We were out the door at 5:30am and were treated to a lovely sunrise as we drove to the airport. Bidding Cheryl a fond farewell, we dropped her off at 6:00 at the Departures door, then set out for the P.E.I. ferry. There was almost no traffic, so the journey was easy. At the ferry, we didn't have to pay - we will pay $70 for the return trip or $40 if we go back via the Confederation Bridge. Free to visit, pay to leav. We were in line by 7:30, in time to have a cup of coffee before boarding for the 8:00 departure. The day was sunny and the sea calm, so we knew it would be a pleasant voyage. By the time we ate our hot breakfast at the cafeteria and walked a bit on the deck, Prince Edward Island was in sight. By 9:30, we were on the road.
We set out on the Points East Coastal Drive in the sunshine, perfect weather for a road trip. For a long time, there were no cars in sight in either direction and the traffic never got busy, except for going through Montague, one of the larger towns on the island. We're not sure if the lack of traffic is because it's early in the tourist season or simply a way of life on this island of about 149,000 people. No cars made it easy for us - if there was something we wanted to photograph or look at more closely, we could simply stop on the roadside. There was lots to enjoy - newly tilled fields of red soil leading down to the sea, heritage buildings, ocean views, lighthouses, small port towns with lobster boats moored at the wharves .... We stopped often. Walking the red sand of the beaches, we found interesting shells and other sea treasures. Pam found two doorknobs half buried in the sand - there must be a story there. At Georgetown, which was first settled in the 1730s by French colonists, we stopped for lunch at Clam Diggers, a restaurant right on the water. It is housed in a replica of the town's early 1900s train station building. We had a delicious lunch. Pam dared to try steamed mussels again, but her faith was rewarded. They were tender morsels done in a coconut curry sauce and bore no resemblance to the Louisburg diner dish that is now infamous as the most disappointing seafood experience of our trip. After lunch, we followed the boardwalk that led from the restaurant along the shore. We admired the views the houses there had. A for-sale sign offered one rather dilapidated waterfront house for $65 000, which seemed ridiculously cheap to those who are used to the overheated real estate market of the lower mainland. We chatted with a woman who was on the verandah of a well-maintained home with a gorgeous view. She and her husband had come from Ontario and until her husband's health failed, they had enjoyed spending summers on the island and most of the winter in Texas, which is apparently a popular winter haven for retired people on P.E.I.
Arriving back at the restaurant we noticed 2 very old cars and a black hummer like vehicle which was equipped with a winch, shovel and other assorted paraphernalia strapped to it. On the side of each car we're two signs, stating Flying Scotsman , classic reliability trial, Team Letz. Nova Scotia to Alaska 2017 - 2018. See photos. One looked like a silver bullet. Sorry not up on my classic car identifications, but if you know please drop us a note.
We walked down the street to a shop offering local arts and crafts - beautiful pottery, jewellery, glass.... Marilynn bought potato soap; we think she'll have the sweetest-smelling suitcase of us all, because she has other soapy treasures already stored in her luggage. We visited The Maroon Pig, an art and bakery shop, where I bought a couple of baked goods to be shard later, then we crossed the street to an jewellery studio, where we looked at lovely creations done in silver, glass and semiprecious stones. On our way, we kept passing signs with a buggy and a horse. Finally we spotted two Amish men driving a horse driven buggy. Pulling over to the side of the road, Marilynn was able to quickly snap a picture. Apparently they are in the process of uprooting themselves from Ontario (began last October) and buying up homes in the Eastern part of PEI. We were told that they have already set up a bakery which sells out by noon and will be selling eggs. They will also be setting up a meat store and fresh vegetable and fruit stand this summer. You can see them in their fields with teams of either 5 horses, 3 horses or 2 horses ploughing their fields.Happy with our coastal drive and our Georgetown experience, we decided to head to Charlottetown, which was only forty minutes away.
We booked into our hotel on Grafton Street. Only blocks away from here is the Confederation Centre for the Arts and only a short walk down to the waterfront is the restaurant Lobster On The Wharf, our chosen dinner destination. We enjoyed our lobster rolls and fish and chips there, then followed the
Confederation Landing path along the water. We strolled along, taking photos of the tulips, sailboats out on the water, interesting building ..... Some stores were open for browsing and there were lots of restaurants offering cuisines from all over the world. Charlottetown in the evening is a quiet city, with not much traffic and people out for evening strolls. Although it is a major city of Prince Edward Island, it has very few tall buildings and feels more like a town than a metropolis like Vancouver. We had an interesting encounter with a bearded thespian - he noticed us looking at a little mouse statue on top of a wall and asked if we knew its story. He launched into the tale of The True Meaning of Crumbfest, a mouse's view of Christmas written by Michael Weale. Nine bronze statues of the mouse Eckhart were set up by Charlottetown and young visitors were invited to find the statues and learn something about the city. Finished with that tale, our new friend performed a poem called The Prophet Gabriel, reciting it with great verve. We chatted and learned his daughter, an actress, lives on Saltspring Island and he himself had performed at Chemainus. He posed for a picture with us and left, wishing us well with a line from Wordsworth.
We walked back to the hotel, content with our day.