08 July 2009

Anne's Land

Today hubby and I headed to PEI to drive the central trail and make our way towards Cavendish and the Green Gables shore. As always, I was astounded by the beauty of the Island and the vivid contrasts between the green potato fields, red earth and blue ocean. It was especially fun to watch Dan’s reaction, as this was the first time he had experience PEI by day. He drove through it at night several years ago during a road trip with some guys but now heartily agrees that the island in best enjoyed in the sunlight.

I can certainly understand how such a beautiful place would inspire the likes of Lucy Maude Montgomery. Just being there made me yearn to pick up a piece of paper and let my imagination take flight. Once again, hubby and I found ourselves slowing down to look at “for sale” signs and dreaming, as we often do, about where we would like to move if money and jobs were not an issue. Judging by the vast amount of homes for sale along the coast, I gather that many islanders are being hit hard by the recession and probably looking to get out to larger cities – what a pity! I guess we’ll have to wait to win the lottery to up sticks, move and start living the island life. For now I’m just grateful that we can even afford the luxury of renting a cottage by the sea and being able to travel.

Here is the “Coles Notes” version of what we visited today:

Silver Birch: Home to L.M Montgomery’s relatives. It was often a summer retreat for her and also the place where she got married and did a good deal of writing. This was a beautifully presented little museum with lots of original artifacts and interesting insight into how L.M. Montgomery lived and went about day to day. We pretty much had the place to ourselves so I took quite a few pictures. The grounds were equally secluded and beautiful with free carriage rides on offer around the infamous “Lake of Shining Waters”.

New London Warf: This is a perennial favorite in my family. The tiny town of New London boasts a picturesque fishing warf and an awesome little seafood restaurant overlooking the bay. I went deap sea fishing with Mom and Dad from this warf many moons ago and remember eating here with my Grammy and Uncle on her final trip to the island before she passed away. It was nice to see that nothing had changed and the food, as always, was wonderful. I enjoyed a delicious lobster roll with coleslaw and PEI potatoes and hubby and the haddock and potatoes.

Cavendish Beach: The water may be chilly but it’s hard to resist the call of the big dunes and rich red sands of Cavendish Beach. Dan and I slipped on our bathing suits and walked along the coastline; we didn’t swim but we dip dip our toes in….brrrrrr! Either way it was wonderful to stroll the shore, collect red rocks for my garden back home and feel the sunshine beating down on our pasty skin. I felt like a little kid again…albeit a very chubby one with my big pregnant belly hanging out of a bikini (yes….it sounds about as appealing as it looks).

Green Gables: This was the obligatory cheesy tourist stop and money trap. What can I say….you can’t grow up as a redheaded girl without living Anne of Green Gables. While the village is cute and the house is lovely, you can tell the place is designed to simply mill tourists in and out as quickly as possible. It would wonderful if they had more displays in Green Gables, such as signs that describe each room and how it factored into the books. Needless to say, hubs and I didn’t stay too long – just enough for a quick visit in the house, a walk down “lovers lane” and a picture of Anne and Gilbert in costume. I did, however, cave when we hit the book shop and purchased the entire box set of Anne of Green Gables books. I don’t think my son will want them but perhaps I’ll have my own little Anne some day to pass them along to.

With several more stops for pictures, tourist shops and the obligatory “Cows” ice cream, it was a full day. We capped the evening off by returning to the cottage and taking Mom out for dinner at the “Green House on Main” in Shediac. It was a little on the expensive side but the food was wonderful and the entertainment even better as Mom and I watched Dan tackle his first “real” lobster dinner.

So far, this has been my favourite day of our vacation. Tick the box and mark this down as a day I’ll remember forever. (sighs contentedly)

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