Yes, there really is proof Vikings were in the Americas; never mind those Columbus stories of "discovery" you learned in elementary school. In the late 1950s, two determined archaeologists were poring over 13th-century Norse sagas searching for clues about where the Vikes might have landed in North America. Going on very little description, they began cruising the coastlines of Newfoundland and Labrador, asking locals about any unusual hummocks and mounds. And in 1960, they finally struck gold at this remote cove of low, grassy hills. Here they found the remains of an ancient Norse encampment that included three large halls and a forge where crude nails were made from local iron; today it's one of eastern Canada's major tourist attractions.

See Viking artifacts in the visitor center and watch the orientation video, then sign up for a free guided tour of the site; the guides offer considerably more information than the simple markers around the grounds do. Near the original encampment, several sod-and-timber buildings have been recreated to depict life here a thousand years ago. Costumed interpreters act out characters and answer questions while demonstrating textile-making, woodworking, blacksmithing, and other skills. They also sometimes cook bread on a stick for visitors (hey, this is how the Vikings rolled). Stick around for at least a couple hours or a half-day and soak it all up with the family.