Prince Edward Island – the land of mussels and that Anne girl.
While we considered a few different options for a babymoon destination, Price Edward Island (PEI) quickly rose to the top of the list. We figured once we had a baby in tow we may never have the guts to make the 13 hour drive. (Now that we have a little one, I can certainly say that we were right.) Plus, was there ever a little girl who read the Anne of Green Gables series and then didn’t dream of exploring that beautiful place?
I mean, just look at these views:
PEI was naturally beautiful, quiet (so quiet! even in the height of their tourism season!), relaxing, and laid-back. The beaches were gorgeous, the seafood delicious, and the people friendly. Unfortunately, we arrived with some foggy weather that just wouldn’t go away and squashed our dreams of bathing in the sun!
What to Do on PEI:
We spent most of our time on the northern coast between North Rustico and Dalvay by the Sea in Prince Edward Island National Park. The beaches are gorgeous. There are great bike sidewalks along the beaches too – flat and easy – keep in mind I was 30 weeks pregnant! You’ll need a Parks Canada pass to get into the park. You can purchase them on-site, or maybe your lodgings will lend them out to customers for free (ours did!).
You simply can’t be on PEI and ignore the presence of Anne of Green Gables. It’s everywhere. Head to the Anne of Green Gables Museum – this is a 110 acre estate with a family home that inspired L.M. Montgomery to create Green Gables. The “real” Lake of Shining Waters is here as well. If you are feeling particularly cheesy you can even take one of “Matthew’s Carriage Rides” around the lake. 🙂
Anne of Green Gables Museum
Anne of Green Gables Museum
The “real” Lake of Shining Waters
The other main Anne-site is the Green Gables Heritage Place – another family home that L.M. Montgomery spent time at that inspired Green Gables. Here you can explore the wood that inspired the “Haunted Wood”, although it’s now next to the Green Gables Golf Course, so not exactly the secluded forest you find in the book!
Green Gables Heritage Place
You can also visit L.M. Montgomery’s birthplace, her Cavendish home, or the Avonlea Village (new modern shops designed to look like Avonlea town – they also moved L.M. Montgomery’s original church building to the premises). Another fun place to stop is the Dalvay by the Sea Hotel (as seen in Anne of Avonlea, when Anne’s papers fly everywhere on the beach and she meets the handsome Morgan).
Dalvay by the Sea – they also offer a delicious looking brunch!
While I am a huge fan of the novels and the movie, I wasn’t too interested in visiting any of the sites inside. We drove by all of these things, sometimes popping out to walk the grounds, and that was enough to make this Anne-fan satisfied. The PEI Anne-tourism is a little kitschy, so I’d recommend getting out there are enjoying the beautiful red roads and sand beaches, quiet countryside, and windy bluffs that are the true inspiration of the setting behind the books.
Where to Eat on PEI:
Every New Year’s Eve we answer a few questions, and one of them is always “what is the best meal we ate in the last year?” The answer for both of us this last year was The Blue Mussel Cafe in North Rustico, PEI! The Blue Mussel is a laid back cafe with a gorgeous view and seasonal seafood dishes. We ended up eating here multiple times! PEI is well-known in the culinary world for both their mussels and their potatoes. Memorable highlights were the steamed mussels, the potato salad, the chocolate potato cake, and the carrot cake.
Lobster Suppers are a “thing” on PEI and we went to Fisherman’s Wharf to experience one. I ordered the Lobster Supper and it was SO much food – Lobster, Steamed Mussels, Potato Salad, chowder, rolls, dessert… it never ended! And our waitress happily brought over more baskets of mussels and bowls of chowder. While the food was fresh and bountiful, the ambiance left something to be desired. Ditch the tour bus crowds by skipping the Lobster Supper Dining Room and opt for the family restaurant next store – it’s much more intimate. Overall, I’m not sure I get the draw of the Lobster Supper, but it could be because we are from New England and there’s no novelty factor for us.
The Prince Edward Island Preserves Company was a cute spot to grab lunch as well as taste-test a lot of jam!
Island Chocolates is another great spot to tuck away for a rainy afternoon.
What we missed – we were hoping to eat at The Pearl Eatery but couldn’t get a reservation time that worked. We stopped by and it looked beautiful though. If we are ever back we will definitely return! We also never made it to the famous COWS Ice Creamery. How did that happen!?
Where to Stay on PEI:
I whole-heartedly recommend the North Rustico Cottages and B&B.
Dwight and his family were so kind. We booked our trip very last minute and, because we were trying to visit during their busiest season, all the cottages everywhere were booked! (Apparently cottages are a big thing there. Cottage options were much more prevalent than hotels – and it was super fun!) Dwight allowed us to come and move to whichever cabin was empty that night so we could stay! When we ended up cutting our trip a day short due to the bad weather, he even offered to refund us our money for the night. He was also very helpful with local recommendations and tips for parks, restaurants, and walking trails.
The cabins and the grounds were simple, but clean. Most cottages offered a kitchenette and a deck with a small grill.
Unfortunately, we spent the majority of our time in PEI with some rainy, foggy, dreary weather which put a damper on a lot of our plans. If you’ve followed any of our other trips you will know we like to pack a lot in and this trip was very scaled back for us. We did have quite a bit more planned out, but weren’t able to get to it all due to the weather. The Cavendish golf courses and beaches are supposed to be lovely, but there was no swimming that week for us. We walked the beaches whenever we had a spot of good weather. Charlottetown is the city on the island, and looked very cool! We had plans to explore and try some awesome looking restaurants, but sadly some very rainy weather kept us away. We ended up cutting our trip short and heading home two days early, as the Boston beaches were getting beautiful weather and we were ready for some sunshine and wanted to spend some of our previous vacation time at the beach!
How to Get to PEI:
We drove from Boston to PEI. There is now an 8 mile bridge that connects PEI with New Brunswick, so no need to worry about dealing with a ferry! The drive from Boston took about 13 hours. On our way up we stopped in Maine for a night. I had intended on exploring the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick for a day on our way back down the coast, but we ended up skipping it all and driving back in one day due to, yep, you guessed it – that darn rain!
I’d love to return to PEI for another trip someday. PEI feels relatively untouched by tourism, with the exception of a few areas of Cavendish. We drove around about half of the island, and it was dreamily peaceful.
For those of you considering a babymoon road trip:
I was 30 weeks pregnant when we took our babymoon. I discussed the trip with my doctor and there were no concerns about heading up to PEI. The drive was long – 13 hours. We broke up the drive by stopping in Bar Harbor, Maine on our way up, and we made frequent stops along the way so I wasn’t cramped or sitting for too long. I brought along a coccyx pillow to sit on, as well as a pillow to stuff behind my back/side/wherever I needed it to get myself comfortable. While there were certainly uncomfortable moments, I really don’t think it was much worse than the discomfort I feel while sitting in the car for long periods of time while not pregnant. And a babymoon road trip might be easier than flying somewhere – I was able to bring along all my creature comforts (like the 5 different pillows I needed to sleep comfortably!). (Tip: I researched locations and contact information for several local hospitals just in case!)
PEI – I feel like we didn’t do you justice, but we will be back someday!