Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island 8/26 – 9/2

Charlottetown, PEI, Canada:  Population = 34,562 (metro area = 64,487), elevation = 0 to 161 feet, average January low temp = 10.2, Average July high temp = 73.9, average rainy days = 130.8, annual snowfall = 114.3”, annual rainfall = 34.9”

From Quebec City, we motor East toward the coast.  Our route takes us along the St. Lawrence River, toward the Gaspe Peninsula.  The northernmost of the Appalachian Mountains rise above rolling farmland.  By the time we stop in Sainte-Luce for the night, the river is too wide to see across.

The last of the Appalachians tower over the farms
The St. Lawrence River has deep tides so these sculptures rise out of the water then sink into it.

The next leg of our journey runs South through pine and birch forests, through frequent highway construction, to Miramichi, then on to Charlottetown.  To get to Charlottetown, we take the Confederation Bridge across the Northumberland Strait.  This is the longest bridge in the world that crosses water that freezes in the winter.  That is something I would rather not see happen.

Crossing the Confederation Bridge on a grey day

After a cluster of tourist traps at the end of the bridge, the highway winds across countryside that looks, to me, like the photos you see of the English countryside.  When a farm has been working the same land for centuries, each field has very distinct borders and the area looks like a patchwork quilt.

A quilt of farmland

Charlottetown is a harbor city.  It is located where three rivers converge, just before they flow out to the ocean through a narrow gap between two peninsulas.  The waterfront is lined with piers where everything from fishing boats to sail boats to exotic yachts are tied up.  The ocean is part of everyone here and it permeates the culture.

A pier full of sailboats waiting for the wind
Lobster rolls, cold beer, and boats

Within a fisherman’s cast from the piers are the inevitable seafood restaurants.  Who has the best lobster rolls?  Too soon to tell, need more research.  Everybody has chowder too.  Not some pasty New England clam chowder, this is the real stuff with all kinds of fish and shellfish amongst the potatoes.

Lots of lobster, a little sauce, and a bun
Hearty seafood chowder with a nice sprinkle of shoestring potatoes

There are a lot of old stone buildings in Charlottetown.  St. Paul’s Anglican church was built in 1896, but looks a lot older, probably due to the salty sea air.  The interesting thing about this building is that the ceiling is built exactly like a sailing ship.  At St. Dunstan’s Basilica we found more of the nautical in the anchors in the ceiling.  Maybe sailing the North Atlantic gives a person good reason to pray.

St. Paul’s ceiling like an upside down sailboat
St. Dunstan’s ceiling honors the sailors

Marylu grew up reading “Anne of Green Gables”, so we had to go see the house.  This is the beautifully restored house that was the inspiration for the one in the story.  There is also a museum with lots of information about the author and her life.

The house of Green Gables
Anne’s room. She would put a light in the window to let Diana know to come over.

The drive back from Cavendish (a.k.a. Avonlea) took us through the north shore beaches.  Red sandstone cliffs rise and crumble into the sea.  A little further on, the cliffs turn into sand dunes, wild and lumpy and dotted with sturdy grasses.  We got a brief look at the dunes before the sky opened up and let go with a massive downpour.

The red sandstone cliffs of Prince Edward Island
North shore dunes, about 5 minutes before the storm hits

Lots of things to do in Charlottetown.  Definitely tour the Cows factory.  Amazing ice cream, great cheese, and funny cow artwork.  Tour the Beaconsfield house, formerly the home of a wealthy shipbuilder.  Check out the Regimental Museum for some military history.  Rent a cottage on the beach and watch the waves roll in.

Great ice cream and hilarious t shirts at Cows
Beaconsfield house
Many of the military uniforms on PEI feature kilts.

Next up: Halifax


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We are two recent retirees who decided to sell the house, pull up stakes, and explore North America. We are both being tourists and looking for the right blend of people, place, and geography that makes for the perfect place to retire.

3 thoughts on “Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island 8/26 – 9/2”

  1. Lovely photos! I would love to visit PEI and that part of Canada sometime. We’re planning a road trip this month to include Banff and Jasper National Parks. You’ve given me inspiration to blog and post photos during our trip.


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