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
During the Easter Holidays, I added Turkey to my travels to experience the real Turkish delight! After a few unforgettable days in the Georgian mountain town of Kazbegi, it would be Istanbul before making the trek to Romania.
Istanbul with a population of more than 14 million, is a crowded city of Turkey that is located between Europe and Asia across the Bosphorus Strait. There are many unique architectural pieces and cultural influences that highlight the history of the Sultans, the Roman-era, Egyptian influences and also Christian mosaics.
One of the highlights was shopping at the Grand Bazaar, which is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, which spans 61 streets and over 3,000 shops. I purchased some Jasmine and natural teas, items for my shisha and an ornament for my International Christmas tree. It was also nice to stop for Turkish tea and a traditional sandwich. During the afternoon or mid-day while I was there, most patrons closed up shop for one of their daily prayers. If my sister was with me on vacation, I’m sure she would still be there perusing all the shops and their wares.
I spent the day touring the major attractions, such as Sultan Ahmet’s (Blue) Mosque, Aya Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Hippodrome, Istanbul Archaeology Museum and other surrounding sites.
The Aya Sopha was the emperor’s statement to the world of the wealth and technical ability of his empire. Tradition maintained that the area surrounding the emperor’s throne within the church was the official centre of the world. The Aya Sofya has remained one of Istanbul’s most cherished landmarks.
Topkapi Palace has many highlights including the Harem, Palace Kitchens, Council Chambers, Sultan’s private rooms, safekeeping room and treasury. You’ll need at least a half-day just for this one spectacular site.
The Istanbul Archaeological Museum is just a short distance from the Palace. It has multiple complexes including the Museum of the Ancient Orient; the Archaeology Museum and the ceramic collection at the Tiled Pavilion of Mehmet the Conqueror.
The Blue Mosque was Sultan Ahmet I’s grand architectural gift to his capital, built between 1609-1616.
I spent time walking the streets, enjoying the blue skies, flowers and vibes of Istanbul. There were many enjoyable moments of consuming culture, including the food and dining with the locals. It was truly a unique experience.
My time in Turkey was short, but I was ambitious and covered much ground. Even the return to the airport was hurried as the taxi driver by-passed all traffic by primarily driving on the shoulder of the road. Despite all the efforts of locals, I did not return with a rug. I did buy lots of Turkish delights and brought back memories that will last a lifetime. I highly recommend Turkey to your travel list.
One of my favourite purchases was this t-shirt “Experience: On the Road Again – 1985”. Given my birth year being 1985, my love for travel and the experiences my time of the road has given me, it was only fitting! I’ll wear it proudly.
Live Rural NL –
Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)
The 2015 Mussel Festival officially kicked off last night at 8 PM in St. Lunaire-Griquet. This is always an amazing weekend in the Town that is showcasing its beautifully grown mussels in their pristine waters at the SABRI mussel farm. I find Mussel Fest is a real celebration of community brought to you by hard working and dedicated volunteers that work with groups and business to further support their town. It truly is community-building at its best, not to mention a fantastic time with good activities, good food and good company.
The festival site is beautiful set-up with appropriate fencing, kiosks for vendors and a great bandstand. The opening saw temperatures dip from the early 20’s to almost single Celsius digits. It may have kept some home, but it was a fantastic evening to welcome everyone to the community, enjoy a fine piece of cake, nice music and have a feed of mussels and enter into great conversations. Later that night a lantern release would happen around 9:30 PM.
Below is their amazing schedule, drop by and participate in any of the events:
Friday, August 7
3:00 Dart Tournament—Fire Hall–$5.00; 2 person team (2 women or 1 man and 1 woman) 12 team maximum
5:00 Craft fair–$5.00/table (or donate a craft for a prize)
Kids’ games–tickets 4/$1; Candy Jar $.50/guess
Music – Barry Elsworth & James
7:00 Boil up $5.00 each, kids under 10 free–all you can eat mussels, hot dogs, lassey bread, fruit drink, tea/coffee
Music – Local talent and Barry Elsworth and James
9:00 Bar opens
Saturday, August 8
10:00 Seniors’ Tea—Sortie Weddings and Tea Room (RESERVATIONS ONLY)
12:00 Lunch – $7.00; kids $3.00–fisherman’s brewis; hot dogs; tea/coffee; cake; pop/water $1.00
2:00 Boat races – White Cape Harbour – $5.00; women and men single; women and men doubles; mixed pairs;
2:00 Seniors’ Tea—Sortie Weddings and Tea Room (RESERVATIONS ONLY)
3:00 Teddy Bear Picnic; kids’ games; craft faire
4:30 Firettes’ Beans and Bologna supper
7:00 Adult 120’s card game–$5.00
10:00 Dance—JASON ROGERS–$10:00/person (receive 1 free bar ticket); Hamburgers being sold (proceeds to Fire Dept. & Silver Linings)
Sunday, August 9
12:00 Lunch—Mussels and hot dogs – $3.00
2:00 Gospel concert. Donation box – monetary donation or grocery item–proceeds to Food Bank
MUSSELS available throughout each day–$3.00/plate
Ticket sales every day—50/50; quilt/painting/ice cream; 1/2 Grand.
FESTIVAL proceeds to Fire Department and Senior Memory Benches
PARKING at Fire Hall or Town Hall. NO PARKING AT MOTEL
You can spread the world and help this locally grown festival by sharing on Facebook and telling your friends. I look forward to events tomorrow! My hat goes off to the committee members and those helping in any way, you truly make very big things happen in our small communities.
