Prince Edward Island, Travelogue, September 2007
Friday, September 7th, 2007:
It was slow going driving out of Brooklyn. Not such an original idea to drive out of the city on a Friday afternoon. At about Orange, CT after the Merritt (CT 15) turns into the Wilbur we were cruisin' on into Boston. We hooked up with Bev and Max in Boston somewhere off of Cambridge St. I don't know the are too well; however, we took a short walk to J.P. Licks where the memorable events were the Noddle Kuggle ice cream, the Sheryl Ann's Challah for our time in PEI, and the conversation with Max. He's taking a very noble path in life and has found himself at City Year working to develop a leadership program. Out of limited knowledge I won't expand on that too much; however, everything I heard was quite interesting, and it's awesome that's he contributing to the year of service effort in the US. At Taft they told us, "Not to be served, but to serve." And at times it was more slogan than action. It's funny that IBM has this 'Do' campaign, but really it's nice to see something beyond procrastination. Doing could be a theme for this trip as a whole being that its genesis is steeped in it. Marla was a Anne of Green Gables fun long since, and she's wanted to visit the story's setting. Deciding was easy when considering how to spend our time off. Why talk about always wanting to do something when it's within your means? So, at the end of the first day we enjoyed a nice desert with good friends, and slept well before another day.
Saturday, September 8th:
Driving. more driving. more driving. We were in the car for about 13 hours. We made the better than 750 miles in good time driving along empty roads enjoying along the way a tax free liquor shop in New Hampshire, thick accents in Bangor, Maine, our first lobster rolls, ever, deluxe fries, and the surprise that PEI is actually a big island. After all that, we found our house for the upcoming week, A Bed by the Ocean, to be quaint, welcoming, and ready to have us sleep til we were ready to wake up.
Sunday, September 9:
A combined stroke of brilliance and luck was for us to bring our bikes, thanks to Marla's ideation, and a last minute upgrade to a slightly larger car, a Kia Rondo. Leisurely rising and realizing that we truly have a fabulous view extending out from a nice long yard we got to enjoy that first cup of, 'you've arrived', vacation coffee. That's a great feeling! Worth the price of admission alone. We gathered ourselves late in the morning and put our bikes to the road. We visited the east end lighthouse at the eastern most tip of island, then made our way slightly down the southern roads before looping back along the confederated trail to Elmira. At Elmira we explored the island's train history, which is quite fascinating. The island has had more than 100 train stations over the last 130 years, and it's coincidentally it's the reason PEI is part of Canada. Issuing bonds for the railroad, the island nation faulted on it's ability to repay the creditors, and it bankrupted and joined the confederated states of Canada. We enjoyed Federer's victory at the U.S. Open, cooked some dinner, and took it easy.
Monday, September 10:
Monday was relaxing heading over to Basin Head, which is known for it's singing sands. The beach has a high silica content and as your feet press the sand together it emits a grinding or more romantic reading -- singing sound. Beside the beach is the Fisheries museum housing a nice history of the island's fisheries and fisher persons. There is a lovely collection of dioramas including ice, coastal, river, and deep sea fishing. Being an island with an interior bay and ocean exposure provides a nice assortment of opportunities for fishing. I often think to myself how fortunate it is to have all of our modern conveniences and comforts for daily living. Fishing in 19th century PEI did not have it as easy. They specialized and were able to help build up the island. Inspired by our tour of the museum and a general love of aquatic creatures we headed off to the fish market. Sadly, it was closed and contrary to the recommendation of the tourist office we headed to the local supermarket for some not as fresh (up to 3 days is still pretty good) Hake. It was the first time either of us had that fish, and we both enjoyed it immensely. To end a lovely exploring day we headed down to the red beach out front of our 'Bed by the Ocean' and made a fire as the sun set. Thankfully parting ways with the mosquitoes as the sun completely disappeared for the night we were able to enjoy the waves, moon, and accompanying firelight.
