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The Island Beyond Anne

OK, full disclaimer: Prince Edward Island is one of my favourite topics; and though I may be somewhat biased -- having grown up in this picturesque province -- I figure who better to impart readers with info on the idyllic charms and hidden gems it has to offer than myself?

Driving to the island, visitors can marvel at one of Canada’s top engineering achievements as they cross the imposing 12.9 kilometre Confederation Bridge (better known locally as the “Fixed Link”). This commanding curved structure is the longest bridge in the world to cross ice-covered water and its magnitude dwarfs even the most impressive of structures.

Whether arriving by land, sea or air, this magical haven enchants visitors from first sight. Exuding a warmth all its own, the unmistakable patchwork quilt of rolling hills and pastures -- an intricate rainbow of greens and golds -- bestows a sense of homecoming for new and returning visitors alike.  Celebrated as the home of Anne of Green Gables, stunning beaches, world-class golf and seafood beyond compare, Canada’s smallest (and arguably most amiable) province offers many lesser known but equally fantastic attractions – entirely worthy of bestirring oneself from their beach chair.

There’s no shortage of shoreline when relaxation beckons. PEI boasts eleven hundred kilometres in fact -- much of it in the form of pristine beaches (the warmest north of the Carolinas) framed by rolling sand dunes and red sandstone cliffs. The serene crash of the ocean and lulling song of soaring seagulls captivates visitors each summer as they gaze upon gentle shores and bask in the warm Atlantic breeze. Some lesser known local jewels include Red Point, Lakeside and Greenwich. At the Eastern end of the island is my preferred place to laze the day away – Basin Head, where the soft sands sing as you make your way across them and rolling currents dump merry dock-jumpers on to the adjacent beach.

Those looking to take a plunge on the adventurous side may want to check out PEI Kiteboarding. With lessons for all levels, amateurs and pros alike can feel the thrill that comes from breathing in the salt-charged air and riding a surging ocean swell.

As most visitors to the island know, a wealth of top-notch and affordable courses makes PEI a veritable golfer’s heaven. On the Eastern side, check out Brudenell and Crowbush, or Dundarave for a more challenging round. Fox Meadow and Glasgow Hills are good options a bit closer to “town”. And the recently renovated Green Gables and player-friendly Eagle's Glenn in Cavendish, or Mill River, at the "Western end of the island, all offer nice rounds.

Other things to check out on the island include:

  • The Kings Playhouse in Georgetown and Victoria Playhouse – both have great live entertainment and acts that aren’t your typical tourist productions.
  • The Trailside Café & Inn in Mount Stewart – voted Music PEI’s “Venue of the Year” for 2013, the gathering place offers unique and intimate concerts with delicious food to boot. During the summer, Saints and sinners alike get rowdy at the weekly Gospel Brunch, where hearty fare meets live music and a full bar. (Sundays, June through August)  
  • Confederation Players Walking Tours & Historical Reenactment – each summer the Father’s of Confederation come to life in Charlottetown (or at least some fine actors do a good job of convincing us that they do). Step back in time with a guided tour of the historic parts of the city to learn more about the birth of our great nation.
  • Victoria Row – this charming pedestrian street in Charlottetown is a great place to people-watch. With an array of restaurants and outdoor patios, local galleries, craft shops and cafes, it has become a popular venue for street festivals and live entertainment. Most nights, local musicians take to the cobblestone to entertain boisterous groups out for an evening of fun.
  • Ocean excursions – deep-sea fishing experiences, while fun, are a dime a dozen; cast-away on a Tuna Charter or go Lobster Fishing for something a bit more adventurous. If you’re more of a land-dweller, clam digging is a fun option as well.
  • The island plays host to a ton of great festivals and events year-round, including the Savour Food & Wine Show in May, Cavendish Beach Music Festival in July and PEI Jazz & Blues Festival in August. If you’re planning to visit later in the season, a Fall Flavours Festival celebrates local fare and is a great way to get a true taste of the island.

Get deals and tips on planning your own trip with our Prince Edward Island destination page.

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Tips by

Deal Expert, Toronto
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
See more Tips from
Kelsey Gotell