CANADA’S MAG­I­CAL ISLE

Tour “Anne’s” most cher­ished is­land.

Dreamscapes Travel & Lifestyle Magazine - - Table Of Contents - BY HAY­LEY BETH STATE

As soon as you cross over the myth­i­cal bridge, you know you are some­where very spe­cial. With its patch­work fields of hay, vi­brant yel­low canola flow­ers and bright green potato plants set against the back­drop of red earth and deep blue seas and skies, cap­ti­vat­ing Prince Ed­ward Is­land be­gins to weave its magic.

STEP INTO ANNE’S WORLD

Of course, it wouldn’t be a trip to PEI with­out a lit­tle Anne of Green Gables. Two high­lights are not to be missed. Anne of Green Gables—the Mu­si­cal at the Con­fed­er­a­tion Theatre in Char­lot­te­town is a lively and charm­ing ren­di­tion of the beloved novel by Lucy Maud Mont­gomery, which cap­tures the hu­mour and whimsy of the

book with catchy tunes and ex­pert chore­og­ra­phy. Green Gables Her­itage Place, the home­stead of David Jr. and Mar­garet Mac­neill, cousins of L.M. Mont­gomery’s grand­fa­ther, is where Lucy was thought to have spent her sum­mers and found in­spi­ra­tion for her Anne se­ries. On the grounds, we truly feel we are en­ter­ing Anne’s world, from the care­fully re­stored house and barn to Lover’s Lane in the Haunted Woods sur­round­ing the home. As we walk along the for­est’s red dirt path­ways, we spy signs bear­ing pas­sages from the Anne books. “Anne” is also present to greet vis­i­tors at se­lected times dur­ing the day.

Cavendish is known not only for its prox­im­ity to Green Gables Her­itage Place, but also for one of PEI’S best-known beaches. Lo­cated in the west­ern­most sec­tion of PEI Na­tional Park, it is easy to see how the beach earned its rep­u­ta­tion. Miles of strik­ing red­dish sand framed by a sea that stretches out end­lessly and the warm, gen­tle wa­ters are pure joy for all. In Cavendish, we are for­tu­nate to stay at the Kin­dred Spir­its Inn and Cot­tages, a charm­ing small ho­tel mod­elled in the turnof-cen­tury coun­try style, rem­i­nis­cent of Anne of Green Gables. In fact, Green Gables Her­itage Place is only a three-minute walk away. The charm­ing decor, warm, wel­com­ing staff, and hearty break­fast make our short stay mem­o­rable.

Ai­den’s Deep Sea Fish­ing is lo­cated in nearby North Rus­tico. On board a fish­ing boat, each of us is equipped with our own fish­ing rod to fish for mack­erel and cod, a tra­di­tion deeply wo­ven into the culture and his­tory of PEI. We are not dis­ap­pointed. Ev­ery­one ex­pe­ri­ences catch­ing a fish on the open sea, in­clud­ing our nine-year-old daugh­ter. Af­ter an evening of ex­cite­ment and gor­geous shore­line views, we all take some fish home to cook for sup­per!

EM­BRACE THE LO­CAL CULTURE

Head­ing east­ward, the drive along the north coast of PEI is ab­so­lutely breath­tak­ing. Flat and pic­turesque trails line the shore—per­fect for an af­ter­noon fam­ily cy­cle. Un­for­tu­nately, the weather is un­co­op­er­a­tive, how­ever the wind and rain make for a dra­matic scenic drive. Viewed from the warmth of the car, the red cliffs, trees, rolling hills and ma­jes­tic ocean are spec­tac­u­lar.

On our way to St. Peters, we coast through PEI Na­tional Park, Brack­ley–dal­vay and past sev­eral lovely beaches in­clud­ing white-sanded Brack­ley Beach. We scoot by the Dal­vay-by-the-sea Na­tional His­toric Site, the Cove­head Light­house, and stop in Cove­head Har­bour for a bite to eat and a steam­ing cup of cof­fee at Richard’s Fresh Seafood. We are al­ways struck by the warmth, open­ness and hos­pi­tal­ity of the folks of PEI we meet through­out our trip— one of PEI’S great­est charms.

Our time in St. Peters is among the high­lights of our trip. At the lovely Inn at St. Peters, we en­joy the pri­vacy of a wellap­pointed cabin, a host of culi­nary de­lights and a stun­ning view of St. Peters Bay and the beau­ti­fully man­i­cured gardens. Chef Chris Camp­bell sources the high­est qual­ity lo­cal in­gre­di­ents, in­clud­ing veg­eta­bles and herbs from the inn’s own garden, to cre­ate de­li­cious gourmet cui­sine.

Our gra­cious, re­lax­ing and mag­i­cal stay at the inn is capped off by an oth­er­worldly hike on the Green­wich Dunes Trail in PEI Na­tional Park, where we pass through sev­eral habi­tats, in­clud­ing a float­ing board­walk over the wet­lands, the ma­jes­tic and serene white-sand beach, and the unique par­a­bolic dune sys­tem. Here, the winds and waves shape the ever-chang­ing land­scape, caus­ing sands to rise up al­most like waves, into cliffs, above the lush green­ery be­low.

