The Red Door Inn

Twenty-two years ago my mom introduced me to a TV miniseries about a red-headed orphan from the Canadian maritimes.

Fifteen years ago I read Anne of Green Gables (and the following books by L.M. Montgomery) for the first time.

Five years ago I made my first trip to Prince Edward Island.

Now I’ve written a series set on my favorite place on earth–the red shores of PEI. And I’m so excited to share the cover of book 1, The Red Door Inn, with you!

 Red Door Inn Cover

A bit about The Red Door Inn (available March 1, 2016, which is really only like 9 months away):

Marie Carrington is running from a host of bad memories. Broke and desperate, she’s hoping to find safety and sanctuary on Prince Edward Island, where she reluctantly agrees to help decorate a renovated bed-and-breakfast before it opens for prime tourist season.

Seth Sloane didn’t move three thousand miles to work on his uncle’s B&B so he could babysit a woman with a taste for expensive antiques and a bewildering habit of jumping every time he brushes past her. He came to help restore the old Victorian–and to forget about the fiancée who broke his heart.

The only thing Marie and Seth agree on is that getting the Red Door Inn ready to open in just a couple months will take everything they’ve got. Can these two wounded souls find hope, healing, and perhaps a bit of romance on this beautiful island?

Step into the Red Door Inn, a lovely home away from home tucked along the fabled north shore of Prince Edward Island. It’s a place where the wounded come to heal, the broken find forgiveness, and the lonely find a family. Won’t you stay for the season?

 

I can’t wait! And I hope you’ll share my glee! Feel free to add to your wishlist, tell a friend, or even pre-order. 🙂

What do you think?

PEI – Part 5

Thursday, August 4

Breakfast at the Shipwright–prepared by their in-house chef–was as amazing as the rest of the inn. With no firm plans for the day, we chatted over our fresh fruit and eggs about our plans. And that’s when Hannah (the girl who mocked Mom and I for coming back from the island last year singing the songs of Anne and Gilbert) suggested we go back and see the musical again. But the truth is, we all kind of liked the idea of going back to Summerside. Back for another round of Anne and Gilbert.

But before we made a decision about seeing the show again, we had some exploring to do! And we were off to wander the shops and streets of Charlottetown, including a walk past the docks where we learned about why Charlottetown is called the birthplace of the Confederation. I had no idea about the history, and I don’t remember half of it, so if you’re curious, check it out here.

The dock at the Charlottetown Harbor
More boats in the harbor.
Hannah enjoying one of the islands most famous treats--COWS ice cream!
Hannah and me in front of Confederation Hall.
The Confederation Players--actors in period costumes who give tours of historic Charlottetown.

After shopping and exploring to our heart’s content, we finally decided that we could only see Anne and Gilbert on PEI, and we didn’t want to miss the opportunity. So we popped in the car and decided to zip along the southern shores back to Summerside. That meant a stop at Rocky Point to walk past a lighthouse and discover a second that we missed last summer!

The view from Rocky Point across the bay from Charlottetown.
Love the red cliffs--even if they are erroding and signs warned us not to get too close to the edge.
Hannah of the trees! (That's an LM Montgomery book if ever I heart one.)
This path looked like it just disappeared into the ocean. But it didn't.
Charlottetown in the distance.
The first lighthouse at Rocky Point
A second and nearly identical lighthouse set far off the water. We just couldn't figure out why there would be a lighthouse nearly hidden.
I love the white churches that pepper the island.
Across the road from that church--this view! Wow!

We arrived in Summerside just in time to go back to our favorite little Deckhouse Pub for dinner, where Mom loved her clam chowder and Hannah and I devoured some excellent comfort food. And then we sat in the very back row (the best cheap seats we could get) and fell in love with Anne and Gil all over again. I can’t even begin to describe how much I love this show and how glad I am that Hannah loved it, too!

PEI – Part 3

Tuesday, August 2

We were on our own for breakfast at the cabin, so we enjoyed a banana and bagel that we’d picked up at the little grocery store in Rustico the night before. And then we stopped at a bakery that had just about the best cinnamon rolls ever! They were more like chunks of coffee cake deliciousness.

