Surgenor 50th Wedding Anniversary
As a fiftieth wedding anniversary present, Joy said she’d like to go to Prince Edward Island - and so it came to be. On June 7th we headed to the PEI ferry at Caribou, Nova Scotia and enjoyed a smooth 75 minute sail to PEI in total sunshine. When we left Halifax, there was heavy cloud cover and sprinkles of rain.
Our first stop on the island was the town of Montague, or as the locals say, ‘Montague the Beautiful’. As the name suggests it is one of the prettiest towns on the island. Graced with a tranquil river, lovely tree-lined streets and stately homes, it is a wonderful environment for residents and visitors alike. It’s harbour is at the junction of three rivers, the Montague, Bradebel and the Cardigan. Many nature cruises in eastern PEI begin in Montague.
Leaving Montague, we headed for Charlottetown and toured through potato farm country. PEI has more than 150,000 acres planted with potatoes. Once in Charlottetown we briefly stopped at Confederation Center to inquire whether Anne of Green Gables, the Musical would be playing sometime during our three night stay. Sadly, the answer was no as the summer season only begins in late June. Next, we checked into The Bradley Beach North Winds Resort.
After checking in, we headed back out to nearby North Rustico where the fishing industry remains the most important local economic activity. North Rustico is home to approximately 40 vessels docked in and around a small craft harbour. Lobster fishing is the main focus for much of the fleet, and during the months of May and June, fresh north shore PEI lobster can be bought at a fish market on the harbour wharves or directly off the boats. Our stop was the world famous “Fisherman's Wharf Lobster Suppers" where we enjoyed the fresh seafood of Prince Edward Island, as well as the 60 foot salad bar.
Following breakfast the next day, we drove back into Charlottetown and toured this picturesque little town famously known as The Cradle of Confederation. We stopped for a visit at Founders Hall with it’s new heritage attraction, Canada’s Birthplace Pavilion, and retail boutique which tells the story of Canada from its inception in 1864 up to modern day.
Next it was on to Province House, scene of the first conference on colonial union in September, 1864. Delegates from the colonies of Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Canada met in the legislative council chamber (now the Confederation Chamber) to begin discussions which led to Confederation in 1867. We also explored the adjacent Confederation Park where a rock or stone from each Province or Territory of Canada is on display.
Soon it was time to head out to New Glasgow, PEI, home to Prince Edward Island Preserves. It is located in an old butter factory situated on a corner of a major intersection en route to Cavendish Beach, the Anne of Green Gables House, and near the world-famous New Glasgow Lobster Suppers. The production kitchen is in full view so that customers may get a first-hand look at how their products are made. Staff make sure that everything the store offers for sale is available to taste. Customers can also purchase the Maritime music which is played in the store. In addition to preserves and music, the store also stocks a variety of the best teas from around the world. In addition to the variety of teas from around the world, the Prince Edward Island Preserve Company recently began their own tea company and now also offers some of their own blends for sale. The location in New Glasgow has grown into a world class facility that sees more than 150,000 visitors annually from all over the world.
The dining tea-room overlooks the Clyde River and serves fresh island meals. For our visit we had the owner, Bruce, as our waiter. I’ll tell you, the man never sits still; while he was serving us, he was also looking after three other groups and trying to have his own lunch at the same time. Talk about multi-tasking!
Our next stop was Cavendish, that legendary land of Anne of Green Gables. We visited Green Gables, which is part of Lucy Maud Montgomery's Cavendish National Historic Site and has become famous around the world as the inspiration for the setting in her classic tale of fiction, Anne of Green Gables. In real life, this farm was the home of David Jr. and Margaret MacNeill, cousins of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s grandfather. Shortly after her death in 1942, Lucy Maud Montgomery was recognized by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada as being a person of national historic significance, and in 1948, a monument and plaque were erected on site at Green Gables. Designated in 2005, Lucy Maud Montgomery's Cavendish National Historic Site includes the site of Lucy Maud Montgomery's Cavendish home and Green Gables. The homestead is surrounded by the famous Green Gables Golf Course.
Following our visit, we toured along the north coast of PEI, driving through such places as French River, and Malpeque Harbour & Bay (Malpeque is a world famous name in oysters and are extensively fished and farm-fished at Malpeque and other bays and inlets around PEI).
Our last stop for the day was Saint Mary’s Church at Indian River. It is the largest ‘shingle-style’ church on PEI. There are 250 churches in PEI, more per capita than any other province in Canada. Dinner was at a fine restaurant in Charlottetown.
On day three of our trip, we headed westwards to meet our PEI guide, Florence Gavin, a daughter of PEI who at one time or another was involved in lobster fishing, Irish Moss farming, potato farming, raising & showing award-winning Percheron horses, as well as working in various positions in the Credit Union financial services industry of PEI. Our tour on day three proved Florence is the only person to show-off Western PEI! During our one day with Florence we visited:
- numerous harbours - both Northumberland Strait side and Gulf of St. Lawrence side
- Skinner’s Pond - best known for Stompin’ Tom Connors
- The O’Leary Potato Museum
- Mill River Resort - known for it’s golf course and ‘The Big One’
- The Town of Tignish and Saint Simon & Saint Jude Church which is the largest church on the island and home of the Louis Mitchell Tracker Organ. It is the oldest organ of it’s kind and one of the few left in the world.
- Cape North for lunch - noted for it’s view of ‘the line’ which is the boundary between the Northumberland Strait and the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and all important in the fishery business as when one is ‘open’ the other is ‘closed’ and the fishing is always fabulous just ‘over the line’! And yes, the oysters were fresh, plump and tasty!
- Alberton - the circa 1903 Train Station was turned into the town’s offices
- the site where Jacques Cartier first landed on PEI. The site is now a Provincial Park
- Tignish Run, home to the largest in-shore fishing fleet in Canada
- We stopped to view the farming property of the Elite Seed Company, where new varieties of potatoes are being developed
- We saw strawberry fields where the crop is the strawberry plant itself, not the berry. The plants are exported to Florida of all places!
Our day with Florence ended in the Summerside parking lot where we had met her in the early morning. Throughout the day, she gave us the background, history and explained the culture of this area of PEI.
Dinner was at the diner next to our motel complex, great food!
The next morning, we were Halifax bound. We crossed into New Brunswick via the 13.8 kilometre long Confederation Bridge. We stopped briefly at Gateway Village.
We were only in New Brunswick for a short time before we crossed into Nova Scotia at Port Elgin / Bay Ver and then continued on to The Sunrise Trail. Our next stop was at the famous Jost Vineyard where we enjoyed a delightful lunch at a snack-bar overlooking Wallace Harbour. Our itinerary took us through the Wentworth Valley to Truro and then on to Halifax.
The following day, we toured Halifax, Peggy’s Cove, Chester, Mahone Bay and Lunenburg. Unfortunately, the weather was not the best, but the rain stopped whenever we did which actually made the day. The chowder at The Trellis Café in Hubbards is the best - and well worth waiting for!
Our 50th Anniversary Tour ended back in Halifax. A few days later we received a very thoughtful thank you letter from Joy and Charlie.
Remember, all our excursions / tours / outings are private and only for the people who booked them. We include as little or as much as YOU, the client, wants. The itinerary is your itinerary, the activities are set by you, the pace is the pace you desire, the hotels are the ones you choose and meals are where and when you want. If you wish to change a day, activity or take an unexpected side trip, we can make it happen! Want to just stay put and relax instead of heading out for a day of activities? That’s okay too! It’s your trip and we do what you want to do!
So, give us a call and let us know where you want to go and when!
All the best,
View the snapshots here