I’ve been in Prince Edward Island, or ‘the Island’ this week. It's famous for its red soil (but I’ve seen red dirt elsewhere), potatoes, Anne of Green Gables and as the home of Confederation. It takes about 3 hours to drive from one end of the island to the other, and yet it qualifies as a whole province (a fact that never fails to incite the West- but hey, the Maritimes were here first!).
The thing that makes PEI, though, are the rolling green hills. The whole island is a maze of green fields, swiss hay rolls, mournful cows, red earth dotted with white seagulls, pumpkin fields, inlets and red barns. The ‘highways’ are two laners sewing it all together. Every town is small (even the so called cities, Summerside and Charlottetown), and makes it easy to imagine Lucy Maude Montgomery’s landscapes. What I find interesting is the difference in the air- you can feel and smell it immediately: warm, slightly salty. Even ‘inland’ is still on the coast, and as such, you’ll see seagulls camping out in the fields with the cows.
Until about 15 years ago (?) you could only get to PEI by ferry. In fact the ferry service was enshrined in the Constitution. Then they built the Confederation Bridge connecting PEI to New Brunswick, the longest bridge in the world until a few years ago. Tourists still come to look at it. There is still a ferry connection to NS and NL. And there are still people who have never been off the island. The island is their whole world. When the bridge was built, that number declined sharply, but there is still a culture of “stay on the island” or “get off the island."
And unique island goodies? I picked up Seaman’s soda, which is only available on the island. I also bought some currant preserves made by the Prince Edward Island Preserves Company, Vesey’s seeds (herbs) and some potatoes, of course!