Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Road trip to Quebec-New Brunswick-PEI: Part trois, Prince Edward Island (PEI)

"Mama!! the air tastes so yummy here!"-LP

Prince Edward Island is heaven. Period. This tiny island with a population of approximately 146,000 people (shit!!! there are more people in Mississauga!) until may 1997 was only accessible by ferry and is a Canadian gem. The entire island can be traversed in 5 hours from east to west and everything is pretty accessible from Charlottetown, which was where designated as home base.

We were very excited to cross the Confederation Bridge , an engineering marvel and took the to the  Arcadian route from Moncton. You can either take the highway or take a slight detour and go on Route 955. It is a bit of the beaten path but we discovered a little lane where we ended up on this remote beach with gorgeous little houses dotting the shore.

 Cape Jourimain, NB

Our next stop was Cape Jourimain, NB, which is right before the exit to the bridge and has a look-out  tower to take stunning pictures. This is THE place to take iconic shots of the entire span of the bridge.  Cape Jourimain is a non-for-profit nature reserve servicing an old lighthouse, that has been managed by the same family for generations. It is also a bird sanctuary with hummingbirds flitting outside in the garden overlooking the Abegweit Strait.

Photo credit.. LP! he took this one.

They have a restaurant there where everything is made in-house.. including pies made with local fruits and home churned cream (begin salivating now)

Once we had stuffed our selves silly, we made our way across the bridge. The bridge has a toll ($45.00), which you pay once you leave the island. In PEI you will arrive in the town of Borden-Carlton, which has a gateway village if you want to stop and orient your self.  The actual bridge crossing is.. uneventful. It's a road and there are no mariachi bands serenading you as you cross it ;)

In PEI we made our way to Charlottetown but not before stopping by Victoria-by-the sea, a sleepy little hollow on the banks of the Argyle shore (and very close to Argyle beach) which is part of the red shores in PEI. It it called red shores because the sand is red. No really, It is RED!

Charlottetown, PEI

Charlottetown is delightfully charming. I was totally in love with the houses (pretty much seen all over the Maritimes) with their big windows and airy porches. I love the slates and the pastel blues,yellow, red and charcoal grays with colorful  doors and matching storm shutters. They seem so perfect for that environment. We saw some beautiful ones in Charlottetown and generally the area to us looked prosperous.
Charlottetown downtown is close to the harbor and has a high walk-able score. If I had to describe Charlottetown, I would call it very endearing.  We stayed there in a small bed and breakfast, Tailor shop boutique hotel. It was sufficient for our needs and was right in downtown so we had no complaints living there.

Charlottetown also has a boardwalk right outside the lieutenant governor's house and it goes on for miles. It is in Victoria Park and is mighty fine place for  a leisurely stroll by the water.

Boardwalk near Victoria Park

Lieutenant Governor's mansion...Can I have this job please? 

For dinner, we stopped by Water Prince Corner Shop. Unbeknownst to us, it is a pretty popular place and has been featured on Regis and Kelly and You gotta eat here, Canada! and we were not disappointed. The sea food was FRESH. It was the catch-of-the day and we pigged out on lobsters, Malbaque bay oysters and blue mussels. Its  has a beach-shack feel and it was a truly epic meal to cap off our PEI adventure.

Cavendish beach- Brackley beach

The next day we drove down to Cavendish beach about 35 minutes from Charlottetown. Cavendish beach is the most popular beach and is highly rated and for good reason! Cavendish and the surrounding villages were also the inspiration the classic Anne of Green Gables and the village of Avonlea has been recreated for the generations of fans who flock to see their spirited heroine.If you have read the book, it a must see! L.M Montgomery's house that she resided in, are also open to visitors.

We, for the lack of time went straight to Cavendish beach and wow! what a beach! Cavendish along with Brackley are part of a 40 Km stretch of beach and are located inside PEI provincial park. Your entrance fees ($7.80 /adult) gives you access yo all the beaches. It extends all the way up to Dalvay by the sea, an old Victorian resort which looked pretty posh and lovely.  Cavendish beach is the reason why I'm totally in love with PEI. The beach with its rolling sand dunes and soft sand are for lack of a better word, incredible. I had to take a deep breath every few minutes to suppress the overwhelming awe I felt when I was there. I was left speechless by the beauty. LP  was so in love that he kept repeating that he wants to live here!From the mouth of babes, from the mouth of babes....

The water was really, really cold and we heard later that the waters on Argyle shores are warmer. So if swimming in the ocean is your thing, then you may want to consider going to the Argyle shores instead. Apparently the beaches in new Brunswick are warmer. While at Cape Jourimain, the NB tourism operator told us that two hours north of Cape Jourimain, lies Kouchibouguac provincial park and according to them, the beaches there are locally referred too  as "little Hawaii, with white sands and warm waters. It is certainly on my to-do list the next time I visit the Maritimes.

East point and Basin head beach

After Cavendish, we decided to head to the eastern most point in PEI, where they have the East Point lighthouse. After LP's disappointment at not going all the way up the lighthouse in Cape Enrage, NB , we promised him that we would take him to lighthouse where he could go to the top! It was about 1.30 minutes drive and it was worth it. We passed by miles and miles of gorgeous beaches and wonderful views. The closest town to east point is Souris, PEI and the light house charges a nominal fee to explore their premises. It is exactly as you would imagine an old lighthouse to be.  Narrow, winding staircases, wooden beams and lots of history. They still have the fading signatures and scribbles of gratitude of sailors who were rescued from a ship wreck in the late 18th century. The place like all lighthouse, is reputed to be haunted and according to the proprietor of the Pirates Gallery cafe, there are at least 60-70 active ghost stories associated with East Point. Calling Ghost adventures! Every full moon the cafe at the foot of the lighthouse hosts ghost story. Who doesn't like a salty ghost shanty matey!  The lighthouse rocks are home to a seal population and seals means sharks! Shark sightings are quiet common around the lighthouse waters.


 About 15 minutes from the light house is Basin head beach, which is also called the 'Singing sands beach in Souris, PEI. The sand is a fine, white powder and when we got there we weren't sure what the singing in the 'singing sands' actually meant! I imagined the sands singing Capella or maybe some Pavarotti. Sweet hubs was expecting some Abida, and LP was just perplexed! We finally figured out that when you walk on it or better yet, drag your feet, the sand makes a distinctive squeaky sound. After that, it was just a mad romp with all three of us dragging our feet and laughing our selves silly at the sound.  Singing sand may be a bit of a misnomer  but as preggo bestie said, who would go to a beach if it was called squeaking sands!

Nevertheless the place was gorgeous. We were there for sunset and saw the moon rise. It was hauntingly beautiful.

East Point lighthouse

Fog horns!
Basin head Beach or singing sands beach

Trying to make the sands sing..

 On a funny note I'm quiet certain we were the ONLY brown people on the island. and with a 146,000  people, I wont be surprised there was an underground network that told the entire island we were there:)

This concluded out PEI adventure and we made our way back to Fredericton. It was a wonderful 9 days and we still rave about how beautiful everything was. PEI totally stole my heart to the point where I am seriously contemplating becoming a potato farmer and moving there!!


Sayonara PEI, I love you.

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