The Canadian Potato Museum…….I know, right? Did you even know such a thing existed? Actually, it is a really interesting place. First of all, I didn’t know that potatoes were an amazing source of potassium, iron and vitamin C. And that a potato crop yields more product in a small space of land than any other crop grown. Or that potatoes originated in South America. They were not introduced to Europe until the 1500s and, like corn, were considered only fit for animal food. When famine was widespread in the 1700s was when potatoes got their spot in the limelight. Though even then, they were considered peasant food. Now, each person consumes something like 84 kgs of potatoes per year!
The displays at the potato museum were pretty engaging. For example, the samples showing the various diseases and blights that could affect potatoes – all displayed in little coffins. Someone has a sense of humour. Different exhibits showed different phases of potato planting and harvesting, including the equipment used over the years to do so. There was a section on the different varieties and what they were suitable for – like wine pairings with a meal, there are different potatoes suited for different things. Best of all, though, was the samples and recipe for potato fudge. Even I could probably make that fudge set! So, while I stopped there kind of for a lark, I left having learned a good many things and with a new respect for Canada’s superfood.
The potato museum also had a community museum and a display of antique machinery which was very neat to wander through and read about. It was an altogether worthwhile stop. As I was preparing to leave, I fell into conversation with a gentleman who was outside waiting for his friends. I had met him and his wife and friends on my way into the museum. We had a great talk about my trip and my bike and the general value of treating people like human beings and I enjoyed myself very much.
Getting back on the road, I headed for Abrams Village. We got rained on pretty good along the way to the potato museum, but the skies lightened up a bit and the rain stopped for this second leg of our adventure. The small south-western edge of PEI is Acadian country again. The Acadian flag flying in the yards and blue, white and red painted posts and mailboxes let me know I had arrived! It is a beautiful area, the sea framing the farmland and tidy yards. In general, Islanders seem to take pride in well-kept yards and farms. I enjoyed my ride around the cape very much and marvelled again at the loveliness of the red cliffs against the ocean and lead-grey skies. The lighthouse at Cap-Egmont was down a stretch of the dreaded red-dirt road, so I didn’t go out to take a picture. Fury has brought me through some terrible roads and all kinds of weather, but she really does not like those red dirt roads and so I don’t make her do it.
We stuck to pavement and were delighted to find “The Bottle Houses” along our route! I pulled in and paid the admission to wander through the bottle house gardens. It was way more spectacular than anything I was expecting. This Acadian guy, Edouard Arsenault, had seen them somewhere in Europe and decided he wanted to have a go. He built 3 good-sized buildings on the property and combined them with his love of gardening. The property is peaceful and pretty and I can only imagine what it is like to be inside these structures made of glass bottles at different times of the day, when the light changes with sunset and sunrise. It was truly a unique and delightful find today.
Being a bit behind schedule now, we made tracks for Victoria. I stopped for lunch at the Lobster Barn on the wharf and had a lobster roll and caesar salad. It was amazing. The lobster was fresh and sweet and the salad was a perfect side. Feeling restored, I headed over to Ron and Anne’s for the night. Ron is a cousin that I had not met before, so it was fun to meet him and his son Tim. Anne was working – teaching a driving course – so she was not home until later and we only had a brief visit. Still, it was nice to connect with people I have heard about but not met.
Tomorrow it will be time to say farewell to Prince Edward Island. Will try to be on the road in good time to visit the last couple of spots I wanted to see before heading back across the bridge to New Brunswick. I can’t believe how the time has flown!