For those of you who have known me for any length of time, you already know why this port was the crown jewel of the contract for me. I give you fair warning, if you don’t know what I’m talking about right now, this is going to be the most boring blog ever for you. Feel free to skip it because I’m about to geek out - big time.
That’s right, PEI is the setting for Anne of Green Gables!!! I couldn’t love a literary character more than Anne Shirley, with all of her drama and imagination and penchant for big words. I think most people I’ve talked to know Anne from the movies, and while I’ll always favor the book in any circumstance, this is the one anomaly I can think of in which the movies are just as good as the books. But I’m going to disappoint you a little now. Are you ready? OK. The movies weren’t filmed on PEI but rather in Ontario, Canada. Are you disappointed? I was too for a second, but I got over it really quickly when we took off in our fancy rental car (OMG you guys! The cup holders had a button you could press to either warm or cool your drink!) and started driving towards the other side of the island. I was smitten with the island before we even got to the “Anne House.” It reminded me in many ways of Lancaster, PA with its winding roads lined with farms and fields and dotted with tractors and cows and sheep. Patches of trees on fire with fall colors lit up the sides of hills and surrounded lakes (of shining waters – ha). The roads are empty and wide and you feel this sense of freedom and peace as you drive over the crests of hills and around bends full of trees reaching out their arms in a display of red and yellow and orange.
We stopped at a little beach with dunes that reminded me of a scene in one of the movies where Anne is standing on the shore, her hair blowing in the breeze and her head off in the clouds as usual, when a gust of wind catches the manuscript she is holding and blows it all over the beach. Of course, as I walked along with my toes in the red sand that PEI is known for, I looked just like Anne did…in my head. As my own mind wandered through the pages of L.M. Montgomery’s novels that have been permanently ingrained in my mind, Ron stood back and allowed me to sink blissfully into my dorky literary gleefulness.
We arrived at the Anne House before the droves of tour buses got in and had the whole area practically to ourselves. It was perfect! We toured the home and farm that belonged to L.M. Montgomery’s uncle and inspired the setting for the Anne series. We also got to walk through the Haunted Wood where Anne twisted her ankle walking home with Diana Barry and then created so many scary images in her own mind that she caused herself to pass out while Diana ran for help. And later I got to walk down Lover’s Lane with my very own Gilbert Blythe. Good thing that awful Josie Pye wasn’t around!
Ok, ok, ok, I’ll give you a break from my little nerd-fest here. But seriously, this was an absolute dream come true for me. There are very few places I have left to go and even fewer that are “life-long” dreams. If I have learned nothing else the past few years, I have learned that what you build up in your mind about a place is usually much more wonderful than the place itself, so when PEI did not let me down, even a little, I was delighted. It couldn’t have been better.
Anyhow, after we (sadly) said farewell to L.M. Montgomery’s imagination, we were starving and decided to stop off for "land lunch" and this really unbelievably amazing ice cream from a place called Cow’s. We couldn’t find a subway so we stopped at Boom Burger instead. It’s exactly like 5 Guys except they have a poutine option for the French fries. If you don’t know this already, poutine is a uniquely Canadian concoction of salty brown gravy poured over cheese curds and French fries. I’ll try just about anything but I was hesitant with the poutine. It just didn’t sound that good to me (if you know me, you know I generally snub junk food). I stand corrected. Poutine is awesome! You must give it a try once in this lifetime. After lunch we headed over to Cow’s and split a scoop of ice cream. If it weren’t for the fact that we just ate burgers, we probably would’ve gotten three scoops each. This stuff is so delicious. I don’t know what they do to get their ice cream so smooth and creamy, but whatever it is, all other ice cream companies should take a lesson. Plus they put something in some of their flavors that they call Moo Crunch and I’m pretty sure it’s exactly what heaven tastes like. It’s ridiculous.
So all of that was our last day on PEI. I wrote about it first because I was just that excited over it. We had been to the island a few other times before we had the chance to get out to do the whole Anne thing, but mostly we just walked around Charlottetown, found some wifi, peeked in the little shops, and enjoyed the coastal air. Oh and of course we got PEI muscles for lunch once. You just can’t go to the island and not get muscles. It’s their thing, ans they are really, really good when they’re that fresh.
I guess you can tell that I really loved this port. If you’ve ever wanted to go, I highly recommend it!