This is a picture heavy post. So, not much reading involved..bonus!
Our first real day in Prince Edward Island started early around 6:30am, with an impromptu stroll along the oceanfront directly across from the hotel. After gulping down a couple of coffees to get my “old heart started and blood flowing”, off we went.
Unfortunately, Lynn had woken up somewhat struggling to get excited about the day ahead.
Where “old coffee mugs” go to die.
A short clip of what the morning stroll was like.
This stretch of oceanfront was to provide in a couple of days, one of the most awesome wildlife viewings I’ve ever experienced. So, stay tuned!
After our time on the beach, we headed back into the hotel for some breakfast, before heading into Charlottetown to meet someone Lynn had made friends with from a Facebook Group “We Love Prince Edward Island.”
Breakfast started with more coffee followed by pulled pork eggs benedict with a lemon hollandaise sauce over rosemary focaccia bread and herb PEI mini-potatoes, while Lynn opted for a somewhat healthier freshly baked croissant with island preserves.
Oh my, I sound like a food critic!
Once stuffed, we headed to the car and off to Charlottetown to meet Ian, our guide for the morning.
Our first stop was St. Dunstan’s Basilica, which is the Cathedral of the Diocese of Charlottetown. As much as it is a tourist attraction, it is also a place of worship. Both Lynn and I tried to take a low profile during our time in the sanctuary, as people came in and out; spending time in quiet reflection and prayer.
The Basilica is named for St. Dunstan an Anglo-Saxon saint from Glastonbury. The current stone structure was rebuilt in 1916 after a fire. The Basilica is located on Great George Street, between the harbour and the Confederation Centre of the Arts.
The Basilica was designated as a National Historic Site of Canada in 1990.
Next on our agenda was Confederation House located just up the street. Confederation House is where the “Fathers of Confederation” met in 1864 to discuss and eventually agree on the formation of a new country……Canada.
Unfortunately, the building has been closed since 2015 to undergo extensive renovations and restoration and is not expected to open for several years.
We spent the rest of our time today in Charlottetown walking around and looking at whatever happened to pop up along the way. As much as we enjoy visiting the more tourist type of things when we explore someplace, we really like just walking old areas or neighbourhoods just seeing what there is to see.
Unfortunately, we didn’t walk around the harbour area as much as we would have liked.
I guess it’s another reason, a good reason to go back!
Victoria Row, however, is a wonderful closed-off street behind the Confederation Centre of the Arts full of unique shops and restaurants.
For those so inclined, a game of checkers.
Some colourful homes along a side street.
Interesting exteriors; notice the canopy at the back of the picture is the entrance to a very quaint and rather pricey boutique hotel.
Pretty sure Lynn took this photo as a reminder for me to “walk a straight and narrow path.” Whatever that means?
We found this little fella at the entrance to the lobby of the Confederation Centre. Eckhart the mouse. Eckhart is the main character from a children’s book called “The True Meaning of Crumbfest” written by David Weale one of PEI most celebrated children’s authors.
In the book, Eckhart, who has “an exceptionally long tail” and is very much an explorer, sets off on an adventure to discover the answer to the “mystery of Crumbfest.”
There are apparently nine of these little bronze statues located throughout the downtown.
Now, who hasn’t taken young children on a vacation? If you have, how many 6, 7 or 8-year-olds like being dragged to look at old buildings, historical sites and alike.
My guess would be ………… let me see……..none.
From the website: Downtown Charlottetown Inc.
“Downtown Charlottetown Inc. has created, based on author David Weale’s little mouse explorer “Eckhart in Charlottetown” a sort of scavenger hunt. It is a permanent interactive fun attraction for families and children of all ages. Nine of our little bronze mice were installed in their “hiding places” around the City. Can you find them all?
What a great way to see and read about many of the historical sites in the downtown, while having your kids involved in a scavenger hunt to help find the clues leading to discover the nine little Eckhart statues? Just pick up a pamphlet and you’re set to go!
Notice the “Cold Beer Store” part of the sign.
I’m just saying that, if you find that you and your lovely wife have just left say, the Confederation Centre, it’s 9:30 or a bit later at night and that you’ve found your throat to be a bit dry, not to worry.
Walk into The Gahan House restaurant; tell the hostess you would like two beers(or more) to “take-out” and she will be most happy to fill your request. Now, these won’t be the 341ml sizes you might find in Ontario. Nope, these will be 500ml bottles of the sweetest nectar imaginable to soothe that dry and parched throat you have.
