I remember the summer after graduating high school my parents invited me to travel with them to the Worlds Fair in Montreal. I had recently broken up with my girlfriend and needed a distraction so I went along for the ride. Little did I know at the time that only a few short months would pass and I would be serving my country in Viet Nam. The drive through the southern portion of the Canadian provinces was beautiful indeed. But what captured my attention during this trip was our visit to Prince Edward Island. I remember taking the ferry to the island across crystal blue waters to a land that time forgot. God, I was so young and innocent then.
While planning our family travels around America and Canada I made certain to include a week long stay at Prince Edward Island and I’m happy I did. It seemed to me that the island had not changed very much at all from my last visit almost 50 years before. It still has a very rural feel although there is over 150,000 people residing here. The lush green landscape is heavily treed with bright red dirt patches along the side of the road and in peoples gardens.
There were some modern improvements such as the almost 8-mile long Confederation Bridge and the large windmills harvesting wind energy from the northwest side of the island but most of the island still has a real ancient feel to it. Most of the people who live on this island are very open, warm and friendly people who live their lives at their own pace. For example, the bakery does not open until 11:00 A.M. that would never happen in America.
We drove to the town of Tignish which is about 30 minutes from where we were staying in order to wash our car for the next leg of our journey. We asked a little old lady if she knew where we could find a car wash and she immediately told us that Tignish did not have a car wash and she wanted to know why we didn’t just wash our own car. We told her we were traveling and living out of our car and she took pity on us. She said that Jerry Martin’s girlfriend hand washed cars sometimes and she gave us directions to her house.
She pointed and said drive this way then turn left and look for a bridge, it was the only one in town, then drive under the bridge and make the very first right turn. We drove up this very long driveway to discover a woman cleaning a car in her garage. We asked her if she cleaned cars and she said yes but she was already booked up two months ahead. She graciously agreed to clean the inside of our car for us if we could come back tomorrow. The next day we returned and when she cleaned the car our family took a walk on the trail by her home that used to be the old railroad line.
During the hike through a heavily wooded area I started to imagine seeing elves, gnomes and fairies frolicking in the tall grasses until my magic moment was suddenly interrupted by two young men riding four wheelers. When we returned from our hike the woman had just finished cleaning our car and we were chatting for a short time when she said that most people plan a return trip to PEI and we will do the same.
This enchanting place gets into the marrow of your bones and you will remain forever captivated by its charms once you visit here. I have mixed emotions about leaving tomorrow for Cape Breton for a three day equipped camping excursion but we have been told to expect more of the same wondrous experiences there as well. The kids are excited about the ferry boat ride and Lisa wants to visit a Celtic music museum and a Buddhist monastery on the way.