2017 HON/COR101 Activities: Iceland and the Arctic in Maine

During the Fall 2017 Semester, USM Honors Freshmen enrolled in the HON-101: Icelandic Sagas and Skalds class and the associated COR101 lab experienced Icelandic (and the greater North Atlantic) culture, art, food, wildlife, and navigation right here in Maine. As part of the lab activities, students enjoyed Icelandic style cuisine, met the local artist and USM alum Justin Levesque, met some friendly Icelandic horses, and learned about early navigation. Here are some of those stories:


♦ Class Guest: Justin Levesque, USM Alum and local artist

Justin visited our class and shared his experience traveling to Iceland via an Eimskip shipping vessel as well as his adventure to Svalbard in the far north. While traveling in both locations, Justin expertly photographed life, culture, art, food, human impact, and the greater surroundings to illustrate life in these unique environments. Learn more via the links below!

Insta| Web| Facebook


♦ Vinland:

“Drawing from indigenous food traditions along with those of the Acadians, New Englanders, and other peoples of the North Atlantic, the cuisine of Vinland is an expression of our place and history. Yet the mission is as much about ecology, building the local economy, and teaching good nutrition as it is about great food. We see these four elements as inextricable and mutually reinforcing.” 

Insta | Web | Facebook


Our custom menu: Locally sourced ingredients with a Nordic twist

Class and guests seated at Vinland


Fermented oat flatbread with fresh cheese curds
Wild hen of the woods broth
Turnip and yogurt soup with flowers and herbs
Smoked monkfish with kale juice and seaweed oat crumble
Reindeer Moss (Alternative option for vegetarians/cured lamb (below))
Cured lamb, blueberry brown bread, viili kerma, dill flower
Chaga Semifreddo


♦ Fire and Ice Icelandics

This small farm in Limington, Maine is home to a handful of spunky Icelandic horses, a painted horse, a duck, and a miniature donkey (aptly named Tequila, Tiki for short!). Our students paid a visit to the farm and not only got to meet these friendly critters but also received a demonstration of the Icelandic’s gaits including the Tolt.

Insta | Facebook

Welcome & Introduction by NikkiSue
Icelandic with fuzzy ears and dramatic mane!
Mama Duck on patrol
Curious Icelandic saying hello to our USM students
Two Icelandics grooming
Tequila (Tiki) the miniature donkey getting some attention!
Icelandic having a snack


♦ Osher Map Library at USM

How did the early explorers navigate without today’s technology? We paid a visit to the Faculty Scholar, Dr. Matthew Edney, in USM’s Osher Map library to learn about cartography and also how sea-farers may have navigated without maps.

USM | Osher Website | Facebook#oshermaplibrary

Map observation: What do you see?
Original map produced on vellum
Close up of detail
Dr. Edney explaining use of symbols in older maps
Can you spot the sea monsters?
Map of Islandia (Iceland)




Thank you to everyone who made the time to visit and/or welcome our class and help us learn more about the Arctic as well as Maine. Takk Fyrir!

Want to see more?  Click here to check out COR101 from Fall 2016!