Why start a blog with a bridge...
Nothing symbolizes better, the remoteness of an island as well as its simultaneous connectivity to a mainland, than a well designed visually awesome structure of steel and concrete...connecting the known & familiar to the unknown & mysterious. At 12.9km, the Confederation bridge connecting New Brunswick with Prince Edward Island (PEI) holds an entry in the record books as the longest bridge over ice covered water (in winter).
It's a shallow region of the Atlantic Ocean, the Nurthumberland Strait, over which it runs. On a slightly foggy day, as you enter the bridge from the New Brunswick side, the island seems like that mysterious yet charming little place which you cannot see yet but still beacons you, to its lap.
PEI is Canada's smallest province but historically, an important one, given its linkages to the Confederation process and the forming of a Nation in late 1800's. My trip to PEI was a totally unplanned one. Having come to Fundy National Park in New Brunswick, I made some impromptu changes to my schedule and decided to criss cross NB. While travelling around NB, I came precariously close to the bridge and voila...PEI got included in the schedule, albeit for a single day.
It is very easy to underestimate the eye candy appeal of this gorgeous little island, which within its ~2,000 sq miles land area, has enough rolling agricultural land, forests, shores, bays and sandstone cliffs, to keep a nature lover hooked for days. Its capital city of Charlottetown with its charming harbour, the strong presence of monuments linked to the historical Confederation process, and not to be missed quaint area of Cavendish and its linkage to the literarily scenic "Anne of Green Gables" make this province a must see in any serious tourist's itinerary.
Like New Brunswick, PEI's tourism department does a fantastic job of showcasing the island to the outside world. With just one day on my hands I got up really early and went for a quick walk along the Charlottetown harbour. With few clouds in the sky, sunrise over the harbour, was as perfect as it could get.
PEI is mainly an agricultural economy (Potatoes are a major export out of the province). Fishing and tourism pick up the rest of the tab. With no heavy industries in or around the Charlottetown area, the city seemed remarkably pollution free, as I walked along the harbour taking dawn shots of boats.
Like other Maritime provinces, the ubiquitous red and white lighthouses abound across the island. Some of them so small you wonder whether they are actually functional or are just serving as a neighbourhood deco piece.
Not too many high rises dot downtown Charlottetown, a marked difference from other bigger cities of nearby provinces and beyond, giving the city a quaint yet modern feel.
Perhaps the most famous personality of this island is Anne Shirley, of Anne of Green Gables fame, a fictional character (her creator Lucy Maud Montgomery sometimes felt guilty describing her as a fictional character, such was the vivid portrayal in her novels) describing the life and times of a small red haired orphaned girl and her adventures in and around her adopted parents' farmhouse.
The novel/s itself was an all time best seller and still a staple in the backpacks of young and old across Canada and the world (Japan has it in their national school curriculum). Visited the beautiful Green Gables farmhouse and the surrounding areas that are a part of the books and could well imagine Lucy's source of her vivid imagery in her books. She had all the ingredients right by her place in Cavendish, the sweeping sands of the beaches, the haunting forest walks and the little lakes.
By the time I was out of the Green Gables farmhouse, it was already close to evening time. Slowly I made my way south and west to come back along the Confederation bridge, into New Brunswick.
In a short one day, PEI had mesmerized me to want to go back again...one day
Click the link below to see the entire PEI photoset