After the stop, we headed over toward Avonlea Village–a stop that Mom and I failed to make last year.

Hannah in front of the train station
Hannah in front of the train station

Walking through the train station and into Avonlea Village is like stepping back in time 100 years. The roads are lined with authentic turn of the century buildings including a manse (that’s the preacher’s home), school house, church, and general store. And mingling with the visitors are actors dressed in period costumes, playing the roles that we love from Anne’s books. Charlie Sloan was busy getting kicked out of the chocolate shop, Mr. Phillips marched around the school house getting his students in order, and even Anne and Diana roamed the streets.

Mom and Hannah in front of the Avonlea one-room school house, which was once an actual school
Mom and Hannah in front of the Avonlea one-room school house, which was once an actual school
Behind the school was an artist creating an AMAZING sandcastle
Behind the school was an artist creating an AMAZING sandcastle
On the swing by the school
On the swing by the school
Across the street was a Avonlea Dressup, which we assumed was a dress shop
Across the street was a Avonlea Dressup, which we assumed was a dress shop
And it was ... sort of!
And it was ... sort of!
Hannah and I having high tea in our 1910 dresses
Hannah and I having high tea in our 1910 dresses
Mom and I waiting for the train
Mom and I waiting for the train
The stage on the back of the craft house
The stage on the back of the craft house
The show must go on! Anne's first day in school
The show must go on! Anne's first day in school
Anne, Diana, and Gilbert in the back ground
Anne, Diana, and Gilbert in the back ground

Around noon, we snuck into the back of the fishing shanty, where a quartet was busy entertaining a full house with songs of the Island.

Main Street Avonlea
Main Street Avonlea
We spent a few minutes in the barn before boarding the 8-minute wagon ride
We spent a few minutes in the barn before boarding the 8-minute wagon ride
Hannah and Mom on the wagon ride
Hannah and Mom on the wagon ride
Near the end of the wagon ride, Gilbert and Moody jumped in the back of the wagon, shooting their slingshots
Near the end of the wagon ride, Gilbert and Moody jumped in the back of the wagon, shooting their slingshots

 After a fantastic day at Avonlea Village, we drove through the National Park along the North Shore.

Along the North Shore and the prettiest beaches on the Island
Along the North Shore and the prettiest beaches on the Island

 

This beach had large, red rocks, many more than the others
This beach had large, red rocks, many more than the others

Hannah said this beach was rocky … and decided to share with us a musical number from a rocky movie.
 

I could stay on this beach for ages
I could stay on this beach for ages
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Love the way these jagged red cliffs jut out into the water
We were there at high tide, so getting this far along the beach was a bit tricky
We were there at high tide, so getting this far along the beach was a bit tricky
Mom and Hannah--queens of the rock!
Mom and Hannah--queens of the rock!

PEI – Part 2

Monday, August 1
If every morning of our last trip to PEI started with the best breakfasts ever, this trip was off to a rocky start. First powdered eggs at the Holiday Inn, then some sort of mystery breakfast casserole at Serendipity. But the fresh fruit was enough to get us going for a day into the west side of the Island, an area Mom and I hadn’t been to last year. Our first stop was the Potato Museum.

Nope. Not kidding. Potatoes are a huge part of the history of PEI, and the museum was full of interesting facts about how the potato crossed from Ireland to PEI. The museum also had some historic buildings including a one-room school house, a chapel, and an old telephone room, where the operators worked.

The PEI Potato Museum
The PEI Potato Museum
Yes, that is a giant potato!
Yes, that is a giant potato!
The museum had plenty of historical pieces, including this iron lung
The museum had plenty of historical pieces, including this iron lung
Hannah, outside the school house
Hannah, outside the school house
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Inside the school house

After the museum, we headed to the West Point Lighthouse and Museum, where we climbed 4 stories through a self-guided tour. The first lightkeeper lived there with his wife and 8 children! Whoa! That’s a whole lot of family in one little house. But it was beautiful.

West Point Light House
West Point Light House
View from the beach
View from the beach

So was the beach next to it, where we wandered around and got thoroughly sandy and had to find a sink to rinse off in.

