a feature on the Northern Peninsula in its October 2009 issue under the headline, “Newfoundland’s Northern Peninsula is a region of depleting human and natural resources. Just the sort of place for a fisherman to be reborn as Bjorn the Beautiful.” (For the article visit: http://www.canadiangeographic.ca/magazine/oct09/northern_peninsula4.asp).
It is certainly true, the Northern Peninsula’s population has been reduced drastically since the closure of its primary industry; the cod fishery in 1992. The statistics speak for themselves as a number of communities and towns saw sharp declines as the world attempts to become more urban. However, our population decrease has slowed with signs of greater stability as more younger families build homes and lives around rural economies. I am proof of another young person that chooses to live rural Newfoundland & Labrador. Although the economy has yet to rebound to levels prior to 1992, I disagree with the author that the region has depleting natural resources.
Nearly 20 years later, the fishery still remains the backbone of the rural economies, with the forestry a close second. Moreover, today, the rural economy has diversified – the Northern Peninsula is engaged in various sectors, including secondary-food processing, value-added manufacturing, biomass fuels, oil & gas exploration, agriculture, aquaculture, manufacturing, construction, tourism, services, retail/wholesale, craft/gift/apparel, information technology, healthcare, education and transportation.
The article states, “An optimist will say that, through all the ups and downs, residents of the Northern Peninsula have always looked after themselves. After all, their connection to the rest of Newfoundland did not come until 1962, the year Route 430 opened, so they have a long history of living in isolation” (Russell Wangersky).
Imagine, it was not until 1962 in a country as rich as Canada that we as Canadians were isolated from the rest of the country. Yet, we overcame these obstacles and our communities adapted to change. Can you imagine that it took nearly 50 more years before the Trans-Labrador Highway was open!!! This highway now connects Red Bay to Goose Bay eliminating a long ferry run. Now visitors can drive from Montreal, QC - Labrador City, NL - Goose Bay, NL - Blanc Sablon, QC and take a 1 hour 30 minute ferry ride to St. Barbe on the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland and drive Route 430 to Deer Lake, NL and then take the Trans Canada Highway to the Capital, St. Johns, NL or to Port Aux Basque to take Marine Atlantic to Nova Scotia. This is an incredible achievement that presents a number of opportunities for not only residents, organizations and business owners of the Northern Peninsula and Labrador, but the entire world!
The recent completion of the Trans-Labrador Highway has already had a significant impact on business on both sides of the Strait of Belle Isle. The M.V. Apollo has adjusted to increased demand to ferry traffic by adding an additional run on Friday and Sunday during peak tourist season. There has been large increases in commercial traffic using both the service and the highway. The opening of Hotel North (former Vinland, St. Anthony) on September 1, 2010 which will include a Jungle Jim’s adds much-needed accommodations to the region. Although, not all businesses are ready for the spike in demand. For instance, if you wish to rent a car, make sure you book well in advance, or you may find yourself in a crunch when it comes to transportation.
On September 8, 2010 the Nordic Economic Development Board and Red Ochre Regional Board, among with its many partners are hosting a Transportation Forum at the St. Barbe Arena to reveal key findings of a study completed as a result of this new transportation link. The impacts it has had on road, marine and air transportation routes and what this has meant for business will be discussed. There are new business opportunities and areas of improvement that we all have a stake. If you are interested in attending please contact Mr. Andre Myers, Economic Development Officer at Nordic Economic Development Corporation via email at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible as space is limited, registration is free.
We no longer live in isolation and we are open to the world to see what we have to offer! We have in my view the best concentrated and diverse group of cultural assets that can rival any region. This includes two WORLD UNESCO Heritage Sites- L’Anse aux Meadows (First known Europeans to re-discover North America more than 1,000 years ago) & the Tablelands), Gros Morne National Park, archaeological finds and discoveries noting Maritime Archaic Indians, Paleo-Eskimo, Groswater Eskimo, Recent Indians (Beothuk, Innu, Inuit, Metis), Basque, Portuguese, French, British and others, a number of provincial and national historic sites, ecological reserves, abundance of natural resources, wildlife and natural beauty, high-speed internet access (in most regions), airports, ferry services, shipping/trucking, low business tax and low-cost of living. These highlights complimented by the Northern Peninsula’s strategic location to enter markets of Canada, Greenland, Iceland, New England States and Europe presents excellent opportunities for a company to export.
