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Sunday, May 14, 2017

THE GENTLE ISLE


Prince Edward Island or PEI as it is known I have dubbed The Gentle Isle, John has named it The Potato Island. It is lush & rolling. At the moment acres of paddocks have been ploughed awaiting sowing of potatoes. Billions of tons are grown here every year. We only see the red soil.  Spring comes slowly over here and we are only getting a few glimpses – daffodils starting to unfurl, pussy willows bursting out buds & once dry trees just tipping with colour. In a few months, this lovely little island will be glowing with colour.

There are 4 scenic coastal routes we can drive and we plan to do as much as we can without doubling up on ourselves, and to finish at the ferry at the eastern end.  First up the west coast (on the North Cape route) following countless farms & getting odd glimpses of red cliffs & tiny fishing villages. At the both tips, we stop at the obligatory lighthouse. The northern one is surrounded by an enormous wind farm. Too early to stop, so we head along more coastline. We stop at one of the jetties to watch the fisherman bringing in their catch of lobster. The season only started here yesterday, and only lasts for 2 months, so they are working hard. It gets dark pretty late here, so we decide to try the seafood at a local pub before pulling over for the night on a quiet wharf. While we are at dinner a local guy comes in to give John a PEI no plate – so now our set is complete! Number plates from every state and territory in USA & Canada whoa

Wake to a cold drizzly day – as predicted by the fisherman! So, a slower start today. More villages & more potato paddocks before we head back to Summerside. Now on to the next scenic loop – The Green Gables Loop.  The Green Gables house, Cavendish Beach and all the surrounding beaches are part of the Prince Edward Island National Park. We can access some of the park, but a lot is gated and inaccessible. Fortunately for me Anne’s house at Green Gables opened yesterday, so I drag John there. (Lucy Maud Montgomery’s book – Anne of Green Gables was a favourite of mine when I was young, and it is HUGE here.) He can’t complain as this year all Canadian National Parks are free, to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary. We stop at a few of the beaches – but they really aren’t their best on a freezing grey day.

We decide to slip off the scenic drive and drop down to see Charlottetown (the capital). It is nearly 5pm by the time we arrive and it is drizzling. Did I also mention it is chilly!!! We are just in time to look through the glorious St Dunstan Basilica. Then we wander along the streets, before deciding to drive the rest in the warmth of GR2.  Time to head on, this time picking up the Points East Coastal Drive. By now it is time to stop for the night – all the fishing jetties are busy so we carry on to the Greenwich Beach National Park. It too is closed, but has a huge carpark at the info centre. That will do us for the night.

Wow!!! A fine morning. So, we head off early. You may have noticed that we are driving an awful lot – but really there isn’t too much else to do. It is pretty cold, most museums etc are closed & even walks are closed.  Lots more fishing villages before we reach yet another lighthouse at East Point and lots more sandy beaches. Another stop at a restaurant at Souris for John to get his fill on island seafood, and even an extra free meal so he can try all the different sea food types.

Finally, we round the point and head towards our ferry at Wood Islands. Enough time to look at yet another lighthouse (be glad I haven’t put up photos of all of them on this blog). It is a short calm 75 min sea crossing back to Nova Scotia.

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