Collecting shells on the beach
Collecting shells on the beach
Rinsing off at the picnic area
Rinsing off at the picnic area

After the lighthouse and beach, we headed off toward North Rustico, where we stayed in a little cabin for 2 nights.

Love this little church that we passed on our way from West Point to North Rustico
Love this little church that we passed on our way from West Point to North Rustico

While it was a beautiful area, the cabin left a little something to be desired–the pull-out sofa bed was a bit rough, to say the least. And the creepy bugs that showed up in the most inopportune moments were enough to give anyone the jitters.

Our biggest drama of the day turned out to be where we were going to go to dinner. We thought about trying a famous lobster dinner, except, when we got to the most popular restaurant, it was $35 for a dinner, and we just couldn’t talk ourselves into that, not knowing how we felt about lobster–seeing as how none of us had ever eaten it before. After a couple more failed attempts to find a reasonable place for dinner, we ended up at Jim’s–literally a side-of-the-road shack, where we ordered at a window. Mom ordered the seafood platter complete with lobster. So there it was, our first chance at lobster. Yuck! It was cold (apparently how many on the Island serve it) and oh, so fishy-tasting. I even tried a fried scallop. Like eating a piece of fried rubber. Not for me.

After the dinner debacle, we took off for the Rustico boardwalk, a 2km walkway around the harbor with a view of the fishing village and docks. The perfect way to end the day.

The Rustico boardwalk--2km of beauty
The Rustico boardwalk--2km of beauty
A view of Rustico across the harbor
A view of Rustico across the harbor
Another shot of the village from the boardwalk
Another shot of the village from the boardwalk
The lighthouse at the end of the boardwalk
The lighthouse at the end of the boardwalk
The jetty next to the lighthouse
The jetty next to the lighthouse
The North Rustico beach at sunset
The North Rustico beach at sunset

A Return to Prince Edward Island

A year ago next week, I took my mom on a trip to Prince Edward Island, Canada, to celebrate the publication of my first and second books. Wow! We had a wonderful time. So good, in fact, that about 5 months ago, I suggested perhaps we should go back. I was working on a book idea set on PEI, and I was looking for an opportunity to do a little research. Mom was on board in a heartbeat, and we invited my sister Hannah to join us.

Several weeks ago we took off for PEI and 6 wonderful days on the most beautiful island I’ve ever seen. I took over 300 pictures, and at least a few of them turned out. 🙂 So I thought I’d share with you a pictorial journal of our time on PEI.

Saturday, July 30
I flew out of Nashville at 6:25am. I knew I had a day mostly to myself, as I wasn’t meeting up with Mom and Hannah until I picked them up from the Charlottetown airport after midnight that night. So I brought with me one of the lesser-known books of PEI’s most celebrated author, LM Montgomery. My friends Rachel and Stephanie and Katie had been after me for years to read The Blue Castle, and I’d purchased it on PEI last summer. I’d just never gotten around to reading it. So I pulled it off my shelf and tucked it into my bag and read during my 3 hours at the Cinncinati airport and 6 hours at JFK. And I couldn’t put it down. It’s delightful! I highly recommend and can’t thank my friends enough for telling me to read it.

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In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I was still reading it when I got to the Holiday Inn Express (the one with a big cardboard cutout of William and Kate, who had recently visited PEI) upon arriving on the Island. And I was still reading it when I went back to the airport to pick Mom and Hannah up. Their flight was delayed, so when they finally arrived at 1am, I was just looking forward to a good night’s sleep. I was going to need it if we were going to hit the ground running the next morning.

Sunday, July 31
We managed to drag ourselves out of bed in time to grab a bite of the continental breakfast (avoiding those powdered eggs at all costs) before getting gussied up for the first big event of our trip, Anne and Gilbert: The Musical! Mom and I enjoyed seeing this show so much last year, that we knew we had to go back and see it again.

We traveled through the middle of the Island, along the main highway (which is still only 2 lanes), lined with pine trees from Charlottetown toward Summerside. But we arrived early–that’s the thing when you can drive anywhere on the Island in 2 hours. So we took a little detour to view the Confederation Bridge, a 13km engineering marvel. It just disappears in the horizon.