Two “take-outs” will set you back about $8.00. Not bad!!
These are the pillars of the original bridge that connected Charlottetown and the town of Stratford across the Hillsborough River.
After having lunch at a local restaurant in the downtown…..
………we headed out of Charlottetown to check out New Glasgow.
As we were starting to find out, much of the island is only 25 minutes from another part. New Glasgow was no exception after a short 25-minute drive from Charlottetown we arrived.
I had visited New Glasgow in 2000 for dinner as part of teachers convention. Funny, I didn’t remember being there until we showed up and I said to Lynn, “Geez, I’ve been here before.”
New Glasgow is famous for many things, including its lobster suppers. As we were there in the afternoon, we strolled about and visited the Prince Edward Island Preserve Company.
Catering to the tourist trade, they make jams, preserves and such and have a restaurant and gift shop on site, as well as a beautiful relaxing garden that the workers were just getting cleaned up.
It was a pleasant way to spend an hour or so.
One thing though, they have a glass window that looks down onto the shop floor where you can watch the folks making the preserves and jams. I would think that one might feel like a fish in a glass tank with everyone watching what you’re doing all day long.
After leaving New Glasgow, we drove yet another 25 minutes to the Cavendish area of Prince Edward Island National Park. Here we found some spectacular cliffs and ocean views.
But, lucky for us we stopped. This is without a doubt, one area of the island that MUST NOT be missed!!
Our return took us back to Charlottetown for a quick bite to eat, and a visit to…….
Before heading the Confederation Centre for the Arts to see “Million Dollar Quartet.”
“Million Dollar Quartet” is a musical based on the real life events of a December 4, 1956 jam session recording that involved Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash at the Sun Record Studios in Memphis, Tennessee.
From what I’ve been able to read, the session happened by chance. Twenty-four-year-old Carl Perkins who had success with “Blue Suede Shoes”, was in the studio to record with his brother and another guy on drums. Sam Philips who owned Sun Records has just signed an unknown piano player named Jerry Lee Lewis and was going to have him play piano on the Carl Perkins recordings.
At some point in the day a, 21-year-old Elvis Presley, who was originally signed by Sam Philips(Sun Records), but now with RCA Victor, show up with a girlfriend to visit with Philips.
Apparently, Presley listened to what Perkins had recorded earlier, like it and went into the studio to jam with Perkins. Not long after Johnny Cash(another Sun Records artist) arrived. And thus the “Million Dollar Quartet” was born.
The engineer(Jack Clement) who was working the controls that day for Sam Philips said in an interview later, “I remember saying to myself; I think I’d be remiss not to record this.” Apparently the recordings exist and have been released a couple of times since 1956.
The term “Million Dollar Quartet” was coined by Phillips that day. During the recording session, he called someone at a Memphis newspaper about what was happening. The reporter came over; Phillips did an interview and called them the “Million Dollar Quartet.”
From what I’ve read, this is considered by music historians as a seminal moment in rock and roll history. Each was huge at the time or soon to be huge and their careers had major impacts on the birth and direction of rock music.
This is the actual picture taken during the session. Jerry Lee Lewis(on the left), Carl Perkins(with the guitar), Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley at the piano and Elvis’s girlfriend sitting on the piano. Most pictures have the girlfriend cropped out.
The musical we saw was excellent, to say the least.
The level of musicianship and vocals were outstanding. It was 90 minutes(no breaks) of constant music each of the four had made and recorded over their careers.
The fellow who played Carl Perkins in this show was one of the best guitar players I’ve witnessed in a very long time.
After the show, we headed over to The Gahan House(see above) and then headed back to “Dalvay By The Sea” for the night.
The next day was going to be a long one but was to start with an adventure that fell out of Google Earth.
This series of a pictures were taken along the beach at Orby Head Lookout located in Cavendish area of Prince Edward Island National Park.
What fascinates me and which Lynn captured in these three pics is the divergent landscape found in just a short distance.
I assume that many people, when they think of Prince Edward Island think of it is red fields expertly plowed, with rows of potato plants growing skyward. Well kept farms and quaint little villages; Anne of Green Gables and the Fathers of Confederation.
A very pastoral setting which is true for the most part. We did a lot of driving when we were there. Certainly viewed farm after farm with that famous red soil and that potato crops just starting to peak through.
