Photos – click on a photo to scroll through the pictures
- Where: Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada.
- Route: Home, Quebec City (one night)> Prince Edward Island (one week)>Portland, Maine (one night) > Home.
- Total kilometers travelled: 4000.
- Maximum number of driving hours in a row: 11 (Portland to Home).
- Accommodation: Chepstow Cottages in PEI, booked via VRBO. Dog friendly hotels for one night each in Quebec City and Portland.
What we liked
The quiet laid back vibe of the island, super friendly people, quiet ocean beaches – most were dog friendly (on a leash) except for those in national parks, fresh seafood and salty ocean air.
What we saw
We managed to circumnavigate the east and central regions of PEI, but not all in one day. This Google map image looks like we drove it all in one day, but each of these locations was about 1 – 1.5 hours from our home base in Souris (red point). The regions we visited are known as Red Shores (Victoria), Anne of Green Gables Coast (Stanley Bridge and North Rustico), and Points East Coast (Point Prim, St. Peters Bay, East Point, Belfast and Souris). We did not make it over to the North Shore (area with no blue lines).
- Point Prim Lighthouse, built in 1845, the first and oldest lighthouse on PEI, it was recently placed on the national heritage list, one of seven lighthouses on PEI to gain this designation. It’s also one of only a few round brick lighthouses in Canada.
- East Point Lighthouse built in 1866.
- Victoria by the Sea, a historic sea coast village founded in 1819. We loved wandering the streets and looking at the well kept houses, some undergoing restorations. We visited just before the tides were coming back in and were able to walk along the long red sandy beach after having lunch at a spot overlooking the water.
- Charlottetown, named after Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III of England. Birthplace of the Confederation – in 1864, representatives from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Canada (Quebec and Ontario) met and decided to unite as a country.
- North Rustico, a historic sea coast village founded around 1790
- Dundrave Golf Course and Stanhope Golf Courses, PEI is famous for it’s golf courses, in 2011 being named the Undiscovered Golf Destination of 2011.
- St. Peter’s Bay, established around 1720. Other than Charlottetown, this was probably the busiest place we visited. It was very scenic, with beautiful views of hills, fields, and the bay with it’s mussel and oyster farms. Lots of cottages for rent, and it’s home to Rick’s Fish and Chips, recently featured on “You Gotta Eat Here”.
- Montague, a really pretty little town, felt a lot like Elora here at home in Ontario. Older historic homes mingled with newer townhomes and low rise apartment buildings, a river down the centre and lots of focus on the arts. It’s here we visited Arts on Main, a shared artisans studio, and where Shakes met his first braided wool rug, charmed its maker and made himself at home.
- Malpeque, French settlers arrived here in 1534. Now world famous for its oysters.
- Vesey’s Seeds in York, I’m a gardener and love ordering from Vesey’s seeds. Their testing gardens and small retail outlet is located just 10 minutes from Stanhope Golf Course.
- Belfast Mini Mills, I was so glad I found this place, after driving on some questionable one lane dirt roads, arched over with trees, no cell signage and no cell service. Note to self, enable “avoid unpaved roads” on the GPS. This small operation specializes in developing mills for fibers such as Alpaca, Llama, Mohair, Qiviut and Cashmere, I read that their equipment which they manufacture and sell from PEI is world renowned. I got a quick demo of a weaving loom too – renewing my wanting to learn weaving.
Where we ate
- Souris Village Feast, a community fundraiser for local and global charities. Lobster, steak, salad, rolls, chowder and strawberry shortcakes all eaten in a large field under the sun with locals and visitors from as far away as Europe! What was amazing was the team of volunteers – see my previous post for the highlight – introduction to Colville Bay Oysters by Chef Michael Smith
- Inn at the Bay Fortune, the newly opened Fireworks dining features an open fire kitchen, set menu and lots of interaction with those around us. The Inn itself is beautiful and the food was so delicious, the shared experience with others, so much fun. So much fun in fact, that I forgot my camera under the table, but didn’t realize it til we got back to the cottage and had to go back to get it in the foggy darkness.
- Point Prim Chowder House, the best curry crab and corn chowder, a lobster roll as big as my head! Adirondack chairs outside to accommodate customers with dogs, and an amazing view of the ocean and the Point Prim lighthouse
- Carr’s Oyster Bar, a nice relaxed patio overlooking Stanley Bridge, and their fishing operation across the bay. Tasty oysters and clams, burgers and drinks.
- Beach Combers on the Wharf in Victoria by the Sea, “sitting on the dock of the bay, watching the tide roll away”. Loved this spot, mussels were delicious, it was really windy though, buffeting poor Shakes rather forcefully as he tried to hide under the table, but had to remain at the outside of the fence.
- Bergayle Fisheries in Little Harbour, near Souris, a retail and processing location, I picked up fish, lobster and lemons here for dinner. Such friendly service and great prices!
- The Lobster Shack in Souris, serving cooked or uncooked lobster, oysters, shellfish and utensils for eating said items. The source for my last lobster dinner on the island.
With more time maybe
On this trip, we avoided the most popular areas. We did not go into Cavendish, Summerside or any of the places where large tour bus groups would go. That meant that we did not see the home of Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of the world famous Anne of Green Gables.
We tried to visit the Greenwich Dunes, part of the PEI National Park, but the mosquitos and black flies were so bad, that even after using bug spray, I had to call it quits. We were being bitten quite badly. By the time we were back at the car, we saw others who had also given up.
One place I very much wanted to visit was MacAuslands Woolen Mill, but it was too far (2 hour drive one way) for the time we had left near the end of the trip. The mill is the last and only place left in Atlantic Canada, producing 100% wool blankets. I read that some customers have brought back blankets from WWII to be re-hemmed – proof of a quality product!
What we would have changed and/or didn’t like so much
Change: Our accommodations were older than some of the other rentals I had looked at, but was clean and well taken care off. In terms of kitchen supplies it had everything we needed to cook, feed and clean ourselves. While it’s location was perfect for exploring the east coast of the island, now being more familiar with the distances between places I would have chosen a more central location.
Dislike: The other thing we really didn’t like but couldn’t do anything to change was the very aggressive mosquitoes, black flies and horse flies. It was almost impossible to enjoy any time outside, which was such a shame given the great beach we had just steps from the cottage. We spent many days away from the cottage for this reason, which was too bad. We generally avoid cottage country here in Ontario for the same reason. They swarmed us on the beach near the cottage, on the deck, every time we tried to get in the car. We set up the floor fan so that when we opened the cottage door, they would get blown away from the door and not get inside. Even with bug spray, they would bite – and both of us are bite-bait at the best of times. Nothing would have changed this, except maybe wandering around with a bee keeper suit on.
Wandering beaches at low tide, the Souris Village Feast, meeting Chef Michael Smith, finding the Belfast Mini Mills, watching Shakes discover (dig) clams on the beach.