Whether you arrive by air, boat or bridge, you’ll feel a sense that you’re entering a new country when you visit Prince Edward Island. With a population of just 150,000, Canada’s smallest province swells to over 1.3 million visitors in the summer.
The pace of life is slower and much more relaxed in PEI… I’d say the rolling hills, terre rouge or red earth, and the gorgeous beaches are the reason. Add the ocean and seafood, and the fact that you’re still in our glorious country, I’m ready to move tomorrow.
There are many things to do in Prince Edward Island, but here’s what’s on my must-see list:
Must-See Things to Do in Prince Edward Island
When your feet hit the sand on Greenwich, you feel like you’re in another world. The red sand and the beaches are just as you’d see in postcards. That said, even postcard photos don’t do it justice, as the beauty is only truly appreciated by the naked eye.
Trailside Café & Inn in Mount Stewart
Located in Mount Stewart, close to the Confederation Trail bike path, the Trailside is a charming restaurant and inn. Aside from its mouth-watering menu, the Trailside is an intimate venue for musical performances, seating about 50 people. We happened to be in luck and caught Juno-award winning singer-songwriter Catherine MacLellan perform. Owners Pat and Meghann Deighan make you feel right at home. I devoured the haddock and salmon fish cakes with PEI potatoes, of course! Bonus – they are gluten-free.
Culinary Institute of Canada
Under the guidance of Island Ambassador Chef Ilona Daniel, the Culinary Institute offers half- and full-day cooking classes in their popular “Island Flavours” Bootcamps. Pick up your fresh ingredients at the local farmer’s market before returning to the Culinary to create locally-inspired dishes you can enjoy later… with wine!
I threw on my chef’s hat and jacket, and went to work! I prepared Chef Ilona’s gluten free pull-apart rolls, and PEI Lobster Mac & Cheese recipe using local Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar and Glascow Glen Gouda. Both recipes turned out wonderfully. From someone who shouldn’t eat dairy and has never tried lobster before, I indulged without regret!
Anne & Gilbert, The Musical
Playing at The Guild in Charlottetown, Anne & Gilbert is a delightful musical based on the Anne of Green Gables series of books by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Based on Anne of Avonlea and Anne of the Island, and adapted by Jeff Hochhauser, Nancy White, and Bob Johnston, the musical is charming and humorous. By the second act, I was hooked on the characters, including Anne, Gilbert, and the hilarious Josie Pye. I choked up when Anne’s adoptive mother, Marilla Cuthbert, read the letter to Anne about the man she loved. Some of the songs are forever embedded in my memory, including this one:
Cavendish Beach is everything you’d imagine – its beautiful scenery is breathtaking. Fronting the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the broad natural sand beach stretches for eight kilometres from the entrance to New London Bay in the west, to the red sandstone cliffs at Cavendish East in the east. The opportunities for postcard-perfect photographs are endless.
Pearl Eatery in North Rustico
For an upscale, eclectic dining experience, you must visit Pearl Eatery located between the picturesque fishing village of North Rustico and Cavendish Beach on PEI’s North Shore. The menu is divine and the setting is intimate and charming. Owner Maxine Delaney shows her love of detail in her food, as well as the Pearl’s ambience. The pan-seared halibut with carrot butter, fennel caper jam, crisp chorizo, spring vegetables and roasted potatoes offered a burst of flavours.
Anne of Green Gables
You can’t visit Prince Edward Island without visiting Green Gables in Cavendish, about a 30 minute drive from Charlottetown. Enjoy a guided tour at the Green Gables Heritage Place, take a walk in the Haunted Woods and stroll down Lover’s Lane. You might just bump into Anne Shirley herself! Green Gables is open May 1 through October 31.
Stroll through downtown Charlottetown with Confederation Players who will take you on a historic walking tour of Great George Street, including St. Dunstan’s Basilica, Province House, and Confederation Centre of the Arts. Follow the path of the original sidewalks of the city where Canada’s founders walked… sometimes crookedly after a few drinks!
Learn about the Island’s fascinating history – Prince Edward Island was first inhabited by the Mi’kmaq. The Island began to be settled in 1720 as part of the French colony of Acadia, and then later, by New Englanders. In September 1864, Prince Edward Island hosted the Charlottetown Conference, which was the first meeting in the process leading to the Articles of Confederation and the creation of Canada in 1867.
Where to Stay: Holman Grand Hotel
This lovely hotel is in the heart of downtown Charlottetown, minutes from Victoria Row and within a few blocks from Peakes Wharf. The room was spacious and the bed was so comfortable, I haven’t had such great sleep in a hotel while travelling. The Aveda products were a lovely touch. I also enjoyed having a deck with a view of Charlottetown, though I wish the weather would’ve been warmer to enjoy!
Although I was “from away,” while visiting PEI, I left feeling like an honourary islander. I’d love to go back to visit with my family. We probably wouldn’t want to leave.
Whether it’s a day on the beach, an evening at the theatre, or the best seafood you’ve ever tasted, the memories you make last longer on Price Edward Island. It’s an island filled with fun and unique adventures. No matter what experience you’re searching for, it’s easy to find when you add a little island. Start planning your PEI getaway today onlyinPEI.com.
This post was brought to you by Tourism PEI via Mode Media Canada. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Tourism PEI.