Sometimes it’s hard to begin at the beginning when the end was so spectacular. Yet today in its entirety was remarkable, one way or another.
I left the Banbridge Inn around 10:00 a.m. with a direction in mind and some must-dos along the way but no clear end destination. Instead of mapping the day, I just wandered down roads in the general direction of the Anne of Green Gables sights I wanted to see. It is startling how different Prince Edward Island is from the other maritime provinces. The marriage of agriculture with the sea is unique in the Canadian landscape and therefore quite fascinating. Crops of corn and potatoes and fields of bales, set against the ocean in the distance and criss-crossed with the red dirt roads make every vista a delight.
Though I took a photo of Fury against a red road lined with trees, I didn’t actually ride down the road. I learned that lesson the very first day when I got off the ferry. Took a wrong turn, as is my habit and went down a paved road that ended in the red dirt. I looked at it for a minute, thinking that it looked like pretty soft red dirt, but gave it a try anyway. “Nope”, Fury said, “get me outta here!” It is not hard-packed in most areas, but soft and almost immediately her front wheel began to wobble something fierce so we got turned around and headed back from whence we came. Definitely roads for dirt bikes, not street bikes.
The first of my stops today was the birthplace of Lucy Maude Montgomery. For those who may not know, she is the author of the Anne of Green Gables books, among many other literary successes. This was too much for Tracey’s writer soul and she was stuck to me like white on rice all day. The house is a modest affair and very homey feeling. It has displays of Lucy’s early writings and, of course, the room she was born in. I wandered the house and yard for a while before leaving some ashes there for Tracey and continuing on.
Sadly, Lucy’s mother died of tuberculosis at 23 years old. Lucy was less than 2 years old. Lucy’s father felt he could not raise an infant and work as well and Lucy’s grandparents agreed to raise her. The site of the Anne of Green Gables Museum is actually the home where Lucy was raised with her grandparents. She loved it dearly and the displays throughout clearly demonstrate it was inspirational for her. In one of her journals, she stated that if not for her time on Prince Edward Island, the Anne books would never have been written. It is also clear from learning about her life that the Anne books were very autobiographical. It was a very emotional visit and Tracey’s ashes were left here as well, in the flower garden in the yard.
Lucy was educated at the college in Prince Edward Island and later earned a degree at Dalhousie. She spent time as a teacher, a Sunday school teacher and an author. She returned to her childhood home to be with her grandmother after her grandfather’s death. At 34, Lucy was married in the parlour at the house to the Reverend Ewan MacDonald. They spent their married life in Ontario, where their children were born and raised. Over the course of her career, Lucy received many accolades and awards for her work, not the least of which was the Order of the British Empire from George V. She is clearly the celebrity and figures largely all over the north shore’s tourist sites. What I did not know is that several volumes of her journals have been published - probably an interesting read. Might have to check out the library for them (being anti-stuff and all).
After leaving the museum, I decided to turn left instead of right at the intersection and followed the ribbon of highway until I found the Ship to Shore restaurant. Having had nothing much for breakfast, it was well after noon now and I was starving. They have a lovely patio and the server was a cheerful lass that made the experience very pleasant. I chatted with some folks that retired to PEI a few years ago and it was a very agreeable encounter! The lobster roll was amazing! It was accompanied by a salad with a homemade lemon-basil dressing that was also to die for. This should have been enough, but I had to order dessert too and so rolled out of there wondering if I was going to have to adjust the suspension on Fury before heading out again.
Continuing to ride harem-scarem over the roads, I was delighted by many more pretty rural sights. Fortunately for me, summer traffic has gone and I dawdled along comfortably. Arriving again at one of the main roads, I was lamenting the lack of viewpoints for some of these splendid scenes and suddenly, there was one! I’m sure there are a bazillion pictures of this exact spot, with the fishing boats on the water, the colourful buildings on the short against the backdrop of farmlands. Here I met Dean, Terry, Lori and Sharon from Calgary. I offered to take a photo with all four of them in it and they returned the favour for me. We had a fun chat and confirmed once again that there are good folk everywhere.
Deciding over lunch that I was going to go to the Cavendish Cemetery where Lucy’s grave is, I booked in at the Anne Shirley Motel & Cottages. I found the cemetery and grave without difficulty and right across the street, there was the motel! It is a lovely little place and very reasonable compared to some of the others around. It has a kitchenette as well, so if one was staying for awhile, it would be great. Since I was right there, I checked in and unloaded Fury. Plugged my phone in to charge and laid down to examine the inside of my eyelids for a bit. For the record, after 45 minutes of their contemplation.....they are lovely! 😊
When I woke, I still wasn’t hungry for supper, but could see the lowering sun outside. I checked the Cavendish map that the front desk had given me and discovered I was only half a kilometer from a seaside road that made a convenient little loop through North Rustico and back to the motel. Fury was happy to go for a run after her rest and de-gearing.
I was rewarded with the most beautiful sights I have seen yet. The setting sun along the ocean, with the red cliffs and the surf rolling in made for exquisite scenes. It is peaceful and enchanting and inspiring all together in one heart-stopping moment. And so ends a perfect day.