Prince Edward Island Lighthouses and Other Thoughts of PEI

When visiting Prince Edward Island it is a must that you spend a little time searching out at least one lighthouse. Finding one should be pretty easy because there are 63 lighthouses and rangelights on this Canadian island province that is only 140 miles long with a coastline of 1,100 miles. Some of the earliest lighthouses date from before the 1870s, and these can be identified by their octagonal shapes.  Lighthouses built after this time period have square bases; and, regardless, all the lighthouses have their own distinguishing features that once allowed sailors to determine their location in proximity to the island.

When selecting which lighthouses I wanted to add to my itinerary, I went for style or for locations near our lodging in Cavendish.  The two lighthouses I determined to be worth the drive were West Point Lighthouse in West Point and Seacow Head Lighthouse in Fernwood – West Point for its black and white stripes and Seacow Head for its red sandstone cliffs and view of the Confederate Bridge.
Closer to Cavendish, we visited New London Range Rear Lighthouse and Cape Tryon Lighthouse.  New London is easy to access at the end of Cape Road in French River.  Cape Tryon, just up the road to the east of New London, is a bit more challenging to access since it is (technically) on private property and about a mile walk from Cape Road.  The red cliffs are worth the walk, and I only wish the weather had cooperated for us that day.

To the east of Cavendish, we stopped at North Rustico Harbour Lighthouse in North Rustico and Covehead Harbour Lighthouse within the Prince Edward National Park (fee to access the park). Across the street from Covehead is a small grouping of shops where you can rent a bicycle if you want to further enjoy the park’s offerings.

Other thoughts on PEI:

Exploring the island, we came across some fantastic places you must try if you ever get the chance.  Of course, there’s all of the Anne of Green Gables and Lucy Maud Montgomery sites to visit, including:

  • Avonlea Village
  • Green Gables Heritage Site
  • Anne of Green Gables Museum
  • L.M. Montgomery’s birthplace, childhood homesite, and grave
  • Dalvay by the Sea, used in the movie
I’ll cover all of the Anne stuff in my post specific to that topic.  Here I want to highlight some yummy food and very fun attractions, in my opinion. First, you must visit the Prince Edward Island Preserves Company.  The food was delicious! They are known for their Potato Pie with bacon crust and maple bacon sauce, as well as their amazing Raspberry Cream Cheese Pie.  There is a shop next to the restaurant that sells a large selection of homemade preserves and teas. 
They actually gave us a copy of the Potato Pie recipe to take home, we liked it so much.
Potato Pie with Maple Bacon Sauce
3-4 lbs peeled potatoes
Cheddar cheese (grated)
1 tsp. ground thyme
Chopped Chives (fresh or dry)
1 lb. bacon
Salt and Pepper
Thinly slice potatoes.  Line a pie plate or casserole dish with bacon, leaving half slice of bacon over the edge of the dish. Layer potatoes, a generous amount of grated cheese, chopped chives, salt and pepper to taste.  Repeat until you have four layers – sprinkle first layer only with the thyme.  Pull bacon up over the top.  Pie should be 4-5 inches thick in the middle.  Fasten center with a skewer.  Cover with plastic wrap and foil, then bake at 400 degrees F for 2 hours.  Remove wrap and continue to bake for another 30 minutes until fork tender and the bacon cooked.
Maple Bacon Sauce
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp bacon bits
Combine ingredients and serve drizzled on the serving of potato pie or on the side.
Speaking of food, we also had a fantastic meal at The Gahan House in Charlottetown.  This restaurant is mostly known for its popular beers brewed in the basement, and it is the only brewery on the island.  The favorite menu item is the Brown Bag Fish and Chips – by far the best fish and chips I’ve ever had.  I’m not sure if it was the tartar sauce or the batter made with the Wheat Ale and what I thought was a small bit of cinnamon.  I also enjoyed their seasonal raspberry flavored beer while dining.  
While Gahan brews its beers in the basement, additional batches are brewed over at the associated Prince Edward Island Brewing Company.  You can visit for hourly tours or just stay in the main pour area to drink some samples of all the Gahan brews as well as the beers they have crafted themselves:  Beach Chair Lager, Blueberry Ale, and a seasonal brew (black current sour right now).
 

  
Down the street from The Gahan House, near the water in Charlottetown is the Prince Edward Island Distillery tasting room in Peake’s Quay.  Here you can purchase samples of their famous Blueberry Vodka, as well as their Potato Vodka and Gin.
Continuing with the food commentary, PEI is known for Cow’s Creamery and its award winning ice cream – though I wasn’t able to tell what made it any better than Ben & Jerry’s.  You can take tours of the creamery if you desire.  My final food-related observation is that PEI seems to be very sensitive to restrictive diets due to gluten intolerance.  Every place we ate had several gluten free options (even bread!) – including Chez Yvonne and Moo Moo Grilled Cheese in Avonlea Village, in addition to the other two restaurants already mentioned.
Finally, whatever you do while on the island, take time to stop and enjoy the beauty of the colors of PEI: the vibrant red sandstone against the blue water, and the pale green grasses along the miles of coastline.  Or perhaps the terra cotta red soil against the vivid green of the rows and rows of potato plants.  Beautiful!
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