Prince Edward Island
Aug 9, 2011
|Destination # 24: Prince Edward Island
Mileage: 143 km (from Shediac, NB)
Arrive: Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Depart: Monday, August 15, 2011
• Tuesday, August 9
What a thrill to drive over the Confederation Bridge and to be welcomed onto P.E.I. by the sights and sounds in the Gateway Village, complete with a highlands dance number performed by a very energetic and obviously talented dancer just outside of the Information Centre.
We are staying in a campground a few miles outside of Charlottetown called the Harrington RV Park. The advertised pool, patio restaurant, mini golf and driving range are long forgotten memories but it is clean and safe and has all the services and a Passport America park to boot, so just about perfect for our needs while we get to know P.E.I.
• Wednesday, August 10
Charlottetown is on our agenda today. The best option seems to be the self guided tour of the core downtown area. Our tour includes a walk through the quaint narrow streets, reading, as we go, about the historical significance of many of the addresses along the way. It also includes a stroll along Victoria Row, the site of what once was the market centre of the city which was destroyed by fire in 1866 and rebuilt using fire resistant materials such as brick. Today it is a block of restaurants with outdoor patios and frequent outdoor live performances. The street is laid out with period style and is blocked off to auto traffic during the summer months.
Our tour also includes a visit to Province House, the home of P.E.I.’s Legislative Assembly. This is also the site of the famous 1864 conference on federal unity between delegates of the Maritime provinces and delegates from Upper and Lower Canada led by John A. Macdonald and Georges Etienne Cartier. The agreement in principle for a united Canada, reached by all parties in this conference, is what gives Charlottetown the name of “The Birthplace of Confederation” and provides the impetus for further conferences in Quebec and London, England, and ultimately the British North America Act, turning the idea of federal unity into a reality.
We cap the day off by attending a performance of “Anne of Green Gables – The Musical” at the Confederation Centre of the Arts. The show is excellent! A must see for anyone visiting the area.
The weather has been very cloudy and cool today so we give the waterfront a miss for now.
• Thursday, August 11
The weather has improved and is a lot warmer today so it’s back to Charlottetown to take in the sights and sounds at Peakes Quay and along the waterfront. The Quay is a lively array of great shops and boutiques, restaurants and seafood markets and sponsors live entertainment throughout the day during the summer months.
A short walk along the boardwalk to take some pictures of the water finishes our afternoon.
• Friday, August 12
We are off to Cavendish today to immerse ourselves in all things “Anne of Green Gables”. The Anne of Green Gables National Park is situated in the heart of Cavendish, the place where Lucy Maud Montgomery grew up. We’re introduced to the farm house, yard and woods which became the inspiration for the setting in the Anne stories and are not far from Lucy’s grandparents’ house where she grew up. We walk the trail through the “Haunted Woods” which Lucy traversed almost daily from her grandparents’ house to visit the “Green Gables” site, home to her cousins. We also stroll through the woods on another path Lucy refers to as Lover’s Lane, a favourite walk where she often went to renew her spirit. It’s quite an experience to be here and hard sometimes to separate the reality of the setting in which we are actually standing and the fiction of Anne Shirley and all the other wonderful characters in the books.
On our way to dinner (lobster, of course), we come across this beautiful little spot in New Glasgow, the site of the PEI Preserve Company, a unique shop filled with all kinds of preserves, jams, jellies, specialty teas, barbecue sauces and all manner of other items, all made on site.
Our day is complete with a lobster dinner at New Glasgow Lobster Suppers where we stuff our faces with homemade buns & bread, seafood chowder, mussels and the piece de resistance, lobster. We roll ourselves home happy and full and call it a day.
• Saturday, August 13
The forecast of a perfect beach day, which is our plan for the day, appears to be a bit of a bust, so, based on the advise of our very good friend, Ian Baker, who knows this part of the world very well, we head for a look at North Rustico and the wharf there. Our efforts are rewarded as it is a wonderfully quaint, rustic little place with, of all things, an amazing beach. We vow to return the next day as it is supposed to be the best day, weatherwise, of our stay on the island.
• Sunday, August 14
The promise of a perfect summer day is fulfilled and we do, indeed, head for the beach in North Rustico. The experience does not disappoint, except, as Rob will probably be telling everyone, someone forgot the beach towels. I’m sure anyone reading this will realize this is not a tragedy and, in fact, did not in any way interfere with our perfect day at the beach.
This is our last day in PEI (at least for this trip). It is truly a wonderful place and we have enjoyed our visit immensely.