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  • 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 4

    This week, I’ll wrap up our pictorial tour of Prince Edward Island. (Sorry about the month-long hiatus on this!) I hope you’ll enjoy these as much as I enjoy reliving our trip.

    Wednesday, August 3

    We started the day by checking out of our little cabin in Rustico, packing up the rental car and heading back toward Cavendish. Just a mile or so from Avonlea village is the official national park site of Green Gables House. (Which is, of course, the home of LM Montgomery’s relatives, on which she based the Green Gables of her books.) The skies were a bit overcast, and we couldn’t be sure we wouldn’t get rained out of our walking tour of the house and grounds, but we decided to risk it. So after a quick tour of the museum and a viewing of the short film about LM Montgomery’s time on the Island, we were off.

    Mom and Hannah in front of barn at Green Gables.
    The gardens around the house and barn were in full-bloom.
    The house that holds all the memories.
    That's me standing at the door of Green Gables.
    After touring the house, we took the path down to the Haunted Woods--alight with colors.
    Mom and Hannah walking the trail that leads all the way to Maud's childhood home.
    The trees protected us when the light rain came, and it was beautiful!
    After the Haunted Woods trail, we walked Lover's Lane surrounded by sounds of the babbling brook and rain kissing the leaves.

    As we were leaving Green Gables (after a lengthy visit to the gift shop), it began raining in earnest, but that didn’t stop us from making a stop at the site of Maud’s childhood home. While the building was torn down years ago, there’s still a gift shop there filled with books. And oh the books we bought! We stocked up on all sorts of her lesser-known works before dashing back through the rain and hitting the road toward Charlottetown.

    We arrived in town about 3pm, ready to check into our last home of the trip, The Shipwright Inn. Located in the historic district of Charlottetown, this old home is amazing on every level. Simultaneously large and quaint and decorated with 19th Century sea-faring pieces, we loved staying there. We were delighted to have the Tiller Flat, the basement apartment, complete with a spacious living room, cute kitchen, and it’s own enterance.

    The Shipwright Inn on Fitzroy in Charlottetown
    Beauitful foliage along the inn's porches.
    Mom at our private entrance to the Tiller Flat.

    Our hosts Judy and Trevor Pye were incredibly gracious and don’t even get me started on the 3pm treats. Hannah discovered them first. Every afternoon Trevor set out sweets that made our day! Berry pastries and brownies the first day. Cookies and scones the next. These were so wonderful that even weeks after our return home, Hannah and I would call each other to lament that somewhere Trevor was putting out treats that we couldn’t enjoy.

    That evening we picked up Subway sandwiches and enjoyed them in our little kitchen in our flat before heading toward the Confederation Arts Center to see Anne of Green Gables: The Musical. We had hoped to see this musical before seeing Anne and Giblert, which we’d seen on Sunday. After such a wonderful experience at the smaller theater in Summerside, we had high expectations of the Island’s flagship musical.

    As it’s name suggests, this musical covers Anne’s story from childhood to adpotion by Matthew and Marilla to school with Diana and Gilbert. And we had the perfect seats (4th row, right in the center) to experience it. The actors were clearly talented, and the dancing lit up the stage. The settings were so creative and the seats were even comfortable. But somehow it was missing that spark. I didn’t walk away singing the songs or reliving the dances. And Hannah and Mom felt the same way. We were glad to have seen it, but didn’t feel like we’d need to see it again. But that was okay because it turned out to give us another exciting adventure for Thursday.



    For Judy and Ann …

    Before I dive into any book, I read the author’s dedication. Maybe you ignore it–flip right past it. That’s fine. But for me, it opens a window into the author’s heart. I love writing dedications, too. They’re the last thing I write, usually after at least a round or two of edits, and I think long and hard about who I’m going to dedicate that story to. Of course, my first book had about 70 names in it … mostly because I wasn’t sure I’d ever publish another book.

    My most recent novella in A Log Cabin Christmas Collection has these words:

    For Judy and Ann, first readers and faithful friends.
    Thank you for your encouragement, kindness, and example of joy.

