L’Anse aux Meadows is a National Historic Site

The remains of the 1,000-year-old Viking colony in the New World at L’Anse aux Meadows mark the site of the first known European settlement in North America. Senior travelers discover that it is located on the northernmost tip of Newfoundland. It was here that the Vikings built three timber-and-sod longhouses and five smaller buildings — and here that the first iron working in the New World began.

Discovered recently, 1960, it is the most famous site of a Norse or Viking settlement in North America outside of Greenland.  Perhaps senior citizens have already heard of the site and the discovery. The remains of a Norse village were discovered in Newfoundland by the Norwegian explorer Helge Ingstad. Based on the root of Vinland being “Vine”, historians speculated that the region contained grapes that grew naturally and became a part of the Viking culture. The site includes several houses made from sod put over a wooden framework. One building was identified as a smithy, and another as a carpenter’s workshop. Several distinctively Viking artifacts were found, proving they really did make it there.

L’Anse-aux-Meadows National Historic Site is the first (and so far only) authenticated Viking site in North America. It was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978, the very first year such designations were made, which gives you an idea of its significance in human history. Your visit starts with a tour of the interesting interpretation center, which shows a 30-minute movie about the history of the site. Senior visitors can then check out the many artifacts and reconstructions from the time of the Vikings and, of course, the small souvenir shop.

Senior History Buffs…

Today, a visit to the site can transport senior history buffs back to where Vikings once stood. Perched on the tip of the Viking Trail, it’s a place where mystery still mingles with the light and washes over the strange, captivating landscape. Visit the interpretive center, join a guide on a tour of the Viking ruins, and visit the longhouse to discover what life was like for the Viking encampment in 1000 AD.  This settlement is thought to be the fabled Vinland, a place immortalized in Viking sagas as a distant outpost. L’anse aux Meadows would have been used as a stopping-over point to restock food and provisions before exploring further west or traveling east back to Greenland. Some believe that the Vikings may have made it as far into North America as the Great Lakes, though evidence of this is scant.

Read what TripAdvisor has to say about the site, including several personal blogs by folks who have been onsite. Join some local folks who work there and greet visitors.  Labrador and Newfoundland have plenty to see and do in addition to L’Anse aux Meadows. You’ll find the entire area one unforgettable experience.  jeb



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