Tag Archives: Prince Edward Island

Water, wind and waves

After Dave and Anne had left for their camping trip, we moved our base to Charlottetown for the next two days. And even when they were not around, we were able to stay at their townhouse, thanks to the great Canadian hospitality! With its 42.000 people Charlottetown is the biggest city on the island and also the capital of the province. For our further exploration of the western part of the island it meant that we were saving about an hour’s drive each way.

Charlottetown is the capital of Prince Edward Island

Since we hadn’t found the small rocky cove the day before, we tried our luck again. This time we were more successful. We parked our car close to the beach and walked the short distance to the “Thunder Cove”. As we were getting closer, we could see that this was the spot that we were looking for. The fine red sand had turned into red sandstone, which is slowly eroding being exposed to the sea. It invites to take off the shoes and explore some more, where the water level makes it less easily accessible.

Exploring the “Thunder Cove”

This was the picture we had seen in some travel brochures

On the way back we took the longer road that followed the southern shore of the central part of the island. We found more red and white striped lighthouses and rolling fields of potatoes, for which PEI is also known for. In the distance we could still see the dark clouds, which had been gathering all day above Charlottetown. And just when we had reached the house it started pouring rain like there was no tomorrow. The soundtrack was completed by the deafening thunder as the lightning struck somewhere close by and the firefighters came rushing in to check on the neighbours.

Prince Edward Island is also known for its potatoes

The next day there were no traces left of the thunderstorm from the night before, except that our car was now clean and shiny as if it was brand new. This did not last very long, as we had planned to drive up to the northern tip of the island. There, the “North Point Lighthouse” is warning incoming ships about the large reef just below the surface. At low tide it is possible to go and explore it. That’s what we wanted to do initially, but I had somehow looked up the tides for a different location, so that the reef was completely covered by water when we got there.

The reef at “North Point” was fully covered by the sea when we got there

But not only the shallow water led to lots of whitecapping on the ocean. It was also the wind that was constantly blowing as a strong breeze. And since this is the norm and not an exception, they have decided to make use of the wind by putting up numerous wind turbines, turning the whole area into a wind farm. A short interpretive trail leads along the steep red cliffs at the base of the tall white towers. And despite the constant sound of the blades cutting through the wind, it makes a great picnic spot with a fantastic view!

We followed a small trail through the red rocks and white windmills

There was a tall cliff just behind the fence

Back at the car we decided to follow “Highway 14”, a small road that follows the shoreline all the way to West Cape. Here, a square black-and-white tower was waiting for us to be added to our collection of lighthouses. The beach next to it tried convincing us to dip into the water, but air and water temperature were much colder than the day before, so instead we jumped back into our car and headed back to Charlottetown to spend our afternoon there.

An old graveyard next to “Highway 14”

The black-and-white lighthouse at West Cape made for a nice change

The downtown area of the capital is quite small, so had plenty of time to walk up and down the main street to the harbour and back in search for some rum cake for Raghu. He wanted to take some back to Calgary and had missed the chance to get them in Halifax. Now he had to accept the fact that they were much smaller and more expensive over here. At least we could still get the world’s best ice cream from “Cow’s creamery”, which is originally from the island!

The harbour of Charlottetown

Little restaurants line the streets of the downtown area

The Red Sand Island

After visiting the “Cabot Trail” in the north of Nova Scotia, it was time to say goodbye to Maren. So we drove back to Halifax and dropped her off at the airport. While Maren was waiting for her flight back to Germany, Raghu and I continued to the small town of Caribou, where we wanted to take the ferry to Prince Edward Island (PEI). With still an hour left before departure we cooked some dinner, but had to eat it before it was fully cooked as it took longer than expected.

The time was not enough to finish making dinner before boarding the ferry to PEI
By the time we left Nova Scotia the sun had already set

We arrived at Dave and Anne’s place late at night, but were still greeted warmly. They are the parents of Sarah, our former exchange student, and had invited us to visit them on the island. Both of them had taken the next day off to show us the highlights of Canada’s most densely populated province. We started next door, where we introduced Raghu to “strawberry u-pick”. Needless to say that he was very excited about it and almost got a strawberry overdose.

Picking strawberries with Dave and Anne
It didn’t take long before Raghu arrived in strawberry heaven

On our way to the easternmost point of PEI we stopped at the “Basin Head Provincial Park”. The attraction here is not only the crystal clear water and the fine red sand, but also the fact that walking on the beach creates funny noises. This lead to the nickname of “Singing sands”. Locals love this place for its steep harbour walls, which are used for jumping off. Lifeguards keep an eye on everyone, although it’s not meant for jumping.

The beach at “Basin Head Provincial Park” is known for making funny noises when walking on it
Everyone enjoys jumping off the bridge and the steep harbour walls

At East Point another lighthouse was waiting for us. It was already relocated once due to the eroding of the coastline. Pretty close by is small sign warning about the “end of the world”, possibly referring to the crumbling cliffs and the sheer endless ocean stretching all the way to the horizon. However, when we turned around it was also marked as the “beginning of the world”, as if the island was waiting for us to explore some more. Clearly someone has thought this through!

The lighthouse at East Point
Here we found the “End of the World”

Close to Greenwich we decided to go for a small hike through lush fields full of blooming wild flowers at the westernmost part of the “PEI National Park”. As we continued, the trail led across a newly renovated floating boardwalk through a landscape of dunes, lakes and low shrubs. Once we reached the ocean we had the beach almost to ourselves, just a handful of people were within sight. The only thing that kept us from jumping into the waves were the numerous jellyfish floating around, enjoying the warm currents.

A newly built floating boardwalk winds through the dunes
The beach at the end of the boardwalk is quiet and deserted

The next day, Dave and Anne had to pack for their camping trip, so Raghu and I set off on our own. We made our first stop in New Glasgow, where the “PEI Preserve Company” is located. We went inside and watched how jams and chocolate covered chips were made while trying the large selection of salsa and jam. The tourists are brought here in bus loads, but it definitely offers nice souvenirs and gifts for everyone.

Raghu and I were sampling most of the delicious spread at the “PEI Preserve Company”

Not too far away lies the famous Cavendish, where Lucy Maud Montgomery spent her childhood and got the inspiration for her well-known novel “Anne of Green Gables”. Montgomery used to live here in the late 19th century on a small farm with her relatives. The building is still standing and has been turned into a museum, neatly furnished with items as described in her book and from that period.

The farm, where Montgomery spent most of her childhood, is now a museum

The house is fully furnished in style of the late 19th century

After visiting the farm and the surroundings, including little hikes with fanciful names such as “Haunted Woods” or “Lovers Lane”, we left this busy place in search for the picturesque rocks we had seen in a brochure. However, we didn’t find them, but instead found little fishing houses, churches and a beach with relatively few jellyfish at “Cabot Beach Provincial Park”. This was our chance to get into the water, which felt even warmer than last time we had tried it in the north of Nova Scotia!

Little fishing huts along the road