Because I’m on deadline without much time to spare, the next few weeks I’ll be running some posts from the past. This is one of the blog’s most popular and a personal favorite — a collection of photos from a trip to PEI the summer of 2016. It might seem a bit cruel to share this while we’re all mostly homebound, but I hope this glimpse into the world of Anne and Emily might instead be a welcome distraction!
My friend Jamie and I have dreamed about a Prince Edward Island adventure for years, so to see it finally come together this July was just plain magical. I flew to Connecticut and spent a day with her family (look at the gorgeous veggies those Martins grow!), and early the next morning Jamie and I jumped in a rental car and drove straight through to the Land of Maud.
You might remember I’m a tad obsessed with author L. M. Montgomery. I’ve read all of Maud’s novels, many multiple times. And I’ve committed to re-reading every ten years the journals she kept from the age of fourteen until her late sixties.
As we drove, we listened to the the last Anne book, Rilla of Ingleside, and the musical Hamilton. Jamie and I both agreed that though the trip was long, crossing the Canadian border and watching the gorgeous landscape grow more rural and hilly and somehow even more beautiful was the perfect introduction to PEI.
The island is rolling hillsides and lovely farms that run to red cliff beaches. We arrived at our rental — an nineteenth century farmhouse in South Rustico, PEI — during the sunlight’s golden hour.
There were four bedrooms to choose from. Look at mine!
Jamie and I spent the next day in Cavendish at Green Gables Heritage Place, which includes the home that inspired the setting for the Anne series. The home itself was owned by Maud’s cousins, the McNeills, and was was within walking distance of the Montgomery homestead.
It was a little strange knowing that while Anne Shirley was not a real girl, this house was set up to reflect her world. That red liquid in the cupboard is raspberry cordial — at least that’s what my imagination told me.
This was meant to represent Anne’s room. Less austere than the picture in my mind!
What’s fun is that Lover’s Lane and the Haunted Wood weren’t only places in the Anne books, they were very much a part of Maud’s real life. Here’s Lover’s Lane.
The Haunted Wood, just beyond this gate, led from the McNeill homestead to the Montgomery’s.
No house remains at the Montgomery homestead, but it’s not hard to picture young Maud’s love of nature developing on this land.
Maud’s childhood school (no longer standing) was near the Haunted Wood and within walking distance of her home. From its window she could see Cavendish Community Cemetery where her mother lay — and where Maud herself is now buried.
Here’s a sweet token we found alongside the grave.
That evening, we drove to Charlottetown and saw Anne and Gilbert: The Musical.
It’s a blend of Anne of Avonlea and Anne of the Island with a few liberties thrown in and was beyond fabulous. Jamie ended up downloading the music, which we listened to during the rest of our stay. Perhaps now that I’m back home, I’ve been known to break into “Mr. Blythe” while making dinner.
On our second day we drove to Lower Bedeque to visit the Leard House, where Maud boarded while teaching at the school across the road.
Fans of the journals and the recent Maud biography, The Gift of Wings, know this house well. While Maud lived here, she and the Leard son, Herman, had a secret romance. Both were engaged to other people. Eighteen months later, Herman died. Maud, who by then had broken her engagement and was living back at home, was distraught but could never truly mourn him as she would have if their relationship had been public. Doesn’t this remind you a bit of Una’s inability to fully grieve Walter’s death in Rilla?
The Leard House opened to tourists just a few weeks before we arrived. Visitors can walk through the upstairs room where Maud boarded and eventually will be able to spend the night there. The downstairs has been converted into the Fable Tea Room.
I might have been a little silly about the whole Leard House thing. Evidently, when we arrived, I told the woman who answered the door, “We’re here for Herman,” which entertained Jamie to no end.
Here’s Maud’s room.
And here I am, ridiculously posing with Herman. (At Jamie’s suggestion! I claim no responsibility for this!)
Downstairs we pored over old copies of Kindred Spirits magazine while eating an amazing lunch (I recommend the lobster roll).
Oh, Maud. You certainly did have a lively time in Bedeque!
The Fable Tea Room tables were covered with various pages from Anne books.
The Lower Bedeque Schoolhouse was a couple hundred yards down the road. Our tour guide was a charming college student who was working his way through the journals himself.
On our way back to Rustico, we stopped in Clifton / New London at the Lucy Maud Montgomery Birthplace museum.
That evening we had dinner at Dalvay by the Sea, which was the White Sands Hotel in the Anne of Green Gables movie.
As we were leaving, Jamie and I pulled off the road to capture one of the most gorgeous sunsets I’ve ever seen.
On our last day we visited Park Corner, a 110-acre farm which belonged to Maud’s cousins, the Campbells, and the place she felt most at home. While the Campbells still live here, the house is also open to the public as the Anne of Green Gables Museum.
