CANADA’S MAGICAL ISLE
Tour “Anne’s” most cherished island.
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.
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!
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