Exploring nature’s beauty on PEI

The weather on Sunday (11th August) was glorious – a perfect day to drive and see as much of the north coast of PEI as we could. There is so much to do everywhere across Canada, and PEI is definitely no exception. In our very initial plans of this trip, we were actually skipping the Island altogether, but after seeking advice from a few people, it quickly became a must visit destination.

We had decided to drive the Prince Edward Island National Park, which stretches along the northern central coast of PEI. We headed off around 10am, and we were quickly out of downtown Charlottetown and driving roads surrounded by lush farmland and huge blocks of land with beautiful houses and perfectly manicured lawns. Water is plentiful on the Island, and the blue sky was reflecting in the lakes, rivers and bays beautifully. Between google maps on the phone, a large map and road signs, we only made a few minor errors with directions, and one of our wrong turns even turned into beautiful views of Tracadie Bay and the Gulf of St Lawrence!

Tracadie Bay

Tracadie Bay

Gulf of St Lawrence

Gulf of St Lawrence

We entered the national park with our trusty Parks Pass, and stopped fairly quickly at a car park that led to a beach – and we felt so at home! For the first time since leaving Australia we had found a white, sandy, wide and beautiful beach, complete with waves breaking on the shore! It only took a trip to the north of PEI to find one πŸ™‚

Dalvay by the Sea

Dalvay by the Sea

Dalvay by the Sea

Dalvay by the Sea

The soil on PEI is a deep red, so the rocks and cliffs around the coast reflect this, although the sand on the beaches is white – makes for a stunning coastline. We continued to drive the national park road that runs along the coast, stopping for photographs along the way and at the customary lighthouse spots. There are more than 60 lighthouses on the Island, and visiting as many as you can is one of the tourist highlights.

Covehead Lighthouse

Covehead Lighthouse

The PEI National Park has kilometres of walking, cycling and driving paths. Some areas are only accessible by foot, and in a couple of places it was worth jumping out of the car and going for a short wander – the scenery was gorgeous. Oceanview Lookout and Robinsons Island were a couple of examples.

Robinsons Island

Robinsons Island

Oceanview Lookout at Cavendish Beach

Oceanview Lookout at Cavendish Beach

Our aim was to enter the park on the eastern side and drive through to the western side, to the town of Cavendish and the home of the infamous Anne of Green Gables phenomenon.

The beauty of the Central Coastal Region of PEI was the source of inspiration for the creator of Anne, Lucy Maud Montgomery. Everywhere you turn on PEI you will see some form of merchandise or marketing connected with Anne of Green Gables, and no visit to the Island can be considered complete without visiting one of the myriad of Anne of Green Gables attractions.

Knowing that time was of the essence, we decided to visit Green Gables Heritage Place, a National Historic Site, which is where the house that inspired the setting of the Anne books is located. In real life, the farm was the home of the cousins of Montgomery’s grandfather. Montgomery never lived at Green Gables, but she visited often and loved exploring the surrounding woodlands. The special places she discovered and named in her books, such as the Haunted Wood and Lover’s Lane, still exist at Green Gables. The house and grounds have been restored and decorated as Montgomery described in her novel, and depict a typical PEI farm of the late 1800’s.

On our arrival we viewed a short film about Montgomery and her novels and viewed an exhibit about her. We then wandered the farm and through the Green Gables house, and even saw Anne and Gil πŸ™‚

Green Gables

Green Gables

We enjoyed a beautiful afternoon in the sunshine at Green Gables, and even felt a little inspired to get our hands on a copy of ‘Anne of Green Gables’ and have a read πŸ™‚

By the time we left Green Gables it was mid afternoon, and we realised we had way overestimated how far we would be able to drive and how much we would see in that one day! We still had some time though, so we decided to go ‘lighthouse hunting’ along the north coast of the Island. Armed with a basic map we headed west along the north coast. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see most of the lighthouses we wanted as they are now on private property and with disrespectful visitors and people traipsing across their land, most owners have blocked off access to their properties, and consequently, their lighthouses. Fair enough, but we were disappointed.

Profitts Point Lighthouse, one we managed to track down :)

Profitts Point Lighthouse, one we managed to track down πŸ™‚

By that time we needed to head back to the house, so we cut straight across the central part of PEI, from Kensington to Charlottetown, and arrived back around 6.30pm. Going out for dinner was on the cards, and we ended up at a steakhouse where we had the most delicious restaurant meals of our road trip so far. Lausanne’s lobster mac n cheese and Alana and Mary’s steaks were beautiful, and it was a lovely night to sit out on the restaurant’s patio. A wonderful way to finish our time on Prince Edward Island.

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