Wednesday 29 April 2015

Prince Edward Island

Oh how do I love thee Prince Edward Island! I have dreamed of your gilded shores since first reading Anne of Green Gables as a girl and despite your potential busloads of Anne-obsessed tourists I have longed to see you. Turns out, winter keeps the busloads away but does not diminish the joys of Prince Edward Island at all. Green Gables itself is closed, but you can go in guerrilla style (if the PEI Tourist Board calls, it wasn't me...) Unfortunately, the storm to end all storms was descending on Prince Edward Island when we were supposed to be there. After some anxious discussion about whether to cancel and go to Nova Scotia earlier, we decided instead to cut PEI short (so sad) so we had one night, then one day to cram every single PEI thing into before we fled the island in the afternoon. Good thing we did too, they were apparently digging themselves out for a week and we would have been completely stuck. Okay, so maybe that wouldn't have been such a bad thing except we had a schedule to stick to!

But first, the place I know you've all been longing to hear about, which we visited on the way to PEI, HARTLAND, NEW BRUNSWICK! I know, I know, it's on all of your bucket lists. I mean, who doesn't long in the depths of their hearts to see the longest covered bridge in the world??? It must give Vermont the pip to know that it's in Canada. We dutifully stopped, took a few photos, drove through it and then drove on. Cross that one off the list.

The world's longest covered bridge! So exciting!

Elwood Heritage Inn
On to Prince Edward Island. We stayed in Charlottetown in the most delightful bed and breakfast (the Elmwood Heritage Inn, shameless plug, but not for my benefit) run by a lovely couple and filled to the brim with antiques. I don't know what Jay puts in his scrambled eggs but they were the most delicious thing I've ever tasted (okay, exaggeration, but certainly the most delicious scrambled eggs). They also suggested great restaurants in the area, and we went to a place called Claddagh Oyster House which had an oyster menu that actually listed exactly which bay on PEI the oyster was from and tasting notes for each type, rather like wine. Delicious.

Okay, so as I said, we then had to do everything on PEI in one day before driving off the island at a reasonable hour to (a) avoid the apocalyptic storm that was coming and (b) find somewhere else to sleep that night. The PEI Tourism website had a number of circuit drives of the island, so we mostly followed those. They are very well signposted on the roads, as long as the signs weren't covered by snow. There were lighthouses and beaches (or so the signs said, all we saw was ice and snow as far as the eye could see and some fantastically ironic signs) and birds and rivers and bridges and farms and fishing villages (we even found some where the oysters came from). There was Green Gables! It's closed in the winter and they must take the sign down or something (to stop rogue tourists who want to go in the wrong season perhaps) because we drove past it about four times. We were on our last, 'we give up after this' pass when we finally found it. The gate was open and the driveway was ploughed, so they must really want people to still visit, right? We parked the car outside the visitor centre (pretty sure you can't do that in summer) and trekked off through the snow. The house was smaller than I expected, as so many things are, but lovely nonetheless. We snapped a few furtive photos, made our way to the barn, I had some Anne reminiscing moments and we moved on. Totally worth it.Then we sadly had to leave the island behind, and headed off in the direction of Nova Scotia.

PEI's amazing ocean beaches

Surf conditions?

Green Gables!

Farewell Anne, we'll visit again some time!

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