I will dismiss Wangersky’s Canadian Geographic article written just 2 months prior to this road opening, as the highway simply does not end at Route 430, The Viking Trail – but begins. We are now a pathway to the rest of North America.
Don’t miss out, as this could be the best investment you ever make.
Live Rural Newfoundland – CCM
Before the expeditions of Giovanni Caboto (John Cabot, 1497), Christopher Columbus and Captain James Cook - we had visitors and inhabitants. More than 1,000 years ago the Norse (often referred to as “Vikings”) were the first Europeans to re-discover Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Norse established a settlement in L’Anse aux Meadows (translated “Jellyfish Cove”) which consisted of eight sod houses. This site was officially discovered by two Norwegians in 1960-61, after a local resident Mr. George Decker directed them to this site. In 1978, L’Anse aux Meadows was declared a World UNESCO Heritage Site. For more details visit Parks Canada’s website: http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/lhn-nhs/nl/meadows/index.aspx.
On June 28, 2010 I had re-visited the site and experienced a feeling of re-discovery. This is a place I had not returned since I was a little boy almost 20 years ago. Some aspects I remember clearly, other elements are more vivid. At first, the replicated sod houses and all the artificial artifacts were real to me, thinking in the mind of a child. I remember the interpreter vividly in much different clothing. A butterchurn that was on display intrigued me since it must have been a difficult process to make butter all those years ago; that it simply did not come pre-packaged at the local general store. Growing up in a lovely home with all the modernities of electricity and indoor plumbing of the 20th century (at the time), I could not imagine what life was like for these people more than 1,000 years ago. But, I certainly thought it was cool and would loved to have spent a night or two there, just for the experience! Hey, it couldn’t be that much difference from camping, right?
The Norse had stayed only for a short period of time (circa 8-10 years). Why did these people leave after only a short time and never return?
Significant findings give evidence that their was a blacksmith shop with forge for iron work, workshop and boat repair facility. The simple answer is that these industrious explorers established a site at Jellyfish Cove to repair their vessel and continue with their quest to find “Vinland”. Others have written accounts that there was much conflict with Natives, painting the Norse to be violent warriors. Although these people may be seafaring, they were also agriculturalists (farmers). We can not travel back more than 1,000 years ago to ask these questions and know the answers. However, when you read pieces of history or historiograhy (the writing of history) or an article, take a critical viewpoint of who is the writer, what is his/her motive and remember that most history is written from the viewpoint of the victor, possibly skewing events that actually occurred.
The Norse culture had strong tradition of retaining oral history through storytelling, which later became part of the written sagas. The fact that this group of people had made a written account, enables historians to better piece together history with their findings. It is evident that Rural Newfoundland & Labrador for more than 1,000 years has been home to many cultures and should have many pages in our history books.
Rural Retrospect – when viewing the impressions in the ground left from the Norse settlement, I felt somewhat sadden. Overtime these impressions will become less visible, but I believe their mark is forever left as part of our heritage and will be preserved. It is up to us to keep written accounts of our history, our people, traditions and experiences. It is a way to define who we were and who we are today, where we have been, where we are and provide insight into the future as to where we are going.
On my 1,000 Places to See Before you Die calendar (thank you Karrie), yesterday’s page had a quote I liked:
“The earth belongs to anyone who stops for a moment, gazes and goes on his way” – Colette
Enjoy her beauty -
After living in Edmonton for just 11 months, I realized how much the ocean meant to me. However, you sometimes do not realize the things that matter most until they are gone. The Northern Peninsula in Newfoundland has many hidden gems and most of its residents, including myself have never taken the time to experience what there is to offer.
