Green Gables and Mussels
Jul 15, 2007
Our first full day in PEI called for the mandatory visit to Green Gables Cottage for the L. M. Montgomery legacy. We had fun strolling the grounds with folks dressed in period costume and demonstrations of weaving, butter churning and musicians playing. Interestingly, the house itself is a reconstruction of a reconstruction, as when we were here last with Katie, the house was all but destroyed by fire just weeks earlier.
The house as it stands now is a neat little tour unto itself, with room dimensions, decorations and furniture true to the period. After a stroll down Anne's famous Lover's Lane, we'd pretty much had our fill of the little redhead and went looking for lunch. We took off to the northwest and at Stanley Bridge, we found what we were looking for. Lunch at Carr's Oyster Bar featured a deck over looking the lobster pound and marina, but best of all, we got to watch the neighbourhood kids making the traditional jump of the 6 metre high bridge railing.
Our route to Stanley Bridge took us by an amusement park where Katie had spent a day in impromptu daycare as Brenda and I golfed Green Gables Golf Course. Sadly, the park has been closed for a while and looks pretty forlorn in its abandoned state. I know Katie thought this was a highlight of her trip, what with the space theme and a virtually full-sized replica of the Space Shuttle.
We stopped at Cavendish Boardwalk on the way home, a real one-stop trashy tourist trap...OK; it did have a Cows ice cream store, its single redeeming feature. The balance of our trip home consisted of shopping for fresh produce, home baking and seafood. Brenda and Ron bought 5 pounds of fresh mussels at a small outlet in an Ultramar gas station for $7...can you believe it! A quick stop at a serve yourself produce stand provided PEI new potatoes, still covered with the native red dirt.
While Anne dined on salad and new potatoes in respect of her vegetarian diet, I had BBQ steak and potatoes in respect of my seafood allergy. Let me say here and now, Brenda was a magician with those mussels as she steamed them in white wine along with Emeril LeGasse's "trinity" (you might have to look it up). She tried to be humble about her creation but Ron's praise belied anything she tried to downplay. It was a pleasure just to watch them work their way through the entire 5 pounds and then complete the meal with dipping fresh bread chunks in the leftover sauce.
We ended the night with a game of JO/JO where the boys once again reigned supreme. Actually that ended the evening for the group but Anne and Ron had some fun after turning the lights out, hunting down the beetle that had entangled itself in her hair...EEEWWWW!
For Ron Anne and me, our Sunday started off nice and slow with a bit of a sleep-in. Brenda, on the other hand, was out the door at 8:00 am for a 14 km bike ride around North Tustica Point. You sure had to admire (but not necessarily emulate) her.
On her return, she and Ron began plotting a chowder creation to use up the remains of the mussel sauce from Saturday night. Brenda and Anne had found a way into the cottage's locked laundry room to wash up our accumulated laundry. A couple of loads into it, Brenda discovered a flaw in the plan. Apparently the laundry, being in the basement, was below the cottage's drain level and required an unnoticed auxiliary pump, thus resulting in a minor flood. Plumber Ron to the rescue and discovery of the aforementioned pump along with a diligent wipe up corrected the problem. It appears that karma doesn't like illicit laundry poachers.
Just after noon, we had organized ourselves sufficiently for a trip into Charlottetown. The drive to Charlottetown from our cottage was a mere 40 minutes and we shortly found ourselves at Peakes Wharf, a tourist trap slightly more upscale from Cavendish Boardwalk by virtue of being on the water. We did some shopping and had a pub lunch where we ate inside for the first time in a while due to a brisk wind off the water. Outside the pub, we were entertained by a group of young Celtic dancers and singers.
A brief stop at the supermarket delivered up the ingredients for the seafood lovers' chowder, along with the requisite restocking of wine. Our return trip was via Covehead and Stanhope-By-The-Sea, where we had stayed with Katie. We hardly recognized the buildings as new owners have significantly upgraded the resort. Brenda's check of the accommodation guide showed the price per night topped out at $500, before taxes.
Brenda's mastery of seafood cooking showed itself once more as Anne and I were borderline disgusted at the pleasure moans and drooling that accompanied the slurping. I mean, come on...get a room! It's amazing that the two marvellous seafood meals were done for under $15 combined; duplicating that at home would probably be somewhere north of $40 or north of $80 in a restaurant.