My Sister and her family live in southern California, pretty darn far from our house in northwest Vermont. As such, we don't see them very often. Last fall, we hatched a plan to gather in Prince Edward Island. My Sister has been a big fan of the Anne of Green Gables series since childhood and has wanted to visit the books' idyllic setting for many years.
It's a long drive to PEI from here but a spectacular one, taking us through New Hampshire, Maine and New Brunswick en route. I'm always excited to explore a new place. Not only did we get to add two new Canadian provinces to the life list but this was also our first time in the Atlantic Time Zone.
Like seemingly all of Canada, Prince Edward Island is beautiful. However, the island has a very different feel from the rest of the country, mainly due to its diminutive size. Canadian provinces are enormous, except for this dinky one. Driving through New Brunswick, one could look to the north and imagine dense forest extending all the way to Quebec and beyond. On PEI, you can travel from one side of the province to the other in under an hour. I would guess that a far greater portion of PEI is cultivated land than in other provinces as well. None of this detracts from the island's charm, of course.
We did the Anne stuff on the first day. Going to the House of Green Gables with My Sister was a lot like going to the midnight opening of The Avengers with Mock. It is such a privilege to ride shotgun for someone's personal pilgrimage. The house itself is part of the Prince Edward Island National Park, though one pays a separate fee to gain entrance. The house is almost exactly what one would expect - maybe a bit smaller. The site of Anne author Lucy Maud Montgomery's Cavendish Home is just a short walk away. Both sites have gift shops, the H of GG one a bit kitschier. We managed to find treasures in both.
Living in a landlocked state, I believe strongly in making an annual family visit to the ocean. Beyond the obvious appeal of beaches, I love the multi-sensory experience of a seafaring community. We took full advantage of the ocean's plentiful bounty. In addition to some decent meals out, we (mostly My Wife and My Brother-in-law, that is) cooked our own mussels, clams, shrimp, scallops and - oh, yes - lobsters.
We spent two days at the beach, both at PEI National Park. We visited the very popular Cavendish Beach on Thursday. It was relatively quiet when we arrived late morning but filled up quickly by midday. On Friday, it was the more serene Brackley Beach. We didn't spend as much time in the water the second day but did have a very gratifying walk along the shore.
Most important, of course, was the time with family. Our Girl, especially, thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to play with her cousins. The house afforded them ample room to romp. Our Nephew is just a month younger than she whereas Our Niece is three years younger. Our Girl was very sad to leave. We've tried to ease the blow by selling her on the value of pen pals.
I'd definitely recommend PEI as a family vacation destination. I'd be up for further Maritime adventures as well. Nova Scotia would be my choice for our next visit.
Links and Recommendations
Carr's Oyster Bar (Stanley Bridge) - We had our first meal on the island at Carr's which, of course, has a lot more than oysters on the menu. Carr's also has a fish market nearby.
Dorion's (North Rustico) - We preferred this fish market to Carr's as they had live lobsters. It's also right on the wharf. Everything's very fresh.
Cedar's Eatery (Charlottetown) - To make up for our disappointment in Montreal, My Wife found a Lebanese restaurant in Charlottetown, PEI's provincial capital and largest city. She was underwhelmed but I enjoyed my lunch a great deal.
Riverside Resort & Conference Centre (Fredericton, New Brunswick) - a charming inn with a spectacular view of the Saint John River.
King's Landing (North Granville, PEI) - We were very happy with our rental, a fine choice for adults and kids alike. The view of (we think) the Stanley River is wonderful.
Comic Book Stores (Of course, I did!)
The Comic Hunter (Charlottetown) - A well-lit, ground level establishment with a very helpful staff. In addition to comics, they have lots of Doctor Who paraphernalia which made my ladies happy.
Lightning Bolt Comics (Charlottetown) - A grungier basement shop. The proprietor has a Godzilla figure decked out in full Anne of Green Gables gear, complete with hat and red braids. Both stores are in a Charlottetown neighborhood chock full of book stores, well worth a wander for any avid reader.