We headed to the Green Gables Shore on the North of the Central Coast Drive first. This area is home to the Prince Edward Island National Park, located along 25 miles of the shore. Cavendish, the hometown of Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of Anne of the Green Gables is located alongside the park.
The now famous House of Green Gables, once owned by her family and its Victorian surroundings inspired the setting for the book. The house is now managed by Parks Canada. And thus the Green Gables Shore.
There is a lot of “Anne” stuff all over PEI. A major tourist draw.
But I must confess that neither of us has read the book, and so this is not our main focus. I’d thought about reading it while on PEI (I’ve been trying to read books about the places we’re visiting). Instead I read a crime mystery novel, Meat Cove, that I bought from its author in Charlottetown. It’s set in Cape Breton Island, PEI, Quebec and Vermont, which just happen to be places we’ve just visited and places we’re going to visit. And it’s a fun summer read.
Back on the road, we drove through beautiful fields of wildflowers and found French River, a stunning pastoral scene, directly by the French River. We also got some education about harvesting mussels.
Hector asked a fisherman who was tossing these “dirty” buoys onto the wharf about all of the little buoys we saw in the water. He explained that they were used to grow “mussel seeds”(baby mussels), which attach themselves to the buoys.
The “mussel seeds” are then taken off the buoys and placed in “mussel socks” – long tubular nets, and placed in deeper water where they grow larger. Interesting indeed.
We leave the wharf and head out to an overlook. The “patchwork” of greens, colorful buildings on the wharf, the river and the fields of wildflowers make for one of the most beautiful scenes we saw on PEI. It’s another clear, blue sky day, and we gawk for quite a while.
Next, we head to the town of Cavendish for a quick touristy stop as we’re looking for a Prince Edward Island patch. While shopping on the Cavendish Boardwalk, we sample the famous COWS ice cream, made right here in PEI.
It’s rated as one of the top ten ice creams in the world by Tauck World Discovery, a luxury travel company.
And, yes, it’s delicious.
Then we’re off to Cavendish Beach, which is part of the national park. It’s really pretty but a bit crowded by our more recent standards so we opt to ride our bicycles on the Cavendish Dunes Boardwalk.
These huge red dunes are beautiful, and we stop at a couple of overlooks and walk to some red cliffs along the way. We intersect the Gulfshore Way West bike trail which goes alongside the ocean for a ways. Just lovely.
Next we drove to North Rustico Beach, where we had an early dinner at Fisherman’s Wharf Restaurant. The couple we met on the ferry, Beth and Dave recommended this restaurant. Coincidentally, it’s lobster season now, so we have a wonderful lobster dinner there and head home afterwards.
Another day, we tackle part of the Red Sands Shores drive, on the south side of the Central Coastal Drive. Here we visit Victoria-by-the-Sea, another artists’ community and find a really picturesque lighthouse here, the Leards Front/Palmer Back Range Lighthouse. It was established in 1879 and is unique in that it houses two lights, each pointed in a different direction.
Beautiful farmlands cover PEI with a patchwork of patterns and colors.Further down the road, we stop at Chelton Beach, and walk for a bit along its red sand. The water is almost Island Girl temperature, but not quite.
Still searching for that place to jump in the ocean …