Road trips are beginning to be a huge part of this blog. Unfortunately, extended travel hasn’t been on my itinerary in over a year; however, I’ve been making due with quick jaunts around Atlantic Canada & the occasional jump out west. My most recent adventure took me to Canada’s smallest province, Prince Edward Island. Known by everyone out east as PEI, this little rock packs a serious tourism punch to visitors from all over the world. PEI was made famous by the Lucy Maud Montgomery novel Ann of Green Gables. Ever since, flocks of tourists invade the island in hopes of capturing a piece of that romantic happy stuff she wrote about. (Guilty, never read it) While I’m sure that little ginger is awesome, I didn’t plan on getting sucked into her allure. I’ll leave that for some other time. I only had the weekend, so I wanted to see the island the way a large portion of the people my age see it. As a semi-alcoholic student.
The Confederation Bridge
As luck would have it, my guide was a former UPEI student who was raised in Charlottetown. We drove 4 hours north of Halifax,where we were greeted by a dinosaur. No, thats a lie. It was really just a bridge. But if it WAS a dinosaur, it’d be the Bridgasaurus Rex. King of the bridges. As expected, that wasn’t the name of this gargantuan car crossing machine. Instead it took the (less exciting) name of “The Confederation Bridge”. With the help of his Jetta, we made it across the 12.9km (8mile) “Fixed link” in just over 10 minutes.
By the time I unpacked it was almost 11:30pm. Prince Edward Island would have to wait until the morning. Relief struck me as the morning brought a healthy dose of blue skies & sunshine. A welcome start to the day after being abused by Mother Nature for the last month with rain. By mid day we set off on the tour.
Old Buildings & Green Frields
It was scorching hot at this point, and getting on the highway even just for a few minutes with the windows down seemed like the a great idea. I was blown away to see so many old rustic churches (or at least what appeared to be churches). Their vibrant whites contrasting with the deep green made me bring out the camera early. I snapped a few pictures and we carried on. First stop, historic downtown of Charlottetown. After a quick drive down to the waterfront and a refreshing walk down Queen Street, the manly guts of mine were crying for a cold beverage and some food. Second stop, Gahan House.
A Home-Brew, A Smoked Meat Sandwich, and a dead Prime Minister
I ordered a Smoked Meat sandwich and a pint of “Sir John A MacDonald”, a Gahan home-brew named after the first Prime Minister of Canada. I kicked back in the sunshine on the back patio of the Gahan House and began to realize why people from all over the world came to live & learn in Charlottetown. A sip of the local brew, a breath of the fresh PEI air, and it suddenly dawned on me that maybe I should have gone to University out here. By the end of the pint that thought drowned. Still, it was nice for a second. After finishing my meal (FYI, it rocked), I felt inspired, and thought to myself “This little province is proving to be pretty kickass.”
Birthplace of Confederation
My friend/guide said it was time we see some of the country. So off we went, but not before making a quick stop to see the Province House. Birthplace of Confederation. Some may even call it the Womb of Canada. Probably not though, people seem to be put off by the word “Womb”. After snapping a quick picture, I figured that was good for now. I like history and all, but really, who wants to be inside a stuffy old building when theres a wide open road, sunshine, green fields, red soil, and a whole sea surrounding you. Seemed like a no-brainer.
Off to Cavendish County
We hopped back into the car and headed off for Cavendish. Not the beach (saving that one for the next trip), but saw most of the County and legendary hills, valleys, and the farms that inspired L.M Montgomery to write that oh-so-famous tale. Coming from a farming province myself, it was refreshing to see men & women hard at work in the red fields. Apparently the abundance of Red is caused from the soil being rich in Iron-Oxide. I’m no geologist, but I can tell you that whatever it is, it looks wild and makes for some neat photos.
Turning Beers into Pee
We called it a day and decided to wait for the evening to arrive, which meant we had plenty of time to drive a few cold cruisers into us. My guide took the night off and transformed into the drinking buddy he normally is. A couple games of Billiards later and we had a satisfactory glow on. We ordered a cab and ended up at Fishbones Oyster Bar. Don’t let the name fool you, they offer more than just a unshucked oyster or two. They’re sort of big deal in Charlottetown as one of the go-to’s for live music. Big supporters of local music & local seafood, I wasn’t disappointed.
Hangover aside, the trip to PEI proved to be awesome. I’ve left plenty to do on my next trip back to PEI (later this summer perhaps), but this was a wicked primer into life in PEI. Seafood, Beers, open fields, oceans, a giant bridge, and some of Canada’s friendliest people are what make PEI a place to check out. Rumour has it the beaches in PEI are pretty spectacular too, but I’ll wait to comment on that until things warm up a bit and I’m able to go back and dip my lower half underwater.
If you want to see more of Canada’s smallest province, check out this awesome aerial tour of the island by TourismPEI.
Big thanks to the Keith family for feeding me & taking me in during my stay, and extra big thanks to my guide/chauffeur/drinking buddy Andy for showing me around and letting me sink my teeth into some of the Prince Edward Island culture.