Imagine, L’anse aux Meadows, Great Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland, Canada is the land of first contact in North America by Europeans. Home of the only authentic Norse site in North America, where the Vikings came over 1,000 years ago and worthy of World UNESCO Heritage status.
A population of just a couple dozen residents today, this tiny community is truly Where the World Came Full Circle. It is the place where humanity met for the very first time, an event more than 100,000 years in the making. When the continents broke apart, people went left and people went right. Europeans reached Iceland and then Greenland and finally settled at L’Anse aux Meadows. It was there they met those who went right, our indigenous population of Newfoundland and Labrador. We have documentation of 5,000 years of their presence, only to connect for the first time 1,000 years ago with those who went left. This is the much bigger story of this ancient and meaningful place that must be told.
L’Anse Aux Meadows UNESCO Site
Annually 30,000 people flock to L’Anse aux Meadows from May-September. The Parks Canada experience is truly something that should be on your bucket list. The interpretation centre offers guided tours in French and English, a film in the theatre, artifacts and storyboards are on display, there are walking trails, get up close and personal to where the ancient mounds were and lets not forget the art and encounters with Vikings along the way. Also, the very talented local, Loretta Decker, has handmade Viking troll dolls available at the Heritage Shoppe. If you have time, take in an evening of Stories and Sagas.
Norstead Viking Village & Port of Trade
This social enterprise is the ultimate hands on experience of how to live like a Viking. A fascinating open air museum, boasting the Snorri replica that sailed from Iceland to Greenland to L’Anse aux Meadows in the year 2,000 in the boathouse.
The local re-enactors can read you fortune using ruin stones, cook up a meal by the fire, make nails at the forge, teach you axe throwing for entertainment and skill, play nine man mill, or show you how to weave or knit with one needle. They have animals, a potter’s studio, gift shop and more onsite. Visitation increased by more than 2,000 additional people last year, which is no surprise to me given their exceptional public offering.
Norsemen Restaurant & Gaia Art Gallery
Fine dining with lots of local offerings and fresh ingredients at the Norsemen. It is one of the many exceptional restaurants along Route 436. An offering of musical entertainment during dinner meals and a perfect view if you are lucky during lunch. I recommend a martini with local berries and iceberg ice to start.
I enjoy the Art Gallery, lots of handmade and local products, especially the carvings. Exhibition space and direct sales for our artists is complimentary, providing another unique experience when visiting the Great Northern Peninsula.
There are five additional food offerings on/along Route 436 that come highly recommended:
- The Daily Catch, St. Lunaire-Griquet – profiled in the Globe & Mail for exceptional seafood offerings
- Café Nymphe, St. Lunaire-Griquet – located at Dark Tickle Company, a wildberry economusee that has an exceptionally sampling of teas, berry drinks and more
- Snow’s Take-Out, St. Lunaire-Griquet – home to Herb’s famous chicken. For the traveler interest in something fast and to take-a-way.
- Northern Delight Restaurant, Gunner’s Cove – a large family restaurant, with broad menu offering. They celebrate their Viking burgers, seafood and entertainment – don’t miss Mummer’s Night!
- Burnt Cape Café, Raleigh – a local flavouring of moose burgers, sandwiches and also gourmet experience, with Chef seafood specialties.
Skipper Hot’s Lounge in Straitsview is also a must if you want to experience the music at our local watering hole. The Skipper Hot’s band is performing Thursday-Sunday throughout the summer. They do Screech-ins and host kitchen parties and special events.
Along Route 436/37 there is ample choice for accommodations that include Provincial and Private RV parks (including tent sites), Raleigh Historical offers bunkhouses to live like a fisherman, there are cabins, cottages, chalets, b&bs, motels and a short drive to St. Anthony, there are additional accommodations including hotels.
The Viking Shop
Norman Young has been carving whale bones for many years. I highly recommend visiting his Viking Shop. As well, Taylor’s Crafts in Raleigh, has 4th generation carvers. Their soapstone products are phenomenal. Viking art can be found at Thorr’s Studio, Hay Cove. For a great souvenir shop on route to L’Anse aux Meadows, drop into the Hut in Noddy Bay! There is also Labradorite jewelry and youth entrepreneurs selling jams, pies and crafts.
From fish markets, retail, boat tours, ecological reserves, icebergs, cruise ship visits, outdoor art and more. One can see fishers at the wharves, eat locally grown mussels and interact and embrace community en route to L’Anse aux Meadows! Plan your 2017 visit today and you too can say you were where the World Came Full Circle!
Live Rural NL –
Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA for St. Barbe-L’Anse aux Meadows and Minister of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development
I’m not sure how many politicians can say this, but I certainly enjoyed free falling from an airplane in 2007
I just got off the telephone with my former room-mate while I was studying in Prague, Czech Republic. It is always nice to hear from old friends.
On a such a cold day on the Northern Peninsula, it gave me the opportunity to revisit some of my travels and adventures in the Fall of 2007. It’s always nice to take a stroll down memory lane…from the Nation2Nation celebrations, drinks at the Academic Club, $1 slices of pizza en route to the university, Tram #9, dancing at the 5 floor disco, Palac Flora shopping centre, booking one of the two washing machines in a building of 16 floors with no dryers to eating at “steakie”.
One of the biggest highlights was my experience “free falling” when I jumped from an airplane some 4,000+ metres over a rural village in Prague. A group of students from England, America, Canada and parts of Europe took the train and then piled into this little airplane to experience skydiving for the first time.
After getting all suited up we were very enthusiastic about the thrill we would were about to get. I decided to capture the memory with a video. I’ve watched it a few times since. The words of AC/DC’s Thunderstruck plays in the background. From my last post, you know I’m a fan of The Beatles but I also like Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and also AC/DC.
I can not describe the experience of just falling at over 130 KM per hour from the sky. I will say I do not think I’ve ever felt so alive. It’s also a great feeling when the parachute pops open and you gently float and make for a safe landing. 🙂
My time in Prague had a significant impact on my life and I have returned three times since 2007 to this beautiful central European city that has a rich culture and history, that combines with modern flare.
Life is all about experiences. At 27 years old, I reflect on the times before me and look forward to my next random adventures – because life was made for living. If you have a “bucket” list you may want to add experiencing the Great Northern Peninsula where the Norse were the first Europeans to re-discover North America more than 1,000 years ago. It was a place where the Basque, French, English, Irish, recent Indians and Maritime Archaic Indians lived before us dating back more than 5,000 years. There is a rich legacy of co-operation and advancing health care under the leadership of Dr. Wilfred Thomason Grenfell, a natural landscape that includes the last of the Appalachian Mountains, unique lifestyle and incredible people you have yet to meet.
Live Rural NL –Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA The Straits-White Bay North