On our next ad­ven­ture in Ge­orge­town on the east coast of PEI, we par­tic­i­pate in the Gi­ant Bar Clam Dig with Perry Gotell from Tran­quil­ity Cove Ad­ven­tures. Perry takes us on a his­toric fish­ing boat ad­ven­ture to teach us about fish­ing and the his­tory of the re­gion. Out­fit­ted with all the equip­ment we need, in­clud­ing wet­suits and snorkelling gear, we learn about and ex­pe­ri­ence dig­ging clams from the sand, and then cook them the tra­di­tional way in a salt-wa­ter boil on the beach. Throw in some crabs, and it be­comes not only an out­door, but also a food ad­ven­ture. There is noth­ing like suck­ing up the briny sea along with the crab you just dug up and cooked on the beach!

Many restau­rants fo­cus on fresh, lo­cally sourced pro­duce and seafood, al­ways pre­pared with care and in­ge­nu­ity. One mem­o­rable meal is at The Mill in New Glas­gow, where we ar­rive late af­ter an evening fish­ing trip and are warmly wel­comed by charm­ing staff to the old mill over­look­ing the beau­ti­ful River Clyde. The

food is un­pre­ten­tious, but in­ven­tive, fresh, lo­cal and de­li­cious. Another no­table meal is en­joyed, shar­ing an out­door pic­nic bench with a young cou­ple at the Wa­ter Prince Cor­ner Shop in Char­lot­te­town, where we in­dulge in the fresh­est and most de­lec­ta­ble seafood, in­clud­ing lob­ster, mus­sels, scal­lops, and of course, fish and chips. Tra­di­tion and sim­plic­ity are what folks con­tinue to line up for. As the owner, Shane Camp­bell, states on his web­site, Wa­ter Prince Cor­ner Shop is “Nothin’ fancy. Just plain ‘good food.’”

On our drive to Char­lot­te­town, our kayak­ing ad­ven­ture at the Bru­denell River is rained out, but we do have the op­por­tu­nity for another long, scenic drive and stop at the Point Prim Light­house (c. 1845), PEI’S old­est light­house and one of Canada’s very few round brick light­houses. With the help of in­ter­pre­tive posters and tour guides, we learn about its his­tory. We also climb steep lad­ders sev­eral flights up to the very top of the light­house, where the view of the Northum­ber­land Strait and the main­land in the dis­tance is mag­nif­i­cent.

RE­VISIT HIS­TORY

Char­lot­te­town is fun, funky and full of his­tory. Cen­tred around Con­fed­er­a­tion and the Char­lot­te­town Con­fer­ence that helped to forge our coun­try, it is par­tic­u­larly ex­cit­ing to visit Char­lot­te­town just af­ter Canada’s 150th birthday cel­e­bra­tions. Un­for­tu­nately, Prov­ince House Na­tional His­toric Site, where the con­fer­ence was orig­i­nally held, is closed for ren­o­va­tion, but we have a chance to ap­pre­ci­ate the Story of Con­fed­er­a­tion Ex­hibit, housed at Con­fed­er­a­tion Cen­tre of the Arts, which chron­i­cles those fate­ful days of the Char­lot­te­town Con­fer­ence, and watch a live out­door per­for­mance by the Dream Catch­ers, a mov­ing mu­si­cal per­for­mance cel­e­brat­ing Canada with an indige­nous voice.

We stroll down Vic­to­ria Row, a pedes­trian thor­ough­fare with great food, cof­fee, artists and live mu­sic. At Peake’s Wharf, we me­an­der along the har­bour, shop in quaint bou­tiques and savour lunch, topped off with a creamy and scrump­tious Cows ice cream.

With its vi­brant colours, the warmth and gen­eros­ity of its peo­ple, its rich his­tory, fan­tas­tic food and ac­com­mo­da­tion, and var­i­ous sites and ac­tiv­i­ties to en­joy, PEI is a gem in Canada’s ta­pes­try. Wo­ven with a lit­tle magic!

TOURISM PEI/JOHN SYLVESTER

OP­PO­SITE: Dis­cover the stun­ning beauty of Prince Ed­ward Is­land Na­tional Park on the is­land’s North Shore. Tourism PEI/JOHN Sylvester LEFT: Brack­ley Beach is lo­cated just 15 min­utes from Char­lot­te­town. Tourism Pei/stephen Har­ris TOP: Con­fed­er­a­tion Bridge con­nects Prince Ed­ward Is­land and New Brunswick. Hank Shiff­man/shut­ter­stock CEN­TRE: Dine on Vic­to­ria Row over­look­ing the Char­lot­te­town Har­bour. Tourism Pei/stephen Har­ris ABOVE: On a Gi­ant Clam Dig, learn about and ex­pe­ri­ence dig­ging clams from the sand.Tourism Pei/stephen Har­ris

TOP: Es­cape into a truly unique land­scape at the Green­wich Dunes Trail in PEI Na­tional Park near St. Peters Bay. Tourism Pei/heather Ogg ABOVE:A lob­ster boil is an au­then­tic PEI ex­pe­ri­ence. Tourism Pei/yvonne Duiv­en­vo­or­den BE­LOW: A beau­ti­ful view of Char­lot­te­town Har­bour. Dar­ryl Brooks/shut­ter­stock OP­PO­SITE TOP: An “Anne of Green Gables” im­per­son­ator poses out­side the farm­stead that in­spired Lucy Maud Mont­gomery. Tourism PEI/JOHN Sylvester

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