Prince Edward Island is beautiful, historical and overflowing with east coast culture. But, it’s definitely a tourist spot and even if you’re a tourist, you certainly don’t want to look like one. Plus tourist locations are usually kitschy and inauthentic. If you want to visit the island like and Islander, here are the places you need to go and the things you’ll want to see.
Naufrage is one of the most gorgeous harbours around with red shore beaches contrasting against the green dunes that drop into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. “Naufrage” means shipwreck in French and was the spot of many crashes in the 1800 due to shifting sandbars. The Naufrage lighthouse cottage is a circular hotel covered in windows and painted in seaside blues. If you stay in the 4 star hotel you can wake up to a bustling fishing village and the northern ocean.
Victoria Row is an old cobblestone street in the middle of Charlottetown, where you can find restaurants, bars and twinkling lights. Go for a desert of Sticky Date Pudding, an island specialty where a cakey pudding is drowned in delicious butter sauce. While walking by, you’re sure to hear local music emanating from open patios. Stop by and stay awhile.
Every Islander knows that Richard’s at Covehead Wharf is the best spot for fish and chips. It’s like a greasy diner, but better and in a prime location. Covehead Wharf is one of the oldest fishing villages on the island, where they maintain the old traditions and fisherman lifestyle. You can buy fresh lobsters, muscles and fish in big tubs just outside the restaurant. And you’ve got to try the dill and sundried tomato tartar sauce.
Anne & Gilbert: The Musical
Anne had to go somewhere on the list. Anne & Gilbert: The Musical features classic Celtic music and is shown in an intimate theatre. It’s the more adult version of Anne of Green Gables, about how Anne and Gilbert fall in love. And it only uses three instruments perfectly suited to island dancing: the piano, the violin and the cello. In a theatre that only fits about 40 people, you’ll be surprised by how much fun you’ll have.
West Point Lighthouse
The West Point Lighthouse is practically on the beach and is just about as secluded as you can get. Which is romantic considering the accommodations. It’s one of the few lighthouses where you can actually stay in the tower. Who doesn’t want to sleep in an active lighthouse built in 1875? It’s 67 feet tall, shines warning lights to passing ships and, it’s surprisingly cozy too.
The PEI Preserve Company
The PEI Preserve Company is a restaurant and preserve factory on the River Clyde surrounded by about 13 acres of gardens and forest. It’s a beautiful spot to take high tea and you can buy bottles of fresh preserves made in house daily. Very Cherry, Strawberry Rhubarb and fresh Antipasto are among dozens of things you can sample. And there’s a cozy Respite Cottage on the grounds available for anyone whose facing illness to stay in for free.
A ceilidh is a Celtic dance which is happening somewhere on the island at any given time. You can go and see local musicians perform, of which PEI has in abundance. Check out Ten Strings and a Goatskin, Cynthia MacLeod or Tim Chaisson (who is as good looking as he is talented). Join in the island dancing and be sure to check out Fiddle Fest, which is coming up mid-June.