Prince Edward Island Delights – Charlottetown

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It’s hard to believe it has been three years since my last visit to this lovely island.  Before this I was going there every second year but many people I talk to go there every year.  It is just the thing to do and yet it is never too crowded and you can book quite last minute and do fine.

Charlottetown was named after the German born Queen Charlotte who was the consort of King George III.  Other places in North America like Charlotte, North Carolina are also named after her.  She was chosen as the wife for George as she was young and from a small town in Germany and would have no knowledge of politics or intrigue.  He told her not to meddle and she never did.  Some things don’t change.  She gave birth to 15 children.

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  • Everyone admits that Union must take place sometime. I say now is the time. [At the Charlottetown Conference 1864] – Sir John A Macdonald
  • Canada was Born Here.”  Canada’s Birthplace
  • It’s an adventure in history, plus so much more.”
    Charlottetown

There was a time I thought that I may not go back there though.   On that occasion I went there and not long after arriving  some creepy cop stopped me and said that I had been driving over the speed limit.  I had missed the sign but the Trans Canada there goes from 90 to 60 for no good reason except for a few houses.  Where I live it is always 100 or more.  It is never 100 there and I suppose it should be part of its charm but on that day it was part of its harm and I didn’t stay too long that time.   It actually happened in a place called Crapaud which is pronounced Crap-o.  Beware of the crap there.

Still the draw was too strong and I eventually went back and enjoyed the land and especially Charlottetown.    This post focuses on that

I was happy with the choice of lodgings at the Banbridge Inn for once as there was no noise save some door slams.  People really need to think more about that when in public places.  I got to sit outside a few times on the porch or chairs provided.  There was even a muddy river behind us though we were technically in the city.  There were chairs there too but they were dew covered at night and early morning when I wanted to sit on them.

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Out front there were more chairs and picnic tables and even barbecues and croquet.

The first morning was so warm and I sat outside and had an amazing coffee on the porch near the geraniums.  They get their coffee from Just Us which is in NS in Grand Pre.  I tried some tea which was also nice.  You can buy their products in many locations including major supermarkets but also in their cafes.

You could find lots of breakfast items in the self-serve kitchen like oatmeal and fruit and yogurt.  We bought muffins but hardly needed them.  I got to interact with the other guests and it reminded me of my travel days  at hostels.

As  like most of my trips there was a bit of serendipity.  I decided to drive through until Cape Jourimain, New Brunswick which is just before the bridge and has a nice Visitors’ Centre with restaurant and museum and viewing tower and beach and trails.  If only I’d had more time for the trails but I enjoyed what I saw.  Including a snake, rabbit and osprey nest.  You could walk up to a viewing platform and this is some of what I saw.  You can take a trail that goes under Confederation Bridge but I didn’t have time.

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The snake.  I had to hurry to get this picture.

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The rabbit who didn’t seem that afraid of me.  Sometimes the real trip is in the journey.  This was just a stop to eat my sandwich and use the “composting” facilities.  I had been here before but had not explored as much.  I was happy I checked it out.

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There is an osprey nest here though it is hard to see.

Meanwhile there were other things to be seen in the museum.P1020611

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I learned a very interesting bit of history here when I read how people used to cross from New Brunswick to PEI in the winter on the ice. It is a ten minute drive across the bridge now.  In this time if you paid the lesser fare you had to get out of the boat and help get it across.  Mail was one important thing transported on these boats.  It was a dangerous crossing of course.  I had no idea.

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It was great to see Charlottetown again and on this trip that is all I had time for as I had booked two nights at the Jazz Festival.  There was time to roam about a bit and eat and that was about it.  It was all made so easy in this compact city with easy angled parking often free or at least on the off hours.  I love that there are so many cool old buildings made into wonderful places to shop, eat or drink.

I learned on this trip that in 1866 there was a “great fire” which blackened four city blocks, gutting a hundred buildings.  This led to brick being used for buildings and that is why we have so many of these wonderful structures creating lovely streetscapes, proving that good can come from bad.
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There is also a lovely pedestrian area which is important for every city to have I think.

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This is Victoria Row near Confederation Centre  of the Arts which has underground walkways and a museum where you can see plays and musicals.  It has a restaurant as well.  It’s all very central but the whole place is so walkable.   I have seen the Anne of Green Gables musical in the past and this time I saw Alice Through the Looking Glass which brought me back to my childhood.  They threw candies and toys on parachutes among other things.

I had a chance to walk in Victoria park and relax on its trails and then come out to a nice view of the harbour.  P1020646

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In this city picture you can see people enjoying walking, boating and perhaps even see farm land beyond.  It is all so accessible and intertwined there.

I also took a tour of an old house with Americans mostly.  I find these places fascinating as they ooze the past and you wonder what things went on within their walls.  It was a very different time with large families living within such maze like spaces as well as the servants that worked for them.  There was always a bit of luxury mixed perhaps with tragedies of the time which may or may not have been documented it seems.  This is Beaconsfield Historical House.  Lots of fancy rooms and wallpaper and staircases as they had in those times with bland servants’ quarters in the back.

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On this trip I couldn’t stop going to the Pilot House for some reason.  I usually choose variety but was afraid to ruin a good thing.  I’ve heard there are cheaper oysters elsewhere but every time I tried to go to another place it didn’t work out so  I tried them here among many other luscious things.  They seem to get so much right.

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Both nights there I not only ate in the Pilot House but also went to the PEI Jazz and Blues Festival.  I enjoyed listening to Diana Panton and the Phil Dwyer Trio.  Both acts took place in an old church which really added to the ambience.

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Luckily Art in the Open was happening by chance that weekend.  This goes from 4 – midnight.  There are various installations around the city that looked even better lit up.   Some are interactive.  I saw a fortuneteller with a parrot and people were writing things on a wall seen below.  Look for the comment about Harper who was the prime minister at the time but lost by a landslide a few months later.   One woman told me people dressed up as crows and ran to the park later in the evening and I saw a few of these too.

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http://http://artintheopenpei.com/past-festivals/

 

 

 

 

Also downtown is the lovely St. Dunstan’s Basilica.

See pictures below compliments of Google.  And in this divine moment this post comes to an end.