Prelude. July 2016.
I always said I wanted to visit Prince Edward Island, but there was always some excuse not to make it happen. Not enough money. Not enough time. Can’t go by myself. Too scared. But then my 31st birthday passed, and something in me sparked. I didn’t want to live through another birthday without having this adventure. PEI was calling to me, and I was obliged to answer.
I did some research. The more I read about Lucy Maud Montgomery life, the more I felt this was the time to take this trip. It was encouraging to realize she wrote Anne of Green Gables when she was 30 and got tons of rejections initially. Being in my 30s now and trying to get my first novel published, I decided I needed to visit PEI before I turned 33, the age when she was finally published. Also, she didn’t get married until she was 37, which was rare back then. She would have been considered a spinster, not flattering at that time. I realized I was blessed to have been born in a time when being single at 30 something is more accepted and associated with being independent and free.
My friend encouraged me to just go, and she promised to accompany me. I wrote it in my calendar. PEI Vacation July 28th-August 4th, 2017. I reserved the Airbnb far in advance so I couldn’t back out at risk of losing my deposit money. And before I knew it, vacation time had come.
The following blog posts chronicle our week-long journey on a trip of a lifetime.
Friday, July 28, 2017. First Impressions
After a long red-eye flight, we stop in Montreal for a two-hour layover, where we get a chance to freshen up and eat breakfast. Already, my friend and I are impressed by US’s northern neighbor. Two words. Maple syrup. Another two words. Colorful money. My friend even swears the money smells like maple syrup.
Also, having grown up in LA, I’m used to hearing Spanish, among other languages, in the background, but French is not one of them. It’s so very cool, and I stifle the urge to make a Wizard of Oz reference. Or start singing Beauty and the Beast songs.
After breakfast, we hop on another plane that takes us to Charlottetown. My friend and I don’t get to sit next to each other, but that is fortunate as I have the chance to talk to the nice man next to me. Right off the bat, he starts a conversation and asks if it is my first time visiting PEI. Turns out he’s quite an expert, having family who lives there. He has all sorts of recommendations on what to do and eat, and he writes everything down on a…barf bag. (It is the only piece of paper we have at the moment). Meeting him confirms the stereotype…Canadians really are friendly people.
We land at Charlottetown Airport, so tiny, it only has two gates. By then, we are starving, so we drive our rental car in search of food and end up going to Water Prince Corner Shop in downtown Charlottetown. Side note: We pay to park downtown, not realizing it is within walking distance from our Airbnb. It is not a mistake we will make again. I order a cup of seafood chowder, and my travel buddy orders steamed clams with sauce. The seafood is fresh, and I wish I could return to try other dishes, but there are far too many options to explore.
We walk along the pier, look at the ships, and explore the gift shops.
Then we check in at our Airbnb, Ginger Beer Cottage, a quaint home designated as a historical house. Our hostess, Sharon, is the nicest and most helpful lady ever, quick to answer questions and provide recommendations. There are eight other guest rooms, but only our room, named The Garden Suite, has a private bathroom. The room itself is cute, the décor a reflection of PEI’s most famous tourist attraction, Anne of Green Gables.
After resting a bit, we walk a few blocks to find dinner and decide to try Hunter’s Ale House. Poutine is one of the dishes we NEED to try—you can’t visit Canada without eating poutine, I am told—and the menu has a separate section for poutine alone. Over a dozen choices. It is a difficult decision, but we finally order the Lobster Poutine and share it. OMG, delicious goodness. These are the best potatoes I’ve ever eaten, and the cheese curds are so fresh. So glad I worked out extra hard last week because we demolish it.
Exhaustion from traveling combined with food coma makes us decide to call it a day. Another side note: I had thought PEI was three hours ahead of LA, but it turns out it’s four hours ahead! We return to the Airbnb to get a good night’s sleep in preparation for day 2.