We spent two nights in the northern part of the Central District of Prince Edward Island at a delightful, quiet, secluded, small campground with full amenities (electricity, water, sewage dumping at our site).
Our agenda was to go around the western portion of the island. Without the trailer we are able to explore interesting little back areas and even a few dirt roads. We visited PEI about 40 years ago but my memories were very dim, I guess most of my energy was focused on meeting the needs of our three young children. I am also older now and have learned how to appreciate and study local culture. Age does come with benefits in addition to discounts (we appreciated the young man smiling at us at a park in NY who smiled warmly and said that we looked old enough to get the senior special day pass – go have a fun picnic).
This is a beautiful island, but no more beautiful that the other beautiful places we have visited. So my mission, with camera, was to try to discern what is common and unique to this area – what seems to be a part of the common culture and what are the unique aspects within the common. Isn’t that what we want from others when we want them to know us – to find those characteristics that define who we are, that are stable, but to also identify how we are unique. I hope I can portray through words and images the personality of Prince Edward Island in this post and a few more to come.
This is a province of primarily farmers and fishermen. What struck me is that there didn’t seem to be the wide disparity of wealth that is evident in the U.S. Of course there were larger farms and smaller farms, farms that were well kept and farms that weren’t but all that we saw seemed somewhere in the middle. Well maintained and productive. Potatoes are the primary crop and they were starting to harvest them, although wheat fields were also being harvested and there were dairy farms.
I forgot to mention the wild blueberries. How could I miss that fact after eating buttermilk whole wheat blueberry pancakes with Vermont maple syrup for breakfast. Can life get any better than that? Oh, yes, and the locally grown sweat corn that snaps when we bite it off the cob and melts in our mouth – flavored by butter and a little salt. The true taste of late summer in the northern part of the midwest and east coast.
The drive along the coastline went past many small harbors, with fishing boats and associated structures. There is an allure about fishing boats and the lives of people who make their living from the sea. I’m sure reality isn’t as idyllic as my fantasies.
What struck us is how well maintained the boats are. Everything about this island seems to be neat and tidy. I want to say quaint, but without the negative undertones that I can be associate with quaintness – like old fashioned or not modern.
Fall and winter must be coming quickly because this boat was headed for the launch ramp where a truck and trailer were waiting to haul it out of the water. Many boats were dry-docked in side yards of homes waiting for the warmer waters of spring to return, a clue that many of the nicely kept ranch-style houses along the highway were homes of fishermen.
I think the winter winds must be harsh coming off the Northumberland Straits to the south and the vast Saint Lawrence Bay to the north. Most structures are clad in vinyl siding or steel and many have tin roofing. But many still have the cedar shakes with the north side bleached or sanded of paint. Maybe it is the PEI version of showing direction, like moss growing on the north side of trees in the woods.
Funny how certain things stand out as different. You have been there; your eyes see a difference but your brain can’t quite figure it out. On PEI it was that many of the hedge rows consisted of evergreens instead of deciduous trees and bushes. It seems these would break the bleakness of the black and white against grey of winter when living close to large expanses of water.