Prince Edward Island Pt. 2
No trip to Prince Edward Island is complete without touring “Anne’s Land”. It is so easy to see why this coast was Lucy Maud Montgomery’s favourite. Unlike much of the waterfront here which is crammed with cottages on narrow lots, farms ran right down to the ocean. The vibrant contrast of the sparkling blue water and the ruddy soil was, at times, startling to the senses. After a while, I became used to so much saturated colour and open space and I crave it now.
We nearly missed my favourite house on the tour. I didn’t know it would be my favourite house. As it turns out, it was also Lucy Maud’s. This was the house of her Aunt and Uncle Campbell in Park Corner. We had to do a 3 point turn off a narrow highway and on the edge of a farmer’s field to get back to it. Remember that we are in a 36′ RV!
George and Maureen Campbell are the owners/operators of the Anne of Green Gables Museum, located on route 20 in Park Corner. The Campbell home, that L.M. Montgomery called ‘the wonder castle of my childhood’, was built in 1872 by her Uncle John and Aunt Annie Campbell. The first Campbells settled here in 1776 and it is still in the Campbell family after more than two hundred and thirty years.
The view of the barn and the cove was stunning and each of the rooms were beautifully kept examples of what they would have looked like at the turn of the 20th century. The bookcases were full and one cabinet had first edition copies of Montgomery’s books signed to her family members. Rarely have I been in such an old home that is so beautifully kept and lacks the ‘heavy’ feeling that so many old farmhouses, particularly here in Ontario, can have.
Our next stop was “Green Gables“. This was L.M. Montgomery’s cousin’s home where she spent much of her youth and inspired the setting for “Anne of Green Gables”.
There are some downsides to the great thing that protecting and preserving a historic building can bring. There was not much feeling here. Lots of well kept old objects and some beautiful surroundings, but that sense of life was missing. It was an impressive collection, however and well worth a see.
The last place we visited in “Avonlea” was actually quite a distance from Cavendish. The famous “White Sands Hotel”. The building was once an Ohio businessman’s private retreat, but is now a hotel in operation called ‘Dalvay by the Sea’. It sits on a lovely lagoon a short walk from the Dunes of the eastern edge of PEI National Park. We were there a full month early as the hotel was only being prepared for guests. The custodian was out sweeping the deck an apologised that he could not open the hotel to us. The carpets were just cleaned and were still wet. There was also a very ‘mean’ guard dog who liked to bark, but couldn’t be bothered to get up to complete the effort!
I have visited many places that were empty but still have a ‘feeling’ to them. To me, the life on the Island was not in the attractions, but in the wild places, the windswept dunes, the cliffs and in the faces of the farmers we passed with a wave from their tractors.
As promised – for Patrick – Here is a picture of the RV (we were in eastern Quebec when I took this!)
Next – PEI National Park – the beaches and lighthouses…