Park Corner served as inspiration for The Story Girl and the Pat of Silver Bush books. If I remember correctly from the journals, it’s Maud who first referred to the Campbells’ house as Silver Bush.
We took a carriage ride past the real Lake of Shining Waters and down to the shore.
Maud was married at Park Corner next to this mantle, where avid fans sometimes hold their own weddings!
After Park Corner, we stopped at the Blue Winds Tearoom, where we were welcomed by this beautiful tangle of flowers.
The building has no direct Anne or Maud connection, but Terry, the owner, is a true Anne expert. She moved to PEI from Japan many years ago because of her love for the series. I recommend trying the New Moon Pudding, which is a recipe found in Maud’s journals and is similar to lemon meringue pie.
From there, Jamie and I visited the Cape Tyron Lighthouse, where the model for the lighthouse in Anne’s House of Dreams once stood. This new lighthouse doesn’t have a lightkeeper’s quarters as the first one did, but it’s easy to imagine Captain Jim there.
I was in the midst of third-round edits for Jasper and the Riddle of Riley’s Mine while on our trip and worked throughout our stay in this sweet room at “our” farmhouse.
On our final morning, we packed up our things and waved goodbye to our dear temporary home. Until next time, Prince Edward Island!
Thank you to Prince Edward Island Tourism for making our trip extra special.
Tacheny Perry says
My mom and sister and I have talked about taking this trip! How wonderful. Thanks so much for sharing.
You would love it. I promise!
Sonia Gensler says
Oh, I want to go back! Lovely photos.
When did you go? Details, Ms. Gensler.
Stephanie Davis says
Looks like you had a wonderful time! I watched part of the Anne PBS series yesterday, making it particularly fun to read your comments. Need to put a PEI trip on my bucket list.
Katie Noah Gibson says
Love this. I’ve been to PEI and visited some Anne sites too, and it is so lovely.
I’ve been ruined for any other place. Truly one of the most gorgeous places I’ve ever been.
Sarah M says
This sounds absolutely LOVELY! Thanks for sharing–if my family ever gets to go (oh I hope!) we will be looking back here for suggestions. 🙂
Sarah, I love that you’re participating in Jamie’s Give Your Child the World!
A literary pilgrimage!!! Thank you for taking us along …
Kathleen Burkinshaw says
thank you so much for sharing your pictures! What a beautiful area and to have that literary connection-where else would a writer want to work on edits! Prince Edward Island is now on my must see travel list! Loved the picture with you and Herman!
I know Herman adored being in it. 😉
Kimberley Griffiths Little says
Oh, my, what a dream-come-true trip! The pictures are lovely, just what I always pictured. I’m so happy you got to do this and thank you for sharing it with us! One day . . .
I almost sent this to you as a link, as I wanted to share pictures with you. Someday I’ll get to see yours.
Are you familiar with this company and their products? I gave my friend this Anne of Green Gables t-shirt for her birthday last year! http://www.litographs.com/products/gables-tee
I just clicked through and want you to know the farmhouse we stayed in had this image as a print hanging on the wall.
Oh my! I’d love to visit PEI someday. In the meantime your post whisked me back to childhood, pouring over the Anne and Emily books. Thanks for sharing these lovely pictures. 🙂
I’m glad you enjoyed! I lingered over it while writing, as I wasn’t quite ready for it to end.
Jennifer Rumberger says
Someday I hope to go to PEI. Loved all your pictures! Thanks for sharing them and memories from your trip!
You’re very welcome.
Caroline, thank you so much for sharing your beautiful trip with us! Your post informed me about LM Montgomery places I’d never heard of. I just loved reading this. Thanks again. And how cool to write in PEI.
It felt pretty amazing. Glad you enjoyed!
Katie Fox says
Ohhhh….I dream of doing this! Thank you for sharing. I lived vicariously through you as I read. 🙂
Someday it will be your turn!
Oh this is fabulous. My aunt Yvonne visited PEI around the time that I first read the series, and sent me a postcard of the bedroom that represented Anne’s. I still have it in my very bedraggled copy of that book!
Love it! My grandparents went when I was in middle school. Finally, finally I got the chance myself.
What a dream trip! I’ve always wanted to go to Prince Edward Island myself, and I’m planning on making that happen one day. Pinning this for later!
Here’s to making it happen. You won’t be disappointed. I promise.
My husband and I visited PEI with 2 of our kids in 2014. Our trip was not solely based on Lucy Maud adventures, but we did spend a day at Green Gables and Avonlea village. Avonlea village is a historical village with Anne of Green Gables characters roaming the village and performing scenes from the books. It was fantastic for the kids (ages 6 and 1). My daughter fell in love with Anne while we were there.
I am not big on souvenirs, but we did drink some Raspberry Cordial while we were in PEI and I could not resist buying a copy of Anne of Green Gables which at Green Gables – which has a lovely stamp that proclaims it a “Keepsake from Green Gables.”
