The first new thing this summer was the freshly painted lighthouse in St Peter's Harbour. One of the oldest lighthouses on Prince Edward Island, "our" lighthouse was starting to look pretty beat up. Thanks to a community effort, though, the lighthouse has been purchased by us and several neighbours, and is now undergoing restoration.
Not too far from our place, along Hwy 2, is a Mi'kmaq reserve. Over the past several years, I've been eager to try and learn more about the Island's First Nations people, and this year that desire became reality as I took action and booked a two-hour kayak rental with a local guide, who happened to also be a clan mother.
Our morning started with a spotted eagle flying overhead, and ended with a bald eagle sighting not far from us on the river bank. surely both good signs!
Eliza told us about the upcoming annual Powwow on Panmure Island, and Alex and I attended that, also, and marveled at the energy of the drum during the Grand Entry. (N.B., the photos below were taken afterwards, as photography during the Grand Entry at a Powwow is discouraged.)
(Another) "New" Lighthouse
In our early summers on Prince Edward Island, Alex and Simon's dad would often take the boys on a lighthouse pilgrimage, visiting at least one new (different) lighthouse each summer.
Since the Panmure lighthouse is not far from the Native Council of PEI's Powwow grounds, Alex and I decided to revive this tradition, and made our way down the road to add a "new" lighthouse to our "seen" collection.
This was my first summer working for the Ministry of Education, and while I always spent part of my summers as a classroom teacher teaching or taking summer courses, I still had a good chunk of time in July and August to myself before heading back to set up my classroom or meet and plan with colleagues when I was an instructional coach.
Not this summer!
There were too many loose ends at the office for me to completely check out for two full weeks, so I spent approximately 4 half-days at my favourite coffee shop in Ch'town, working online through emails and/or video-conferencing.
Cavendish Adventure Zone
No summer trip to PEI is complete without a trip to Cavendish (or more importantly, the bakery enroute, in North Rustico!)
This summer the boys convinced me to sponsor a return trip to the "Adventure Zone", a mini-golf and laser tag combo thinggie they had discovered the week before my arrival, with their dad, and which they had merrily renamed "The Fun Zone", in alignment with one of their favourite Brooklyn nine nine episodes.
Inspired in part by the promise of butter tarts and home made potato salad from the bakery along the way, I acquiesced, and we enjoyed an afternoon of mini golf and shame -- my first exposure to laser tag garnered a pathetic 740 points to Simon's 3000+, lol!
The Brick Barn
Last summer, we tried to get into the Brick Barn, a newer business open in Morell, not far from the house. A local AFOL there has opened a building housing his lego collection to the public. For a small fee, you can build free or from a set for a few hours.
It's a pretty neat concept, and a really cool space. Unfortunately the type of prices one would have to charge to pay the bills are just not sustainable in such a small community, so the owner has taken on a "real" job, and is now open by appointment only. Still, the place is worth a visit, and we'll definitely be back next summer, if he can fit us in!
Every time we drive from Charlottetown to our home in St Peter's Harbour, we pass a road with a beach sign. But until this summer, we have never made it to Blooming Point. Determined that this was the summer of the new, we decided to finally turn down that road on the way home from work one night.
We were not disappointed!
We were glad we visited, but still decided that our lighthouse beach was better (and closer to home).
A few summers ago, I caught wind of an artists' retreat on the northern part of the Island. Eager to attend one of the concerts or workshops offered there, I had been trying to schedule in a good time. This year we found a match, and the boys and I attended a clay foraging workshop on the site, which is so delightfully remote that it has no cell coverage!
We had about an hour to kill between our clay foraging workshop and the arrival of Tats at the airport that evening, and instead of stopping at Cow's for ice cream as originally planned, we decided to stop at Jewel's Country Market, a bright red-roofed affair with goats out front.
Ross Family Ceilidh
A few summers ago we attended out first Ceilidh, and this year my partner and I decided to pre-purchase tickets for a show I'd heard much about, the Ross Family, while she was on the island with us.
The tickets also included a pre-show buffet, and so we set out in a borrowed van to Kensington, a little over an hour from our home, to enjoy dinner and the show.
Unfortunately when we arrived, we noticed we had a flat. Even more unfortunately, the buffet turned out to be average at best, with little selection, no vegetarian protein, and not enough food (the mussels ran out almost immediately, and before my partner, who loves seafood, could get any, and several other items were also in short supply)! Happily, however, some kind soul who worked there hooked us up with a fellow who helped us put on the spare tire, and he also convinced us to stay for the show instead of drive to Charlottetown immediately to pick up the rental car we had secured in a panic.
I'm glad we stayed, as the show was pretty spectacular!
Geocaching in Souris... and Beyond!
One of the things we like to do on the Island when my partner is here is geocache. This year we went to a new part of the island, out past Souris (though we did stop in Souris to find -- unsuccessfully -- one geocache and purchase and -- successfully -- devour a coconut cream pie).
Despite the poorly positioned and just narrowly too-short length of the strip, we enjoyed a short ramble through the woods and over the dune to the private beach, stopping along the way to pick the most incredibly juicy, sweet (and somewhat sandy) blueberries. If you're looking to buy an incredible waterfront gem on the island, let me know, and I'll hook you up with the owner/seller!
Relaxing at Home
The next day, we dropped Tats and one of my boys at the airport to begin the long journey to the west coast, where they would spend a night in Portland before getting into a lineup to eclipse-chasing cars headed to the totality zone. The other twin and I headed back home to enjoy a few days of rest and relaxation -- other than the Panmure Powwow, we stuck pretty close to home, drumming, swimming, cycling and watching movies.
Alex also rediscovered my pattern block collection, and made a number of intriguiging tiling patterns when them, including this star:
Soon enough, it was time to pack up and head back to Toronto. Alex and I underwent our usual "last day routine" by heading into town a little early, and checking out the Confederation Ctr's art exhibit, which this year featured -- among other things -- the rarely-on-display complete manuscript of LM Montgomery's "Anne of Green Gables".
After the usual final Cow's ice cream and a quick grab of chocolate covered potato chips and other treats from the AoGG Chocolate Shop for my colleagues back at the office, we drove out to the airport to drop off the car and avail ourselves of the free wifi so that Alex could get his fix and I could attend to some work business on my laptop.
A wx-related flight delay meant we arrived in YYZ well after nightfall, but since Tats and Simon had arrived significantly earlier than anticipated, this meant they were able to go home, unpack and unwind, and come pick us up from the airport later, so that we could exchange tales of our distinct adventures from two different coasts of the continent on the way home!