But, that is only one part of what makes Prince Edward Island so great.
We also saw a wide variety of other crop farms, plus beef and dairy operations as well.
The East Cape area of the province sort of reminded me of the Muskoka’s in that it was heavily treed and dotted with lots of lakes and rivers.
And none of this includes the countless fishing harbours and villages that just begged us to stop and stroll around in. What about the more urban cities and towns?
Yup, sometimes the best views or experiences aren’t necessarily planned.
Orby Head wasn’t really a planned stop. We happened to be driving this section of the National Park essentially to kill some time on your way back to Charlottetown to catch a quick dinner before heading to see ” Million Dollar Quartet” at the Confederation Centre for the Arts.
I happened to see the cliffs from the car and pulled into a parking area; walked down a path and behold, we spent an hour or more walking along the beach taking photographs.
I guess the point of this is just to get out and explore; not to be chained to such a rigid agenda that we miss these opportunities that may come up.
Which may be sort of like our lives in a way.
Maybe we get so heavily anchored and focussed on some crazy agenda, that we miss the small views and things(which may end up to be big things) because we’re wearing blinders that only allow us to see straight ahead and not much to the sides.
Someone mentioned to Lynn from the FB group she joined that if you’re driving any road close to the coast and an intersecting roadway has one of these signs “Dead End” or “Road Ends” – turn and take a drive down that road.
They said more often than not you’ll find a view that was well worth the inconvenience.
Hard to see those road signs that could take you on a wonderful and new adventure, if you’re wearing blinders.
I guess the point is get out and explore. Start today by venturing some place new, if even it is only located a few blocks from your house.
Anticipating and seeking out those small things could lead you on an adventure of a life time.
Stop looking straight ahead because you’ve put some sort of crazy life blinders on. Try turning your head or even better take the blinders off and look around. Maybe you’ll find a dirt road that leads you to one of the most amazing experiences you’ve ever had!
After a fitful nights sleep for me, Day Two dawned and thus the real adventure was about to begin.
We were flying Air Canada with a scheduled departure to Ottawa for 11:15. So, up and ready we were to go.
As you can see, I had put my hikers on… calm, cool and collected.
Lynn on the other hand…….!!
I did manage to get her calmed down enough to snap this one pic while waiting for the shuttle to take us over to Pearson.
The shuttle from the hotel made a couple of stops at other hotels to pick people up and lo and behold we arrived at Pearson just after 9 am.
Always wanting to be part of the 21st century, I decided to give “e-mobile” boarding passes from my phone a try. Works pretty sweet.
All I had to do was check-in using my phone or laptop(starting from 24 hours before our flight); get the boarding passes sent to my phone; walk up to a “self-serve” kiosk in the airport; scan boarding passes; it prints luggage tags; go to baggage drop-off; they scan boarding pass and take our bags; head to security screening; they scan boarding pass; go through security; when flight is called gate personal scan boarding pass; at this point all you have to do is find your seat and sit down.
Now, it could be just our bad luck, but every time we fly the boarding gate is as far from the security area as humanly possible. Today was no exception. Let’s make the gate for this Air Canada flight at the farthest end of the departures area. I honestly think we walked half-way to Ottawa by the time we arrived at the gate.
Lynn decided, however, to not waste any energy and felt we should take the moving sidewalk.
The goal was to get to the airport and grab a coffee; a bite to eat for breakfast and relax. I did mention that the gate was half-way to the nation’s capital – right?
Apparently, when the gate is so far removed from the rest of civilization, so are the places to eat. Tim Hortons was directly across from us, but I’ve never seen what amounted to a “Tim Hortons – Express” serving just coffee and donuts.
Now, don’t get me wrong I like coffee and donuts, but I don’t like donuts for breakfast, Just a bit too much sugar to start the day. Now, what….?
Seeing as we had a fair bit of time before boarding, we grab our bags and started the long trek back towards the security area.
Now, the only thing I can assume is those airport designers and engineers figure the trauma of clearing security drives people to immediately seek their next meal as a way of thanking the gods for not being body searched.
Yup, every restaurant and take-out option was right here.
So, after blessing the coffers of Mr. Hortons’ business empire, we marched back to our gate area, sat down and relaxed.
So…… Air Canada where’s my plane???
