** Note: because of the lack of wifi or sporadic access at best, I was not able to blog about the trip in real time. Bummer.**
I just have to come out and say it…. Where in the world would PEI be without Lucy Maud Montgomery?! Holy all things Anne Shirley. I mean it is seriously overkill and I really wonder how L.M. would feel about it all. “Shining Waters Internet Cafe” and “Kindred Spirits Insurance” and everything in-between.
However, on the flip side, it does give you pause to think about the power of the written word and the impact L.M. had on this place with her vivid imagery and true to life descriptions of places all over the island.
My favorite PEI experiences in random order:
1. Green Gables Heritage Site – visiting the site of the actual “Green Gables” that inspired L.M.’s tales was magical. Buying an embarrassingly over-commercialized bottle of Raspberry Cordial while meandering through Anne’s “Haunted Wood” was just awesome. I made a significant point of showing the girls how simple and tidy and minimalistic the rooms were in the house. So far I have convinced one of them to go this direction for her room upon returning home. Unfortunately, this is the one that hoards everything, so we shall see what happens…
2. Walking through Avonlea Village after hours – We decided not to fork over the $$ for the Avonlea experience , but had fun meandering through the town/village and imagining it all. I picked up a couple of L.M Montgomery books I haven’t read before, and we had fun trying on all kinds of period hats.
3. The beach(es) – Oh, we went to the infamous Cavendish beach, home to the beach scenes in the Anne movies. But we fell in love with a little beach, Cousins Shore, 5 minutes down the road from our cottage with its red cliffs and gentle waves. The girls could have spent days on end here… Except for the ungodly amount of jellyfish that were in the water, it was a perfect place to park and play for a while each day. If you google “Cousins Shore in PEI” you can find endless vacation homes claiming they are on the “best beach in PEI”. We would have to agree.
4. The Anne of Green Gables Museum – this was our first stop as it was literally right around the corner from us. I would say it was false advertising as it really was just a museum about L.M Montgomery. The museum was the house of Montgomery’s cousins (interestingly enough, a 7th generation man from that family is still running the place), a house she spent many years visiting and even writing at least 4 books there. I found the place inspiring, but not worth the money and the commercialism. We caved and took a ride in “Matthew’s Carriage” and took lots of photos at “The Lake of Shining Waters.” If you are a die-hard fan of the author, this is a place worth visiting. Especially to see some first editions of her books she gave to her relatives. Otherwise, save your money and spend more time at Green Gables.
5. The rolling farmland that literally rolls off into the sea – I have never seen anything like it. Driving along the coast in PEI makes you feel like you are driving through a painting. Our cottage was right down the road from the infamous French River fishing village that is one of the favorite places for photographers and artists from around the world to visit.
Lessons Learned :
– skip the anne museum and spend a day at the Green Gables Heritage Place.
– when you drive an hour and a half to see a famous and quite breathtaking lighthouse, pay the damn $$ to climb to the top for the experience and gratification of the drive at least.
– ask the locals what beaches to go to before forking over $$ to go to the most touristy one.
– skip charlottetown altogether. although the girls did get to play a bit at their 150th Birthday celebration zone.
– rent bikes for a day and explore the trails.
– spend no more than 3 days there unless visiting locals.