Raise your hand if you remembered–or even knew–Prince Edward Island is an actual province of Canada. Is your hand raised? Mine isn’t either. Prince Edward Island, or PEI, is about the land size of Delaware with no more than 150,000 full-time residents (tourists don’t count). And almost one-third of the people live in the capital of Charlottetown or the town of Summerside. The result: a pastoral landscape with a relaxed way of life that is hard to beat!
Since it is an island surrounded by salt water, much of the economy revolves around seafood: mostly lobster, mussels, oysters, and tuna. I sampled some of the local lobster and mussels. This time of year, yards were littered with giant fishing boats up on blocks. With its rolling hills of red soil, and clean air and water, the island is also home to many forms of agriculture: grain, dairy, potatoes. Potatoes? Yes, they are everywhere! A third of Canada’s potato production is on PEI. Blue waters, red soil, green vegetation, sandy beaches–the island is practically a giant golf course. In fact, there are 34 golf courses on the island–many of them world-class. How have I not been here before?! I got in a couple of rounds of golf on the island (one round with a great Airstreamer couple I met at Prince Edward Island National Park).
The National Park is right along the Green Gables Shore on the north central part of PEI. It is in Cavendish, near Green Gables, the inspiration for L.M. Montgomery’s, Anne of Green Gables. Montgomery is a semi-goddess on the island. She was born there, spent much time on her cousins’ farm that had green-colored gables, and is buried on the island. (I pumped 75 litres of gas into the Touareg about 50 yards from her gravestone.) I did a complete tour of the three coastal drives from tip-to-tip, and I think the Green Gables Shore was my favorite area of the island (ignoring the incredibly cheesy and touristy part of Cavendish). No spot on the entire island is more than 30 minutes to the ocean…unless you happen to get stuck behind a traffic jam of combines or tractors that regularly use the highways!
Yet again, I found a jewel of a province in the great country of Canada. I plan to return in warmer weather to play golf, play golf, and play golf. It was hard to leave, but as the Prince Edward Island Visitor’s Guide says, “You’ll never completely leave.”