I’ve fallen in love with Prince Edward Island! The colours are stunning – the red, red soil, the vivid green of the trees and the fields, and the blues of the sea and sky. Then there are the wild lupins growing everywhere! Of course, the sunshine of the past couple of days have shown the island off to perfection. In addition, PEI has a laid back small town feel. People wave, say hello and even stop to talk to total strangers. I think a few days on the island would be the perfect answer to anyone’s stress!
We started the day before yesterday with a self-guided walking tour of Charlottetown’s harbour and historic downtown area including a visit to Province House where the Fathers of Confederation first met to discuss the formation of Canada. Next, we crossed the Hillsborough River to the town of Stratford to see if we could locate the area where my Grandad spent his boyhood. Armed with several clues given me by my father, we think we came pretty close. He told me that the house was called Kinlock, that it was located near Tea Hill and that it was within sight of the beach. I suspect that the house isn’t there anymore but we walked the red sand of Tea Hill beach at the bottom of Kinlock Road and I waded where my grandfather may have played. We also visited nearby Crossroads Cemetery where many of my Stewart ancestors are buried.
That evening, we visited Port-la-Joye / Fort Amherst National Historic Site overlooking the narrow opening to the Charlottetown harbour. It was the site of the original French fortification and settlement, Port-la-Joye, which was later taken over by the British and renamed Fort Amherst. At that time, the French Acadians were expelled. Fort Amherst served as capital of PEI for 10 years until it was moved to Charlottetown. Today, grassy mounds mark the place where the fortifications once stood and archeological excavations continue nearby.
Though she’s never been to Canada, my friend Yoshiko (Yopi) is a great fan of Anne of Green Gables. In fact, when we first met, she told me that it’s her dream to be married at Green Gables and I promised that I’d attend the wedding! We often laughed about the fact that there’s one problem with this plan; she hasn’t found her Gilbert yet! I’m not sure why the Japanese are so in love with the Anne stories but apparently 5% of the visitors to Green Gables, or approximately 12 000 people a year, are from Japan!
Yesterday was our Anne of Green Gables day. In the morning, we drove to Cavendish where we toured the Green Gables house, walked the paths made famous by the Anne stories and enjoyed a lunch of lobster sandwiches and raspberry cordial. In the evening, it was back to Charlottetown for Anne of Green Gables – The Musical at the Confederation Centre of the Arts. Fantastic! It was the first performance of the 2009 season and I think we had the best seats in the house – absolute centre of the 8th row! Amazingly, we had only purchased the tickets the afternoon before! Since we’d seen the show with the children 18 years ago, we were undecided about going again. When we stopped by the box office to inquire, however, we learned that someone had just called in to cancel their reservation for those two seats. That, plus the fact that the tickets for the first showing were half price made it a pretty easy decision!
Today, we played golf on the Forest Hills course at Cavendish then walked on the sandy beach at North Rustico Harbour. My pocket is full of red rocks and my heart is full of Prince Edward Island! Tomorrow we leave for Nova Scotia.