If Iowa was an Island it would be PEI

We have been lucky enough to have visited PEI twice.  The first time Corey and I were not yet engaged.  The second time Henna was just a little kid instead of her now big kid self.  The place is truly magical.  Dozens of little towns scattered around an island whose elongated shapes makes it impossible to ever be an hour away from the water.  The sand is this rich, red, clay that you can easily mold into soft rocks (perfect for skipping).  There are also small farms everywhere and lots of places to pick up fresh mussels, lobsters, and scallops.  Seals swim the water and ospreys fly above (and fish below).  The people are extremely friendly too.  Both times we have gone to the island, people have approached struck up conversations with us.  Sometimes it’s while laughing at us while we try to steam a lobster (after the woman was done laughing she tore it apart for us in maybe five seconds).  Once while Corey and I were sipping wine and watching the moon rise above the water, a man came out of the shadows and approached the fire.  Although we were in a busy campground, our site was somewhat isolated.  As the man came closer he stopped and said, “I can’t sleep, mind for some conversation.”  His family was sleeping in an RV close by.  His house was walking distance from the campground.  He accepted a beer, talked about island life, and then was gone.  You gotta love this island.

If you go, make sure you plan ahead. The islanders like to camp out at their beaches.  We met a couple from England who had to spend one night in their car after arriving on a Friday.  Besides beaches, PEI offers very dramatic rolling hills as well as Anne of Green Gables themed points of interest.

Last note:  Our favorite beach/ campground is featured above.  Cedar Dunes Provincial Park on the northwest corner of the island.  Warmer water due to it not facing the Atlantic (in fact it faces New Brunswick), a working lighthouse with a good diner at the base, and a lot more quieter than points closer to Charlottetown.  I should make it clear; we at Hennacornoelidays always choose sunsets over sunrises.  Otherwise Jacques Cartier Provincial Park, where the sites are closer to the beach, is pretty cool too.

Kouchibouguac National Park

In the best of travels one finds themselves suddenly in a place as comfortable as home and as mysterious as the dark side of the moon.  It is a moment when everything is easy, especially the sense of discovery.  Kouchibouguac National Park was that place for us.  Kouchibouguac was no small place and its large campground was almost filled to capacity.  New Brunswick makes a triangle into the coast with Fundy National Park south and Kouchibouguac National Park north of its most eastern point.  With miles of beaches and dense forests one could bike on paved paths, hike on the beach to distant seal colonies, dig in the tide pools for crabs and starfishes, or swim on a lifeguarded beach.  What we could not do was agree on how to pronounce the place.  A year later after traveling through BC we discovered that no two people ever pronounce it the same way.   Also everyone is sure that they are correct in their pronunciation.

We spent the day jumping in the ocean (actually the Northumberland Straight which is much warmer than the ocean) then running to the tide pools.  Henna dug out pools for her catches and played with a band of children of which only a few spoke English.  Corey and I had many conversations which led us later that night to a small restaurant nearby St. Louis (not pronounced like they do in Missouri) where they boasted a lobster and scalloped covered pizza.  Next to us was an overdressed family who spoke French.  They were three like us but, in their neatly pressed clothes, did not smile or laugh like us.  Instead they spoke low and (maybe it was my imagination) occasionally glanced at us.  They looked glum which only made us feel happier with what we had; that tight grip on the present which I feel now even more than a year away from that town near the beach.