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Published: August 9th 2022
” Dave has pleasant childhood memories of going camping at age 14 with his father on Prince Edward Island. From early in our marriage, I’ve heard his reminiscences. It was a joy to experience this location with Dave.” Merry Jo
There are times when you gather your expectations, only to see them exceeded by what is conceivably some of the most pleasant scenery acre for acre in our travels. Prince Edward Island, part of the Maritime Provinces of Canada is such a place.
On this trip we are traveling with our friends Chuck and Martha who live near St. Louis. We all met when we were working in Pittsburgh more than a few years back and now finally had the opportunity explore a new place together. We landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia, scooped up our rental car and headed to Truro for the evening where we had a nice meal and then made an early night of it as we were off to PE Island the next morning.
On our way to Charlottetown, were able to stop at Joggins Fossil Cliffs which is a UNESCO Site. They have a visitors center with a very
well done museum featuring interesting fossils that have been found in the area. The boardwalk leads to several steps allowing you to go down to the beach during low tides. The walk on the beach next to the cliffs is lovely but we enjoyed the beach walk with all the colorful stones just as much. When we arrived, the tide was low but headed back in. The cliffs are fairly close to The Bay of Fundy, it is known for its dramatic tide changes and standing on the beach we were able to visualize the changes in water levels that would occur was rather amazing. This area is rich in history and the fossils tell a magnificent story from the coal age—100 million years before the dinosaurs. It is hard to wrap your mind around the significance of all the stories and knowledge the fossils share.
A while later the Confederation Bridge came into view and the excitement began to build. We stopped for photos and admired the grand structure. We read that this is the longest bridge in the world that crosses over ice covered waters. This eight-mile (12.9 km) bridge toll will cost you $50. 25 Canadian
Lobster Roll baby
Albert and Crown Pub
or $38.86 U.S.! Before its completion in 1997, the only access to PE Island was by ferry or private boat. This was a big deal. The bridge has gentle curves that make it an attractive bridge. Our photos don’t do it justice. A drone is needed to get the proper viewing. Ferry service still connects the southern part of the island to Nova Scotia.
So….you’ve driven and toured all morning, what to do next? Enjoy a marvelous seafood lunch on a floating dock restaurant called the Cork and Cast where we got our fill of good beer and fresh haddock. We checked into our darling Bed and Breakfast where we greeted by our host and settled into our rooms before taking a short walk along the waterfront promenade. The Eden Hall is a stately manor along a tree lined street where several other large homes have been converted into B & B’s. If you are a foodie, you may want to stay here to enjoy the breakfast. Later in the evening we walked into Charlottetown for a light supper. Our late lunch left us wanting a nibble but nothing big. We grabbed some hummus and pita while listening to
a local band.
Our first full day of exploration took us to the north and western part of the island where we were in search of lighthouses. The quaint village of North Rustico gave us a look at our first one. We observed that they are not as tall as the ones in the U.S. and also constructed of wood. As the day progressed, we visited the North Cape Lighthouse which is on a scenic cliff and the West Point Lighthouse which turned out to be a bed & breakfast and was located on a public beach. We surmised that they may have had the same architect for all of the lighthouses on the island. They were all basically the same size and shape. The differences came in the way they were painted. They don’t offer the individual uniqueness of the ones you will find in the U.S. but a lighthouse is always a welcome stop in great locations.
To see Prince Edward Island well we highly recommend renting a car as the island is far larger than you would expect. After driving several hundred miles in various directions along some beautiful curving country roads one thing was
abundantly clear to us… the people of the island have pride and take great care of their property. All the houses were freshly painted, the lawns were mowed, manicured and decorated. Many of these homes were on 5, 10 acres or more and the grass was mowed short, there were a plethora of flowers planted in front of the homes and along the driveways, window boxes and hanging flowers baskets from every porch. There weren’t any old cars and tractors or trash piled up in any place we could see. The cleanliness grabs your attention and makes the properties beautiful.
