One of the most interesting spots in the Laane Virumaa county is Kasmu village. It lies on the top of Kasmu peninsula and is part of Lahemaa National Park. The place has also the name of Captains Village becuase as popular joke says there are 100 people living here and 62 of them are captains:) There is a good reason in saying that because in 1884-1931 there was Estonian Nautical School based in Kasmu. Famous sea traveller Ahto Walter graduated this school in 1928. In 1930 together with his brothers he sailed accross the Atlantics and in 1938-40 sailled around the world, his wife and 2 years old son were among 19 people crew with him. The school building still stands there but now it became the Kasmu Sea Museum( unfortunally it was closed on day of our visit, so i can give no special tip about it). Fishing ships were built in the village and in 1890ties first ocean sailing ship was built in local manufactory. By the end of XIX century Kasmu was quite a big winter port- sometime even 60 or so ships stood in Kasmu Bay. The village was also known as smuglers spot- they used to hide their goods( mostly salt) on small islands nearby. Because of picturesque views and good climate it was popular resort ever from mid-XIX century when Russian general Nikolai von Dellingshausen built his summer manor here. He also organized the fishing boats regattas in Kasmu Bay. There still is a chapel built in his memory, called the General Chapel.
Kasmu village is a nice place for sailling or canoing, if you are not water sports fan- never mind, there are other activities like horse riding or walks in the forest.
Traditional fishermen's village of Altja is another nice spot on Northern Estonia coast. It's famous because of well preserved wooden houses with straw roofs and traditional fishermen warehouses lining down the sea coast. Although the village fishermen were rather poor -the legend say they were among the first in Estonia to drink coffee. They brought it from Sweden. There are some local jokes how Altja people brought some coffee to their inland relatives and friends and they didn't know how to prepare it. Another legendary thing is Baby Stone. This big stone lies in the sea and local kids used to come and to knock on it. So the stone would bring them little brother or sister.....well they were rather selfish in that- when people were coming to see a new baby they would bring some sweets for older kids, too. Acctually boys did more often than girls, because the girls knew that candies would be eaten rather soon and then they have to help their mothers with the baby and household duties - not too good business:)
There are some nicely renovated manors in Laane Virumaa and they really became atractive entertaiment places. And Palmse manor is one of the most popular among them. The name Palmse was mentioned back in XIII century, but the manor history started in XVIII century with the Pahlen family. It belonged to family till 1923. Then it served different purpose and slowly started to fall down. In 2002 Museums of Virumaa foundation took care of the manor and the rebirth of this beautiful manor started. Now it's both museum and representation building. It's popular to have conferences , meetings or wedding parties here. It's not just the family house restored but also the whole complex of traditional province manor- orangery , farmers and steward houses, mill , brewery, smithy, barns, stables and cellars. Some of those buildings still serve their original purpose, like smithy, others turned into museum, like coaches, cars and agriculture technics exposition in former stables. In the main house visitors can see how the rooms were decorated during XVIII-XX century, to look at old kitchen or wine cellar with smoking room, listen to old music box. Acctually- they can even put some old fashioned dress.
Sagadi Manor is little bit similar to Palmse manor, only smaller. Still it doesn't mean it is worse. Built in middle of XVIII century manor house was the finest example of Estonian Roccoco. But then after some 50 years when neoclassical style became fashionable the main house was partly rebuilt. The estate belonged to Swedish originated von Fock family till 1919 when it was nationalized by Estonian goverment but family still lived here till 1939. From 1929 till 1971 the main house was a primary school and the other building were used by local kolhoz( collective farm) during soviet years. From the beginning there was a big orchard and arboretum in the manor so in 1971 all the complex was given to Rakvere Forest District. They established teaching centre here. It still belongs to them and there's Forest Center museum. Also the great exposition of antique furniture is presented in main building. In former kitchen they have hunting museum with trophies and Lord Swen hunting weapons collection showing the arms development of 250 years. It' popular place for conteporary artist plainairs and some of their pieces can be found in parks and yards of the manor. The manor is also popular with conferences and parties, there's hostel and campfire site.
Viru Swamp was my personal favourite after visiting Lahemaa National Park. We were staying in camping not far from it and went there first thing in the morning. Viru is one of the many Estonian swamps, acctually swamps take about 30% country's teritory. It's quite safe travelling in the swamp because there's about 3.5 km wooden track. Still some special footwear is recomended because water sometimes go over the track. Or if it warm enough in summertime -follow my example- walk barefoot. Water comes through turf filter and is extremely pleasant, just like free spa procedure:) Lot's of ponds have formed in turf holes and it's said that water is so clean you can simply drink it... o.k., i didn't try so better not risk, but morning swim is absolutely fabulous. Never mind some brown colour and faint turf smell - it disapears once body is dry. Also it's better not to step from marked paths because it still is dangerous because of not solid ground. But it's quite a fun to pick some blueberries, cowberries, cranberries or cloudberries on walk. There are also plenty of mushrooms- idea for lunch. Of course it's forbidden to make a fire here- but if you are staying in nearby camps, surrounding woods are full of food.