Sunday, September 13, 2009

There was Plenty of Scope for the Imagination

Growing up my younger sister and I walked back and forth to elementary school. We lived about seven blocks away so we also walked home for the hour long lunch break each day. My mother would read aloud to us while we sat and ate our lunch and we shared many wonderful books this way. We all have sweet memories of those days spent sitting at our kitchen table but my favorite by far was the year I met Anne of Green Gables. My mother read the entire series to us at lunchtime when I was in the 5th and 6th grade and I fell in love with Lucy Maud Montgomery's character Anne Shirley and especially with her words. The books are filled to overflowing with wonderful words and phrases. So guess what? Last week I was here-

Yes that is me standing at the signpost entrance to Green Gables on Prince Edward Island, Canada. Honestly, when we got out of the car I wanted to burst into tears. I felt like my 10 year old self standing there.

My husband and I went on vacation last week. I know some of you who read here are thinking, 'Do these people ever stay home?' It does seem like we've been on the road pretty much every weekend since we arrived back in the states and I guess it seems that way because it's true. However, I don't really consider riding 17 hours in a rental truck only to move furniture upon reaching our destination to be an 'actual vacation'. Nor do I consider moving from one country to another to be anything remotely like an 'actual vacation' so last week we took an honest to goodness vacation. As an aside here...I think you'll be relieved to know that I'm going to write two posts about our holiday because, like Anne Shirley, I too love words.

We drove from our home in NJ alllllll the way to Prince Edward Island Canada. It felt a little bit like driving to the end of the earth but it was so worth it. We spent three full days on PEI visiting friends from the UK. They relocated back to the island a couple of years ago and it was so much fun to see their home and catch up in person. Here is the very lovely view from the very lovely deck of their very lovely home.

We arrived around dinnertime and were greeted with this-

We knew right away we'd come to the right place for a holiday. We spent our first full day on the island seeing the sights around PEI with our friends kindly acting as tour guides. We visited some cute little villages including this one known as charming.

We walked on Brackley Beach which is absolutely beautiful. The wind was blowing in case that's not completely apparent but it was such a nice day.

Oh, and speaking of the weather? Di-vine! My husband spoke to people in his office once or twice and the weather at home was dreadful. Yes he was on vacation and he really did do a great job at keeping the Blackberry mostly turned off. The sea is the one place he can truly relax so this was an ideal vacation spot.

We stopped around lunchtime for what would be the first of many wonderful seafood meals. PEI is known for its seafood and in particular for the mussels and oysters grown there. If you eat mussels in the US chances are good that they were grown in PEI. Coincidentally my friend L is involved in the Aquaculture industry on the island and more about that in a minute. The white buoys=mussel fields.

After lunch we headed over to Green Gables. I can't believe I actually get to write that. Lucy Maud never lived in the house but did spend alot of time there and especially loved exploring what she called The Haunted Woods and Lovers Lane. The house itself belonged to cousins of her grandfather.

Our second night in PEI my friend and I went to see the musical version of the story and it was terrific. I've imagined the characters for so long now that I was a little bit worried about the casting but the show is so well done.

If I'd done nothing but visit Green Gables I would have left PEI a happy girl but our hosts had so many great things organized for us. On our last day in PEI they arranged for us to see inside a Mussel plant which was located just at the base of the bridge leading onto the island.
It's still a very hands on process and much less automated than I would have imagined. After the mussels came the oysters. What fun this was! We went out with a fisherman on a little dory and got to try our hand at tonging the oysters. This is way harder than it looks! (Especially with a leather backpack on).

The riding in the boat part is simple but the actual tonging's tricky! These tongs are seven feet long and they are heavy.

Not only did we get to try tonging the oysters but our very nice fisherman cracked them open right there on the boat and we ate them straight out of the sea. And they were delicious! And I believe the technical term is 'shucked' not cracked.

Yes, my husband did get close enough for you to see every pore in my skin -sorry 'bout that.

We celebrated our last night on the island guessed it...a seafood feast. We had fresh shucked oysters, steamed mussels, fresh scallops, and corn cooked on the grill.

I could go on and on and oops, I have. I'm going to write about the rest of our trip in another post because all of the above happened and it was only Tuesday night. When it comes to my blog I think Anne said it best, "I know I chatter on far too much ...but if you only knew how many things I want to say and don't."


  1. How happy and meaningful this vacation was for you is coming through loud and clear in your's beautiful to read!

    I am in awe of your mother! How wonderful of her to read to you during your lunch break while you were growing up. She sounds amazing and what fantastic memories she made for you and your sister! What a blessing!

    PEI looks gorgeous. Maybe someday I'll have the opportunity to visit, I hope so!

    I can't wait to hear about the rest of your vacation!

  2. What a beautiful place to visit. Thank you so much for taking us with you on this vacation. Being an avid and die hard sea food lover, everything was calling my name. What wonderful friends you have and can't wait for part 2.

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

  3. Joyce, I'm so glad you were able to visit Green Gables. Those are precious memories about your mom reading to you and your sister during your lunch time.
    I loved all of the pictures and loved reading about your time spent in PEI.
    I've never eaten a raw oyster. I love fried oysters.
    Looks like you had some really neat experiences.
    I can't wait to read more.

  4. From one run-offus-of-the-keyboardus to another: you keep right on putting the words on the page. I always enjoy reading them.

    (I hate you for the shellfish; I'm allergic to iodine; it produces anaphylactic shock; I found this out in the emergency room at Mass General; it is an adult-onset allergy so I remember EXACTLY what all those things taste like, including those magnificent fresh-from-the-bay oysters. Arrrrggghhh!!!).

  5. What an incredible trip you and Tim had!!! PEI is certainly a beautiful and fascinating place. Plus, the fact that your Mother had read all the Anne of Green Gables books to you. That was so neat for you to get to visit there!!!! I know you were SOOO excited!!! Your friends were awesome hosts, weren't they? The food looks divine. I can't wait to hear about the rest of your adventures in PEI. What fun!!!! Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week. Love & blessings from NC!

  6. Joyce,

    I do believe you have just described the perfect vacation for my husband. He absolutely loves seafood, and to go and tong for them yourself and eat them straight out of the sea!? Why that would be a dream come true! I might have to think about doing that some time.

    Now as far as Anne of Green Gables... my daughters would love nothing more than to visit there. They love watching the movies especially.

    It's good to be back at your blog. I don't have much time it seems these days to read or write.

    Blessings to you,

  7. I love your travelogues! This would be the perfect vacation for us too. Charlie would love to tong for his own oysters. I might have to show this to him and make him jealous. So glad to make time to visit. I've been gone too long. :)