Eidsvoll: Cradle of Independence
80km (50 miles) N of Oslo
To appreciate this site, you might need to have true Norwegian blood flowing through your veins, as many Americans do. Reached from Oslo via the E6, motorists arrive at Eidsvoll, Carsten Ankers vagen (tel. 63-92-22-10), where, on May 17, 1814, the country's constitution was written after 6 intense weeks. It was the most liberal constitution the world had ever known and today is the oldest existing constitutional charter in Europe.
Even if you're not interested in the political implications of Norway, a visit to the manor house Eidsvoll-bygningen is worthwhile for its insiderish view of the lifestyles of the upper crust of the early 1800s.
The two-floor house with 30 rooms was constructed of timber. Portraits of the members of the 1814 Norwegian parliament are on display here, but far more intriguing is the collection of objects used to furnish the house, including a well-stocked library, elegant dining rooms, lavish bedrooms, English antiques, and murals depicting figures from Greek mythology.
The cast-iron stoves are works of art. The Ankers family, who lived in the house, also owned the local ironworks, and they insisted on only the best for themselves.
You can also visit the Room of the Constitutional Committee, where the original wooden benches are still in place, along with a series of paintings of Norwegian landscapes.
The house is open May to August daily from 10am to 5pm; September to April Tuesday to Friday 10am to 4pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am to 5pm. Admission is NOK70 ($14/£7).
If you're not driving, you can reach the manor house by taking train no. 450 from the central station in Oslo to Eidsvoll. Trains run every 1 to 2 hours for the 50-minute journey. From here you can take a local bus to the nearby town of Eidsvoll Verk. The manor house lies 4km (2 1/2 miles) east of the E6 on the edge of this Eidsvoll Verk.
Jevnaker: Norway's Oldest Glassworks
70km (42 miles) NW of Oslo
With the glories of the banks of the Oslofjord behind you, head northwest from Oslo along the scenic banks of yet another fjord, Tyrifjord, enjoying some of the best land and seascapes in eastern Norway before arrival at Hadeland Glassverk, Rte. 241, Jevnaker (tel. 61-31-66-00).
In operation since 1762, this is one of the oldest glassworks in Scandinavia. To launch the company, most of the workers were brought in from Germany. Until 1814, the company was owned by the king of Denmark and Norway.
This place is a real family attraction, and many activities are specifically designed for children. Kids and adults alike will be fascinated watching some of Norway's most skilled glass blowers practice their art at the Glass Hut. Kids can blow their own glass or dye their own candles here. Note: The pre-Christmas scene is particularly active here, so plan on crowds that time of year.
Other highlights include a visit to "Honey House" to enjoy a freshly baked confection, or a trip to the Factory Shop to browse for bargains. Children can also play in a house designed for them, watch a tinsmith at work in the Pewter Workshop, or take rides on the gentle horses in the park out back during the summer.
On the main square of the glassworks is the Hadeland Glassworks Art Gallery, opened in 1997, with an exhibition of the works of 50 internationally known artists.
Admission is free, and the glassworks can be visited Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm, Saturday 10am to 4pm, and Sunday 11am to 5pm. To reach Jevnaker, motorists can follow E16 toward Hønefoss, then Rte. 241 into Jevnaker.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.