Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Prince Edward Island At Brudenell River

driving tour signage - very easy to follow!
Our last few days at Cabot Beach PP included use of the Kensington Public Library wifi to post a blog entry, a trip to Summerside to stock up on groceries and fuel, and one last meal at the Oyster Barn.

Thursday morning after we buttoned up the RV we still had time for a walk on the beach which we had entirely to ourselves...unless one counted the company of several Semipalmated Plovers working the shoreline. By 9:30 we were on the road for our short 69 mile tow to Brudenell River Provincial Park.
In spite of forewarning both the bank and credit card company that we would be traveling in Canada - where have been for the past three weeks using our debit cards - the bank suddenly decided to block our debit card when we went to pay for our two week stay at Brudenell. A phone call (thank you Onstar) cleared the matter up. “Traveling in Canada? We had no idea.” How very annoying.

Where we had an expansive grassy site at Cabot Beach (so nice on the bare feet) we now found ourselves tucked way into the woods on gravel at Brudenell. Tucked in so far that we now had no TV reception whatsoever, not even the meager three stations we’d had at Cabot Beach. So much for news and weather. However, the site was very, very quiet. The only disturbance so far has come from strings of horses ridden mainly by twittering teenage girls on a trail that passes near the RV. Still, a string of chatting horseback riders is far quieter than the relentless strings of rumbling freight trains in Dale.
Our first full day at Brudenell didn’t begin well. We drove into nearby Georgetown to use the free wifi at the the public library only to discover that the library was only open on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It was Friday.

Panmure Island Beach
Our next shot at wifi was in Montague, a 15 minute drive away. Their library was open most days including Fridays at 10:00 a.m.. It was 9:30. We whiled away the time at the Montague visitor center which proved to be very helpful. The women at the desk passed on scads of useful information although she did have to leave us from time to time to go down to the boat dock to operate the fuel pump for local boats in the harbor. By the time we finished it was well after 10:00 so back to the library...only to find it still had not opened with no indication as to why.

Panmure Head Lighthouse
Well, OK then. We knew McDonald’s had wifi and possibly so did Tim Horton’s. Off to McDonalds which did have free wifi but it was terribly slow. At least there was enough speed to do some basic email and banking. That’s when we learned that our annual registrations for the RV and truck were going to come due. The renewal paperwork was most likely sitting in our mailbox in SD. Off to the Montague Post Office where we confirmed that we could receive General Delivery mail.
By this time we bagged any and all “responsible” activities and spent the rest of the day exploring parts of the Points East Coastal Drive, the fourth and last PEI coastal driving tour left to see. Due to a late start we limited our drive to just south and east of Montague. We zigged and zagged along the coast through Lower Montague, Murray Harbor, Point Pleasant, and Murray River. A stop at Panmure Head Lighthouse (PEI’s oldest wooden lighthouse) and then a walk and a cold beer, for purely medicinal purposes, at Panmure Island Beach. On to Cape Bear Lighthouse where we found our first seabird of the trip, a Black Guillemot. Gray Seals and dolphins were also present although at some distance (that’s why we have a spotting scope). A bit further on at Murray Head we had a grand overlook (or as they say in Canada, a look off) of the Northumberland Strait and Cape Breton, Nova Scotia in the distance. Several Northern Gannet were hunting far off shore. Ever see a Northern Gannet make one of their spectacular head first dives into the ocean?

Brudenell Point
Cape Bear Lighthouse
road to Murray Head
At Murray Head we bumped into two women. Both were originally from North Carolina and one had married a PEI native and now operated an organic farm very near the ferry landing at Wood Islands. We now have a standing invite to stop in for tea at Island Oceans Farm. People are so friendly on PEI. By late afternoon we were back at the RV for happy hour watching the horses glide past.