When we googled Prince Edward Island it said it was known for Green Gables, golf, its seafood and sandy beaches. All of this is true but we found this island to be rich in agriculture. They are famous for their potato farms and while we were here the new potatoes were in bloom. To be more specific PE Island produces 2.5 billion pounds of potatoes each year. Wow! The root vegetables grow well, we saw acre after acres of wheat and corn as well. The most beautiful was the enormous blankets of yellow surrounding us as we drove –
Ocean brushed rocks
At Joggins Unesco Site
yes they are rich in canola fields. It would be hard to find something more lovely than the sun shining on the fields of wheat and canola.
We believe that most of you who read our blogs are aware that we write our blogs together and attempt to write it in a way that you are never sure who wrote which paragraph, but you may be able to take a correct guess on this paragraph. Ok, so let’s talk about Anne of Green Gables. We had not read the books as children but had heard of them. As time grew closer one of us (guess) started reading the books… once into the 4th
book interest was lost. The first two books were very good, and the third book was fairly good. One of us felt obligated to go see the house. It is a big tourist attraction with busloads of people waiting to go to the museum, gardens and check out the house. Not being avid fans, we decided to walk along the fence to grab a photo of the Green Gables house. Some people were coming out the side gate as we passed by ( Merry Jo and Martha)
It may be slate
Beautiful texture to this stone at Joggins
so we ran in and took a picture a bit closer and got out of there before we got busted. It was worth taking a glance at the house and seeing their vision of the gardens and that was enough for us. The books have stimulated a cottage industry og all things related to Anne and Green Gables.
When we travel, we love visiting quirky museums. There is just something that draws you in and when you visit them, you are rarely disappointed. We’ve seen museums like the Barbed Wire Museum in Texas, the Museum of Pez Memorabilia in Burlingame California and others that are simply fun. The Canadian Potato Museum was just up our alley. Our friend Chuck was not as enthusiastic about the visit before he went and perhaps, we could state that he was a bit of a nay sayer…. What a great little museum. Chuck had to admit it was nice but not as thrilled as the rest of us. Who knew that a potato museum could be so fun and informational.
day was jam packed with beauty. Our first stop which was one of our favorites on the island was a
walk at the Greenwich Dunes. It involves a walk through the woods, across a floating boardwalk in the marshlands that lead to the stunning sand dunes and finally you reach the beaches with lovely sand banks. The diversity of this walk was immensely enjoyable. Pictures do not really do this park justice. Our words do not do it justice. The Greenwich Dunes are a must if you enjoy being outside.
Our next stop was the East Point Lighthouse which looked similar to the others. Again, a scenic setting which allowed us to wander and appreciate the beauty of this province. It was located nicely on a cliff overlooking the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and provided a great overlook.
Martha was looking for a place for a swim and Basin Head was a wonderful choice. They have a lovely welcome center with showers. This was a warm summer day, and it was packed with happy people of all ages enjoying paddle boarding, catching some sun and jumping from a bridge into the causeway that leads from the river to the sea. Martha opted to walk the sandy beach and enter the brisk water from there where she had a
North Cape Lighthouse
Plus communication tower
fun time. (68 degrees). MJ would have joined her but she injured her toe the week before we left so opted to keep it safe from potential injury. Dave wanted no part of 68 degree water!
We’d like to wrap this up by talking about ice cream. Everyone recommends going to Cows Creamery and so we did visit. It was decent ice cream but not as good as we were expecting. On our last day on PE Island we were in Summerside for dinner and were told about Holman’s Ice Cream and so yes we checked it out. We recommend making the effort to get to Summerside as the ice cream was far superior!
PE Island is made for those who want to hike, bike, swim, boat, enjoy the outdoors and eat some great seafood! The scenery is amazing, the people incredibly friendly and there’s no shortage of seafood.
Where we stayed:
Eden Hall B & B
Restaurants to recommend:
Cork and Cast
John Brown’s Grille
The Pilot House. (don’t leave without trying the carrot cake)
Bluewater Grill in Summerside
Albert and Crown Pub in Alberton
Boat House Harbor Eatery in North Lake
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