Actually, that’s not fair to Air Canada, our plane was tucked in behind the loading ramp in the picture.
But, we boarded on time and we were off on a short 45-minute flight to connect through Ottawa to Charlottetown.
The world’s smallest pretzel provide by Air Canada.
And finally….. Ottawa.
A short 40-minute layover in the Nation’s Capital what do you…. take pictures of one another.
Then we boarded this little gem for a flight of just over an hour to PEI.
Lynn amusing herself on the flight.
After about an hour or so we made it to Prince Edward Island, with Lynn’s first view of PEI’s red soil.
After collecting our bags, which took about 3 minutes after the pilot put the brakes on(the airport terminal in Charlottetown is shall we say …small), we headed over to the car rental counter picked up the keys and paperwork and was told, “just follow the blue line and your car is in spot #10.”
With our stuff stored in the back of our Dodge Journey, we started the 25-minute drive to the hotel.
And thus we arrive…..
The hotel “Dalvay By the Sea” is a designated National Historic Site and is situated in the Brackley-Dalvay section of Prince Edward Island National Park. The National Park itself is divided into the Cavendish section located just to the west of here and the Greenwich section located about 45 minutes to the east.
The main staircase and front desk(Source: Dalvay By The Sea)
The two following pictures are of the library.
We have a lot more pictures of the hotel and the grounds which we’ll share later.
Old Bilbo Baggins had it pretty much summed up; except for the keep calm part.
This trip showed up unexpectedly in a white gift bag on Christmas morning 2016……a present if you will.
It wasn’t from myself to Lynn or the other way around……nope it showed up in a white gift bag from our daughter.
See, I was expecting the “normal” sort of Christmas gift. In fact, I think I put in my request for a gift card from Mountain Equipment Co-op or something similar.
However, when Lynn opened up the gift bag and handed it to me because she couldn’t talk, I sort of knew something was definitely different.
I can truthfully say it brought a tear to my eye because it was so unexpected. But, our daughter said it was something she always wanted to do and with some help from friends, booked it all herself.
Inside was an itinerary our daughter had booked:
round-trip airfare from Toronto to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island(connecting through Ottawa)
6 nights accommodation at “Dalvay By the Sea” – the only hotel in the Prince Edward Island National Park and a designated National Historic Site
$200 gift card for meals
Yup, not a bad gift I must say, considering at that point she was in only in 3rd year at college. And the bonus was she would look after our dog Katie, plus she suggested leaving our car at her house in Kitchener and she would drive us to our pre-flight hotel and then come back to the airport and pick us upon our return.
For those interested, “Dalvay By The Sea” is a designated National Historic Site. If you ever followed the “Road to Avonlea” series which aired on the CBC a number of years ago, the hotel referred to in the series as “The WhiteSands” is “Dalvay By The Sea.”
So, Day 1 started on June 12.
After the often tedious, but always necessary packing. We’re off to Kitchener.
The first few pics above are Katie packing her stuff; navigating from the back seat of the car and finally arriving at her “big sister’s” place to start her vacation.
Once we arrived in Kitchener, Lynn enjoying a bit of a pre-Toronto bound cocktail.
After a relatively quick trip(I mean quick trip…..what happened to the traffic through Mississauga and near the airport??) Sara got us the International Plaza Hotel(soon to be the Delta by Marriott). Sara had never been to the airport before and anyone who has flown out of Pearson before knows that it is a myriad of interconnecting roadways, ramps and terminals. Having worked just behind the airport, I took Sara on a dry-run of how she would get to the cell-phone lot from her house and then through to Terminal 1 Arrivals to pick us up. See, easy as can be!
We’ve stayed at the International Plaza before; booking it through Hotwire. For an overnight stay prior to flying out it’s perfect. There are other hotels closer, although six minutes from Pearson is pretty close. The cost through Hotwire was about half the regular rack-rate, costing about around $70 before GST. Not bad a bad deal.
Getting “the chill” on some beverages for the evening.
One piece of advice. Should you stay there, pack some earplugs. The hotel is in direct line with runway 24 and you’ll get planes coming in every two or three minutes until after midnight. I always carry earplugs when outdoor adventuring or travelling.
Conversely, the same runway gets used extensively for early morning take-offs. So, if you were wanting to sleep in….spend a buck at the dollar store and invest in some earplugs. Or, just get up and stay up because you’re so excited about your trip!!