Montague Harbor
Montague (see here for a harbor flyover) had converted their railway station into a community center which is where the Montague Farmers Market opened at 9:00 a.m.. We had been told that everyone gets there by 8:00 so don’t be too late. Arriving at 8:30 indeed people were already walking away with their purchases. A nice well run market with local veggies, baked goods and some crafts.  And because this was a converted railway station, part of the Confederation Trail was handy so we walked a portion of the trail that paralleled the Montague River.
The area is part of the historic “three rivers” in which the Montague, Brudenell and Cardigan Rivers drain into Cardigan Bay. Near where the Brudenell and Montague Rivers meet at Georgetown was where one of the first French settlements was founded on PEI in the early 1700‘s. This same point of land was also the birthplace of PEI’s Father of the Confederation, Andrew A. MacDonald. Having been identified as environmentally significant, all three rivers are now protected under a Canadian Heritage River designation.

Memorial Gardens, Holy Trinity Church and Georgetown Beach
The A. A. MacDonald Memorial Gardens are in Georgetown as well as the Georgetown Beach. It didn’t take long to walk the gardens which are adjacent to the Holy Trinity Anglican Church. The church, constructed in 1842, is one of the ten oldest on the island. It certainly has seen better days even after in 1982 the church underwent some restoration. A striking structure with its battlement square towers typical of early Anglican churches it is now closed. The Georgetown beach was rather small but next to the beach was an interesting restaurant: “Clam Diggers”. Menu entrees looked tantalizing but were very, very expensive. Doubted we would be eating there any time soon. Maybe just desert? We pushed on to Roma.

Roma National Historic Site
Roma was so named for Jean Pierre Roma who in 1732 was the leader of the first commercial enterprise to establish control of the gulf fisheries and to open trade with France, Quebec and the West Indies. In 1745, Roma’s enterprise was destroyed by raiding New England Privateers. Roma had intended to reclaim his land after PEI returned to French rule but failed to get the needed financial support. The site has been extensively studied through archeological digs in the 1960‘s and is now the Roma National Historic Site. The first day of the two day “Pioneer Festival” was in full swing when we arrived but we opted to pass and return when it was less crowded. Instead we retreated to Montague to visit a few art galleries.

Launching Pond Harbor
On Sunday we packed a lunch and headed back out to explore more of the Points East Driving Tour with a few targets in mind. Starting at Cardigan we wove our way north making side trips to the coast. Launching Pond Harbor was all but deserted. Aside from one person driving away from a house along the shore, we saw no other people as we walked the docks. However, very picturesque and wound up being one of our favorite harbors on PEI.

Sally's Beach P. P.
Further along we pulled into a small day use Provincial Park, Sally’s Beach. A neat and well kept park but again, we were the only two people around. The history of the park involved Sarah (Sally) Steele, a MacDonald descendant who never married but who lived on the leased land which she eventually came to own. After her death the land was passed on to the Mackenzie family, long time caretakers of Sally in Sally’s declining years. Informally always known to the locals as “Sally’s Beach”, the Mackenzie’s donated the land to Canada. It became a Provincial Park in 2000 and was aptly named.

Souris Lighthouse at Knight Point
Souris, also known as the gateway to Îles-de-la-Madeleine (Madeleine Island) due to a daily ferry service to and from the island, is known far and wide to those interested in collecting sea glass. The Souris lighthouse on Knight Point is supposed to have one of the best collections of sea (also known as beach) glass in the area. The adjoining gift shop had more than enough sea glass to look at so we skipped the $10 entrance fee to the lighthouse exhibit and kept heading north to East Point. Along the way we caught sight of the Madeleine ferry headed toward the dock at Souris. By the way, we had looked into what it would cost to take the ferry. For the price listed during high season, it about equaled what it would cost for us to take the ferry to Newfoundland (from Nova Scotia).

East Point Lighthouse
The expansive view at East Point, PEI’s northeastern tip, gave us hope of seeing more pelagic birds. And while we saw rafts of Black Scoters and Common Eiders we missed seeing any other specialties. Gray Seals were in good number and more Northern Gannets perused the offshore waters. A good spot to sit and have our packed lunch, we helped other tourists watch seals bobbing in the ocean through our spotting scope. Always fun to share, especially when there are kids (or adults who are kids at heart).
Getting on in the day we limited our coastal drive to as far as North Lake before doubling back to check out the Basin Head Day Park near Red Point Provincial Park. If we had wondered where everyone was could stop wondering. They all seemed to be at Basin Head. In Colorado a spot named “Basin Head” might mean a ski resort. Here it was totally the beach that attracted everyone. The parking lot was overflowing. We suspected that perhaps a non-weekend visit would be better. However, we downed some ice cream while watching dozens of swimmers jumping off a short walking bridge into a canal (with posted signs specifically telling them not to).