Live Rural NL –
Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (THe Straits-White Bay North)
A craft fair in St. Anthony yesterday, hosted by the St. Anthony Come Home Year Committee attracted artisans and craft producers from all across the Great Northern Peninsula. More than two dozen tables were filled with such a diverse array of product, it reinvigorated my belief that we could have a thriving craft industry, artisan studios like the Quidi Vidi Plantation of St. John’s or those on Fogo Island.
The Grenfell Heritage Shoppe at the Grenfell Historic Properties is the perfect anchor, with 8,000 visitors annually, they would be the ideal location to purchase from these local craftspeople and artists. Their Brown Cottage at the corner of their parking lot can be converted into a multitude of artist studios, just like mentioned above to provide space and an outlet for these craftspeople to grow, produce and share knowledge with each other.
One of the last tables I visited was Lott and Christina’s Driftwood Creations. I was just taken away by each unique piece of art. Christina was very passionate about her creations, telling me that the wood was collected on family outings combing the beach, some of it close to where I live. The story and connection added to the beauty of the one of a kind art. I also loved the professional tagging and a focus on Made in Newfoundland, highlighting St. Anthony on the map. These are the types of things that certainly add value to the buyer. I’m quite proud of this piece, “Some Day on Clothes” and will proudly hang it for many to gaze at something quintessentially “Rural Newfoundland & Labrador”.
Driftwood Creations has their own Facebook Page offering unique Handcrafted Home Decor made from driftwood found on beaches of Newfoundland. They also make pine furniture made with a rustic country style. They can be reached at 454-3402.
Loving Stuff is handcrafted by Heber and Loretta Hussy of St. Anthony. I was fortunate enough to purchase her product before at the 2012 St. Anthony Come Home Year craft fair. There I got myself the last four remaining mummers, this year I manage to get several more to add to my collection and some on my Christmas list may be also receive one as well!
After 5 years of co-founding and organizing the Mummer’s Walk in the Straits on the Great Northern Peninsula, people know I love mummers and the concept of what mummering or jannying as we use to call it means to those who grew up in outport or rural Newfoundland and Labrador. I love how Loretta and Heber capture them in such a traditional way! Her product is also tagged professionally and has a story explaining what mummering is all about. I could not resist purchasing the pair of child’s hide slippers. Lot’s of my friends seem to be having babies these days! You can reach Loving Stuff at 454-3513.
Shirley and Doug Mills are quite the team in their craft production, which was exhibited at yesterday’s fair when those who wanted ornaments with their names on them, Shirley called on Doug to handle that task. The array of product Shirley makes is phenomenal, which seal skin has taken a focus.
She makes guitar straps, strap purses, coin purses, boot cuffs, slippers, mittens, earrings, bracelets and now mummers and Christmas ornaments, which I think are totally brilliant.
Her jewelry and some of these items can be found at the Grenfell Heritage Shoppe, St. Anthony. I can’t wait to hang these incredibly ornaments on my Christmas tree :).
There are so many artisans and craft production on display, from handmade quilts, Minion slippers, Bruce Pilgrim’s Prints, framed Art, Frank Walter’s magnets & prints, Colleen Loder’s iceberg art and ugly sticks, carvings, Carol Roberts’ hand painted rocks, felting and ornaments, original paintings, face painting, knitting items, baked beans, homemade pies and so much more.
It is evident art, craft and culture thrives on the Great Northern Peninsula! I encourage you to support out local artists and craft producers. I want to thank the St. Anthony Come Home Year committee for organizing and providing a venue for these local craft producers and artists an outlet to sell their product and services. We need more space and opportunities throughout the year. Let’s keep making big things happen in small communities!
Live Rural NL –
Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)
L’Anse aux Meadows is where the world came full circle, an event 100,000 years in the making! When the super-continent Pangea broke up, people had the choice of going left or going right – they did not meet up until just over 1,000 years ago when the Norse crossed the Atlantic met Aboriginals in L’anse aux Meadows on the Great Northern Peninsula. It is a story that is completely untold and undersold as a reason to visit this community of 37, which is home to a World UNESCO site.
I love going to L’anse aux Meadows, to see the only authentic Viking site in North America, to enjoy the views of the islands, walking trails, visit Leif Erikson statue, dine at the Norseman Restaurant and of course, visit my favourite open air museum “Norstead Viking Village and Port of Trade”.
Norstead is just 2 KM from the UNESCO Viking Settlement and was established in 2000 as part of the millennial, celebrating 1000 years of the Vikings’ arrival to the New World. During it’s inaugural year it saw 28,000 visitors, making it a top destination for visitors.
At Norstead you get to join costumed interpreters in the dim light of a lit fire at the Viking-style Chieftain’s Hall and listen to mysterious Viking tales. One can step aboard the Snorri, the Viking replica ship that sail across the Atlantic, marking the journey of the Vikings from Iceland to Greenland to Northern Newfoundland. An active pottery studio, enables workers to shape clay into pottery the way the Vikings did. The workers also proudly spin sheep fleece into yarn using ancient drop spindle technology, dying the yarn bright purple, pink, or rusty yellow using local plants and berries and weave it into cloth at the loom. You can watch workers make nails and other items in the forge, throw axes at the woodpiles, play nine man mills and tour other buildings such as the Church and visit with the animals. You can also get your Runes told, by the Runes Teller, visit the marketplace and even conduct trade at the trading station if you bring something to exchange.
Truly this is a unique hands on experience that offers something for all ages! Even I enjoy being a Viking for a day 🙂
Live Rural NL –
Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)