Saturday, July 29, 2017. Anne of Green Gables, Round 1
This is the moment I am waiting for. MY. ENTIRE. LIFE. My bucket list item. To visit every Anne of Green Gables/L.M. Montgomery related site on Prince Edward Island.
So Day 2 begins with a 30-minute drive from Charlottetown to Cavendish, which is the polar opposite from driving in LA. Talk about culture shock. First, there’s no traffic or crazy drivers sending rude gestures. Second, people drive SUPER slow. Third, there’s only one lane. And fourth, everything is green and lush.
We arrive at Green Gables Heritage Place right when it opens, beating the crowds. It’s a pleasant surprise to discover we can get in for free. Thanks to Canada’s 150th birthday, all national parks are free this year, another sign that I was right to make this trip during my birthday in 2017.
After touring the house, we head to the hiking trail out back. I see the signs for Balsam Hollow (the inspiration for the Haunted Wood) and Lovers’ Lane.
I almost freak out in excitement. It’s a short, easy hike, and it’s easy to see how it sparked Lucy Maud’s imagination. I am walking in her and Anne’s footsteps, and the thought of this makes it impossible to stop grinning and squealing like the crazy fan girl I am.
We head to the Green Gables Post Office, right behind the MacNeill Homestead, where LM Montgomery grew up. We send postcards to our friends and family back at home, which is really cool because they are post marked “Green Gables.” I pose at the door, pretending to hold my own manuscript in hand to send to publishers, just as Lucy Maud did over a century ago. It’s also cool to learn how popular Anne is in Japan. In fact, I’ve been asked a few times already if I’m Japanese. 🙂 Apparently, Anne is part of their curriculum, and thousands of Japanese tourists pour in every year. I’ve seen Korean and Chinese tourists here, too, so I assume Anne is just popular in Asia, period.
Then we tour the MacNeill Homestead. The house itself has been torn down, and only the foundation remains.
I sit under the apple tree where Lucy Maud loved to write. The entire property is gorgeous beyond belief.
I buy her autobiography, The Alpine Path at the gift shop, and they stamp it with their mark, indicating I bought it at her Cavendish home.
Down the road, we stop at the cemetery to visit Lucy Maud’s resting site.
It’s always sobering to walk through a cemetery, to see the names of real people and calculate how old, or young, they were when they died. So many children. I stop by LM Montgomery’s grandparents’ graves, resting side by side.
And a few feet away, I spot her grave, decorated with red flowers. I pay my respects, and then Travel Buddy and I take our leave.
Next on the itinerary is lunch. We go to Avonlea Village, where there are a variety of restaurants. We choose to try Moo Moo Grilled Cheese, and I get tomato soup and the Avonlea Grilled Cheese with apple jelly, bacon, and cheddar. Delicious and gooey. I wash it down with raspberry cordial, which is obviously a tourist gimmick, but I don’t care.
After lunch, we head to Cavendish Beach and the Dunelands Trail.
This beach is crowded, but only because everyone wants to see the famous red-sanded cliffs featured in the Anne films. It is gorgeous and magnificent. So textured, with each side of the beach scenic in its own unique way. The billowing waves crashing against the cliffs, the sand dunes on the opposite side, with flowers and evergreens sprouting up every which way. As we hike down the Dunelands Trail, we cross glittering ponds, their glass surfaces smooth and still. The smell of Christmas fills the air. Pine tree forests and fields of lavender and yellow wildflowers surround us. I already knew from Lucy Maud’s description that this place would be delightful and perfect, but now I realize the full extent of its charm and beauty. Everywhere I turn is a postcard waiting to happen.
We leave Cavendish and go to Cow’s Ice Cream Factory for what I expect to be a factory tour. Unfortunately, it is a letdown. The self-guided tour lets us peek into the factory, but being a food scientist and working in a food plant, I expect to see people working and ice cream and cheese products being produced. There is none of this. Just a short movie about the history of the company and windows to view equipment that isn’t even running.
Travel Buddy and I buy ice cream. She gets coconut cream, and I get pistachio. We’re hard to impress. I don’t mean to be a food snob, but there are hundreds of hipster ice cream parlors to choose from in LA, so I’ve had my share of great ice cream. Even so, the ice cream here is creamy, fresh, and I would say, good enough. Definitely worth trying, even if you’re a snobby hipster.
What I loved most about Cow’s, though, wasn’t the ice cream, but the punny T-shirts they sold.
Back in Charlottetown, we snack at a food truck that serves waffles. We get dinner at Brakish, by the pier. It has a modern vibe, upscale, with live music. I order a pot of steamed mussels cooked in garlic and white wine sauce. It’s fresh and fragrant, and the flavorful white wine sauce hits the spot.
We window shop a bit and stop at a used bookstore. I love the sight of books piled on top of each other. Nothing is alphabetized, and in fact, there doesn’t seem to be any organization to it, but that makes it more like a treasure hunt. Or maybe you’re not even looking for anything in particular, but if you stumble across a title that catches your eye, that’s when you know the book has chosen you.
And that concludes the second day.