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Hannah and me in front of the Confederation Bridge
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Seven Mile Church, where we stopped to take pictures of the bridge.
Another view of the bridge
Another view of the bridge

As we drove toward Summerside, we passed this field. Unfortunately, the picture just doesn’t do the color justice. It was this brilliant yellow, and when we asked, we discovered it’s a Canola field–like the stuff that they make cooking oil out of. Weird. Beautiful.

Canola field outside Summerside
Canola field outside Summerside

And then it was off to get some lunch at Spinnaker’s Landing at the Deckhouse Pub. Fish and Chips were delicious. So was the view of the harbour.

Spinnaker's Landing next to the Harbourfront Theater
Spinnaker's Landing next to the Harbourfront Theater
Sailboats in the harbour behind the pub
Sailboats in the harbour behind the pub
Another sail boat on the gray sea
Another sailboat on the gray sea
The Coast Guard station next door
The Coast Guard station next door
I should have been a sailor
I should have been a sailor
Love these boats all lined up and ready to hit the sea
Love these boats all lined up and ready to hit the sea

And then it was time to see the musical. Hannah wasn’t quite so sure what she’d gotten into … but I’ll tell you more about that later. We sat in the same seats as last year (row E) at the Harbourfront Theater. Anne was played by the same actress, but there was a new Gilbert. And he was GREAT! Here’s a video of one of the best songs in the show done by this summer’s cast. (You might have to turn your volume up, as it’s kind of quiet.)

After the show, we checked in at our B&B in Bedeque–Serendipity. It was a lovely yellow house, and we stayed in the Victoria Suite–2 rooms with an adjoining door on the 2nd floor. Sadly, that meant we had to lug our stuff up to the 2nd floor. And my suitcase was not light. After settling in and grabbing a bite to eat, we headed for the nearby beach at Central Bedeque (pronounced kind of like be-deck), where we found all sorts of wildlife–little spider crabs and even a few washed up jellyfish. Let me just say that Hannah is fascinated by this stuff, so we spent quite a chunk of time picking up shells and poking dried up jellyfish. One of the most interesting things about the beach was the way the sand packed together in ripples. And then, of course, there was a gorgeous view of the bridge.

We didn't quite make it out in kayaks, but that's on the itinerary for next trip
We didn't quite make it out in kayaks, but that's on the itinerary for next trip
Love those red beaches
Love those red beaches
Hannah on the rippled sand
Hannah on the rippled sand
As the sun begins to set
As the sun begins to set
Sillouette's in the setting sun
Silhouettes in the setting sun

PEI – Day 5 & 6

Saturday, September 4
Blueberry pancakes a la wonderful greeted us in the dining room to get the day started, and for the first time all week, Mom and I weren’t in a rush to hit the road. Rumor had it that the Hurricane Earl would hit Charlottetown that afternoon, so rather than risk being out on the road when the rain hit, we decided to explore historic Charlottetown.

The buildings were lovely and the colorful row that made up a fun hotel was amazing.

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We visited a used bookstore that one of the other guests at CRI recommended, where Mom found the 2nd volume of Little Women that she’d been looking for to read to my niece Julia.

We spent probably an hour in the Anne of Green Gables store, where we decided that we’d come back to pick up all the souveneirs that we didn’t want to carry around. When we stepped out of the Anne store, it had started drizzling, and by the time we mad it down Queen Street toward the harbor, it was pouring.

So we headed back toward the shops that we wanted pick up a few things at. And they were all closed! They’d closed just before we got there because they lost power. So we walked toward Subway to grab a sandwich for lunch. Guess what else had closed?

We had no choice but to stop by the only open convenience store and pick up a can of soup on the way back to CRI, where we peeled out of our sopping wet jeans, put on our pajamas and settled into the living room to watch Little Dorrit, a 7-hour miniseries based on the Dickens book. Well, we didn’t set out to watch all 7 hours, but when the sky stayed gray, we stayed in for quite the relaxing afternoon, with a little packing thrown in there.

