September 13th to 20th 2017: Leaving the amazing Hopewell Rocks in our wake we made our much anticipated crossing of the stunning Confederation Bridge, 12km across the sea, onto Prince Edward Island. We had previously spent 10 days in Nova Scotia (see various blog posts here) but had promised ourselves a trip to PEI at a future time and that time was now. Would it be all we had hoped?
Just to get the facts out of the way, the island is roughly 2,000 square miles with a population of around 143,00 souls and is the smallest of the three Maritime provinces (New Brunswick, PEI and Nova Scotia) and as a final factoid, is considered the place where Canada was founded and has just had it’s 150 year anniversary.
Probably its most famous export is Anne of Green Gables which has sold over 50 million copies. We went to visit both the house that inspired the story and also Anne and Gilbert the musical. The musical has been running for many years and is a popular tourist attraction. Ask most PEI residents if they have seen it and the answer seems to be ‘no’! Worth seeing, it is a tiny venue but the show is at times comedic and will probably give you an ear worm from one of the main songs about living on the island.
We stayed first at Pine Hills RV Park about 5 miles outside Charlottetown. Super large grassy pitch and super fast wifi as well! Charlottetown, certainly in September, has plenty of room for parking the motorhome and we drove in each day and paid around C$10 to park.
Charlottetown itself is packed with restaurants and also has a number of theatre and music venues. As well as the Anne and Gilbert musical we also saw Million Dollar Quartet – the story of Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins getting together at Sun Records for one night. The show was exceptional, simply full of talent. This is doing a UK tour – if you get a chance – see it! We also had a great meal and live music at The Old Triangle Irish pub one evening.
Travelling round the island is easy, the traffic is light and the views are great. Our second camping stop on the island was at Somers By the Beach in another great spot by a lake. Mosquito warning! Definitely would be hugely popular in the summer season but we got a great spot again with no problem, it being September.
We decided we would take the ferry from PEI to Nova Scotia to save on the mileage. It’s a 75 minute crossing and was only C$105. Crossing the bridge into PEI is free but they charge you to leave so that cost plus the fuel saving made the ferry very worthwhile. We needed to book in advance and had a 6:30am (no thanks!) or 4:30pm crossing time so we had time that day to explore a little more and visit Panmure Lighthouse which sits at the end of an isthmus and also has a delightful gift shop. It’s a working lighthouse and for C$5 you can go right to the top which I did and took some snaps (below).
Was PEI all that we hoped for? Yes it was, and much more than this blog can do justice to it. We will be back for sure and for longer.
In the meantime, our return to Nova Scotia and our final destination before heading home is the next and final port of call. There was also to be a very unexpected surprise when we reached Nova Scotia which would make the last few days of our holiday very special indeed.