Places: Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

This trip recap will go a little out of order now, and if anyone reading this blog is from New Brunswick I know that they are going to be upset that it is being skipped for the time being but I certainly will come back to it.

Our visit to PEI was the anchor of the trip, our first thing we booked that let us get started with everything else. My parents had also planned a trip to Maritimes this summer and after scoping out dozens of places to meet up, we found a great spot in Charlottetown to stay for four days that would hold all of us.

On our way into Charlottetown, we stopped on the south shore of the Island beside Argyle Shore Provincial Park to spend the the afternoon with our friends from Ottawa – they had rented a place for the week and our arrival coincided with the arrival of good weather. After a miserable three weeks of weather for the island in July, our stay had some of the hottest weather of the summer so we were very lucky. After the day on the beach exploring tide pools and even having a swim, we stopped before arriving at our house at Pizza Delight for some garlic fingers, a genuine Maritime tradition.

Endless red sand at Argyle Shore

On our first morning we headed north to to see Anne of Green Gables – a recent interest of our daughter’s since she has just started reading the books so the timing was excellent. More surprisingly, our son was also fascinated by the farm and the old house. My memory of the last time I visited this site about twenty years ago was of huge crowds and tour buses but it was not like that at all. In fact, this was a general theme on the island – it did not seem to be very busy at all despite it being the height of tourist season. I am sure this does not bode well for the local economy and people were certainly talking about it. We spent a couple of hours at the site but didn’t really take the time to explore this part of the island much on this trip.

What a job…

On Saturday, it was a beautiful day and we found out where all the people were in PEI – they were at Basin Head beach just past Souris on the east side of the island. This is a beach that I had first read about here and although it is about an hour outside of Charlottetown, it certainly doesn’t hurt it’s popularity. Although I am sure there were a good number of tourists there, the crowd seemed to mostly be made up of locals. Once we made our way through the crowds, the kids really enjoyed walking out to the sandbars, making castles and finding little sea critters.

Hanging out at the Lobster Shack in Souris

On our way out to Basin Head, we stopped at the Lobster Shack in Souris for some excellent lobster rolls and local oysters. Even little E tried an oyster! And despite her distaste for it, she managed to keep it down which is probably more than I could have done at that age – I would have ordered the grilled cheese. As an aside, I have never seen anyone eat more lobster than little E did on this trip – whole lobsters, lobster rolls, lobster mac n’ cheese – she was willing to take any delivery mechanism to get her favorite crustacean.

Exploring Basin Head

On Sunday, we spent some more time in Charlottetown, exploring the harbour area and some of the historic sites downtown including the area around Province House since it is currently undergoing a massive renovation. We also had lunch at the famous Water & Prince Corner Shop, an excellent seafood feast on the picnic tables they have outside. H and I split a seafood chowder that was my favourite of the trip. Later that day we went back out to Argyle Shore Provincial Park, stopping first at the Dream Park in Cornwall just outside of Charlottetown. This massive park could entertain the kids for hours and had many elements that we just don’t see in our cookie-cutter parks here in Ottawa anymore. A good run there helped everyone work off one of their multiple Cows ice cream trips.

To me, the Argyle Shore beach is quintessentially Prince Edward Island. The red sand and the tide pools make it look like a postcard. On a future trip, I would be tempted to spend my time on this shore. And again, despite the beautiful weather, there couldn’t have been more than a dozen people at the park. 

On our way from PEI on our final morning we took the time to tour Government House, the residence of the Lieutenant Governor and also got in a final lobster roll at Dave’s Lobster near the water. Overall, PEI was certainly one of the kids’ favourite stops on the trip and although small, we will still have more to do next time we return since our four days just let us put a small dent in the activities that it offers.

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