Continued from Day 4 ...
The world's largest lobster is in Shediac, NB
Ontario. Quebec. New Brunswick.
Prince Edward Island.
We were about to cross into our fourth province so far. But before that, we had a stop in Shediac, a small city about 20 minutes away from Moncton. Shediac (population about 6000) is known as the "lobster capital of the world", and hosts an annual festival every July which promotes its ties to lobster fishing. At the western entrance to the town is a 90-tonne sculpture called "The World's Largest Lobster".
The World's Largest Lobster
Of course, if you are in Shediac, you HAVE to try their lobster. We found a place that was selling lobster rolls for around $9. Each sandwich had about 2 lbs of lobster meat, freshly cooked. The sandwich ... was ... AMAZING.
Something to be said for seafood on
an east coast trip in Canada
After that, it was time to head for Prince Edward Island (PEI). PEI is Canada's smallest province, but connected to the mainland through the Confederation Bridge - Canada's largest bridge.
In fact, the 12.9-kilometre (8 mi) bridge is the world's longest bridge over ice-covered water. There's no toll if you are travelling from New Brunswick to PEI (like us), but there is if you are travelling in the other direction.
It takes some guts to drive on to a bridge that you do not see the end for a long time. It just disappears into the horizon, over the sea (technically the Abegweit Passage of the Northumberland Strait). When travelling at the speed limit (80 km/hr), it takes about 12 minutes to cross the bridge.
You want to get off at the first exit as soon as you cross (Port Borden) so you can get some great pictures of the bridge. Luckily, it was a glorious day, with plenty of sunshine. This was originally a rail stop where passengers would disembark and wait for a ferry to cross in the past.
Interestingly, even though PEI is the birthplace of Canada, the island (province) itself joined Canada a little later (1873). A condition for its joining was that the Government of Canada would provide a ferry service from the mainland. This condition was finally dropped only after the bridge was constructed in 1997, after more than a 120 years. Canada had to make a constitutional amendment once the bridge was open, and PEI had to agree, that the ferry was no longer a requirement!
After the brief stop in Port Borden, we made our way to Cavendish, PEI. The drive through the island was glorious. If there was one regret from our trip, it was that we only had 2 days to spend on PEI. In hindsight, the island was so pretty, the beaches so divine, the food so tasty, and the people so friendly, that we would recommend anyone spend more time exploring Canada's most unique province. Ideally we would have liked another couple of days in the province.
Cavendish, besides being a beach town, is also home of Green Gables, of Anne of the Green Gables fame. Green Gables is the name of a 19th-century farm in the city, and is one of the most notable literary landmarks in Canada.
The Anne of Green Gables house
The Green Gables farm and its surroundings are the setting for the popular Anne of Green Gables novels by Lucy Maud Montgomery (also a TV show). The site is also known as Green Gables Heritage Place.
The house was designated a National Historic Site in 1985 and the complex is located within Prince Edward Island National Park. Hence if you have a park pass, you can get in for free. Inside, each room is kept as it would have been during Anne's days, as it was on the TV show (and in the books).
It reminded me a bit of similar "old" houses you see elsewhere in Canada, such as the Grey Roots Museum (in Ontario).
The furnishings were straight out of a
museum ... or my grandmother's
Is that a Singer?
Of course, for me a highlight was the full construction of the famous Green Gables house in LEGO!
Close to the Green Gables house was a cluster of shops that were all eateries. And yes, it included a chocolate shop also called Green Gables.
If you are visiting PEI, you have to visit its beaches. There's many beaches throughout the island, but we visited the one closest to us that day. As you can see, even the beaches are inside national parks (again, free with your park pass).
These were some of the best beaches I have seen in Canada. White (or red, unique to PEI) sands, with crystal clear blue water. And for some reason, not very crowded. It was very, very hot (almost 30C, even with the cloud cover) - so perfect weather to be at the beach.
Close to the town was some board walk shops that stayed open quite late, and were filled with tourists like us. So if you are one of the folks that got a souvenir from someone visiting Cavendish, this is likely where it was obtained from.
Charming. Cute. Quiet. Peaceful. Delightful.
Those were just some of the words I can use for Prince Edward Island. Truly a remarkable place. And for some of us in our group, PEI was the highlight of the trip.