North of Nova Scotia is the enchanted land of Prince Edward Island (PEI), a maritime province of eastern Canada.
I consider PEI enchanting because it’s 114,000 residents are 85 percent Scottish and Irish, most of which still have a distinct brogue. In fact, the sea-kissed hills are almost as green as Ireland. And the undisturbed fishing villages take you back more than 50 years in time.
The inspiration of Lucy Montgomery’s novel series, Anne of Green Gables, is found here on the island. While Anne was a part of Montgomery’s imagination, the house Anne lived in was actually the home of Montgomery’s cousins who lived in Cavendish. Today the home is part of Prince Edward Island National Park, and you can tour the grounds seasonally.
PEI is so narrow, you are never more than 10 minutes from the ocean, even from the center of the island. However, if you are driving to the sea, do not expect signs to help map your route. PEI has the worst road signage I’ve ever encountered, and a co-pilot to navigate the roadways is a must. Review a map to determine which towns you will travel through and even make a checklist, if you can. Road signs only designate what town is ahead. Your map might state you’re on Hwy. 2, but you’ll never see a sign indicating the roadway.
- Do not panic if you come upon a full-service gas station. PEI does not have self-service stations.
- Expect people to smile the first time they hear you speak. I was told I had an accent – a “TV voice.”
- Do not expect to find a Starbucks or any coffee shop on the island. If you do find a cafe that serves coffee, skip it. These people are known for their tea, so enjoy as the locals do.
You can cover PEI in a few days, then ferry over to Nova Scotia or drive to New Brunswick. But the enchantment of the land, the sea and the people of PEI stays with you.