Maritimelog VII: She Sells Sea Shells

Posted by


When the morning found us it happened to be a Saturday, so with the day free from gainful employment all ‘round we and our hosts went out together for breakfast.  Afterwards Chris took us all for a little drive around North Rustico, pointing out the highlights of his home village.  I can report that Chris grew up in a beautiful little spot and though it is small it is not without its charms.  

Speaking of not without their charms: Toddman and Chris

All too soon we were back at their house exchanging farewell-hugs.  With the bulk of the day still ahead of us m’lady and I pulled the RV out of their driveway and continued our exploration of beautiful Prince Edward Island.

We started with a quick ten-kilometre drive north to Cavendish where we visited the house attributed to Anne of Green Gables.  Though m’lady is an actual fan of the franchise it was the incongruous meeting of real and make-believe that piqued my interest.  Y’see, Anne of Green Gables is a fictional character and yet this was supposedly her real-life farmhouse, albeit once-removed from its original location. 

The real home of the unreal Anne of Green Gables

(The facting of the fiction: The real-live house on display was the one that author Lucy Maud Montgomery used as the mental backdrop when she created her books, much like how Bram Stoker visualized the castle in Bled, Romania when he was writing Dracula.)

We meandered through the house and around the grounds and we smooched on lover’s lane and everything, all the while trying to stay ahead of a minibus of Asian tourists* who remained hot on our self-guided heels.  Curiously, this was the first time on this journey that I’d noticed Asian tourists anywhere.  M’lady (who spent several years living in Tokyo) informed me that Miss O’Green Gables is very popular in Japan.  I suspect a lot of Japanese tourists come to the Maritimes to see Anne’s house and then head straight to Banff or Vancouver.  

Once we had seen all there was to see I stopped into the gift shop and bought an Anne of Green Gables shot glass.  I straight-faced the girl at the register asking whether Anne had been a wizard or a muggle and she deadpanned me right back, however I did get her to laugh when I pointed to a bowl of shells for sale on the counter and whispered that she was the one the tongue twister people were looking for (the seashore was just across the road).  I got my laugh and an ironic shot glass so with a job well done I hi-tailed it out of there.  

Thus began a drive that would take us halfway across Canada’s smallest province.  It was a journey that clocked in at well under two hundred kilometres, even after taking every detour and side-road possible.  That said, we fleshed out the short, slow, beautiful drive with a lingering, if slimy, lunch break along the way.  

I’m not sure if we were actually hungry enough to eat or just taken with the utter perfectness of the roadside sea-view restaurant, but we pulled in.  We headed straight to the patio in the back where a self-serve oyster bar was the centrepiece of the large outdoor space.  I don’t know what I ordered but I can tell you what I didn’t order: oysters.  Are you nuts?  I can’t imagine looking at one and thinking, “yum”.  It boggles my mind.  They are icky shell warts and I’m just not interested.  I strongly suspect that I had the burger.  

M’lady, on the other hand, engaged in a no-holds-barred tong and shuck tutorial, dislodging and slurping down any number of the foul creatures.  It was like watching Fear Factor.

After lunch we let our stuffed Rocky Lobster mascot lead the way once again.  As is his habit, the little fellah chose the scenic route, affording us the opportunity to slowly relish the beauty of the island the rest of way to the end of the road at North Cape.  We poked around the lighthouse up there and admired the thirty or so huge windmills making good time in the steady ocean wind.  I popped into the info booth/gift shop and asked if it would be okay if we stayed there for the night.  They said “sure!” and suggested we set up behind their building.  I pulled the Sunseeker around and parked in a gloriously beautiful spot, just a few metres away from the exact northernmost point of Prince Edward Island.  Wow.  I slid out the sliders while m’lady mixed us a couple of drinks.

Our campsite for the night. Try that in a tent.

The lighthouse flashed and the windmills whirred and we watched the seals playing in the water while the sun sank into the sea.  When it started to get dark I began to hear another one of those mournful buoys floating out there in the blackened ocean, just like the one that dirged us to sleep when we camped at the top of Cape Breton Island in Bay St. Lawrence.  It could be that the buoy only started sounding once night fell night or perhaps it simply had to get dark enough outside for me to notice the lonely droning.  Regardless, as I sat there listening and gazing at the waning horizon it occurred to me without a doubt that this was the best campsite we’d had so far on this trip.  

In fact, it was this very camping spot that ultimately sold me on the whole RV experience.  I knew getting out on the road with a little house on wheels would be pretty sweet, but the hostel-tromping backpacker in me didn’t really expect to be won over by RV life.  But I must say there are lots of places – and cool places too – where an RV is the only real option.  There’s no way we would’ve gotten away with pitching a tent in most of the spots we’d slept in the previous week.  Any passing police car would have pulled in and urged us to move on, no question.  Including the beautiful spot at the base of that lighthouse.  That said, even if the North Cape police turned a blind eye the endless wind gusts that fed the spinning windmills would make it pretty challenging to pitch a tent anywhere around there, let alone get a good night’s sleep in one.  

And then there is the delicious freedom to pull over at any random trail for a little impromptu mountain biking, capped with an in-vehicle shower and a fresh snack.  I tell you, I’ve always wanted to visit the northern chunk of this continent and now that I’ve had a taste I think one of these campers would be the way to do it.  I’m not going to run out and buy one or anything, but I must admit I like these RV’s.

Or it could be that I was getting delirious on whisky and sunset.  It’s hard to say.

*A pride of lions; a school of fish; a murder of crows…Ladies and gentlemen may I introduce: a minibus of tourists.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s