Prince Edward Island, aka PEI, is lovely from the very first mile. It reminds me of home with its acres of farmland, hundreds of barns, pastures of grazing dairy cattle and white two-story farmhouses. If it weren’t for the rugged shoreline and lighthouses dotting the perimeter, PEI could pass for a Minnesota or Wisconsin landscape.
Arriving by ferry late in the afternoon, I ride to Charlottetown via the two lane roads and a stop at Prim Point Lighthouse. The lighthouse is at the end of one of those many beautiful two-lane roads that crisscross the island. The shoreline here is all rugged rock slab in shades of deep red and rust. No sand or seashells here, but there are miles and miles of them elsewhere.
Rolling land is covered with the patchwork quilt of bright green pastures, plowed red dirt fields, silos and hedgerows to separate the land into its working pieces. Fields with drying golden soybean plants and tall cornstalks are everywhere. The interior of the island is so like the American Midwest I almost forget that at no time am I more than 30 miles from the ocean.
The land near the shore disappears into bogs and saltmarshes with reeds and grasses. The tide is out so I can see more of these marshes and mud flats.
Sand dunes along the northern shore are windswept today, creating drifts of sand on the roads instead of the drifts of snow that my friends and family at home are dealing with on this same day. I stop at Dalvay Shore in the Prince Edward Island National Park and then again at Brackley Beach. I walk out the board walk over the top of the sand dunes to see the shore. This steady wind is blowing across the tips of the waves and carrying a mist of saltwater along the wind.
Small towns dot the landscape and you can see white church steeples in the distance. On the northern shore is the Green Gables PEI National Park which was the farm and home of relatives of the author of the beloved book series based on life on PEI – Anne of Green Gables, etc. I remember these books from my youth, and seeing this place makes me smile. PEI is known for its lobster dinners, fresh oysters, ice cream from Cows Creamery (sadly I didn’t get to try this, so I think I’m gonna need to come back here), beaches, and more. Since its autumn, I get to see a different side of the island. There are pumpkin patches and corn mazes and fall colors on the trees everywhere I turn. I’d love to stay but the forecast calls for rain and wind for the next few days, so I think I need to start heading south along with the Canadian Geese flying overhead. So off I go over the Confederation Bridge, nearly 8 miles in length and beautiful to look at from either shore. New Brunswick here I come.