be (uniquely) you | Prince Edward Island

It’s a clear blue sky kind of day and we are headed due North. New Brunswick is in my rearview mirror and Prince Edward Island lay before us. As I cross over the 8 mile long Confederation Bridge, I have images of my literary friends Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe waiting to welcome me to their island.

‘RED’DY AND WAITING

While my fictional welcoming committee is absent, it takes very little time before I begin to see Prince Edward Island from the same wondrous perspective as Anne Shirley did. The countryside is dressed in a sybaritic* garment of green. Peeking out beneath her petticoat is a strikingly red undergarment. At once I remember Anne’s affable* question to Matthew, “And what does make the roads red?”

JEWELS TO BEHOLD

While the iron-oxide rich soil creates the soft red sandstone, the striking contrast that truly takes my breath away is found along the shoreline. Here the air is thick with the taste of ocean. The interwoven landscape of the red sandstone, lush green hillsides and deep blue waters are as just as “Anne of Green Gables” author L.M. Montgomery described, as a “colorful little land of ruby and emerald sapphire.

It is this eye for special beauty that endeared Montgomery to this land. Here she could cunningly craft the red haired orphan wonder whose spunk and mettle* has melted the hearts of millions.

ANNE-LAND

As we drive to the town of Cavendish on the northern shore of Prince Edward Island, it is obvious that we are nearing Anne-land.

Businesses such as Anne Shirley Motel & Cottages, Anne of Green Gables Chocolates, and Shining Waters Waterpark entreat our patronage. Some might be quick to slap a ‘tourist trap’ sticker on the town. However, I see it from an entirely different angle.

Photo: Here the kids play in front of the site that inspired the setting for “Anne of Green Gables”

Towns like Cavendish, with street names of Avonlea Boulevard, know and celebrate exactly who they are. I am delightfully entertained to see Kindred Spirits Country Inn embracing her bookish identity.

NO MAN’S LAND

Conversely, I’ve visited towns where I expected an identity embrace and did not find it. Such was the case in our recent visit to Malone, NY. Malone is located just 5 miles away from the home where Almanzo Wilder (think Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Farmer Boy) grew up.

 

While we were able to visit Almanzo’s childhood homestead, the town itself (which was mentioned many times in the book) was all but silent on the historical association.

 

Can you imagine visiting Boston without a single mention of the Revolutionary War? How about going to Philadelphia and finding that Independence Hall had been turned into a strip mall? I can’t fathom places like this without their historical identity fully intact.

Image: The kids being independently silly in front of Independence Hall.

Perhaps even more ridiculous would be a place like Prince Edward Island rejecting a tie with Anne Shirley and instead attempting to embrace a false connection with the explorers Lewis and Clark. I prefer towns to claim and celebrate their historical significance and unique identity.

IDENTITY EMBRACE

As I spent time on Prince Edward Island, I realized that what is true for towns is true for people as well. I believe it is far better for people to confidently embrace who God has made them to be rather than seek to hide or worse, take on someone else’s identity.

Photo: Green Gables Heritage Place

Yet, are we not often guilty of this? When God has carefully crafted each of us in a unique way and placed within each of us talents and gifts, do we not often hide them? Do we not tend to cover up the painful experiences that have made us who we are for fear of what others will think? Are we not often caught in the trap of comparison and paralyzed from action?

I know I’ve been guilty of this. I put my book writing on hold for over a year because a popular blogger whom I’d admired announced she was writing a book and suddenly my voice seemed unnecessary. Eventually, I was willing to consider that God gave me a unique voice to share my story and my story alone; my book was born.

You have your own story. It’s a story worth knowing and worth sharing. Please don’t shrink back from that. Instead put out the ‘Kindred Spirits’ sign and sit on the porch swing with your raspberry cordial in hand. I’ll be there to welcome you.

Can you identify an area in your life that God might be nudging you to embrace more fully for His glory? Are you willing to lean into that opportunity rather than shrinking back?


ADDITIONAL NOTES ABOUT ANNE

  • If you haven’t yet met Anne (or haven’t introduced her to your kids), you might enjoy this “How to introduce your kids to Anne of Green Gables” post from Jamie Martin over at Simple Homeschool.
  • Our family enjoyed the audio version of Anne of Green Gables before our time on PEI (Prince Edward Island) and we all loved it! You can get it at a deep discount if you first purchase the Kindle version here and then add the audible narration.

TRAVEL NOTES

  • During 2017 all the National Parks in Canada are free. The Green Gables Heritage Place is part of the park system and thus we were admitted free of charge. We didn’t have to fill out any paperwork or do anything ahead of time to receive this free admittance.
  • We didn’t think to ask until we were on our way out but they do have a Canadian version of the Jr. Ranger program. Instead of earning patches or badges, kids can earn a necklace with a “dog tag” like addition for each new place they visit.

Prince Edward Island

  • If you have a chance, visit Cows Creamery. Voted Canada’s best ice cream (by Reader’s Digest) and the World’s best ice cream (by Tauck World Discovery)! Previously my favorite ice cream was Ben & Jerry’s but now that we’ve visited both factories in person, I believe Cows has Ben & Jerry’s beat.

  • Basin Head (located on the eastern side of the island) is a beautiful beach with soft singing sand. Singing sand makes a unique sound when you drag your feet or hands over it. In addition, our kids discovered a large community of hermit crabs and a sand bar easily accessible during low tide. If you are looking for a relaxing place to spend the day, basin head would be an excellent choice!

Prince Edward Island

  • While on Prince Edward Island, we were blessed to park our RV on the property of college friends. They were the ultimate hosts in every way. However, if you don’t happen to have friends or family living on PEI, we noticed many RV parks throughout the island.

Prince Edward Island

  • The before mentioned Confederation Bridge has no toll going onto the island. However, there is a fee to leave the island. $46.50 was the toll for our 2 axle van. There is an additional $8.50 for each additional axle. This brought the charge for our truck and 5th wheel up to $63.50. Alternatively, you can opt to stay on the island and never pay the exit fee!

*NEW VOCABULARY WORDS

Like a gardener cultivating budding plants, I tend a growing vocabulary. When I encounter a foreign word, I make note of it and challenge myself to use it in an upcoming post. It occurred to me that you might enjoy knowing when these words are first employed for my use. Todays new words are:

Sybariticfond of sensuous luxury or pleasure; self-indulgent: The countryside is dressed in a sybaritic garment of green. 

Affablefriendly, good-natured, or easy to talk to: At once we remember Anne’s affable question to Matthew.

Mettlea person’s ability to cope well with difficulties or to face a demanding situation in a spirited and resilient way: Here she could cunningly craft the red haired orphan wonder whose spunk and mettle has melted the hearts of millions.

8 thoughts on “be (uniquely) you | Prince Edward Island”

  1. Loved reading about your time on PEI and am making a note to follow your path. We are headed into Canada and on into the maritimes in a couple weeks. What did you do about internet while in Canada? I was advised by Verizon to get a mifi from Rogers internet service when I get there as I am limited on my service. I need at least 1 gig a day and I will be get overage charges without some help. Thanks for any help you can offer!

    1. I am glad you found this helpful and hope your upcoming trip is lovely. One thing I did not mention is that the mosquitoes love the island too so make sure you have some spray along ;). As far as your question about internet: We have the Verizon unlimited plan. This gives us coverage in Canada and Mexico with no overage fees. The downside to this is that after 1/2 gig, the speeds were throttled.

  2. Oh how I would love to meander in Anne’s footsteps for a bit. What a lovely adventure! Heather, I love how you are weaving your heartfelt thoughts and travel tips. It is tying together so sweetly. I’m really enjoying your posts.

    1. Thank you dear one for your kind encouragement. I love that we get to peek in on each other’s adventures so please do keep up the good work over at your blog too! Do you think you will make it up to PEI anytime?

  3. Beautiful post and one I’ll refer to when “one day” we can visit PEI, a dream yet to be realized for us! I do love how you noticed the differences between the two towns embracing their identity! So very interesting! Thank you for reminding me to embrace my identity with Christ, my Creator and Redeemer, not hide it!

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