PEI: In Retrospect, I’m Glad it Rained

Green Gables is not a reason to visit PEI. But it is delightfully tacky!

I chose to spend five nights of our summer road trip on Prince Edward Island because I thought it would be a good way to break up the trip–and because I thought we’d like to spend a few days lounging on the beach.  By this point in the trip I figured we’d be tired of ‘doing things’ and would want to just do nothing for a while.  Unfortunately, the weather had other plans.

Driving across the Confederation Bridge in the pouring rain.

My Maritime Canada guide book told me that, thanks to something magical having to do with the jet stream, PEI’s waters were ‘the warmest waters north of North Carolina’.  And I thought ‘well gee–I swim in Maryland and New Jersey–so Prince Edward Island must be even better!’  But what I failed to take into account is this:

If you’ve ever been to the Jersey shore, you’ll know that part of the allure of the beach is that it is a respite from the heat of the air temperature.  As mid-summer highs can soar into the 90s, it seems like a good idea to plunge into the Atlantic ocean.

In PEI, the air temperature did not go above 70.  In fact, for the first three days of our four day stay, the temperatures did not rise above 63.  In the evenings we closed the windows it was so cold–and it rained off and on the entire time.

My dreams of beach lounging were crushed.

However–we got to do a great many things that we wouldn’t have done had it been 80 degrees and sunny.  We spent our first full day exploring PEI National Park–which is, to be fair, a giant stretch of beach.  But because of the weather, we had it all to ourselves.  This resulted in many amazing photo opportunities….

An empty (if cold) beach. Note the long sleeves in August.

Had it been warmer (and drier) this shot would be filled with umbrellas.

Standing on a sand bar at low tide--again with the empty beach.

…including my favorite photo from the entire trip, which I achieved by balancing my camera on the abandoned lifeguard stand and utilizing the 10 second timer.  I had no idea it would turn out this well…

We decided to spend day two exploring Charlottetown, a ‘city’ a good 45 minute drive from our motel in Cavendish.  Had it been sunny out, we may have skipped Charlottetown entirely–but that would have been a huge mistake.  You see, it was a highlight of our trip to PEI, no small part thanks to the amazing tour we signed up for at the last minute–Taste of the Town.  We learned of this tour via a flyer at the tourist office–of all places!   We enjoyed a good 3 hour tour of the city punctuated with history, architecture, and (of course) food!  A detailed review of this amazing tour will eventually be linked HERE….as soon as I write it!

My favorite stop along the foodie tour--Liquid Gold, an olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting room!

The most educational part of the tour--I learn to shuck an oyster.

The worst of the weather was on day three.  At this point we were beyond annoyed.  We were also beginning to tire of each other.  After all, we’d been on the road together for over two weeks at this point.  So we made another weather-induced decision:  we’d do whatever the hell we wanted on day three.  This meant that my husband stayed in the motel room and read his book and I drove all around western and southern PEI, stopping randomly and taking photos.

Driving around on my own, I found this horse. I wanted to hug him (or her...?)

And then…on our final day on the island…the gods said ‘let there be light’!  And we went to the beach.  And put our toes in the sand, swam in the (very cold) water, and had a marvelous time.  On the way to dinner that night, the sun continued to shine, and my husband knew better than to deny me the chance to photograph some puffy white clouds….

This is the weather I was looking for!

We had an amazing time despite–no, because of the weather.  I would definitely return to PEI. The people were kind, the food was amazing (also future post to come) and it is possible to have an enjoyable visit (and get some great photos) even when the weather doesn’t cooperate!

 

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