Prince Edward Island: A Dream Come True

I feel like someone picked me up and dropped me smack dab in the middle of a happy dream.  Ever since I was a kid and watched the Anne of Green Gables movies, I’ve wanted to visit Prince Edward Island (PEI) and this year, Ashley and I made it happen.  We flew into Halifax yesterday and embarked on a very long drive to PEI.  Along the way we stopped at a drug store to get a few things and voila, there’s the expensive sunscreen that I order directly from Canada sitting on the shelves for a steal.  This lady Barb who worked there talked our ears off and told us about PEI and how we’d just love it, so we hopped in the car and headed toward the Confederation Bridge straight into no man’s land.
To say that PEI is remote might be the biggest understatement of the year.  We drove over the bridge and suddenly found ourselves on a potholed country road surrounded by farm fields dotted with pine trees as far as the eye could see.  It was breathtaking.  The rolling hills were covered in a patchwork of deep red soil and brilliant green fields covered in swaying dandelions.  The drive went on and on and
we kept thinking we’d run into something, a store, a gas station, something, but no.  And we kept saying things like, where the heck are we, how do these people eat, do you think they just go crazy in the winter?!  It was this mixture of beauty and confusing solitude.  The town of Rustico was the destination of our first cottage at Seawinds.  Since we hadn’t eaten since noon and felt like we were about to die, we tried to find a place to eat…at 8 pm…we might as well have tried to find a carnival in the middle of a farm field because this place SHUTS DOWN at 8 pm.  We finally stumbled upon a cluster of small buildings with a fish and chips place that was open till 9.  On a good day, the food was meh, but that night, we tried poutine for the first time and nearly died and went to Heaven.  Poutine is french fries covered in gravy and cheese curds.  I mean…

 Then we got to our cottage.  This is our cottage which looks over two separate bays and has an almost but not quite 360 view of the water that makes my heart want to burst.

We woke up this morning and immediately headed for PEI National Park since the sun was shining and the clouds were blowing across a shockingly blue sky.  We pulled into the park and just slay me already, the views were killer and sure enough, we passed Dalvay By The Sea, one of the filming locations for
Anne of Green Gables.  More on Dalvay another day.
The beaches here have these massive dunes and are startlingly pristine.  We literally had the place to ourselves.  Ah, the beauty of traveling before the tourist season starts! There are pieces of this place that remind me of the Hamptons and Martha’s Vineyard, but here the people and the homes are secondary to the nature.  We drove along the coastal route through the park, stopping at every place there were steps leading to the beach.  At one point we saw a sign for a hiking trail into the woods and thought this would be a good idea.  This is a warning for anyone planning to travel to PEI at any point in time that is not the dead of winter.  The mosquitoes here are the size of birds and they will kill you.  We got about 20 feet into the woods and were lost in a cloud of mosquitoes which sent us running to the car in utter panic.  As we closed ourselves into the safety of our car, we soon realized that 20 of them had hitched a ride with us, in which more panicked squealing and freaking out along with the insane rolling down of windows ensued.  Bug spray was added to our list of “things to buy on PEI.”

Once we were safely out of danger, we headed back down the coastal route and stumbled upon a tiny fishing village called Covehead which has the most ADORABLE lighthouse I’ve ever seen.  I couldn’t handle the cuteness of this place.  The views surrounding this village were second to none.  There was a little row of buildings consisting of an ice cream shop, takeout place serving lobster 15 different ways, and many lobster shacks with traps sitting outside of them.  The lighthouse nearly killed me.  It was straight out of a Wes Anderson film, being adorably petite, yet still functional with a revolving glass light at the top.

Then to Robinson’s Island Road where we stopped at another random trail leading off into the dunes only to discover this teensy place.

On the way back to Rustico we stopped at a cluster of shops called The Dunes Studio Gallery & Cafe only to be surprised by gorgeous art and stores selling tons of really lovely handmade items.  The back
property was impeccably landscaped with ponds, perennial beds, statues, and driftwood furniture art pieces.  There was a small café where we had tea and coffee while looking out onto the beauty of the gardens.  It was a peaceful transition from the coastline back into the middle of the island.

 We also passed The Great Canadian Soap Company which is a magical place for anyone
with sinus issues.  All the soap is handmade on the island with goats milk.  We even got to meet the goats!!

Last event of the day was the Anne of Green Gables musical in Charlottetown.  Holy cow, there are stores here!!!  Charlottetown is where the university is and there is actually a bustling nightlife here with restaurants open later than 8 pm.  The best was I can describe Charlottetown to anyone from the East End of Long Island is by saying it’s like Riverhead in sense that once you get out of it, the scenery changes.  The town has some pretty historical buildings, an art museum, and some nice restaurants.  We were both pleasantly surprised by the musical and ended up loving it.  We were lucky enough
to catch the last preview night of the show and were able to get cheap tickets and sit in the first row behind the orchestra conductor who bobbed up and down all night while the cast sang songs telling Anne’s story.  It was heartwarming and everyone in the play was really talented.  I think it’s pretty amazing that they are keeping this tradition alive.

Tomorrow we are off to Cavendish for more Anne of Green Gables adventures….

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