Tuesday, September 11:
To quote my extremely wise grandfather, Sam Beatty, "it ain't easy be lazy." Despite this and any obstacle at all, we successfully managed to laze about for the entirety of Tuesday. It was our worst weather day in PEI. There were some sprinklings of rain throughout the gray and windy day. But that was no match for our coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon, catching up on Law and Order, continuing to read Bound for Glory and continuing what was to become a daily ritual, the nap. Since we decided that we were making the trip to PEI, Marla and I convinced ourselves we were going to be eating lobster all the way from the time we left Brooklyn until we returned. Conscientious consumers that we are, we did not eat lobster at every meal; however, we did on this Tuesday night make our way to St. Margarets for their famed (and highly advertised) lobster supper.
Wednesday, September 12:
Marla had been inspired to head to PEI for some time having enjoyed the Anne of Green Gables tales, and we both agreed to steer far away from any schlocky touristy traps. Thankfully, the National Park which includes the famed home where Anne was based extends further to the East away from throngs of snap happy folks exclaiming, "Look, isn't just as you imagined?". The quieter woods were perfectly lovely for us to roam as though they were the 'haunted woods' of the stories. Along the way there were some lovely lookouts for provocative and enriching if not heated discussion along with delicious sandwiches. Throughout the trip, we did a really nice job of blending our park slope coop groceries with local additions. Post lunch and still in the woods we came upon the bubbling springs beginning to the expanse of water we had enjoyed during our lunch and other parts of the walk. I am still yet to see a geyser, and this was far from a spectacle, rather it was a nice gurgling debut to the surface for the water passing on perpendicularly. The afternoon concluding like several others with us in search of fish; this night it would be freshly caught Halibut. Added to that bounty were some delicious local oysters, which we proceeded to shuck down at the water's edge while nursing some delicious local brews.
Thursday, September 13:
Today was not quite as lazy as Tuesday, but a blanket strewn upon the singing sand reading our books and listening to waves sure is a nice continued change of pace. This was a very low key day to end with an exquiste meal. Like so many vacation destinations there are some true gem dining experiences. We were elated at what awaited us a the Inn at Fortune Bay. We had jicama and grapefruit salad. There were mussels in a divine wine sauce. There was amazing elk steak to be had, and I feasted on a divine piece of skate wing. To top it all off we had great coffee creme brulee. Everything went down easily with a nice local Seyval Blanc from Rossignol Winery.
Friday, September 14:
It was disheartening to find after waiting all week for the 4H show, that it was only limited to the judges on Friday. Knowing our drive was to begin early Saturday morning, it will require a special trip back to PEI for the annual affair. The sour note was redeemed in part by lunch at Bluefin. This was not exquisite New York Sushi, rather, we found ourselves enjoying a delightful helping of softshell crab and chips. To top off the recovered day, we ventured back to our awesome seafood shop for a cryopack of Scallops. Yea, a healthy portion with pasta for dinner that night made for a sweet wrap to the week. Seafood and beaches: it's kinda like an Excel circular reference you can never quite get enough of either. We were elated.
Saturday, September 15:
Packed and instantly nostalgic, we drove off from our bed by the sea and headed out on a rainy Saturday. The drive was pleasant and uneventful. We took a slightly different route with the intention of remaining a bit more coastal through Maine; however, rain enduring throughout the day and the prospect of landing up in Bar Harbor at night and exhausted had us divert earlier in the afternoon for an easier route. We hauled to Augusta, Maine, which I would not have been able to tell you prior is the capital, and we landed up at a fabulous hotel. Despite the week of beaching sunning and walking, there was no swimming to speak of in PEI. It was Kold water while we were there. On the other hand, the Senator Inn Best Western had a fantastic pool there in Augusta, ME. We enjoyed our salads, some swimming, and a low key evening. Well, not entirely low-key. HBO offered up some scintillating viewing, Inside Deep Throat. Dad had told me about it. He, his sister, and his mom had seen the controversial film when it originally came out, but I hadn't really understood what it was about. This only further confirmed what I already knew, I had the greatest grandmother there ever was.
Sunday, September 16, 2007:
We roused and hit the road at a reasonable hour. We brunched streetside in beautiful Portland, ME. I would certainly return there for an extended visit. The roads were a hint wearisome returning to New York, but such is the weekend experience. To indulge our parking karma a touch more, there was parking in front of the house making it easy to return home and conclude a delightful trip.
Lots of friends have looked slightly bewildered about voluntarily spending time in PEI. "Aren't you about 30 years younger than everyone else there?" Perhaps only physically. It suited Marla and myself, just fine.