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Then it was early to bed because we had a long day of travel ahead of us.

Sunday, September 5
It was back to the airport, back to the States for us. But one of my all-time favorite moments of the entire trip happened at the airport when, instead of weighing my suitcase, the guy at the check-in counter just lifted it and pronouced it good to go. 🙂 That’s never happened to me in the States, not even in Yuma, AZ, the smallest airport in the world (well, not quite, but it’s still tiny).

When we made it to Newark, with just one leg of our flights left, we had a 3.5-hour layover in the smallest section of the airport possible. But there was one little restaraunt where we could sit down for a late lunch, so we did. And when we sat, I was really glad we weren’t back on a plane because my head was spinning. Plus it gave me lots of time to read one of my new L.M. Montgomery books, The Story Girl. Before you start thinking I was ignoring Mom, she was busy with my copy of The Blue Castle. And before we knew it we were on that last flight and then back in Nashville, TN.

 

Well, thanks for joining me on our trip to PEI. It certainly won’t be my last vacation there. Will you join me next time?

Teaser Tuesday – Anne of Green Gables

teaser_tuesdays1MizB of Should Be Reading hosts the Teaser Tuesdays weekly event

Here are the rules:
* Grab your current read
* Let the book fall open to a random page
* Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12
*You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
* Please avoid spoilers!

This week’s teaser is:
” ‘Oh, there’s so much scope for imagination in a wind. So I’ll not talk anymore just now, Marilla.’
‘Thanks be to goodness for that,’ breathed Marilla in devout relief.”

pg. 77  – Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

– In honor of my trip to PEI, I’ve been rereading some of Ms. Montgomery’s classics, including her most beloved heroine, Anne. This precocious orphan stole my heart a long time ago, and if you haven’t read her story, you absolutely must!

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PEI – Day 4

Friday, September 3 –
As always, the day started with an amazing breakfast! Maureen created this amazing egg salad on English muffins. And then we were off to Greenwich, a little peninsula along the coast of the on the northeastern tip of the island.

As we drove along that morning, Mom shouted at me that we should stop. We pulled mostly off the road (one of the great things about being on PEI after the height of the tourist season is the nearly deserted roads) and got out and took pictures of St. Peters Church, one of the most beautiful sites of ever seen. I wish my pictures could do it justice. It was incredible.

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As we headed up to check in at the national park office we drove right by the white steepled-church, picked up our parking pass, and headed down a gravel road toward the acclaimed floating boardwalk.

We’d heard about this from a woman at a gift shop back at Dalvay. She said it was incredible. She was right.

We walked for about a mile down a path that had once led past rows of farm houses, the gulf on our left. As we walked along, suddenly the air was filled with huge, black dragonflies. Diving and dancing. Floating and swarming. They were everywhere, and I  thought each step would bring me into contact with them. But somehow they kept their distance, and we made it past them.

Then through a little forest, over a migrating sand dune, and then we were there, on a wiggling, wavering, floating boardwalk over a marshy area. The boards creaked with each step, wiggled with every ripple in the water, and about half way out, I looked at Mom and asked what had ever convinced me this was a good idea.

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The water below us was brown and filled with moss and I wasn’t sure I could possibly survive if we fell in. But  that was okay, because we didn’t. And suddenly we were climing up make-shift stairs, over a dune, and then there was a beach.

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There were only 4 other people on the beach as far as the eye could see, and it was incredible. Both isolating and peaceful. We ran and played in the water, getting our feet wet and leaving a piece of my love for Anne.

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As dark gray clouds rolled in, we decided to make a run for it, not wanting to get caught on the beach or the bridge if it started pouring. And of course we both had to use the restroom, something fierce, so our return trip was something of a speedwalking competition. We were making memories! 🙂

Then it was back on the road, headed toward the lighthouse on the very northeastern tip of the island. But on our way there, Mom saw another lighthouse, so we pulled off the main road onto Shipwreck Point, where we took some more lighthouse/beach pictures.

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And then had one of our most fun meals at the Shipwreck Cafe in the little tiny fishing village. Of all of the places that we ate on our trip, the view from the big bay windows at this cafe made these burgers the best of the trip.