Singing Sands Beach
One more stop before we headed back to Brudenell: the “Singing Sands” beach not far from Basin Head (which also had singing sands but with all the noise on the beach good luck hearing it there). Wow. What a difference a few kilometers made. The same shoreline and beach but with far, far fewer people. The longish drive down to the shore on a not well signed (we drove past twice before finding it) single track dirt road probably had something to do with why fewer people were present but that was fine with us. Liked it so much we carried our chairs down to the shore and sat for over an hour drinking in the dry cool breezes. A cold beer was all that was missing. And yes, the sands actually did sing. Well, not so much sing as squeak. The phenomenon is not completely understood and several theories exist to explain why. All we knew is that shuffling our feet was sufficient to produce the sounds which we’ve also experienced on some beaches along Lake Michigan and California.
Oh, and speaking of cold beer, alcohol sales in Canada? They are controlled through something akin to the “ABC” stores we’ve experienced in some states. Restaurants in Canada that can legally serve alcohol are advertised as being “licensed”. Takeout alcohol isn’t available in a supermarket or grocery store or a bar as in the U.S., only in the state operated outlets. Not a terrible inconvenience, however, the price of takeout alcohol? Well, we’ve quickly come to appreciate what our Canadian friends have often said about the expense of alcohol in Canada. It ain’t cheap. And pretty ridiculous. How ridiculous? Here’s an example. If you were so inclined to buy a six-pack of Bud Lite in the U.S., what would you pay? Well, in Canada, we found a six-pack of Bud Lite priced at $17.95. And that’s before adding a substantial tax. Mind you...we would never consider paying more than a dollar for a six pack of Bud Swill (if that)...but $17.95? We laughed ourselves out of the store.
As we’ve stopped at various public venues (mainly museums but several commercial outlets as well) we’ve noticed colorful graphic designs affixed to building exteriors. Some of them have QR codes attached (we currently cannot scan them due to our phone being turned off while in Canada). Curious about what these icons represent we asked. No one was able to give us an answer. Then, a “duh” moment. While perusing the PEI “Arts and Heritage Trail” brochure (an indispensable guide on several occasions), the answer was found by reading one of the brochure’s sidebars. The icons are artistically created “quilt squares.” Each reflects the personality of an associated business or organization where one is to be found. Quite clever. And visually very appealing. We wondered if someone would be making a quilt of all the designs.

Montague Library
On Tuesday we entered the Montague Rotary Library and discovered why it had been closed. Friday was a holiday. A sign proclaiming as much was clearly posted...on an interior door far from and not visible from the exterior locked door. Perhaps if we were locals we would have known. However, we found the library to be quite comfortable and filled with friendly helpful staff. While online we discovered that to renew our vehicle registrations all we needed to do was send a money order to America’s Mailbox, our mail forwarding service. They would deal with SD DMV.  However, we also realized that both of our drivers licenses will expire in 2014 - Carol’s in May and Tom’s in December. To renew we are both required to be physically present at a South Dakota DMV office. This was going to be a bit tricky, especially with Tom’s renewal due in December in South Dakota. In what would be winter. Remember - we don’t do winter anymore!
When we first arrived at Brudenell River PP we were greeted by chickadees and juncos so we hung out a seed feeder. To our amazement the birds disappeared. Until five days later when a lone Blue Jay found the feeder. Since then a second Blue Jay has arrived and now the juncos have found the feeder. Still waiting for chickadees and hoping the Red Squirrel doesn’t figure out what the Blue Jays are up to. Otherwise, birds in general have been sparse save for American Crows, Ring-billed Gulls, an occasional Bald Eagle and some Canada Goose flyovers. A bit further into the park’s woods we’ve found an assortment of warblers (Black-throated Green, Northern Parula, Magnolia, Yellow-rump, Nashville, Am. Redstart), as well as Red-breasted Nuthatch, American Robin, and Cedar Waxwing. Odd that we’ve seen no other thrush species. Great Black-backed Gulls are common on the shores.

Harvey Moore
Asking locals about birds and birding on PEI has met with mixed results. The online group of PEI birders has been somewhat helpful but inconsistent. And not having instant Internet access has been a hindrance. So when we drove into the Harvey Moore Wildlife Sanctuary, a locally recommended birding spot, we didn’t quite know what to expect. One could easily miss seeing the small property sign by the road and easily drive past without realizing the legacy of Harvey Moore and what the property had to offer.

at Harvey Moore
After finding the parking area, we were warmly met by Charlie Moore, Harvey’s youngest son. Charlie filled us in on his family’s background and in particular about his dad and his dad’s development of the property, now a Federally protected migratory bird sanctuary. Charlie invited us to tour the land and its over two miles of hiking trails.
Harvey, the youngest of seven siblings, had a lifelong obsession with wildlife and nature. In 1944 Harvey purchased some land with a vision to establish a sanctuary for migrating waterfowl. In order to fund his dream Harvey worked hard as a lobsterman and lumberjack which took a physical toll on Harvey who, in 1960 at the young age of 44, died of a massive heart attack. But not before establishing his dream, a wildlife sanctuary which his surviving wife Dorothy, his son Charlie, and the Friends of Harvey Moore Foundation now care for.

at Harvey Moore
Much has been written about Harvey and Dorothy, their sanctuary work, and their unusually close connection to the wildlife that called the property home. What we found when we hiked the two miles of trails was near pristine woodlands, wetlands, bogs and two small man-made lakes on the Sturgeon River watershed. We ran into small feeding flocks of migrating Fall warblers forcing us to dust off a few cobwebs from our Fall warbler memory banks since we now miss regular Fall migration in the upper Midwest. Botanically, because the area has been well protected, it has representations of most plant species PEI has to offer. And there are several well marked information signs posted along the trails that explain the flora and fauna in great detail. If you’re ever on PEI be sure to include the Moore property on your agenda.
The rest of the day was spent back at the Montague Library sorting out online how we might best take care of renewing our RV and truck registrations as well as updating our SD drivers license renewals. And, we finally made a reservation for our ferry passage to Nova Scotia.
Thursday morning we were back on the road again, this time heading to the south coast to cover another section of the Points East Driving Tour. Our target was the section of tour beginning at Cherry Valley and driving eastward as far as High Bank.
One of our first stops was the Orwell Corner Historic Village, an agricultural museum. As interesting as an agricultural museum might be (and this one was very nicely designed and inviting), having lived in an agricultural state for most of our lives (America’s Dairyland state), we decided our time might be best spent elsewhere. Off to the nearby Sir Andrew Macphail Homestead.

Sir Andrew Macphail Homestead
The homestead was picturesque with its 1850’s central gable house (a combination museum and inviting tea room), however, it was the Macphail Woods Educational building that caught our attention. Here we ran into Gary Schneider, an overseer of some of the educational programs that take place in the summer. Once he discovered we were fellow birders he spent a good deal of time explaining the outlying trails and answering several questions we had about PEI birding. He printed a small map of the 140-acre property which we used to hike a good section of the trails. As with our experience at the Moore property, we were very pleasantly surprised to find such an ecologically diverse gem. Get off the beaten path because you never quite know what you’ll find.

Selkirk Cemetery and church interior
From the Macphail Homestead we drove further east to the Lord Selkirk Provincial Park near Belfast. Not much to see in the park itself where we had our picnic lunch but the nearby Selkirk Heritage and Cultural Centre provided another historical overview of Acadian and Scottish PEI history. A small gift shop/museum extensively covered Hebridean Heritage and provided a wealth of information about the 1803 settlement. The volunteer offered all kinds of genealogical background which included delving into the Grahams (Tom’s Scottish connection on his mother’s side). The still standing Free Church of Scotland church and an ancient Acadian and Scottish cemetery dating back to 1752 provided even more historical background.

Belfast Mini-Mills yarn and fowl
For more PEI tapestry with less of an historical bent, we took a side trip to one of the businesses listed on the “PEI Fibre Trail”, the Belfast Mini-Mills, a manufacturer of fibre processing equipment and specializing in rare fibers from around the world including Qiviut Musk-Ox. The gift shop was chock full of colorful yarns, duvets, kits, sheepskins and finely knitted items (socks, caps, scarves, sweaters, throws, etc.). A knitter’s delight. And scattered about the grounds was a wide variety of unusual (at least to us) barnyard fowl.

Point Prim Lighthouse
Back on the tour route we drove out to the Point Prim Lighthouse. Built in 1845 and designed by Isaac Smith, the architect of Province House in Charlottetown, this is the oldest lighthouse on PEI (no doubt because it wasn’t built out of wood). Rising to 80 feet, It was also the tallest lighthouse we’d seen so far.

Wood Islands Lighthouse
Next up: Wood Islands Lighthouse. The ferry terminal where we’ll board the ferry to Nova Scotia is also located in Wood Islands. Nice view of the ocean but as with most of the other lighthouses we skipped the interior tour. They really don’t differ all that much on the inside but we always check out the gift shop just in case. Fortunate for us one of the ferry boats was making its way in to dock at the terminal and gave us some idea of what to expect for when it comes time for our turn to board.
At some point while driving the gravel road to Point Prim we picked up a stone that had become lodged in the left rear wheel’s brake caliper shield (or thereabouts). It was making an awful racket. Unable to see where the stone was and unable to dislodge it we drove on. The sound greatly diminished but was still present. Then the screeching came back with a vengeance after departing Wood Islands. Now late in the afternoon, we had no idea where or if there was a repair shop nearby (let alone one that would be open). Just as Tom was hoping he wasn’t going to have to stop and pull the wheel we came ‘round a bend in the highway to find a one-stall auto repair shop. Not a gas station mind you, but an honest to goodness repair shop. As we pulled in the owner couldn’t help but hear the racket and knew exactly what it was. He motioned us to pull into the garage stall over one of those step-down floor pits. He ducked under the truck and with a quick “bang, bang” popped the culprit out; a small piece of flint stone. “How much do we owe you?” He wouldn’t take a dime. These are the kinds of folks that we continually run into on PEI.
Screech-free, we had one last stop to make on our way back to the RV park. The Old General Store in Murray Head. Inside was the original counter, side bins, and shelving. Instead of bolts of cloth, bags of grain and penny candy, it was filled with exceptionally fine arts and crafts of local artists.

Mrs. Belsher
One of the exciting advantages of traveling as we do is meeting interesting people. So it wasn’t surprising to engage the woman working behind the counter with questions we had about the store as well as answer her questions about our nomadic lifestyle. Carol pointed to a display of music CD’s on the counter and lamented that because we were leaving the island the day before the musician on display, Gordon Belsher, was to perform at Kate’s Cafe in Montague, we would miss seeing him. The woman behind the counter said, “Oh, I see him all the time - he’s my husband.”  What a small world. Of course Carol asked which CD might best represent Gordon’s music and Mrs. Belsher, kindly obliged.
Friday the 23rd came with overcast skies, the day we had selected to find a section of road situated to our north in search of a large boreal bog area. We found the bog but not so much the birds. The area wasn’t so far away that given some extra time on a sunnier day, we might try again.
We returned to Montague in rain, the first we’ve experienced on this end of the island. A good time to use the library’s wifi and catch up on some banking. We also needed to purchase a postal money order to pay for registration renewals for the truck and RV. Then a spot of lunch at the Montague Greco, a local pizzeria, before heading over to Cardigan to collect a photo of another quilt block icon. Clever how these icons motivated us to visit some places we might not otherwise have gone to see.

Cardigan Library
Across from the Cardigan Museum and Visitor Center we stumbled upon a building with a sign stating it was “Canada’s Smallest Library”. It was indeed small. An on-your-honor sign-out/sign-in sheet lay on a small round reading table. A sign on the door asked to please close the door when leaving. Thinking back to the Mudd Library, if the faculty had been allowed to use a similar sign-out system I dare say there wouldn’t be a thing left in the would be in all the faculty offices. We have a few books in the RV we’ve finished reading so we’ll simply drop them off as donations. Glad to know they’ll be in good hands.
A quick stop at the Cardigan Farmer's Market for great coffee and a good source for fresh baked breads, then into Georgetown for a few more pictures of quilt boards and to find the Maroon Pig, a small local art store. Beautiful black-and-white woodcut prints plus another chance for fresh bakery. Good thing we don’t have much space in the RV. But we always have room for consumables. Like bakery.

Carol and Erdeen
During our first trip to Charlottetown we had learned of an upcoming four day Blues and Jazz Festival. Saturday listed an afternoon of free concerts mixing Jazz, Blues, Funk, Latin and Soul on Victoria Row, a street always closed to vehicular traffic. Free is always good so off to Charlottetown again. From Brudenell River PP, as it was from Cabot Beach PP, Charlottetown was less than an hour’s drive away.

Confederation Seaport, Charlottetown
Right after we parked at the Confederation Landing Park we were met by Erdeen, a woman we had met when we had stopped for a Sunday brunch in Abram-Village during our first week on PEI. Erdeen lives in Charlottetown and offered to help with directions to a few places. Carol commented on Erdeen’s necklace consisting of a single silver fork suspended on a silver chain. A fork? Erdeen told the story about a dear friend who she helped care for who always said, “Keep your fork.” She went on to explain that “keep your fork, the best is yet to come” was an admonishment the woman’s mother had given her when eating at a restaurant...meaning you should always keep your fork for the best that was yet to come: desert. When the woman was in a nursing home and the end she feared was near, she always asked to be sure to have her fork in her hand because, “the best was yet to come.” The necklace was a sweet remembrance of Erdeen’s time spent with the woman.

Beaconsfield House
While Carol and Erdeen went off for coffee, Tom hiked over to collect a few more photos of quilt boards he had missed during our first visit. One at Beaconsfield House, an historic home built in 1877, and one posted outside The Guild, one of Charlottetown’s art exhibition and performance halls. There were a few more quilt boards to be had but not until we could both search for them.

Victoria Row and Doug Riley All-Stars
While Carol stopped in at the Anne of Green Gables Store (dedicated completely to anything and everything Anne) Tom poked his head into the public library where he spoke with one of the reference librarians. Having worked in a library setting for twenty-five years, libraries still hold a fascination. And as everyone knows,, librarians know how to have the most fun and also know where the best places are in town to eat. Castellos Ristorante and Pizzaria (across from the library, of course) on Victoria Row wound up being a very good suggestion. Besides, we were in the right spot for the beginning of the afternoon’s music which was just beginning.

Tom debated politics with A.A. McDonald but A.A. remain unmoved
We wandered around the center of town, drifting in and out of Victoria Row to catch various musical acts. Joey and Julien Kitson, the Doug Riley All-Stars, Juice, Got Blues, Count and The Cuban Cocktail, and More Soul were in the lineup for the afternoon’s entertainment.

Province House and Confederation Players
Another quilt board sign turned out to be located on Victoria Row. It was at Happy Glass, a gallery/studio belonging to Anne Lindsay, an artisan who makes contemporary jewelry, mainly colorful beads using molten glass and silver which she demonstrated for us. Indeed, you could not help but feel happy! Her shop was one story up from ground level and another one of those places easily missed if one didn’t pay attention. Were it not for the quilt sign board we might not have bothered at all.
Back at the music stage, Carol reappeared with scrumptious bits of chocolate covered carmel coated with bits of sea salt. Happy with our chocolate fix, we headed back to Confederation Landing Park where, while Tom took off for one more quilt board located at the PEI Regiment Museum (displays of military artifacts dating back to 1807), Carol hung out at the gift shops near the landing. As much as we would have liked to have stayed for the evening’s music and the once a year outdoor visual and performance artisan festival, it had already been a long day. One more quilt board on the way out of town at McAaskill’s Studio, a woodworking shop which was unfortunately closed when we arrived.
We like to break up longer travel days with “plop” days, a day when we just plop down, do very little, and relax from the rigors of retirement. For our plop day we packed up the chairs and headed back to Panmure Island Beach for three hours of guarding the sand and making sure the waves were in sync. On the way back, a stop at Tim Horton’s for free wifi before settling in back at the RV, totally exhausted.

