Despite the rant the other day about Canadian prices, it’s a great place. PEI is kind of like Delaware without the traffic, a mix of small city, shore (I hesitate to say beach), and farming. Charlottetown is the provincial capital and the largest city. They’re slowly converting the waterfront area from industrial use to entertainment, shopping, and eating. We stayed at a campground about 15 miles north of town on the Gulf of St. Lawrence. It’s nice but a little crowded and it had internet access only when it wasn’t raining. Since it rained nearly every night, there wasn’t much access, so I’ll bring you up to date on our travels around PEI.
Farming and fishing seem to be the big industries on the island. Farming includes potatoes, dairy, and cattle farming along with some aquaculture of oysters and mussels. Fishing focuses on lobsters. I also ran across a couple of pharma plants in our travels. Novartis Animal Health and I can’t remember the name of the other.
The island has adopted Ann of Green Gables as the local cottage industry. The author Laura Maud Montgomery was born and raised on PEI and used her childhood experiences as the basis for the stories. I’ve never read an Ann book or saw one of the movies, but I’m sure some of the ladies have. On Wednesday we visited a couple of the sites associated with Ann to partake of the culture along the Green Gables Scenic Byway that hugs the north shore of PEI near where we were staying. Sue has been dying to go to a Ceildah, a Celtic music event, so we decided to go to one near the campground. It started at 7:30pm so we left for the Brackley Beach Community Hall which was only about 5 minutes away at about 7:15. When we got there was no parking and the show was SRO with very few spots to stand so we wound up going back to the campground without the music. I know I’ll never hear the end of it.
Thursday was a beach day. A local couple told us about a small beach not to far from the camp ground so we went over to Covehead Harbor and sat on the beach and watched the local kids jump off the highway bridge into the channel. It supposed to be a $2,500 fine if you’re caught, but most folks said they’ve never seen anyone fined although the Park Rangers (Canadian National Seashore) warned some kids. The kids walked off the bridge and as soon as they rangers left they were back on the bridge.
Friday was our last day on PEI and it was my day as we toured the south shore of PEI along the Red Sand Scenic Byway. The shore line along the south is mostly red sand stone cliffs and red sand beaches hence the name. We stopped at Auto Life Museum, another one of those small museums that aren’t famous and you wouldn’t go to unless someone told you about it. We met a couple from Victoria, BC in Antigonish while we ate our pizza at the Wheel. They suggested we stop after I told them about the Seal harbor Museum we visited when we were at Acadia. It was an eclectic collection of cars from the 20 and 30’s, the 50’s and 60’s, and a bunch of farm equipment and implements used on PEI; interesting, but not of the quality of the one at Seal Harbor. We also stopped at the town of Victoria and wadded on the sand flats at low tide. We were able to walk about a half mile from shore and it never got any deeper than our knees (my knees). The water was surprisingly warm. There were lots of birds (herons, terns, and sea gulls) and small sea creatures (crabs, hermit crabs, ousters, mussels, razor clams, small shrimp, etc.) in the shallows and amongst the sea weeds). We had great fresh haddock on the dock before we moved on for the rest of the ride along the shore. We got a great view of the Confederation Bridge, which is supposed to be the longest freestanding bridge in the world, 13 kilometers.