road trip to Prince Edward Island

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Red earth beaches, Potato museum and more…

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Green Gables, Point Prim, Charlottetown…

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Days

Our estimated time in Prince Edward Island

rince Edward Island is one of four Atlantic provinces on the east coast of Canada. It is the smallest in land size yet the most densely populated. 

In September 1864, Prince Edward Island hosted the Charlottetown Conference, which is why PEI is labeled as the “Birthplace of Confederation“ although PEI did not join the Canada Confederation until six years later (July 1, 1873).

About Prince Edward Island

Prior to 1997, the only way on the island was by Ferry / Boat or Plane. On May 31st 1997, was the official ‘opening’ of the 12.9 kilometre long Confederation Bridge linking New Brunswick to PEI. 

Despite the 1.3billion dollar price tag for the bridge, it’s the cheapest way on the island. It’s free to enter the island and you pay when you leave.

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What to do in Prince Edward Island?

Our Maritime discoveries continues with a road trip to Prince Edward Island.

Attractions are scattered across the island, you’ll find things like the Potato Museum and Anne of Green Gables to red earth beaches, historical lighthouses and coastal drives. 

Our time in PEI was limited and the rainy weather didn’t help our Discoveries. Despite that, Read on to see what we highly recommend visiting.

1. Visit Green Gables

Green Gables was on our  “Must do” list for PEI for a few reasons.

For starters, eleven years prior to the visit, Eli’s friend gave her the Anne of Green Gables book with an inscription inside “one day you will come to PEI to visit me and Green Gables”.  At the time, Eli never gave it a second thought. 

However when we started planning our road trip to Prince Edward Island in 2018, it became apparent that she would now have the opportunity to visit. 

road trip to Prince Edward Island

Another reason to visit Green Gables is that it stems from our Canadian Heritage. It was a native from PEI, L.M. Montgomery who wrote a series of books about a fictional character ‘Anne of Green Gables’. 

Despite the construction in the front, we could visit the main house and the beautiful forest trail with the legends explained. We totally recommend you to visit with your children as they will fall in love with Anne and the reenactment.

green_gable_entrance
road trip to Prince Edward Island

We highly recommend assisting the new TV series of Anne with an E, which is also available on Netflix. The show has done a magnificent job of mimicking the interior decorations, as you’ll see depicted in the images below. 

road trip to Prince Edward Island
road trip to Prince Edward Island

The power of friendship.

After touring the house you can head to the barn for snapshots. It’s fun to dress up in the old school clothes and take various pictures.  Eli had the great idea to dress up and take a picture dressed like Anne, along with the book her friend gave her! 

Her friend no longer lived in PEI at the time of our visit, so Eli emailed her friend the picture.

road trip to Prince Edward Island
road trip to Prince Edward Island
The Balsam Hallow Trail.

The Balsam Hollow trail takes approximately 30 minutes to complete. The trail begins as L.M. Montgomery’s own Lover’s Lane its self guided with a series of interpretive signs which also help explain the inspiration Montgomery drew from the natural world in Cavendish.

Hidden articles

While walking in the trail, pay attention to details and try to find the Xplorers’s Canada Milk Bottle sign! And read the quote that explains why school children, like Anne Shirley, placed their milk bottles in streams as its exposed here!

Balsam Hallow Trail
Balsam Hallow Trail milk bottle

2. Quick stop at Hannah's Bottle Village

Truly Inspiring !

You’ll get to know Discovering Destinations, and you’ll see that we enjoy scratching beneath the surface to find hidden gems all around.  Well, Hannah’s Bottle Village is one of those ‘hidden gems‘ ! 

Continuing our road trip to Prince Edward Island with Hannah’s Bottle Village!

road trip to Prince Edward Island

When you visit PEI, you’ll hopefully get the same feeling we shared, that of a peaceful and beautiful Island surrounded by nature.  On your way over to the Point Prim Lighthouse and delicious Chowder House, we invite you to visit Hannah’s Bottle Village to check the cool and inspiring work from a Garfield Gilles.  

His project began, a small Bottle Village in the backyard of his home. Today, it’s a hidden Treasure in Point Prim – PEI.

road trip to Prince Edward Island

Visiting Hannah’s Bottle Village is free.  Instead of charging an admission fee, Garfield Gillis began collecting donations from visitors online.  He donates the money to the IWK Children’s Hospital and so far has raised $20,742.00! 

Gar’s donations have helped to purchase equipment and fund lifesaving research.

road trip to Prince Edward Island
road trip to Prince Edward Island

3. Point Prim Lighthouse

Next on the map for our road trip to Prince Edward Island was Point Prim Lighthouse. The lighthouse is located at the end of Point Prim Road and although you’re free to roam around the grounds, it looks like visits are only open during Summer.  That’s from May to October to be precise.

road trip to Prince Edward Island

It’s free to walk around the Lighthouse and visit the gift shop, yet there’s a $5.00cad fee (per person) to visit inside the Lighthouse. 

