The first view is of red clay cliffs, gently sloping to the Northumberland Strait. The plane banks slowly…and all of Prince Edward Island (PEI) comes into sight: a patchwork of color and sea.
In the spring and summer it’s as green as Ireland, and as golden as Vermont on a crisp autumn day.
Charlottetown, the capital, is as laid back as it gets with incorrigibly friendly people. Some shops are charming; some ordinary. A handful of stately hotels line the tree-shaded streets, along with red brick B&B’s. Several small outdoor café’s punctuate the space with colorful umbrellas.
The town is a rich venue for performing and visual arts, including of course, the venerable, never-ending story of Anne of Green Gables. Lucy Maud Montgomery’s feisty red-headed heroine is a national treasure and she stares out at visitors everywhere. There are even Anne of Green Gables potato chips.
Green Gables House (902-963/3370 www.parkscanada.pch.gc.ca/parks/pei )
At the top of the north coast is the town of North Rustico, a former Acadian stronghold. Longfellow set his sentimental, Evangeline, here and in Nova Scotia, recording the expulsion of the Acadians by the British.
The Acadians fled south to New Orleans, where they became known as Cajuns.
Today, there are a few Acadian Stella Maris flags, much superb lobster and adventurous kayaking.
Myth has it, the Miqkmaq indian’s chief god, Glooskap, saved his most vivid colors for this gentle island, generously painting it as only a caring god could.