Anne’s Island

The Boy and I are home.  I’m writing this sitting on my beautiful deck on a rare Ontario August afternoon, warm, sunny and not humid = a rare treat in Northern Ontario. We’ve been home for a few days and this is actually my last day of vacation.  Tomorrow I go back to work, more than that I got a new job so tomorrow I go back to a week of transition, taking on my new job while wrapping up my old one. This is what happens when you get a promotion (albeit a temporary one) within your own branch and just down the hall from your home position – you don’t get to quit and run – they can still find you.  For today, I’m enjoying this beautiful day by doing nothing.  And since those days can be as rare as one in August without humidity – I’m taking full advantage and blogging our trip before I forget all about it.

So on with it already…

The Boy and I made a Must See list in the car while were driving out,

  1. Whale Watching
  2. Golf on the coast
  3. Peggy’s Cove
  4. Tides at Fundy
  5. Kayaking
  6. Eat a lot of seafood
  7. Giant wooden nickel
  8. Cabot Trail

We left Moncton late – the bed was just too comfortable, so while the Boy slept in King size bliss, I booked a campsite in PEI National Park, Stanhope Beach. Our original plan was to do Bay of Fundy first, then Halifax, then PEI – but we switched up the order once we got there for a couple reasons 1. The Boy really wanted to see PEI – it was high on his list, and knowing that the end of a vacation is always a little rushed I thought we should give it more time by stopping there first.  2.  The Boy had recently learned (even though I told him this months ago) that the Cabot trail is BEAUTIFUL – and it had suddenly ranked higher on his list.  If we were going to get that in we thought we should switch the order and do PEI, Cape Breton, Halifax, Fundy. 3.  I had recently learned that an old friend from High School was in PEI – and not that I was stocking him… but  the Boy and I both agreed that if we could get there while a local was there to give us the goods – all the better.

To Charlottetown we went, walked around, had some lunch including my first bowl of Chowder – things were already looking good – PEI didn’t seem to be out of food like Moncton was.

We also found another Brew Pub – and another sample tray and a big bowl of Muscles.  Both were delicious.

We connected with my former peep and who graciously took us on a personal boat tour of the Bay at Brackley Beach.  The last time I was on a boat with him, he threw me off an inner-tube, twisting my knee…. I’m happy to report no injuries this time.

Then it was time to face the music…. camping…  for 3 nights.

The Boy and I have never been camping together… the Boy has hardly been camping without me either, and although I haven’t been camping in a LONG time – having done it so much as a kid, I still like to consider myself a camper.  This was a true test.

The review? Camping in PEI is beautiful, we were in a Provincial park, we had an air mattress – a necessity, and thanks to BFF Kristyn we had all the necessary gear.  Some of the differences? When camping as a kid, we had a tent trailer – this is not the same as tenting.  Tenting is not so much cold, but damp.  While our full queen 12″ air mattress is awesome indoors, outdoors you’re sleeping on 12″ of cold damp air.  Once I figured out how to stay warm – things got much better.

We will camp again, and we did camp again in Fundy, but we need some practice.  So I have a place to reference it when that time comes, here are somethings we wish we had:

  1. A flashlight that is actually bright
  2. A paring knife
  3. An equally comfortable but slightly shallower air mattress
  4. A bigger tent
  5. A separate tent or covered area for food
  6. Bowls
  7. Less bugs/bug bites (okay – I know that’s asking a lot)
  8. Better fire making skills (The Boy says the wood was wet, I say, no one else seemed to be having such a problem – maybe we just need more practice)

I’ll probably write a few shorter posts with more details of the highlights from each part of the trip, but in an effort to provide useful information for anyone that happens to be Googling “Traveling in PEI” here’s what the Boy and I did and highly recommend in no particular order:

    1. Walked the Beach and swam in the oceanDSC_0611
    2. Went for an easy bike ride, that turned into a 30 km near death experience – PEI is internationally known for their bike trails, and for their rolling hills.  I can’t say polite language was always adhered to.
    3. New Glasgow Lobster Supper – pay for your lobster up front, and all you can eat bread, chowder, muscles, salad, your lobster (ranging from 1lb to 3 lbs depending on your anticipated level of gluttony) and dessert – a choice of 5 different kinds of pie. My peep told me this is where the locals go for lobster supper – we were not disappointed.  It was awesome!
    4. Camping
    5. Cottaging – if/when we come back we’ll probably stay for longer and rent a cottage instead of camping – camping was great, but at this point we’re still short-term campers.
    6. Relaxing – we both found we unwound pretty quickly once we got to PEI – it’s a relaxed and sleepy little island and I can definitely see why people keep going back.
    7. Golf – we golfed at Green Gables Golf Club – it’s one of the oldest courses and did not disappoint for both view and challenge…. unless you ask the Boy – who was not happy with his score card… but I’m not to speak of that. PEI has A LOT of Championship courses, but because we were golfing on a day that threatened rain – we didn’t want to risk getting rained out after paying $120 each. This course lets you play both on the ocean (the Boy’s request) and alongside Anne’s famous house – I think they call that two birds with one stone.DSC_0475
    8. The Dunes Gallery – a must see and a must eat.  It was so good we went twice. Lunch and dinner (two days – let’s not get ridiculous). So. So. So. Good.DSC_0618