It’s inexpensive for the experience, you’ll get background information on the lighthouse and a great view up top.  

On your way up to the top, you’ll notice a Museum-like object collection from the old Lighthouse keepers. (old dressers, wood stove, a bed,…)

road trip to Prince Edward Island
road trip to Prince Edward Island

Inside the lighthouse, they also talk about land erosion and how the Lighthouse needed to be ‘moved’ so that it didn’t fall into the ocean.  Still to this day, countless amounts of land is lost to erosion. 

What are the chances ?

As Serge was taking a picture of this lobster trap, he recognized one of his Volkswagen clients. Sure enough it was and they took a few minutes to catch up and exchange road trip discoveries. As it turns out, Serge’s client was referred to this very spot because there was an amazing seafood restaurant next door.

road trip to Prince Edward Island
road trip to Prince Edward Island

4. Seafood at the Chowderhouse PEI

Part of the experience is enjoying the food, so be sure to add the Chowderhouse PEI to your road trip to Prince Edward Island!

Located a few hundred feet from the Lighthouse is a place called Chowderhouse PEI. We met a couple that drove all the way from Gaspé to discover the seafood and oysters platters. Sure enough, they said it was worth travelling all that way!

road trip to Prince Edward Island
road trip to Prince Edward Island

That story captivated us and we too decided to have Seafood chowder and fishcakes so that we could continue our road trip to Charlottetown on a full stomach. The Seafood Chowder was one of the best ones we had during our Maritime road trip.

Chowderhouse_seafood_chowder

5. Road Trip to Charlottetown

Charlottetown, the capital of PEI, is a small and really charming city.  It boasts many old style British buildings with a modern twist.

It has a very European feel

We spent all afternoon walking and found many cute stores.  Our legs led us to the waterfront walking in the shore where they display a huge 2018 sign with the city name on it.  It kind of had an Amsterdam feel to it, so we flipped our tourist switch to on, and took pictures of Charlottetown’s waterfront boardwalk!

We noticed the tall spires from a distance and they drew us to enter St. Dunstan’s Basilica. A beautiful church which was built in 17th century which displays ornate stained-glass windows & other Gothic Revival features

We regrettably admit that we did not expect this kind of architecture in Charlottetown and were glad that we accepted a friend’s recommendations to visit the city.  

Based on our experience, we would recommend a stroll to the waterfront and on a nice sunny day pay a little visit to Cows for some ice cream. We read something about a factory tour, should you be looking for something else to do while in PEI.

6. Borden Carleton

You might be surprised to hear that it’s free to cross the Confederation Bridge, heading toward Prince Edward Island. However it’s on the way out of the island that you’ll need to pay.

The 12.9 kilometre bridge is quite impressive and never ceased to amaze us, both on the way on and off the island. It’s very well organized, even the payment is both quick and easy.  

Crossing the Confederation Bridge
Crossing the Confederation Bridge

Whether you’re heading to PEI for a day trip or an extended period of time, we recommend stoping at the Borden Carleton Visitor Centre. You’ll find everything from an information centre, restaurants, chocolate and liquor stores, washrooms and even a Lighthouse!  

It’s possible to stop as you enter PEI or before you head off the island. We recommend a quick visit, if anything for last minute souvenirs.

Canadian Maritimes eBook

Our motivation is your satisfaction!

Inside our book you’ll find a full index, tips for saving money and hidden gems for New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. Plus helpful tips to help maximize your time and money. 

  • Did you know you could combine your Hopewell Rocks ticket with a Kayak expedition !?
  • List of very affordable and authentic seafood restaurants !
  • Recommendations and time allocation for various attractions.
  • Interactive hyperlinks for local businesses.
  • and much more!

Itineraries and Attractions recommendations​

Green Gables + Cavendish beach – a Full day
Hannah’s bottle village, Point Prim Lighthouse + Chowderhouse – 1/2 day
Charlottetown city – 1/2 to a Full day 
Greenwich beach + Richard’s seafood restaurant – 1/2 to a Full day 
Souris + surrounding beaches and outdoor activities – a Full day

Where to Stay ?

It takes roughly 3 – 3.5 hours to cross PEI from coast to coast. As mentioned earlier in the blog, the attractions are scattered across the island. Depending on the amount of time you plan to stay on the island, you might want to stay in a strategic location.  

For instance, choose to stay in Charlottetown for the small city feel and central location. 

Then again, there are many attractions in and around Souris. 

Our Maritimes Blog

Follow us for more on The Maritimes Road Trip.

Feel free to read up on our previous blog, Discovering New Brunswick.
Follow our Maritimes road trip as we continue on towards Prince Edward Island

And stay tuned for our Nova Scotia treats!

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