Sunday, March 21, 2010

Exploring Prince Edward Island and all things Anne

Growing up, my sisters and I were obsessed with the Anne of Green Gables movie series and books. We hatched a dream to go to Prince Edward Island (PEI) and walk in the path of the fictional character, Anne, to take in the beautiful surroundings and thrust ourselves into her way of life.

This past fall, our dream became reality. We met up in Halifax, Nova Scotia, rented a car, took a ferry, and arrived in Prince Edward Island. We ate in the charming capital of Charlottetown, bought some groceries and headed through red-soiled farmland north to our cottage,, near Cavendish (the real Avonlea).

Sunday morning, we attended church at Cavendish United Church where Lucy Maud Montgomery (Maud) had attended for many years. Maud had been the church organist and became secretly engaged to its minister. We spent the rest of the afternoon seeing other Anne sites such as “Avonlea”—a theme park with no rides, but a quaint, nicely done, Anne utopia. It included a gift shop with every Anne collectible imaginable, the actual schoolhouse where Maud taught, another church she had visited, raspberry cordial was sold at a candy shop, a room was filled with self-serve dress up clothes and scenes to take pictures of yourself, and other businesses, exhibits, and animals formed this community. We drove past Maud’s birthplace and visited the Anne of Green Gables museum (a home of her relatives and where she married) which was up from the “Lake of Shining Waters.” We also visited the post office/museum like the one Maud worked at with her grandparents, saw the foundation of her childhood home, walked through Lover’s Lane and through the Haunted Wood (beautiful, not scary) to the house that inspired Green Gables.

That night, we were invited to a lobster feast that I very much enjoyed! My sisters weren’t big lobster fans; more for me! A big thanks to our shirt tail relatives on the MacNeil side.

The following day, we visited some beaches and nature trails on the island. The island includes lots of coastline, a large national park, beaches, and golfing. The scenery includes some rugged red cliffs, well maintained farms,

and cute fishing villages like one in nearby North Rustico. We also visited the author's grave which definitely stands out from the others. That afternoon, we took a scenic route back to Charlottetown and enjoyed its small, fun downtown, shops, restaurants, and the summer musical, “Anne of Green Gables.” We returned to our cottage to see the most spectacular view of stars we’d ever seen. The stars were visible from the ground up to the sky in every direction. We could see galaxies and more stars than I knew existed; it was an amazing site to behold. One sister commented that the view of the stars alone was worth the entire trip.

The next morning, we bid adieu to Prince Edward Island and left by way of the Confederation Bridge. It is nicknamed the Gentle Island and it was quiet, with friendly people and a slower pace of life. We had taken in the beautiful sites of the island, learned more about our heroine and her creator, and saw our Creator’s handiwork in the night sky as well.