Thursday, 20 August 2015

Prince Edward Island - Why I need to Go Back!

Our first view of PEI from the ferry

Lunch Counter turned charging station
Entertainment at it's Best
Why?  because it's local
Jam/Jelly Tasting
Have you ever been some place and, when you leave, you inherently know you will be back?  PEI is one such place.  Having recently returned from a wonderful weekend at the Rodd Brudenell River Resort, all I can say is that it has left me wanting more. 

Our ride on the Northumberland Ferries Ltd. Confederation, literally oozed charm. The 75 minute route runs between Wood Islands, PEI and Caribou, NS. Running approximately every 3 hours, the cost of a return trip for the average passenger vehicle is $70CA.  Outdoor viewing decks offer a great opportunity to walk around the ship and take in beautiful views of the Northumberland Straight.  While we didn't see any ourselves,  we were told it's quite common to spot seals and porpoises, not to mention, it's a fantastic way to relax and enjoy the crossing. July through September passengers will be entertained by local artists from Eastern PEI and Pictou County, NS.  On our return trip, we were serenaded by a full on country singer/songwriter with plenty of stories to share.    If we were looking for something sweet to snack on, we even had the opportunity to sample a number of local jams and jellies.  What could be more 'down home' than that?  While perhaps not as luxurious as the ferries travelling from the Mainland Vancouver to the Island, there are certainly enough conveniences, including PEI's infamous Cows Ice Cream, to provide for a comfortable and enjoyable journey.
Children Crabbing. . . Don't Think They are Big
Enough to Eat But it's Still  Fun!
Our visit to PEI was inspired by an invitation to a wedding at the Rodd Brudenell River Resort.  Beyond looking at the Resort's website to book accommodation, we knew nothing of it except that it was close to where the groom's family grew up.  In fact, the grooms grandfather was raised on that very location.  Sentimentality aside, by the end of our 2-night stay, we understood just how much this diverse little gem has to offer, not only as a wedding destination but as a full service family resort.  On-site activities include indoor/outdoor swimming pools, saunas, whilpool, marina, bicycle rentals, walking trails, kayaking and canoeing, not to mention horseback riding, lawn bowling and tennis.  And did I mention there are two 18-hole golf courses?  Throughout the tourist seasons there are daily scheduled kid's activities.  I spoke to one guest who told me her family has travelled from Ottawa, ON to the Resort annually for the past 5 years for a 6-week stay and no one was ever bored.  If that's not a resounding two thumbs up, I'm not sure what is!
Children +Quiet Horses +Well Managed Supervised Riding,
including Trails = Excellent Vacation
The Rodd Brudenell offers lodging to suit every taste and budget. Offering 131 rooms, the main building offers several configurations of rooms with balconies, surrounding a large deck, outdoor dining area and pool.  Cottages are offered as king, queen (2 queen beds) or a 2-bedroom, 2 bathroom option, including a large seating area and full kitchen.  All of the cottages include a mini fridge and microwave; all rooms are provided with wireless high speed internet, telephone, TV, coffee maker, hair dryer, iron and ironing board.  If camping is more your style, you will want to check out the adjacent Brudenell River Provincial Park, the largest provincial park in Eastern PEI. 
Brudenell River Provincial Park
There were so many things I found endearing about the Rodd Brudenell River Resort.  The staff were extremely personable and efficient; the grounds are stunning; the food was great!  As if the spectacular scenery and myriad activities wasn't enough, every opportunity to educate its guests about Eastern PEI was taken, right down to the placemats on the table when you visited the sumptuous $10 breakfast buffett.  This is how I learned about the importance of lighthouses and the distinction between them.  For example, lighthouses built prior to 1873 were designed in an octagonal shape and constructed when quality timber was abundant.  Lighthouses built after 1873 are square tapered, often using imported lumber from New Brunswick as the Island supply had been depleted by the shipbuilding industry.  Each lighthouse also had individual day markings and could be distinguished, one from the other, by its flash pattern. 

I also learned about the 300km Confederation Trail.  Nearly flat due to its origins as a railway line, its finely crushed gravel surface makes it very easy to negotiate both by foot or bicycle. As it passes through villages and towns, trekkers have a chance to stop, shop, have a snack and dine out.  In winter, the trail is turned over to snowmobilers, making an excellent tip-to-tip network that even connects to several motels for door-to-door adventure. Confederation Trail offers unlimited opportunities for nature lovers, artists, historians, photographers, berry pickers, birders and anyone looking for a nice quiet place to spread a blanket for an afternoon picnic.

At the end of the day, don't forget to stop for a  moment and take in the spectacular sunset. 

So there you have it; I've barely scratched the surface of this beautiful little Province.  No mention of beaches, art galleries, museums, vineyards, or festivals and other events to take it.  Perhaps now you understand why I need to go back!