My final stop on my Atlantic Canada journey would be the smallest province in Canada, Prince Edward Island. Waking up in Moncton, New Brunswick on this very windy day, the plan was to drive across the Confederation Bridge to the island and make my way to the East side to Cavendish before spending the night in Charlottetown. As soon as I stepped outside, I discovered the radio weather reports the night before were not joking about the high wind warnings. I nearly got blown over. When I got into the car and turned on the radio I heard that parts of Moncton had lost power over night due to the wind and trees being blown over. As I drove out of the city I listened further and heard that the Confederation Bridge had been closed all morning and was only now (at noon) being reopened to small cars. Large trucks, camper-vans and motorcycles were still not permitted. Good thing I had a slow start to my morning or I would have been stuck in holding on the side of the road like I saw numerous large vehicles had been when I arrived at the bridge.
Crossing the Confederation Bridge was an experience in itself. The bridge is 12,900m long and to the naked eye seems to have several curves and bends over the open ocean. I had never crossed a bridge before that I could not see the end. Then lets add the wind factor in. Driving only 50km/h, I held a firm grip on the steering wheel as I could feel the whole car shaking as I drove. Now I understood why no large vehicles or motorcycles were allowed to cross. They could easily get blown over the side into the freezing waves that crashed below.
As soon as I made it across the bridge, I noticed there was a spot to pull off and take a few photos near the bridge. Making sure to not step to close to the edge of the cliff and get blown over from the strong winds, I had some fun snapping a few photos of my hair doing a crazy dance while in front of a PEI sign. I could taste the salt as the wind picked out the water and blew it through the air. Even my car was getting covered in a white salty coating.
A short 30 minutes later, I was on the complete opposite side of the PEI at Cavendish. My goal was to make it to the beach to see the brilliant red cliffs but as I drove, I happened to miss the turn off to the beach and saw the Anne of Green Gables house. I grew up reading this book and watching the series on TV but I had completely forgotten that the house was here. I had to stop. Stepping back in time to wood stoves and horse and buggies, the house was exactly as I remembered. White with dark green shutters surrounded by a white picket fence. For having being built in 1831, the house which inspired Lucy Maud Montgomery to write the novel about a little red-headed orphan was spacious and beautifully decorated. Typical for the time to have many rooms separated by doors and walls, there was an open lounge area with fireplace which lead into the dining area with a wood burning stove. The upstairs housed multiple bedrooms and even the maids rooms which had a separate entrance to the house and stairs that led to the kitchen downstairs.
After about an hour of wandering the house and a few of the trials that are on the property, it was time to head to the beach. Not exactly the best day for the beach but with it being the middle of October, I suppose it could have been worse (it could be snowing). The wind had died down a little and there was even little beams of sun trying the break through the clouds by the time I reached the remarkable red cliffs of Cavendish Beach. With it being mid-October and factoring in the high winds, there was practically no one at the beach. The entire time I was there I counted 6 people. Even with the undesirable weather, I could understand why this is a hot spot in the summer. The beach is open with fine orange-red sand which lead into the red cliffs on the far end of the area. A series of walking paths along the bottom of the sand dunes (you are not allowed to walk on the top of the dunes as they are protected) lead you through wooded areas as well as across a little pond filled with reeds and lily pads.
Wandering the area, I had lost track of time until my stomach started to warn me it was time to get moving and head to Charlottetown to check into my bed and breakfast and eat dinner. Charlottetown is the capital of PEI but is relativity small city. Easily walk-able, made easier by the convenient red, green and blue lines on the sidewalks which lead you to historical sites, the pathway along the ocean or to shopping areas around the city. I couldn’t resist following the ocean walk which brought me to the historical walk before I searched where my next seafood dinner would be. Conveniently, these lines also lead me to a restaurant/fish shack along the water where I devoured massive oysters and a whole lobster with a side of local PEI white wine. HEAVEN!
After I ate slowly to savor in the deliciousness, it was time to head back and prepare for my trek back to Halifax and my last official day in Canada. My 10:30PM flight meant another red eye flight over the pond to London…my new home.
Things I noticed while in Atlantic Canada:
- People drive below the posted speed limit even though there is significantly much less traffic
- Seafood was not any cheaper than in Alberta
- The fall colours are remarkable!
- Everything is closed on Sundays
- The McLobster at McDonald’s is not a myth. It was an actual sandwich until a couple years ago when they took it off the menu because of the price of lobster was too high (I happened to stop at a McDonald’s for a bathroom break and it just so happened to be the location that invented it!)