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One of my favorite moments along that drive was coming up to Hermanville, which as we passed it, turned out to be one house. I decided it was named Hermanville for it’s only resident. 🙂 I loved that about driving around the island, how the towns on our map were often two houses and a cow pasture. How the 5th largest city on PEI is Montague, population 1800.

We finally made it to the East Point Lighthouse on the northeastern tip. As we drove over a little hill it looked like the ocean would just come up and meet you right there. Except for the yellow sign where the road stops, as if to say: DON’T END UP IN THE OCEAN.

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We ended our day with a drive through the middle of the island, heading back to Charlottetown. While the beaches and red cliffs never failed to steal my breath, the forests, farmlands, and rolling hills of the middle of the island are almost as beautiful. It was incredible!

That night as I was falling asleep, I couldn’t help but wonder what the next day would bring as Hurricane Earl barreled toward the coast of Nova Scotia, just miles away from us.

PEI – Day 3

Thursday, September 2 –
The morning started where all good mornings do at CRI. In the dining room. Cornflake encrusted French Toast with fresh strawberries is a great start to the day, and then we were off.

Off to Rocky Point along the southern coast of PEI. We stopped at another lighthouse, one that we could see from across the harbor the night before. I was terribly amazed at how small this lighthouse was. I guess, in my mind they are like towers. But these must sit high enough that they don’t have to be so tall.

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We walked around a small park, along more red cliffs, and saw a sign about how the cliffs erode 1 meter a year, which is a terrible thought but then  turned into a bit of a running joke the rest of the week. “Oh, don’t get too close!” or “Don’t fall in, Mom!”

We stopped at a Provincial Park and wanted to go down to the beach, but it was incredibly muddy, and our final stop of the day would be Anne and Gilbert: The Musical, so we just took a few pictures instead of braving the mud. Shockingly, more red cliffs. Can you tell that I was enamored with them? I just couldn’t get enough.  

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As we drove along, we saw the Confederation Bridge, a 13km engineering miracle that connects PEI to New Brunswick, I believe. We wanted to go out on it, but there’s a $42.50 toll per car, and we would have had to go all the way into across and back. We settled for stopping at a little church and taking pictures from their parking lot.

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Then we continued along toward Summerside, the second largest city on PEI. When we arrived, we walked along the harbor there, and went into a row of quite colorful shops.

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We wound up having dinner in the Deck House Pub (the yellow building in the corner in the picture), but we had to try three different dining areas before we found one cool enough to eat in. It was so warm, and the sun was just beating down. But when we found a table in a corner that blocked the sun a bit but still allowed the breeze and afforded a view of the water, we plopped down to a lovely dinner of Fish and Chips for Mom and chicken fingers and fries for me. (Yup, I’m six.) One thing that really stuck out to me was the clean smell of the air. It wasn’t fishy or filled with sea gulls, although we had seen several gulls around.

Then we changed from our jeans to kahkis (more appropriate for the theater) and headed off to the Harbourfront Theatre for the show.

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We plopped down in our assigned seats in row E, practically even with the stage. Mom said, these seats would be perfect if no one sat down in front of us. Guess what? No one sat down in the two rows in front of us! So we settled in for the story of Anne and Gilbert as they’re about to take their first teaching positions and then head off to Redmond College.

We LOVED it! What a fantastic show! The songs are so catchy that I ended up buying the soundtrack, and we listened to it the entire next day. And the singing, acting, and dancing were top-notch. I loved how they stage had a ramp on it, that many of the actors used to exit. And Gilbert used it at one point to go “swimming” on a Saturday morning as he sang about the “lobsters declaring war”. It was just absolutely delightful. Easily in my top 2 musicals I’ve ever seen.

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The stars and director of Anne and Gilbert in the Summer 2010 season

Maybe I’m biased because of the topic (who doesn’t love Anne and Gil?) and the location (how fun to see an Anne story on PEI), but this was sublime. I’ll certainly see it again on my next trip to the Island!