This summer, I took a “stay-cation”, meaning I vacationed at home. But not in the typical sense that I just watched re-runs of All in the Family or the Golden Girls, I got out there and did things and spent money helping local businesses and trust me I was not disappointed.
Friday, June 25, 2010…it was still raining in the AM. However, being a smart camper I had my car packed the night before. I left before lunch and my first stop was the Anchor Cafe, Port au Choix. The food at this restaurant is soooo good that I drove off route about 30 kms just for lunch. I had a bowl of their delicious fish chowder and Mussels a la Byron. The mussels were to die for!!! Earlier in the week, I tried blueberry pie at two other locations, so I couldn’t resist theirs with a scoup of vanilla ice-cream. A real contender with grandma’s! If you want a great meal while sitting on board a well-theme restaurant this one is it for you!
My resting place for the night was Kampgrounds of America, Rocky Harbour, known locally as “Spirity Pond Park”. To start, they have the cleanest restrooms and showers that I have seen at any campground that I have stayed. I pitched the tent and headed down to the office to rent a canoe, as it is Gros Morne National Park and the sun was beaming! It felt good to be alone and in charge as I paddled my canoe on a serene pond. It gave me a chance to relieve the stresses work may bring and gain a sense of freedom and power with every paddle I did take. (Thank you again Sandi Boucher – I will paddle my canoe with great confidence in whatever waters life so chooses to take me).
Later in the evening I drove to airport to pick up a friend, who I met while studying abroad in the Czech Republic almost three years ago. This person has worldly experience, lived in many parts of Canada but yet to experience the Rock! Needless to say it was great to see him again and telling him its the rural life. He believed me, when his FIDO cell did not have coverage (note to those needing cell coverage; Bell or Telus only).
June 26, 2010
After cooking up a scoff on the imitation Coleman stove, eggs, bacon, ham, toast and hot chocolate we ventured off to get an interpretative tour of the Tablelands, which are designated a World UNESCO Heritage Site.
I had no idea that the formations were due to the tectonic plates, faults and the inner layer of the earths crust ending on top of the surface. As well, that later in the week I would be going to Africa (the Avalon Peninsula). A visit to the Discovery Centre proved to be more than informative. As well Trout River was quite scenic and the restaurant well it had a nice view of the ocean and was mentioned in Frommer’s for all you travellers out there. The mussels and chowder were very good (no blueberry pie though for me this time) :).
The evening was spent at Gros Morne Theatre Festival with a cast from Theatre Newfoundland. The first viewing was the Ethie, regarding a ship wreck that happened near the coast of Sally’s Cove. The cast remarkable, allowing for humor and great interaction as the meal of pan fried cod, whipped potatoes, vegetables, fresh rolls, tea and patridgeberry cheesecake were served in the galley by cast members. Despite the storm, no one got sea sick and all 92 of us survived! The show was so good that we decided to take in an encore presentation – Double Axe Murder. I can’t wait to see the other shows this summer! If you hadn’t heard, Tempting Providence, which is one of Gros Morne Theatre Festival’s shows has gone on tour in California. It depicts the life of Nurse Myra Bennett, who was a missionary for the people of Daniel’s Harbour and surrounding areas. I stopped in to visit her home, which is now a historic site and got a remarkable interpretation from two lovely nursing students. A great $5.00 investment to learn a lot local legends and about the way of life in the area in the 19th and 20th centuries. Well worth not by-passing the community to all you readers out there!
I was only two days in my vacation when I began to realize I would not be able to fit all I wanted to do….which made me quite satisfied because I live here and can see what the Great Northern Peninsula is all about and will choose to experience all the wonders we have at home! Tomorrow, I will write about Lambi, Vikings, Fine Dining, Dr. Wildfred Grenfell, Spanish artists, icebergs, polar bears and more….
Keep Living Rural -