What a lovely memory!
Joy B. says
Sounds like an amazing trip! Wonderful pictures!
Went to PEI for my honeymoon and while museums are closed in the winter just walking the beach near Cavendish gave me such a thrill!
Perhaps it was “the flash” like Emily experienced? 🙂
Jeannie Prinsen says
I saw your post linked at Modern Mrs. Darcy — I was born in PEI and although I haven’t lived there since the mid-80’s I still go back every summer to visit my family. Your trip looks like it was wonderful! — and the photos are beautiful. There are so many Anne-related things to do and places to go in PEI; it looks like you did them all. (You must be “Island through and through” by now.) Thanks for sharing!
Oh, Jeannie, what a treat! Have you been spoiled for every other place on earth? And now that song will be going through my head all morning.
Carol Dobson says
That “You’re Island” piece insults me as a Prince Edward Islander. I never recommend that anyone go to that play, it’s so bad.!
Also the French River Light, not Cape Tryon is Captain Jim’s.
Hi Carol, your comment about French River lighthouse fascinates me. I’ve had quite the behind-the-scenes discussion with several PEI tourism people about which lighthouse is actually Captain Jim’s. One of the two in the discussion had believed for 30 years that it was the New London lighthouse. I’d love to hear your take.
Haley @ Carrots for Michaelmas says
Oh my goodness! Dream trip!
It was. Still smiling over it.
Deb Watley says
Caroline, You had a lovely trip! Thanks for all the photos, too, so we could experience it through you! Your farmhouse-for-the-week looks delightful! My husband and I visited PEI 20 years ago, and it is still one of my favorite places we’ve visited. Besides some of the Anne sites, I loved the red roads, the lupines, and the lobster and mussels. And I that trip was my first and only time in a lighthouse.
I love that 20 years later it’s still a favorite, Deb.
Margaret McEachern says
Even though Anne Shirley may not have been a real girl, her story was inspired by a real girl! Rachel and Pierce McNeill owned a pretty little home that was located across the road from Green Gables. It has now been moved and is part of the inn across the road from the Cavendish Visitor Information Centre. Rachel and Pierce McNeill could not have any children. They sent away to get a boy but a girl arrived instead. Her name was Ellen. They did decide to keep her and eventually adopted her brother, too. Maud wrote that this was a good idea for a story! When the book Anne of Green Gables was published, Rachel McNeill was very upset. Rachel Lynde`s house was described as the prettiest house in all of Avonlea; Rachel McNeill`s house was known to be the prettiest house in all of Cavendish. Rachel McNeill, a soft-spoken and kind-hearted lady, was certain that the character of Rachel Lynde was based on her.
I so enjoyed reading about your trip! When I graduated from college my grandparents took me on a trip to PEI for my graduation present. My Grandma and I shared a strong love of all of things L.M. Montgomery (Pat of Silver Bush and Mistress Pat are my favorite but I would hesitate to say that any are my least favorite) – I treasure the pictures and memories from that trip as both my grandparents are now gone. We kept a journal on that trip and each night one (or sometimes all) of us would write about what we did that day and some thoughts about it. I now include rereading that journal in my rereadings of Montgomery’s books.
What a special memory!
Molly (no E) says
I am starting to plan a trip for next summer right now, absolutely love your information! Deciding on a place to stay is the very hardest part! Too bad your place is no longer available, it looks perfect!
What a wonderful experience. I grew up listening to my mom read all LMM books while we drove on road trips. So I thought it only befitting to plan a trip to PEI, with her and my 4 daughters. I absolutely love the farmhouse that you stayed in. I am having a hard time finding it. Are you able to provide how to locate it or contact information of those who I might rent from.
Very much appreciate all the wonderful information.
Unfortunately, it is no longer available for rental, I’m sorry to say. I hope you have a wonderful trip!
Hi Angela. I thought I responded a few days ago, but I don’t see my answer here. Unfortunately, that gorgeous farmhouse is no longer available to rent, though a number of equally nice places can be found through Air BnB.
Thanks for your response. I actually got both of you responses. I’m so sorry that the farmhouse is no longer available. I agree I have found many other wonderful and similar places. Thank you for responding to my question.
Glad to hear it! I hope you have a wonderful time.
Jessica Coupé says
Thanks for the virtual tour! I live on the other side of Canada so nice to see the photos.
Am reading L. M. Montgomery’s letters “My Dear Mr. M.” and love this bit: “I know that I can never be a really great writer. My aspiration is limited to this —I want to be a good workman in my chosen profession. I cannot be one of the masters but I hope to attain to a recognized position among the everyday workers of my time. That is all I hope or expect.—L. M. Montgomery (1904).
And by being a “good workman” she became one of the masters!
Oh, I love this! Thank you so much for sharing.