© 2011 jemma

On the island.

So away from Alma we went. Onto the island and away from it all! On Prince Edward Island that is.

We were going to land of Anne of Green Gables, brown/red gorgeous rich soil, potatoes, farms and fantasies from my childhood. Yes I wanted to marry Gilbert and live on the Island! Who didn’t?

The drive from Alma took three and a half hours, but it felt like nothing. So much so, I felt we had invented teleportation. We passed by farmland and coastline and then we saw it, the massive 12km bridge that would take us to the island. It costs $43 one way -getting off- to cross, took 4 years and 1 billion dollars to build and would allow you to see amazing views if not for the concrete walls on either side. Bit of a design fault there!

Once on the island we had to get ourselves across to Cavendish. If you ever look at a driving map of the island, you will see just how confusing that would be. We arrived at our cottage just on dark and prepared our dinner and ourselves for our Green Gables adventures the next day. This mostly involved me telling Jess that there was a book, what it was about and just where and why we were here. If it was set in space I feel he may have been more interested.

We woke the next morning to fog and misty fine rain. I thought we had left the fog back in Saint John, but no, it had followed us here. This didn’t however dampen my spirits and we were soon out the door and on our way to Lucy. M. Montgomery’s old house – for those who don’t know (I shake my fists at you) she is the one who wrote the book.

We wandered the paths, past the apple trees and to the ruins of the old homestead – the cellar is all that is left – of the house Lucy was brought up by her grandparents. There is a beautiful vegetable and flower garden there, and the fog made the fields surrounding the old house look a little spooky. There is an old bookshop that houses a little museum and information on the author run by the family, and I bought a book of hers I hadn’t read called Story Girl.

From the old site, it was onto the main attraction…Green gables. To get there we took the old route that Lucy herself would have taken to the church and the old school house. We passed the post office – a replica of the one she worked in – and visited her grave before we headed through the Haunted Woods towards Green Gables.

Green Gables is the fictional farm from her stories. The real house, now called Green Gables, was owned by her elderly cousins, and is now owned by Parks Canada. They have made the inside into the fictional rooms from the story and the surrounding walks – the Haunted Woods trail, Lovers Lane and The Balsam Hollow Trail are ones from the story, but are the names Lucy called them in real life. Yes it is a confusing mix of reality and fiction.

It was so fantastic to finally get there. I have read the books so many times and have wanted to get there since January. I finally got to see Marilla, Matthew and Anne’s rooms, walk through the house and bring the book alive. I am so glad we went when we did though. Judging by the size of the car park and the amount of buses there on a foggy Saturday in September, I definitely don’t want to see what this ‘resort town’ is like in Summer.

Everything was closed for the season, so we had to drive the 15min to North Rustico an old fishing village to find anything open. We ate at the fisherman’s wharf, which is touristy and seemed to us like they were rushing us out. They are famous for their lobster, which Jess didn’t enjoy. I had the fish which I liked. Our desserts were delicious cookies from the bakery which was having a fire sale as it too was ‘closing for the season’.

From North Rustico we drove back to Cavendish through the national park along the coastline. The fog had lifted by then so we were able to see far out to sea and the amazing red cliffs that make up the coastline. We stopped in at a few lookouts which allow you to see these wonderful cliffs, colonies of cormorants and the large sand dunes along the beach. We also spotted a fox, which just like the ones in Saint John, wanted us to give them food. STOP FEEDING THEM PEOPLE!!

The next day was blue skies and sunshine, perfect for a day’s driving to Charlottetown. We drove along the tourist route that takes you by the pretty countryside and along the ocean. Let me tell you there is some very green grass on PEI. Also lots of cows and crops and fields. But there is also amazing scenery, lakes, rivers and forests too.

We headed past the turn off to Charlottetown and drove on to a little place called Greenwich. The lonely planet had told us to stop here and walk the sand dunes, so that is what we did. We walked the beautiful boardwalk over the lagoons to the beach, where we got to see some massive and ever changing sand dunes. Jess went in the water – paddling this time – and made me join his to freeze my feet off too. On the way back we saw a family heading towards the beach with beach towels. It was way too cold for me!!

After our walk we stopped to have lunch at a little roadside takeout that was on a farm. Yep, you can pretty much have a takeout anywhere in the Maritimes. The food was great, but next time I wouldn’t order the onion rings, it made it a little too unhealthy. Jess was so impressed with it that he took so many photos! I was happy to just sit and enjoy the warmth and the sunshine! With the leaves changing and the nights getting colder, who knows how many days we have left to do this?

There was a farmer’s market/fall fair going on along the main street of Charlottetown when we arrived. We walked though looking at all the yummy produce, pumpkins – oh it is certainly pumpkin season – and artisan things for sale. The place we were staying at had a kitchen so we bought some delicious fresh sweet corn and broccoli for dinner. Yum yum.

That afternoon, it was still so hot and sunny that we went for a walk on the boardwalk in Victoria Park which runs along the water. There was such a nice breeze and so many people were there. Shame the ice-cream place was ‘closed for the season!’

The next day we played tourist in Old Charlottetown, as we wandered around Peake’s Quay and through all the tourist shops which even sell shirts dyed in Island dirt. Needless to say we didn’t buy these stylish pieces, but I did pick up a beautiful feathered/crochet fascinator broach. Oh the things I could have bought in that shop!

We ventured up Queens St towards the Anne of Green Gables shops – the chocolate shop and the gift shop. Jess was intrigued by the Gilbert Doll which he expertly and loudly called a girl in front of everyone. Good one Jess, he defiantly crushed the hearts of the elderly fans that day. From Queen Street we strolled into the forest for a little walk before heading back to our abode for the evening.

It was our last day on the island the next day. We sat in the sun in the morning waiting for Jess to finish work, and then headed out to Amherst along the tourist drive. The eventful things that occurred were looking around at the fantastic views and nearly running over a squirrel that decided to sprint out over the road. We missed it by a whisker, oh god did we hold out breaths!

So we paid our $43 and exited the island. Thanks for the memories as they say PEI, money well spent!