Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada
September 29, 2009
The morning’s drive took us through a beautiful area between Malignant Cove and Pictou where we will board the ferry to Prince Edward Island. We stopped in the picturesque fishing village of Arisaig and a nearby provincial park with trails to the beach. Purportedly the rock cliffs along the beach contain fossils but we were unable to find them, still it was a nice walk and pleasant diversion.
We arrived in Pictou for the afternoon ferry to PEI , a 75-minute crossing, upon arrival made a quick stop at the Visitor Center for maps and information and then found our way into Charlottetown through very fertile looking farmland. With a few wrong turns we found the home of Ann who despite never having met us had graciously offered to put us up for a couple of days.
Ann arrived home just behind us after an afternoon walk with her two dogs, Rusty and Jasper. She instantly makes us feel welcome and at home. We begin to make dinner plans when the skies open up and a torrential rain puts an end to any plans to leave the house. When it shows no sign of stopping Ann offers to prepare dinner at home and a delicious repast it is. We spend the evening getting acquainted.
September 30, 2009
We are able to enjoy Ann’s company in the morning as she had a late start to her workday. She offered suggestions for sightseeing and bicycling. We spent a good part of the morning doing laundry but after the wash was hung in the backyard we left for a bicycle ride on the Confederation Trail, it was a gorgeous day. We chose to ride from St. Peters to Morell, a lovely section of trail that follows the bay with benches and shelters along the way and a nice hard pack surface for riding. We were stopped short of our destination by a “bridge out” sign and construction detour to the highway. Not too excited about the prospect of riding on the highway with very narrow shoulders and fast moving vehicles, we retraced our route back to St. Peters and continued our ride east along a tree-lined path.
Hungry after the ride we drover out to PEI National Park on the seashore and walked a trail to the bay. As we sat and had our lunch we watched as “mussel men” work their lines in the bay, home to a large mussel farming operation.
A signboard explains the mussel culture that began in the bay in the 1970’s and has become a major industry. The bay is dotted with buoys that support lines of cultured mussels. Bathed by the tide and current, cultivated mussels grow larger and cleaner than their wild kin on the shore. It can take 1-2 years to harvest the crop and well worth the wait from this diner’s perspective. We agree these are the finest mussels either of us have tasted, far superior to our western mussels.
We all dined at the Gahan House, a microbrewery in Charlottetown on what else but mussels and seafood linguine, fabulous! Good company, good beer, good food what more is there?
October 1, 2009
We bid farewell to Ann, Rusty and Jasper after a wonderful respite and hope to see Ann again, on the west coast next time. Thank you Ann for your gracious hospitality it was wonderful to meet you and Rusty and Jasper, Rusty stole my heart. I hope we did not disrupt your schedule too severely.
We left and walked the streets of Charlottetown, a small port city with some beautiful old architecture and fabulous seafood . . . mussels again . . . can’t get enough. Our only suggestion on visiting Charlottetown would be not to visit when there is a cruise ship in port.
Moving slowly around the island we took another ride on the Confederation Trail from Brudenell to Georgetown on the East Coastal Drive. We did not get to see all of the island but the East Coastal Drive is captivating, on one side of the road big white farm houses sitting amid green fields overlooking the ocean, in the back yards laundry hung out blowing in the wind; small picturesque coves filled with working boats harvesting mussels; crab and lobster traps stacked idle this time of year.
For all of Newfoundland’s raw and wild beauty PEI offers the opposite, a peaceful balance of gentle rolling hills, fertile green fields and the bounty of the sea. The landscape is graceful and the coves are beautiful. You get a feeling of tranquility from this land and a sense of balance.
The ferry ride back to Nova Scotia is uneventful, next Halifax