Prince Edward Island: September 19 – 21 2019
Prince Edward Island (PEI) is the smallest province of Canada in both land area and population (155K), but it is the most densely populated. Agriculture is PEI’s largest industry, with nearly half of the island’s land being dedicated to farming. Potatoes have been produced on PEI since as early as 1771 and today, PEI grows a third of Canada’s potatoes. Plus the island’s seed potatoes are exported to more than 20 countries. Tourism is PEI’s second largest industry, with fishing coming in third. PEI has more than 33 golf courses and over 90 sandy beaches.
PEI is Canada’s birthplace! The Charlottetown Conference took place in 1864, when elected officials met to talk about merging three Maritime jurisdictions, which led to Confederation on July 1, 1867.
The soil is almost red in PEI because of the high iron-oxide (rust) content. It is very cool to see and can be found on 470k acres of land. It is great for farming with its sandy texture, and is well drained. That’s not all that’s red; some roads (throughout the Maritimes) are too! Apparently the rock aggregate it some quarries give it that special ‘red carpet’ hue!
Charlottetown, the capital city, is a community of 36K people located on the south shore of the island. It’s a pretty city with a vibrant old town on the water.
We spent 2 days in Charlottetown, in a hotel with the oddest bathroom design. It appeared very functional with the toilet and shower behind a door on one side, and a closet on the other. The sink and vanity were dead centre in the area with a bright fluorescent tube light encircling the mirror.
However, there was no door to this space, which proved to be a problem. Joe retires before me, and remains in bed after I’m up. And then there’s the midnight wanders to the loo. Flick that one and only light switch and it lights up the closest, mirror and toilet room like the Vegas Strip on New Years Eve! Omg who designs these things? (Not a woman).
Here’s what a No Smoking sign looks like in Canadian hotel rooms now
Summerside the second largest city in PEI and services the western part of the island.
Joe insisted on going to a restaurant in Summerside that he had been to a decade ago with some Movie Gallery people. This included his boss Jeff, whom we stayed with in Waco, Tx. The legend of that dinner is that the group arrived for a treat of fresh lobster, only to be told they were out of lobster. The chef, upon hearing about their disappointment, announces he will go to pier and bring back lobster for them, and does. They are thrilled and enjoy a wonderful dinner. So Joe and I arrive for lunch at the same restaurant that is now showing its age ten years later, and alas, they are out of fresh lobster! We had our hearts set on lobster bisque anyways and were devastated to learn that they were out of that as well.
Anne of Green Gables is an institution in PEI. That little red head in pigtails is everywhere you look. A huge part of PEI’s tourism is the hundreds of thousands of tourists from around the world that come to Cavendish to visit the site that was the inspiration for L.M. Montgomery to create her beloved tale of Anne of Green Gables.
During our visit, we explored the museum, Green Gables, the Haunted Wood, Lovers Lane, and more. I bought our Granddaughter Margot a children’s book of Anne’s Numbers that they stamped with Montgomery’s signature.
We drove a few coastal routes west and then east on the island and had a great lunch on Rustico Harbour.
It was time to leave the island and we headed to the ferry with a good hour buffer; but the island tried its hardest to keep us there. We barely got on the road and hit major road construction delays for a good twenty minutes. Once we cleared that, the now heavy traffic turned a corner and we could see yet another delay ahead of us. It looked like a Church garage sale was causing some excitement with our fellow road mates and they were weaving in and out of traffic to pull over for a garage sale? This seemed ludicrous to us – we were on the TransCanada Highway and doing 20km in a 90km zone! But we got through it – or so we thought…..
As we looked up the looming hill ahead of us, it was bumper to bumper cars. And we could see ant sized people running back and forth across the highway. As we approached, yard sale tables were set up everywhere! Everyone was selling and everyone was shopping! As far as we could see, this went on; cars in front of us waiting to pull over, parked cars waiting to get back in line. Still doing 20km at best. The Mustang was roaring to get going. People were jaywalking across what Joe kept reminding anyone that would listen (me), was THE TRANS-CANADA HIGHWAY PEOPLE! It took us almost an hour, but suddenly there was no one left on the road to the ferry accept for us. What? We were the only ferry traffic!
Yup, we read later that we hit an annual and popular weekend for locals and tourists alike. It was the 22nd Annual 70 Mile Coastal Yard Sale. Every September, 40,000 thousand treasure hunters flock to Prince Edward Island in search of that elusive bargain or gem. Over 350 sites along the coastal and back roads in private homes, community halls, churchyards, and small businesses, were selling their wares. We were amazed at both the size of the community event and that we made it to the ferry on time.
A two hour ferry ride and we were glad to be back in Nova Scotia!
Stay tuned for the amazing Cape Breton and Cabot Trail!