 

  1. The wharfs – pick a hamlet any hamlet and get your camera ready for old fishing wharfs with piles of traps as far as you can see – if you pick one that’s off the beaten path all the better.
  2. Cows Ice Cream – it’s sickly sweet smell will grab you as soon as you open the door, but since it’s voted #1 Ice Cream in the world – you have to do it… plus there’s a giant cow, so…. enough said.DSC_0623The Boy said by the end of the trip PEI was the least memorable part of our trip, but don’t think that means for a second we won’t be back, or that it wasn’t absolutely awesome.  I don’t think we really had enough time there to fully do it justice – the late start out of Moncton really only gave us 2 days there.  It was awesome to have a couple of locals in town to tell us where to go and what to see not only in PEI but for the rest of our trip.  And the food was the absolute best we had on our trip – so fresh and SOOOO good.

Despite only 2 full days there – we did pretty well with our list:

  1. Whale Watching
  2. Golf on the coast
  3. Peggy’s Cove
  4. Tides at Fundy
  5. Kayaking
  6. Eat a lot of seafood
  7. Giant wooden nickel
  8. Cabot Trail

Our list for the next time we’re there?

  1. Golf one of the Championship courses
  2. Eat at lunch and dinner at Dunes Gallery
  3. Walk the gardens at Dunes Gallery
  4. See that year’s Anne show
  5. A little more time in Charlottetown – get in some Confederation history and a little shopping
  6. Beach walk and full beach day
  7. Bike the Confederation Trail
  8. Take the ferry
  9. Anne’s house and obligatory tour of Cavendish
  10. New Glasgow Lobster Supper – an absolute MUST!PEI 1

It might seem like a long list, but the benefit of touring around trying to do a little bit of everything – you get to learn the things you definitely want to do more of!

Tomorrow – we head to Cape Breton

Honeymooning

(Posted a little later – no power or wifi when camping?! How do people live!! – anyway this is coming to you live from the Charlottetown Public Library – while the Boy waits patiently for us to go golfing.)

Is it still considered a honeymoon if you’ve been married for nearly 2 years?

Or is it more significant that it’s your first vacation together (that’s longer than 3 days) since you met nearly 11 years ago?

Either way, the Boy and I are officially on vacation, and after 2 days of heavy driving, we’ve made it to Moncton New Brunswick and we’re still speaking to each other – a good sign.

IMG_1157

You may remember the big debate, Europe or East Coast.  I wanted to go FAR, the Boy wanted to go far enough, as in somewhere he had never been before.  He won, and given our summer – I’m glad he did. We may be 2 days away, but we’re not across an ocean.  I consider this a good thing.

Mom is under strict instructions to be good while I’m away – so there should be minimal updates on that end of things since a promise is a promise.  Of course, if she decides to act up – I am very accessible, and will pass along any news, including how her next round of chemo goes on the 15th.

So what have we been up to? A lot actually.  We’ve listened to our first audiobook – The Dinner, one of those books that makes you wonder about the sanity of the author. We trusted the GPS a little too much and ended up in dreaded Montreal after strict instructions to bypass it.  That may be the fault of the navigator who may have been busy knitting and not double checking with the map.  I won’t name names, but a little driving stress is a good test for a marriage right?!

photo-6

We haven’t booked any places to stay for the next two weeks, we’re making a plan today and we’ll get on that relatively soon.  It almost resulted in us sleeping in our car on the first night since every hotel in Quebec City and Lévis was booked solid.  We happened to find a little B&B through AirB&B La California B&B – when Mary answered the phone she told me I was a very lucky girl because yes, she had one room available and she had actually told another caller that she was booked.  It must have been meant for me.

We arrived at her place 10 minutes later, unloaded our bags and she told us there were 3 festivals going on in the city this weekend – so we were lucky to get a place since everyone has been booked for weeks.  She told us she had a few people call her, and she turned them away – she goes by voice and apparently she liked mine.  Once she heard we were only staying the night, she told us to get out there quickly and take in everything the city had to offer, where to go for dinner, where to see the free Cirque du Soliel show (we missed it) and the free iMax (which is huge and pretty spectacular) and where to get a drink and people watch at the end of the night (we did).  After a delicious french breakfast Mary sent us on our way with a loaf of fresh bread, and a roughly drawn sketch to get us to New Brunswick by the North shore (which we appreciated, but didn’t follow).

Yesterday we made it to New Brunswick and after sorting out a few more GPS snafus we made it to Moncton only to find out the markets are closed on Sundays so apparently by 8:30 everyone is out of food. Seriously.

photo-5

 

Luckily, they weren’t out of beer and we got an awesome sample tray at a local microbrewery – Pump House.  And the staff was so apologetic for getting our trip off to a rough start, we got our first 2 pints for free.

photo-4

 

Oh East Coasters, could you be more relaxed?

So now that we’re here we’re consulting guide books and looking for camp sites. I’ll update as much as possible – or you can follow me on Instagram – gingerandgiant and see the highlights as they unfold.

If you’ve got any must see spots for us – we have no firm plans so I’d love to hear them!