We left our exploration of Nova Scotia to spend a few days on Prince Edward Island, or as Canadians call it – PEI. We could either go by ferry or across the long Confederation bridge, and because we really had no idea of what either of them were like, we debated back and forth. Finally, after a couple of phone calls to the ferry company, we realized that the big boat could handle our long rig. Since it would take less time, we decided to go for it.
A company called Northumberton Ferries Limited (ahaha – not the American football franchise – just kidding!) runs a Ferry from Nova Scotia to Prince Edward Island several times a day. It departs Caribou, Nova Scotia and lands at Woods Islands PEI.
For $75, large vehicles can reserve a guaranteed time of passage. But they also have a number of spots – perhaps eight – where you just show up with the hope to get on. Those are free. It was an interesting concept for us to wrap our heads around. When we called the ferry company, all the reservation spots had already been taken for our travel day. The second person I talked to, suggested we get there two hours ahead of when a ferry was set to depart and get in line. We got to the ferry terminal just as the 11:15 boat was leaving and became second in line for a no-reservation spot on the 1:00 departure. When it came time to drive onto the boat, we were guided in and sandwiched along side lots of big vehicles. Once inside the huge belly of the ferry, we left our motor home and went on deck. We could see vehicles lining up for the next departure.
The views from the top two decks were great. Passengers were treated to live music and there was an ice cream shop. They were also selling steamed mussels. The ride took about 75 minutes and it was definitely a fun experience!
Just before we arrived at the dock in PEI, they made an announcement for everyone to return to their vehicles. We got in, they opened the door, and we drove off.
We only had a 45 minute drive to New Glasgow Highland Campground where we were staying. It probably had more little cabins to camp in than spots to park RVs, but I highly recommend it. The sites are large and very private. In the mornings, I felt comfortable going out in my P.J.s to drink a cup of coffee on the provided picnic table. They also had a lovely swimming pool and a community building with laundry and a kitchen.
There are many little charter businesses around, and on our first day there, Roy got a hankering to go fishing. He picked Joey’s Deep Sea Fishing in the nearby town of North Rustico . He really enjoyed it and caught a mess of mackerel. The captain’s mate cleaned them and later I pan fried them. We had never had mackerel before and were surprised how good it was – of course it doesn’t get much fresher than that!
Notice the black lines of what look like buoys in the photo of Roy on the boat, above? That’s a mussel farm. Baby mussels attach themselves to the inside of a sleeve like net that hangs down in the water. They get washed by the flowing water full of their yummy free floating food and after a year or two, they are large and ready to be harvested. I even steamed mussels at our back at our campground. They were just a little more than two dollars a pound and so good I actually cooked them up quite a few times!
While Roy was fishing, the time flew by as I walked around the town of North Rustico and took in the sites, such as a kid holding a starfish and the osprey nest at the dock where Roy’s boat had taken off from.
The beach in town was a great place to take a walk.
I couldn’t find any information about the remnants of this old pier by the beach. All I know from the internet is that once North Rustico was a bustling fishing city, but population has declined in recent years and in 2013 they changed their status to “town”.
From the beach I could see the North Rustico Harbour Light which was built in 1899 and is still active.
One of the largest reasons that people come to this area is the Prince Edward National Park. We visited the Greenwich Interpretive Center which has a some small educational exhibits and is also near the starting point for three really wonderful hiking trails.
When we got to the area of the three trail heads, I was so surprised to see a group of Amish walking along the paths. Our Newmar Dutch Star motor home was built by the Amish in Nappanee, Indiana. In fact here’s a link to an Article by my daughter, Allison on Amish building RVS
Greenwich features three Hiking Trails varying in length from less than a mile to about 3 miles. We walked them all and were so glad we did. The Greenwich Dunes Trail has everything: woods, dunes, floating boardwalk and ends at the beach. If someone only had time for one trail, this would be the one to take.
The dunes trail ended at the beach which is a primary destination for a lot of people. We saw the Amish ladies wadding in the water. After we walked along the beach, we noticed the men were in the water swimming but the women were still in their long dresses and aprons. Out of curiosity, I Googled around and found out that for years, the only Amish settlements in Canada were in Ontario Province. Only recently have they moved to other areas. I found one interesting article: Amish living on Prince Edward Island .
The hike that runs along the shore of St. Peters Bay was an easy stroll as well as a path that is designated for bicycles. Along the way, there are signs that explain the history of the region. Originally a French settlement, it was taken over by the English at the end of the Seven Years War and the farmers and fisherman residing in the area were all deported. Many lost their lives on ships that sank due to being over capacity.
St. Peter’s Harbour Light House was in view of the trail.
True confessions here: we did not go see anything Ann of Green Gables related while we were in Prince Edward Island. Shocking I know, but somehow I never read the books or watched the PBS series. We had wonderful neighbors at our campground, John and Terry, who did go to Green Gables Heritage Place. Terry said it was very crowded and she’d never seen so many people with red hair in one place!
However, on our last day we opted to see Charlottetown . Named after wife of King George III, it was the location of the 1864 Charlottetown Conference where the beginnings of the Canadian Confederation (unification of the provinces into one commonwealth) were discussed.
Agriculture is huge on Prince Edward Island and it grows 25% of all the potatoes Canada produces hence most lobster rolls are served with fries. Dairy is another big industry and I had the best mint chocolate chip ice cream from COWS Creamery (actually the one on the ferry boat) that I have ever had in my life – honest! John and Terry, who were mentioned above, enjoyed a tour of the COWS Creamer facility.
The 10th Annual Charlottetown Mi’kmaq Confederation of PEI Pow Wow was taking place while we were there. Canadian natives or indigenous peoples were called aboriginals when the English first settled the area and I saw the term used on educational displays/signs throughout the island.
We enjoyed walking through Victoria Row, a pedestrian street just a couple blocks up from the harbor area.
St. Dunstan’s Basilica is open for the public to view and is gorgeous inside.
When we left Prince Edward Island we used the Confederation Bridge and traveled into New Brunswick and then entered the U.S. at Houlton, Maine. We were a bit nervous about the bridge since the RV is considered to be a “high profile vechicle” ; wind speeds are updated every six minutes and it’s nearly 8 miles long. It was a rainy day, but we traveled across it easily.
It was onward to explore Bar Harbor, Maine and Acadia National Park!
Just for fun, here are some links to some other Yates social media sites: