Prince Edward Island is one of Canada’s four Atlantic provinces. Along with Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador, it’s located off the eastern coast. Prince Edward Island is a picture-book of white-painted cottages, lighthouses, beautiful beaches and a rugged coastline. Here are some top reasons to travel to Prince Edward Island.
For the Foodie
This is an island with a growing reputation for some of North America’s best food.
The island is surrounded by glorious ocean brimming with scallops and lobster and those famous Malpeque oysters, grown in crystal clean water and bursting with flavour.
There’s also tremendous meat and vegetables to be found on the island at places like The Inn at Bay Fortune, where celebrity chef Michael Smith once worked.
When I was there I had a killer onion jam with champagne vinaigrette and the softest, fluffiest, melt-as-soon-as-they-see-your-mouth scones and biscuits I’ve ever tried.
Terre Rouge, in the main city of Charlottetown, makes excellent charcuterie, including orange walnut salami and lamb prosciutto.
Lot 30 makes a wonderful pork belly in a sleek room that feels more like Manhattan than PEI.
Annie Leroux operates a place called Annie’s Table in New London, where you can take cooking classes in a spectacular former church that she’s decorated with exquisite taste.
A wonderful learning experience and a lovely lady to chat with.For the Beach Goer
Prince Edward Island has some of the best beaches in Canada; long stretches of golden sand that are just perfect for walking.
I quite like Basin Head Beach on the north shore, and also Greenwich Beach, which has a fine observation tower and a lovely boardwalk.
When I was there a pair of girls visiting from Germany were so delighted they were doing handstands on the beach.
Cavendish, home to Anne of Green Gables, also has fine beaches, as does the nearby town of Rustico, were you’ll even find a rounded guest house called Around The Sea that spins in a slow circle to give all of its guests prime views for at least a day or part of one. Very clever.
For the Lighthouse Lover
There are a couple dozen lighthouses sprinkled up and down the long, red-rock coast of Prince Edward Island.
Almost all are utterly charming, usually painted red and white or sometimes black and white.
One of my favourites is the East Point Lighthouse, on the far eastern tip of the island about 20 minutes outside the village of Souris.
You can climb the 67 steps in a jiffy and be rewarded with lovely views out towards Cape Breton.
There’s a cute welcome centre and various artifacts you can check out to learn more about the life of a lighthouse keeper back in the day. Lots of green space for the kids to play, but keep away from the cliffs.
For the Drinker
Prince Edward Distillery is an award-winning spot that made a name selling vodka made from PEI’s famous potatoes.
It’s a good vodka but probably best suited to a spicy drink, such as a Canadian Caesar with tomato juice, pepper, tabasco, clam juice, Worcestershire and other goodies.
The blueberry vodka, made from wheat, has just a touch of blueberry to it and goes down easy, while the gin has a wonderful juniper snap.
The wines of PEI are starting to come into their own, particularly the whites.
I had a Rossignol winery white a year ago that was much like a German Riesling; just a bit off-dry but flavourful and fruity. PEI Brewery in Charlottetown makes a fine Beach Chair Lager and a very good Island Red, named after PEI’s red rocks.
They also have space for weddings, and isn’t that perhaps every guy’s dream spot for a ceremony?
For the Golfer
The island is known as one of the best golf vacation spots in Canada, with lovely seaside courses and great designs.
There are a couple dozen courses in all, with a range of prices and degrees of difficulty. The Links at Crowbush Cove has hosted some of the world’s top golfers at The Skins Game.
It’s a lovely layout not far from Charlottetown, with some fine ocean views. Brudenell River is more of a parklands layout but gorgeous and challenging, too, with lots of water coming into play.
The Anne of Green Gables course was given a great facelift a few years ago by Thomas McBroom, one of North America’s best golf course architects/designers. It’s a beauty.
For the City Goer
At Overman Jewelry and Art, owner Matt Bowness fashions unusual necklaces out of such things as dead beetles flown in from Thailand.
Some of his work was included in goodie/swag bags for folks at the Emmy Awards in Los Angeles a couple years back.
Coffee lovers will love the java and killer lattes at Young Folk and The Kettle Black, a funky coffee shop in town. The Confederation Centre hosts marvellous art works and temporary exhibits.
You’ll also find places to buy Anne of Green Gables Raspberry Cordial soft drinks, PEI being the home of Anne and her famous pigtails.
Don’t forget to dig into a super-sized cone at Cows Ice Cream, some of the best in Canada. You can bed down at the Delta but for a more personal touch try the old-style, gracious Great George Hotel.
For more things to do in Canada see Best of Canada.