We were a bit concerned about driving all the way back to CRI in the dark, but it turned out to be quite easy. We were getting pretty adept at finding our location on the map and following the signs by that point. Then it was time to turn in before we took off for Greenwich and the Eastern Coastal Drive the next day.

PEI – Day 2

Wednesday, September 1 –
Breakfast at 8:45 in the main dining room was made by our hostess Maureen and served by John. We quickly got spoiled by the three-course morning meals, our first featuring an amazing salmon quiche. We also met Gordon, an older man from Toronto, who was on vacation with his wife Dorothy. Gordon had lots of hints for us, like where to go to exchange our money. And he highly recommended a used bookstore on Queen Street.

But the best thing about Gordon was that he and his wife had just been to see Anne and Gilbertin Summerside, and they highly recommended it. I looked at Mom, and she said, “Let’s do it!” So after buying tickets to the show the next night, exchanging some money at the bank, and finding the used bookstore, we piled into the car and headed for Cavendish and the Green Gables House.

Now, I should mention that we packed sweaters and jeans just in case it got cool, because it was at least in the low 80s by mid-morning. But when we got to Green Gables, about a 45 minute drive away, it was warmer than it had been that morning. So tank tops and capris became our norm.

The Green Gables House was the home of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s grandfather’s cousin. She visited there as a child, and it really did inspire the Green Gables of her most famouos writing, the Anne series. We walked through the barn and the house, both filled with period pieces.

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And then we walked along the path called Lover’s Lane. It was a short walk, but filled with the sounds of running water in the creek bed and the gentle hum of birds and bugs. All along the path were placards with information on Maud and her childhood and her love for nature.

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Just as we finished the easy loop, we saw an enormous bird and didn’t realize until later that it was a Blue Heron, one of the most famous birds on the Island. It was so peaceful and the green grass, dotted with colorful flowers, was absolutely stunning.

And then it was time to visit the gift shop. We shopped for nearly an hour, trying to decide on souveneirs for ourselves and the family back home. I finally landed on a blue t-shirt that announces “I Heart Gilbert” and several of Maud’s lesser known books including The Story Girl.

We stopped for lunch at Rachel’s Restaurant, a yellow building that promised a deck view of the ocean, but it was closed. So we ate pizza and headed off to the location of the home where Maud grew up (the home was torn down years ago), just a minute down the street. I can easily understand how she was inspired to write in this location.

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The openness of the rolling fields and the bursts of color make it ideal. And as I walked up the lane that I knew she’d walked up as well, I thought about how amazing it would be to see the home still standing, to see it the way that she would have. I can see how easy it would be to be inspired to write here. I wanted desperately to pick up my pen and paper and write down a story or two.

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After making another stop at the gift shop and buying even more books (including The Blue Castle, which I’m determined to read this year), we drove off toward the National Park along the North Shore. The road was bordered on one side by the red cliffs along the ocean and pine forests on our right. And then there was a clearing and a row of parked cars, so we joined them and walked down to the beach.

It was absolutely stunning. The waves don’t crash there like they do in California. They clap gently onto the shore. And the red cliffs jutting out into the ocean are breath-taking.

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I stuck my feet in the water, and it was warm and clean, not overwhelmingly salty as ocean water often feels to me.

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I could have stayed for hours, but the sun was hot, and my skin was turning pink. And Mom had to the use the bathroom. 🙂 So we got back into the car and drove off toward North Rustico, catching a quick glimpse of one of the most beautiful beaches on the Island. After a quick pit stop, we headed toward Dalvay, which we were told was Maud’s inspiration for the White Sands Hotel. It was a lovely old home (turned into a modern hotel) that we didn’t realize until we got home is actually the location of the shoot at the beginning of the Anne of Green Gables The Sequel film. You know … when Anne first meets Morgan when her papers are blowing all over the sand dunes.

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Back in Charlottetown that night, we strolled around the harbor for a bit, seeing our first lighthouse of the trip. It was beautiful as the sun set against the water and families walked and jogged along the boardwalk.

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We wrapped up a stunning evening back at CRI and were ready for a drive along the southern shore and the musical the next day.

More from our trip tomorrow!