I’m a bit of a big baby trying to get to sleep if I keep hearing noises I’m not used to.
We got there about 6:30 or so; checked in and decided to head over to Jack Astor’s on Dixon Road for a bite to eat.
Lynn excited about the “Jack’s Big Astor Fish Bowls.” After dinner, we wandered back to the hotel
As she hadn’t taken any pictures for about an hour or so and was getting withdrawal symptoms; Lynn decided to head over to a grassed area across from the hotel and photograph planes landing.
I, on the other hand, thought it prudent and much wiser to sit in the hotel; keep an eye on Lynn every so often; relax; watch a bit of television and lazily consume a couple of craft beers.
And thus the evening progressed as it should.
Lynn finally stopped photographing planes(I think because it got dark out). We walked about the hotel for a bit; bought some chips; and finished the evening watching some tv.
One of our favourite sayings when on outdoor adventures or travelling is, “we’ll sleep we get home.”
It’s kind of funny, that little did I know that I was about to find out how little sleep one can go on for six days and still function enough to stay breathing…….
Two years ago, give or take a day or so, this was the view from out our hotel room balcony(The Juniper Hotel) in Banff. If we looked down, this little gal and her friends would greet us every morning. Gotta love the ears on mule deer.
Since starting “justabitfurther” last summer, I sort of felt the need to improve the blog from a number of different perspectives, such as the use of various types of media.
Lucky for me, WordPress has some excellent online email suggestions and lessons to help along the way. One of the lessons suggested to more actively engage your readers and make the site more attractive was to add pictures and video.
Pictures, have been added since the beginning. Today, everything gets ratcheted up a notch or two by adding video.
The first crack is comprised of pictures taken from our anniversary trip to Banff in 2015 set to music and done in iMovie.
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” – John Muir
You know, it’s never too late. March 2015 was our “it’s never too late” date.
Thinking back, during those 25 years prior to our “never too late” date, we were different; we had changed somewhat. We weren’t the canoe tripping, camping outdoorsy type of people we used to be. Living, work, raising a family caused us to miss it.
I think that happens way more often than we think or acknowledge. I see so many people who are just living. It’s like they’re living a life of “quiet desperation.”
That was me “a life of quiet desperation.”
Both Lynn and I acknowledge that working, raising a family, other commitments, our siblings – just living; all of that together in whatever form that looks like, is:
52 weeks a year
for as many years as it takes
The reality is Lynn and I can only look at ourselves. We can’t judge someone else; we’re not walking in their shoes. BUT for us – I/we missed it.
Missed what? We missed, or forgot to engage ourselves; to go back to what ignited an excitement within us. One of my favourite quotes is, “I don’t want to wake up dead one morning.” Not sure if someone famous said it, but for now I’m claiming it as mine.
“I don’t want to wake up dead one morning.” That’s my fear. Waking up one day and realizing that your life; all those years have slipped by, and you never got back to following your passion and dreams. The thing(s) that made you feel alive inside. I don’t want that day to come, where I can’t do those things.
Oh, you said you would, “when work slowed down” or “when the kids were gone”
To this point in my life, I haven’t woken up dead. But, I do think there is only so many times one can “put a bullet in a gun, spin the chamber and pull the trigger” before waking up dead isn’t an option.
So, March 2015 – what’s so special about that date. It marked our 25th anniversary. Well, actually it marked our 25-anniversary trip. Our actual 25th would have been a few months later in September.
Twenty-five years being the milestone that it is, we decided to head to Banff, Alberta. I think we were divinely lead there as we had looked at the obvious options of a cruise, Florida, New York to name a few.
So, if you are going to have “a never too late moment or place” the Canadian Rockies are the place to have it. As soon as I saw the Rockies from the plane while landing in Calgary, I knew I was home. This was the place I was supposed to be.
Driving along the Trans-Canada from Calgary to Banff and watching the mountains get ever closer, we both had our mouths open with awe at the spectacle that was unfolding before us.
We did a lot in Banff. Hiking, walking to snowshoeing in the high mountains. This woke up a passion, a desire in me, that has been in foremost in my mind each and every day since. To get out there in the great outdoors. Put some effort into seeing what God has created. To find something that puts fuel into your tank. Find someone to join you on the journey
We discovered tons of magical places out west. This is mine. The Kicking Horse River as it flows through the “Natural Bridge” in Yoho National Park.