Snowy Range Pass

Snowy Range Pass

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Prince Edward Island

This is the  last stop on our 47 day Canadian maritime province tour.  As soon as we crossed the bridge it became apparent that this province was different than the others.  It was not as rugged looking and it was lush green everywhere. Perhaps that is part of the reason it is referred to as the "Garden of the Gulf".  It is driven by a farming economy with lots of rural rolling hills and neat homes and villages.  Our guide would tell us that the residents of the island were obsessed with the condition of their lawns. Farming is the major industry which produces 25% of all the potato production is Canada.  There is also a growing mussels farming effort going and we can attest that these mussels are amazing.  Because they grow them suspended in clear water, they have no sediment in the shells.

The landscape reminded me of the rolling farm land of  upstate New York, where I grew up-just perhaps a bit neater.  Even the coastal areas seem less rugged and wild than Newfoundland.  In any case, it was enjoyable to drive around the country side and enjoy the scenery.

We stopped at a very scenic fishing village and noticed right away the osprey nest by the parking lot.  One or two folks tried to get right under the nest for some reason and while I just missed the unload, the biggest bird let loose with a stream of -let's call it poop- right at them. It was funny to me, if not those folks and I got one picture of the bird ready to fire again, if necessary.  The rest of the pictures were without excitement.

We soon realized that "Ann of Green Gables" was a big deal here, and we learned the story of the  author's lifelong love of the island at the National Historic site.  I had heard of the book but had not read it.  Here it is an obsession.

Charlottetown is the only large city and is where the first Confederation conference was held to unite the provinces into a new nation in 1864.  I have mentioned this conference before, but suffice it to say that it remains an important part of the city's culture including a Confederation learning center and markers and statutes around the city denoting important persons and dates.  "Ann of Green Gables" is also important here with all kinds of souvenirs available based on the book.  We attended the musical of the same name and I can now saw I know the story.  We did manage to see the inside of St. Dustan's Basilica and do a walking tour of the downtown area.

We ended our caravan here and each of the 17 rigs were going separate ways, we certainly enjoyed their company on this very enjoyable journey.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Traveling to our last caravan stop

It was a two day drive to our final stop in our Canadian caravan tour on Prince Edward Island. That gave us the opportunity to catch a couple of attractions along the way that were not on the tour. The first of these was the Alexander Graham Bell National historic site in Baddeck, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. This is a beautiful small waterfront town where Bell established his summer home, Beinn Bhreagh, in 1855.  Bell said this was his favorite place of all those he had visited.

The historic site is the only place that original documents and artifacts can be found for his experiments in Nova Scotia.  His home, Beinn Bhreagh, is on a ridge across the bay from the museum. I learned  many new things about Bell, including his design of the fastest watercraft in the world, setting the world speed record in 1919 of over 70 MPH.  This was part of a business venture to sell these fast boats to the military.  Unfortunately, the designed was not completed before WWI ended and the military did not place any orders.  He also designed the aircraft that  J. MacCurdy flew over Baddeck bay in 1909 becoming the first heavier than air craft to fly in Canada and perhaps in the British Empire.

There are many other exhibits about his work with the deaf, which actually lead to the invention of the telephone along with all kinds of other interests.

I have always enjoyed Ann Murray's music, so when we saw she had a museum in Springhill, NS. we stopped by to have a look.  Springhill is a mining town with a rather tragic history from mine disasters to fire destroying the town.  Ann Murray has maintained a strong relationship with the town and has supported it through the years.  The museum, at first, seems understated and homey-which it is, but as you walk through the one way tour, you begin to see how well planned the exhibits are.  It was very interesting to not only learn about her career but also the relationship she still has with the town she grew up in.

In order to get onto Prince Edward Island (PEI) you have to cross the Confederation bridge, which at 8.1 miles long, is the longest bridge over water that freezes in the world.  It is also the most expensive bridge we have ever crossed.  It is free to get on the island but the fee for getting off with two axles is $45.00 CN.  So we tried to enjoy the ride.

Our last stop before arriving at our campground for our PEI visit was the small town of Victoria, which some guides call the prettiest town on the island.  We certainly thought it was very scenic.