Exploring Prince Edward Island
"You never know what peace is until you walk on the shores, or in the fields, or along the winding red roads of Prince Edward Island." - L.M. Montgomery.
While Prince Edward Island, Canada might be globally synonymous with the flame-haired orphan Anne Shirley, who captured the imagination of countless individuals around the world, the island itself is so much more than the setting of a beloved novel.
While I, like many other visitors, initially made the pilgrimage to the northern spot because of my fascination with Anne of Green Gables, I soon became enamoured all that the island has to offer -- quaint fishing villages, delectably fresh seafood, an eclectic art and dining scene, and stunning natural scenery offset by red cliffs, incredible greenery, and sapphire oceans.
In addition, the area is a boon for history buffs who can explore the island's capital Charlottetown, which is the official birthplace of Canada.
If you're not an Anne of Green Gables fan or want to step outside the box, keep scrolling to check out the best that this relaxing island has to offer!
Prince Edward Island National Park
I started my trip by taking in the natural sights and sounds of the island courtesy of the Homestead hike, which is about 8.4 km in length and loops around with stunning visages of New London Bay and the greenery around Cavendish.
I was struck by the assortment of apple trees lining the paths, which I later found out were remnants of the original Cavendish settlers who planted the trees in orchards.
Try to reserve a couple hours to wander and familiarize yourself with the stunning different landscapes of the island -- it's well worth it!
On one rainy afternoon, I took a detour to the small seaside village of Victoria-by-the-Sea, which authentically captures some of the real spirit of the island while simultaneously serving as a quaint tourist hub for the locals to tout their wares.
I ate lunch at Beachcombers before browsing an assortment of local shops and art galleries for handmade items and antiques.
For stunning views of the island, make your way to Belfast's Point Prim lighthouse, which is the oldest lighthouse on the island and is open to the public from June 17th through September 30th.
Constructed in 1845, the lighthouse offers visitors a recreation of what the interior would have once looked like in addition to a 60 ft. high vantage point overlooking the Northumberland Strait and Hillsborough Bay.
After enjoying the stunning scenery, browse the gift shop or head to the nearby Prim Point Oyster House for a delicious spot of lunch (I recommend putting your name down before you climb up the lighthouse as wait times can be long).
Rossignol Estate Winery
As the weather can be somewhat mild even during the summertime and fall, the best way to warm up is with a glass or two of wine at the award-winning winery Rossignol, which is located close to Prim Point in Little Sands.
Open from June 1st through September 30th, the vineyard -- which boasts a fine selection of fruit wines, liqueurs, and table wines, including island specialties like Red Currant wine -- also offers a unique selection of artwork and stunning views of the Northumberland Strait while visitors walk the grounds and enjoy their wine.
I would recommend this spot to those who prefer their vino white, fruity, or slightly sweet, as I found their dry red selection a little lacking.
Cow's Ice Cream
While the weather during my stay in P.E.I. could best be described as mild, I soon found myself experiencing some serious ice cream cravings.
And what better way to satisfy those cravings than with a visit to the island's premier ice cream parlor Cow's, which has been touted by Reader's Digest readers as "Canada's Best Ice Cream"?
Since opening its doors in 1983, Cow's Creamery has welcomed visitors with its delectable ice cream flavors and cheese offerings, including its famed Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar.
Those particularly impressed by the treats can extend their fandom one step further by donning Cow's-themed gear as well as other merchandise.
One of the Cow's location in downtown Charlottetown even has a large cow replica outside that you can take photos by to commemorate your visit.
Charlottetown, which is also known as the birthplace of the Canadian confederation, boasts plenty of history, fine theater, world-class dining options, and some of the most famous golf courses in the world.
The university town houses Anne of Green Gables shops next to trendy boutiques, and makes it easy to grab a quick bite to eat or enjoy a drink before seeing one of the island's famous theater productions.
Visitors should make a foray to the city's harbor to check out some of the boats as well as some of the water-side dining and shopping options.
Notable Eats: Claddagh Oyster Bar 4.5
I was a little wary of heading to an Irish pub to truly get a taste of Prince Edward Island's seafood treasure trove, but Claddagh Oyster Bar in downtown Charlottetown invited me in with its trendy ambiance, sinfully fresh P.E.I. oysters, and fusion small plates offering everything from lobster risotto to Asian short ribs.