    I’ve known Judy for years. Well … at least I knew of her. We’d gone to the same church since I was a kid, and her kids are about my age. But it wasn’t until I wrote my first book that we became real friends. When I asked my mom for feedback on the manuscript of The Kidnapping of Kenzie Thorn, she suggested I send it to Judy, a retired teacher. Judy graciously agreed to read the book, but I’m afraid her feedback was pretty minimal. It consisted mostly of “I love it!”

    By the time Kenzie arrived on bookshelves, Judy was my strongest supporter. She’d also been diagnosed with cancer. Again. I remember clearly on the day of my first booksigning at our church back in Yuma, that she handed me an envelope. She’d been in pain the night before and unable to sleep, so she’d stayed up on the computer and printed off every online review and mention she could find of me and my book. She’d also asked her brother-in-law to paint the cover of my book. It’s one of the most amazing gifts I’ve ever received.

    By the time my second book rolled around Judy and her mom Ann were full-fledged fans of my books. But I was just plain fans of theirs. They had embraced me and my family, given my mom a friend she desperately needed, and treated my nieces and nephews like their own family. Despite her frequent trips to San Diego to see her oncologist, Judy remained a fantastically upbeat and filled with joy.

    When it came time to write the dedication for my Christmas novella (a story that Judy and Ann had both read and approved), I wanted to show them just how much I cared and do what I could to reciprocate the love that they’ve shown me.

    And then the books arrived. So beautiful and with that inscription just for Judy and Ann. I begged my mom to take Judy a copy of the book as soon as it arrived. Mom asked if I wouldn’t rather wait to give it to her myself, but I said no. I wanted Judy to see it as soon as possible. Ann says that Judy showed that book to every single person who walked into her house in the next week.

    Less than two weeks later, Judy took a turn for the worse, and I didn’t get to see her again. She passed away last Monday.

    I’m so sad to have lost a friend, but I am so grateful to have known her and to know that we’ll meet again in eternity. She loved God dearly, and that love flowed to everyone she came in contact with. As I’ve reflected on our friendship this last week, I’m reminded of her amazing example. Despite her pain and prognosis, she lived with joy, a joy that overflowed, spilling on friends and strangers alike.

    And I’m so glad that I took the opportunity to say thank you to Judy before it was too late.

    Who do you need to say thank you to today?

    I fell off the face of blogging …

    I’m so sorry! I just fell off the face of the planet … wait. That’s not quite right. I was here. I was working and writing. I just wasn’t blogging, and I left you in the middle of our trip to Prince Edward Island. Shame on me!

    I’ve got loads of excuses, but instead of offering those, I thought I’d just dive right back in to the good stuff.

    We’ll return to our pictorial tour of PEI shortly, but today, I wanted to tell you a little story about two little videos. You see, it all started with this one, Marc Martel’s video audition for the Queen Extravaganza (a tribute tour to the music of Queen). This little video has been making the rounds on social media, and I caught wind of it last week via twitter.

    I was hooked.

    I’ve listened to it 2 or 3 … or 40 times. (And I’m not alone if the nearly 4 million views on YouTube are any indication.) If you’re not familiar with Queen’s music, I’ll just say that this dude sounds astonishingly like Freddie Mercury, the late lead singer.

    I was busy telling my boss about the video (we were working really hard at that moment, I’m sure) when my friend Mark Smeby stopped by the office and told me that Marc Martel of the Queen video is the same Marc Martel of the band downhere. Of course, I didn’t realize that the co-lead singer of downhere was named Marc, but I was sure familiar with their music. In fact, I’d linked to a video with one of their songs last Christmas. And I’ve had their album Ending is Beginning for ages. Just never really got around to getting into it.

    Thanks to the Queen Extravaganza, all of that changed over the last week. I dug back into my old iTunes account and discovered just how fantastic downhere’s stuff really is. May I offer exhibits A and B.

    But looking back wasn’t enough. I had to find out what they’ve been up to since that album. Turns out, they have a new one out called On the Altar of Love. And the first single off of that album is Let Me Rediscover You. Exhibit C.

    Whoa. Man, I needed to hear that. Ever feel like you hear a song that’s just echoing the cry of your heart? That’s me with this song. “Reveal to me the God I thought I knew.” Oof. Wow, I needed that this week. Hope you enjoyed it, too.

    And now I’m off to see if I can catch them on tour this fall.