After our time in Maine, our next stop was Canada. We got ourselves completely worked up and nervous about the border crossing. We have several friends that crossed into Canada earlier this summer, and most of them had gotten through the border with no problems. But we were still super nervous about it and spent a considerable amount of time researching exactly what we would need to do and what we could and could not bring with us. As it turns out all our worries were for naught, as the border guard spent all of about 20 seconds questioning us before waving us through. Whew!
Our first stop that day was the New River Beach Provincial Park where we planned to spend 2 nights resting up from that oh so stressful border crossing. We had heard great things about the provincial park system in Canada and this first park did not disappoint. The sites were nice and the beach in the park was just beautiful – according to the park staff it was voted once of the best beaches in Canada.
Just down the road from our park was another day-use provincial park called Lepreau Falls which had a beautiful waterfall.
Since we had a day to kill the next day, we decided to drive into nearby Saint John. We made a quick stop at Reversing Falls, where the Bay of Fundy and the Saint John River intersect. About twice a day there is so much force created by the tidal changes of the Bay of Fundy it creates a watefall effect under the bridge. We weren’t there at the right time of day to see this, but the bridge itself was pretty!
As it turns out we were visiting Saint John on July 1 – Canada Day! So there was a large street festival going on that day. We parked the car near the downtown walking trail and had a lot of fun wandering around the city and viewing all of the celebrations.
Next stop on the itinerary was Prince Edward Island. We had a 5-night stay at the Cavendish campground in the PEI National Park. Once nice thing about a lot of the Canadian National Parks is that many of their campgrounds have full hookups, unlike national park campgrounds in the US. (As a side note – in Canada full hookups are referred to as 3-way sites.) The Cavendish campground has nice large sites and access to the beach – however it had one huge drawback. There were a million mosquitoes there – it was so bad we couldn’t go outside even for a minute. We also found the mosquito problem to be prevelant any place on the island where there wasn’t a breeze. We later found out that the bats on PEI have been dying off due a mold-born disease, and as a result the mosquito population is on the rise. So if you visit – bring lots of bug spray! Still, the beach was very pretty and many of the tent-camping sites were right on the dunes overlooking the beach.
We planned to explore a lot of the island by car, but it’s much bigger than I realized when planning our stay! We took one afternoon to drive up to the north east point of the island, and that drive ended up taking most of the day. Prince Edward Island wasn’t exactly what I expected. It sounded like a such a pretty place – I figured it would be! And it is pretty – but what I didn’t realize is how much industrial agriculture is on the island, which did take away some of the charm. But we did enjoy our time and found some pretty sites and a few fantastic restaurants.
There are several lighthouses on the island. The prettiest one we saw was the Covehead Lighthouse, which is still operational. It’s a tiny little thing but very charming and I could see the Fresnel lens inside spinning around.
PEI is a study in contrasts. There are huge industrial mills everywhere, and lots of those huge modern windmills….but there are even more very old homesteads and farms. Many of them are still owned and lived in, but some of them did not withstand their battles with time and the elements. I thought this picture summed up the contrast of the old way of life with the new quite nicely.
We had some really excellent meals on PEI. One of the things we knew we had to have while there were the eponymous PEI mussels – so when we saw a restaurant called the Blue Mussel Cafe we figured that was a pretty good place to try them. This is a great little restaurant in North Rustico Harbor with some beautiful outdoor seating. The mussels were amazing – so incredibly fresh and delicious. We also had a bowl their seafood chowder (also yummy) and a couple of tasty brews from the PEI Brewing Company.
This is a view of the restaurant (first red roof from the left of the photo) from the nearby walking path. We spent some time talking to the owner who said he harvests the mussels from the water right behind the restaurant.
Another good restaurant find was the Sou’west Bar and Grill in the community of New London. We again had mussels, chowder, and beer! The food was good (but not quite as good as Blue Mussel) but the deck and view were pretty hard to beat.
For our last night on the island, we decided we’d had enough of the mosquitos, and we wanted to check out the city of Charlottetown, so moved to a KOA that was only 10 minutes from town. This place was insanely busy – but we got a nice site facing the water. And we could actually sit outside without being swarmed by mosquitoes!
After we got set up and took the dogs for a long walk, Deas and I drove into Charlottetown to do some exploring. Victoria Row is pretty pedestrian cobblestone street with several restaurants and shops.
After wandering around a bit we eventually made our way to the Gahan House, which is confusingly the same brewery as the PEI Brewing Co, but this location has a great restaurant as well. We got seats on the patio and had some fantastic beer-battered fish and chips and a BBQ pulled pork flatbread.
Just down the road from the KOA was a Cows Creamery location, which had a huge statue of a cow in front of it. Our dog Shorty hates cows and always goes crazy when he sees them. When we drove by the statue, he saw it and started barking! So we took him back over there the next day to show it to him in person – when he saw how big it was he suddenly got a little less ferocious. Deas and I were cracking up taking pictures with him and the cow. We definitely got some weird looks from the people nearby!