TRAVEL // Things to do in PEI in the Fall
This weekend I had the pleasure of travelling to the East Coast of Canada to visit the iconic Canadian province of PEI.
This was not my first time out there, but it will definitely be the most memorable. I went when I was a young teenager with my family on one of those east coast bus tours - so there wasn't a lot of room for freedom to explore + you were always surrounded by a bunch of tourists, which in my mind ruins the majestic atmosphere of such a beautiful, peaceful place like PEI. Then again last summer, Travis and I drove to Charlottetown, PEI from Halifax before we moved back to Toronto. This trip was far better than the previous, but it was rushed. We saw and experienced Charlottetown + a bit of the island before heading back home, which wasn't enough to truly appreciate its unique hidden treasures.
... Fast forward to September 2016 ...
I arrived late morning Saturday and the weather was just perfect. I went to get the rental car and was pleasantly surprised by a free upgrade to a SUV because you know, it's a hoppin' time for these islanders during the fall! Not only was I so happy I got the SUV because I've always only driven large cars and feel so much more comfortable in them, but also because it was the Jeep Cherokee Trail Hawk edition - SO perfect for the island roads that turn into off-roading adventures most of the time especially to anywhere scenic + worth your while.
The first stop on the journey was a beautiful field on a little side road that I just had to get out and frolic in. One of the things I noticed about PEI was that they have the most amazingly kept fields, lawns, and farmland I've ever seen. Plus, they have their renown red dirt that you don't see many other places ... That I love ... But also hate because I love my white shoes, which don't play well with red dirt!
I stayed at the Rodd Mills Resort on the West side of the island the first two nights as it was a good central place for the Fall Flavours events that I'd be attending. This resort is so beautiful - I mean, imagine a large red brick country club (golf course, tennis courts, pool plus so much more) in the middle of what feels like nowhere. It was cosy and intimate, yet grandeur and luxurious at the same time.
The first Fall Flavours event was Oysters On The Pier hosted by Vikram Vij. The pier was beautiful, with the oyster farmers set up by the live band + open seating area. The atmosphere created by the pier and the excitement of the locals and visitors made it a once in a lifetime experience for me. The sun was just starting to set, sparkling across the blue water and you could see a tiny lighthouse across the pier on the other side making it feel like something out of a romantic movie just before the two stars meet for the first time. This event was nothing like what I've had in Toronto. I was in struck by the passion I got to hear in the local oyster farmers voices as they told their stories + the islanders who chatted with each other like it was just any other day while welcoming and allowing us into their intimate home on the pier. It started off with wine tasting, award-winning chowder, then moved onto oyster tasting + shucking ... Which I have to admit I didn't actually take part in because I am a klutz and couldn't risk cutting my hand open at the beginning of a trip where I'd likely be hopping / climbing over rocks + taking loads of pictures. The oysters tasted delicious though! I met Julie from www.soberjulie.com and chuckled as I experienced her first time having mussels in the chowder and gave her a tip on her first oyster encounter that would soon follow. She had explicitly said she didn't like seafood, but was going to try as much as she could anyways - she's a daredevil :p and that's really the life of a writer/blogger - doing things for the photo + content ! There was also a huge tent set up where different chefs prepared oysters different ways. There were deep fried oysters in a curry chowder, PoBoys, BBQ oysters + other seafood delights.
The second day we spent on the northern most point of the island - North Cape and sadly couldn't see it at low tide because the next event overlapped , but the view was breathtaking nonetheless.
Anywhoooo - the third day was a blast because we were heading along the north shore to go to the east coast + got to see the Cape Tyron lighthouse, which to get to, you need to go on a pretty sketchy off the beaten path road... So sorry to the car rental place, I might have gone off roading... For a good cause! I'll be sharing the full experience on a separate post so I won't reveal too much of it right now :)
There was no Fall Flavours event that night because I think they were all preparing for the Shellfish Festival that was happening the next day. So I had a chance to just roam free and see different sites. We changed accommodations the last night to Shaw's Inn + Resort which is the nations's oldest family run hotel! It is the cutest place I've ever stayed. I am IN LOVE with it and therefore will also be doing a separate post for it soon too! But they have a path leading right to the dunes and I spent over 2 hours just walking the beach and watching the sunset. It was definitely one of my highlights even though I began to worry near the end I was going to get stuck on the beach in the dark because I was still so far from the entrance to the beach when the sun reached the horizon! But I made it :D
All and all it was an amazing trip and there is SO much to do in PEI in the fall + I'll share more with you very soon!
Here's a recap of my favorite things to do in PEI:
1. Fall Flavours
This culinary festival is a month long celebration highlighting authentic island tastes and traditions. If you're a foodie, or enjoy good food of any sort then you must check out Fall Flavours!
2. Enjoying Fall Leaves Changing Color
I didn't have the chance to see the leaves change this time, but I can only imagine how beautiful all the greenery will look like in just a couple of weeks + how amazing a backdrop it will make for the iconic lighthouses + dunes across the island.
3. Discovering Hidden Treasures
Some of the scenic spots + landmarks on the island are only visible during low tide. Fall is the perfect time to catch these sites because it hasn't gotten too cold yet + the temperature will be just right to hike your way to them like the Teacup Rock or the cliffs off of Cape Tyron!
4. Exploring Minus The Usual Crowds
PEI is a popular spot in the summer, and its not hard to determine why. However, with popularity comes the hoards of tourists that overwhelm the beauty of the island. When you go in the fall you'll be greeted by some cruise-goers, but mostly the elderly who I love travelling with because they always have a good story to tell or let's just be real - they are much less rowdy :p With less people on the island, if you are strategic with your timing, you can see most of the "touristy" places without anyone around. Seeing these beautiful sites alone doesn't only amplify its beauty, but lets you really soak in the island's magic.
Also you can find out a lot more fun things to do at Tourism PEI.