As we began to approach the east coast a few weeks ago, my kids started asking “Is this the place where we go over the huge bridge?” Or, as we crossed any number of “large-ish” bridges: “Was that the big bridge?” I had been telling them, before we ever left home, about the big Confederation Bridge that stretched across from the main land (New Brunswick) into P.E.I. and they were imagining the things of fairy tales (I’m pretty sure). I, to be honest, was not sure exactly what to expect. My sister had been on the east coast the year previous and had told me about traveling into P.E.I. I remember being a little disappointed when she told me you could see the island province from across the water. I had imagined pulling up onto the bridge and driving, seemingly, off into the sunset. I think the rest of my family was expecting the same thing as we approached the starting point. (I, at least, knew a little better.) After working it up in their minds, the drive across turned out to be pretty disappointing – which is really too bad, because the 12 km long bridge really is a pretty amazing feat!
As Sherri already mentioned in her post about P.E.I., the roads were not as well (or largely) marked as some other places we’d been, and it took us all of 10 minutes to be off on a wrong turn too. While my heart may have still been wandering the wild lands of Newfoundland, I did find it quickly drawn to the patch worked hills, and quaint houses (Sherri probably painted the best picture when she referred to them as ‘doll houses’) found around every turn. Sherri was also ‘spot on’ when she said to me it was like southern Manitoba (farming) meets the east coast.
We did, eventually, make our way to our sites in Cavendish Campground, Prince Edward Island National Park. Sherri and I had booked these sites mere days after the national parks opened for bookings (late Jan.? early Feb.?) and even at that time it was slim pickings! We ended up opting for water/electric sites somewhat near the coast. There was one road of non-serviced sites between us and the beach (with the sites on the north side of the road backing onto the beach itself). In theory this seemed really cool, in reality I don’t think I would have liked it. It was a wide open area (I tend to prefer tree cover to feel ‘campy’), and I can only imagine how “fun” it is to be in a tent on the edge of the ocean when a storm rolls in. (All of those sites were filled with tenters.)
Then there was the campsite visitors. Back when we were in Moncton, after dark, Erick and Dale had been sitting by the fire when they thought they heard something in the bushes. Dale shone the flashlight in that direction, only to be met with the reflective eyes of a raccoon. He scampered off, and the guys continued to visit. A little while later they thought they heard him again, so Dale turned the flashlight back on and Erick looked to the left to find the little rascal sitting mere feet from his chair! Both guys jumped in shock and then had a pretty good laugh about it. So, when us adults were sitting by the campfire in P.E.I. and heard some rustling by the trailer, experience told us what to expect. Out came the flashlight, and sure enough – back reflected those raccoony eyes…….times 3! They all scampered off as we sat and laughed. It wasn’t until the next day, when Dale and Erick were talking to some of our tenting neighbours, that we realized the raccoons had scampered from our site straight to their evening feast of our neighbours food.
As we’ve been travelling there is a small part of me that feels defiant about doing “touristy” things. I feel like I should return from this trip having found some off-the-path, amazing, only locally known things to do – therefore making me the best traveller to ever travel (I’m not actually serious about that last bit). But who am I kidding – we are only at each location for a short time, and I’m not risking missing out on the “must see/do’s” of each place. And so, when in P.E.I., a trip to the Green Gables Heritage Site is in order.
The kids very first stop here was to pick up a workbook of site activities so they could earn their Xplorer Tags. We then walked over to a picnic area where (that day) the kids got the chance to help make ice cream (the old fashioned way!)
It was shortly after this that our group got kind of separated. Sherri ended up with a few kids, I ended up with a few, and Dale and Erick had Norah. I think they were looking for an opportunity to ‘slip away’ so they could do this:
One activity the kids needed to do to earn their Xplorer dog tags was take a picture dressed up as Anne. You know my boy was committed to those tags when he was willing to do this:
We walked through the Green Gables house:
And then explored some of the paths surrounding the property. We came across a couple of trees that people had carved their names into, they looked kind of cool….but I’m not sure the tree felt the same. It was still alive and healthy looking, but we still told the kids they couldn’t do any engraving. They used their little pencils to write their names on the birch bark instead. Later, on the ‘lover’s lane’ path, Dale wrote mine and his name inside a heart too. (Awe! I love all that ooey gooey mushy love stuff………lol. Not so much – but it was sweet none the less.)
We took one last photo of all the kids on an old fashioned buggy, collected their Xplorer dog tags, and had a quick ice cream treat before the heritage site closed.
I realized as we were walking back to the cars that I didn’t actually take a moment to walk through their gift store. Not a big deal – there wasn’t anything I felt like I needed to buy, but I like looking! I really did enjoy our time in P.E.I. and could easily see making another trip here with more time to spend on the things we loved and the others we didn’t have time for!