Prince Edward Island: Through Anne's Eyes
“It must be a great deal better to be sensible; but still, I don't believe I’d really want to be a sensible person because they are so unromantic.” -- L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
The province of Prince Edward Island in northern Canada has held a special place in my imagination since childhood, when I, like many others, first fell in love with the island's most famous flame-haired heroine, Anne of Green Gables.
Although the beloved series is fictional, writer L.M. Montgomery -- who grew up on the island -- herself said that it seemed like an "injury" to reduce the character of Anne Shirley to a figment of her imagination.
And indeed, allusions to the books, the endearing orphan, and her favorite spots like the Lake of Shining Waters, Avonlea, Charlottetown, Lover's Lane, and of course, Green Gables, appear as real as ever spread throughout the island.
Today I'm going to dedicate this post solely to my top must-sees for any avid Anne fans, including all her favorite hideouts and a review of the long-running Anne of Green Gables musical in Charlottetown. Check back to my next post to see the natural beauties of the island -- including the red rocks, stunning beaches, and scenic hikes -- as well as the best places to get a bite of fresh seafood on the island.
Anne's home Green Gables was based on a farm owned and run by Montgomery's cousins, the McNeills. She would oftentimes visit the green gabled house and wander the nearby grounds, which included Lover's Lane and the Haunted Wood, for literary inspiration.
Today, the house itself has been renovated to look like a recreation of Anne's home as told in the book, and fans can also check out an adjoining museum that showcases L.M. Montgomery's original typewriter.
Nearby, visitors can make their way to Avonlea Village, which, although small, boasts an impressive recreation of what Anne's community must have been like. After browsing a number of the strip's interesting shops and cafes, check out a recreation of a 19th century school like where Anne first met Gilbert Blythe, as well as a church and a manse.
In addition to Cavendish's Green Gables, the community of the rural town also heavily influenced L.M. Montgomery's pen, so it's only fitting to enjoy some of the area's stunning beauty while visiting Green Gables and imagine you are seeing the island for the first time through Anne's eyes.
One of my favorite afternoons was spent exploring a section of Prince Edward Island National Park with the extremely popular Cavendish Beach.
Take the opportunity for a pleasant walk on the sands, or join hikers in exploring the dunes and forest trails.
The Lake of Shining Waters
Who can forget Anne's romantic re-christening of a "[thrilling] pond" as The Lake of Shining Waters while riding back with Matthew Cuthbert to Green Gables? Montgomery wrote in her diary that the inspiration for the beautiful spot came from both Cavendish pond (pictured below) and the pond at Park Corner.
While travelers can simply stroll around the pond at Park Corner located on the Silver Bush farmstead, those enchanted by its beauty can also enjoy a carriage ride around the water and the nearby Anne of Green Gables museum with "Matthew" as a guide from May through October.
Fans of the Anne of Green Gables films will remember carefree young Anne and her bosom friend Diana racing along the red rocky shores of the island.
Do as Anne by visiting Thunder Cove Beach and Tea Cup Rock and taking a run along the scarlet shores.
As a young writer, Anne Shirley made her poetry recitation debut at the White Sands Hotel, where she showed off her flair for dramatics and memorably started blurring the lines of her friendship with Gilbert.
The White Sands Hotel was portrayed in the movie by real-life resort Dalvay-By-the-Sea, where you can enjoy a delicious bite to eat, an elegant Afternoon Tea (reserve in advance), and stunning views.
The hotel, which was built in 1896 and has become one of Canada's National Historic sites, was visited by Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton in 2011.
Anne of Green Gables Musical
For visitors looking to get the real Anne experience, begin or end your trip to Prince Edward Island with a showing of the Anne of Green Gables musical in downtown Charlottetown. The production, which is Canada's longest-running family musical, shows from June through September at the Confederation Centre of the Arts.
I thoroughly enjoyed the quirky and heartwarming take on the classic tale including an exploration of the "kindred" relationship between Anne and Matthew, but I wouldn't have minded seeing a little more of Marilla.
There's also the Guild's Anne & Gilbert: The Musical for those hoping to imbue their stay with a little romance.
Notable Eats: Point Prim Chowder House *****
A visit to Prince Edward Island wouldn't be complete without trying some of the area's delectably fresh maritime offerings, which we sampled at Prim Point's unassuming but highly rated Chowder House.
The rustic and cheery restaurant lets diners take advantage of the stunning sea views with an open patio and full bar. I experienced one of the best lobster rolls I've ever had, simply seasoned with butter and scallions, and also sampled a delicious seafood chowder.
Make sure to put your name down before strolling around the nearby area, as spots book up fast and we were barely able to get in for lunch!