PEI National Park
We had one more section of the Points East Driving Tour left to do, the part that included Prince Edward Island National Park near St. Peters Bay on the island’s north coast. And since we had already covered the northeastern section of the tour we cut through the interior of the island on Hwy 313 which made for about a 30 minute drive and took us past a few more of the island’s impressive churches: All Saints Catholic outside Cardigan and St. Peter’s Roman Catholic outside St. Peter’s.

PEI National Park
The park is located on a point of land bordered by the Gulf of Saint Lawrence on one side and St. Peter’s Bay on the other. Early French settlers were drawn to it for the fishing. After the British assumed control of PEI the peninsula was used more for agriculture. Trails through the park highlighted the peninsula's historical development by both the French and British as well as the native Indians that predated both by thousands of years.
One of the park’s main draws was an extensive boardwalk system that lead out to the Greenwich Dunes. Not nearly as impressive as Sleeping Bear Dunes but the walk through coastal woodlands and freshwater Bowley Pond was particularly fun because we were virtually the only people on the trail. Families of Common Yellowthroat, Song Sparrow, and Bald Eagles were all the company we needed.

PEI National Park and immature Bald Eagle
By the time we finished walking several kilometers of trails we were more than ready for lunch. We’d heard great things about Rick’s Fish’N’Chips in St. Peters. And while the food was fine, it didn’t measure up to other meals we’ve had on PEI. The beer batter was delicious but seemed to outnumber the actual fish it coated. The chips were locally made and tasty. The curry seafood chowder was so-so. Not nearly as good as the chowder at the Oyster Barn.The coleslaw was fine and it always helps to have some local beer to wash everything down with. Would we go back to Rick’s? Probably not.
Seated outside at Ricks we watched the sun disappear and felt the winds pick up. Just the kind of weather for improved birding at the East Point Lighthouse where we had wanted to return to anyway try our luck at more seabirds. We also had a tip from Gary Schneider about how to locate a nearby Great Cormorant rookery.
Along the way a few more quilt boards to collect. First up was Fire and Water Creations, a studio/gallery owned by Teri Hall, a silversmith who incorporates sea glass into her handcrafted jewelry. Prized sea glass is the older and heavier discarded glass smoothed by the sea and sand into soft hues of blues, reds, and greens and washed up on beaches. She had a huge bin of assorted sea glass she had collected over the years where people are welcome to rummage for sea glass in exchange for a small donation which Teri turns over to a local food bank. She helped Carol pick through the bin for a few choice pieces.
A quick turnout to the Elmira Railway Museum where one may learn about railroading on the island and which has one of Atlantic Canada’s largest model train collection. Then on to East Point where by now the winds had gained in strength.
There were more birds than during our last visit. The increased winds pushed Northern Gannets closer to shore along with larger rafts of ducks. Pitching and bobbing in the waves, Common Eider were the most prevalent followed by Black Scoter. But now added to the mix were a few White-winged Scoter. Then one quick look at a Surf Scoter before it flew. Walking out to one end of the property we could now see a large gathering of cormorants with a good number of Great Cormorant mixed in. From time to time a Gray Seal would stick it’s head out of the water, yawn, and disappear beneath the waves.
One more stop in Souris at the lighthouse to learn a bit more about sea glass, then some ice cream at a local vender. Before we knew it we had managed to while away another day and it was time to head back to the RV with a few more digital chapters of Dan Brown’s “Inferno” to keep us amused..
It hardly seems that our month on PEI has nearly passed but the calendar says our time on the island was coming to a close. We have a few more things in mind before we leave but all will be very close to the park. And while we know we’ve seen and done quite a bit, we could have easily spent another month here. Wonderful climate, friendly and talented folks, and beautiful scenery.

match our quilt squares to see where we've been
One more thing about the quilt board icons. Tom made it a point that at each place we visited that had an icon posted, that he took a picture of the icon. Above is a “quilt” of all the pictures he collected. Match a quilt icon from the ones collected to its twin on the web page, HERE, then click on the web page’s match to see where we’ve been. (Note: on the webs site, the icon labeled “Gallery 33” is incorrect. It should instead be labelled “Wyatt Historic House Museum)

...and finally, a few more sights from the east side of PEI. Up next - Nova Scotia

1 comment:

  1. Hi. the painting of the sailboat was done by my great uncle. Where did you see it? Thank you