Prince Edward Island

Anne's Tour of Prince Edward Island

"Anne's Land," as it is known, is the central North Shore region of Prince Edward Island otherwise called Cavendish. It is an area filled to the brim with places to go and things to do for fans of Anne Shirley, the lovable character created by Victorian author, Lucy Maud Montgomery. It is also a region of great contrast, where quiet natural wonders co-exist with amusement parks and man-made tourist attractions.

In the center of the region is located the Prince Edward Island National Park, where miles of white sand beaches present a coastline of delicate beauty. The Park features strips of sand and breathtaking dunes, and offers extensive interpretive programs to explain to visitors the natural, cultural and historic landmarks found within the boundaries of the Park. Cavendish Beach is one the most popular beaches on the Island, with its dunes providing protection for ponds and a diversity of flora and fauna. The boardwalk leading to the beach is a good place to stop and watch for birds in the ponds.

Of course, one of the park's famous landmarks is the Green Gables Golf Course, the center of which stands the Green Gables House. This delightful cottage, which attracts thousands of visitors each year, is known as the home of the fictional Anne, as it was the house that inspired Montgomery to write about the red-haired orphan. Located near the Haunted Woods and Lovers Lane, the modest farm home is part of a site that also includes an extensive program to interpret Montgomery's time and the lifestyle of rural Prince Edward Island in the early 1900s. Near the Green Gables House is the Green Gables Post Office, an authentic restored site; and the cemetery where Lucy Maud Montgomery lies. Lucy Maud Montgomery's Cavendish Homestead is the home where the author resided. Relatives of the author, John and Jennie Macneill, still reside at the home and offer guided tours of the grounds and the opportunity to purchase books from their bookstore. The Avonlea Village is another must-see attraction for Anne fans. The village provides an authentic period "look and feel," and has been described as the Cavendish that visitors are looking for when they travel to the area. Avonlea Village offers turn-of-the-century children's games, horse and wagon rides, family picnics and frequent special events. The staff, in period dress, are open and friendly, while "Anne" and "Diana," in character, mingle with all the guests. Avonlea showcases the work of island musicians, artists and craftspeople.

Elsewhere in Anne's Land, visitors will find the landscape so lovingly described by Montgomery: rolling farm fields stretching down to the shore, red cliffs and tiny villages. Some of the most scenic areas of the Island are found along the Blue Heron Drive, and a Land Trust has been formed in the name of Montgomery to protect some of the pastoral vistas so typical of Prince Edward Island. New London is the birthplace of Lucy Maud Montgomery. The home where she was born is now a historic site and you can visit her birthplace and see her room and wedding dress. The Lucy Maud Montgomery Heritage Museum in Park Corner offers many artifacts from Montgomery's time spent at this home. Here also, create your own "Anne" memorabilia with Ribbons and Roses through The Anne of Green Gables "Treasury Experience." The Anne of Green Gables Museum, in the house that Lucy Maud Montgomery called "Silver Bush," right by the "Lake of Shining Waters." The nearby Heritage Antiques and Christmas Shoppe offers plenty of Anne memorabilia. Allow time for tea and shopping while on this property at the Shining Waters Craft Shop and Tea Room, which also offers special wedding packages arranged in the parlour where L.M. Montgomery herself was married. Here also, you can enjoy Matthew's Carriage ride around the Silver Bush property, down by the Lake of Shining Waters or overlooking pastoral farmland on the way to a beach. At Gateway Village in Borden-Carleton, you can fulfill a lifelong urge to have long red braids, as Cavendish Figurines invites you to have your photo taken while dressed as Anne. In Lower Bedeque, visit the Lower Bedeque Schoolhouse where L.M. Montgomery taught school. Look around at the old furnishings, books and written materials. And in Bideford, the local community has restored the parsonage and opened it as the Bideford Parsonage Museum. Montgomery lived there in the late 1800s and the site is also a fund of information on the lifestyle of the era and the Island's shipbuilding industry. Finally, the community of Kensington has preserved its historic past, with most of the focus on the town's Train Station, where shopping, historic displays and a weekly farmers market are part of the attraction.

For families looking for action, Anne's Land has it in abundance! Water slides, adventure parks, deep-sea fishing and kayaking will keep visitors of all ages occupied! Golf is another major attraction for adults. For feasting, visitors cannot leave without trying the world-famous Prince Edward Island oysters and potatoes. The annual Potato Blossom Festival in July features a huge parade, car rally, and plenty of tasty potato delicacies such as potato scones! For seafood lovers, Prince Edward Island offers perhaps the world's best oysters, scallops, mussels and lobsters!

If your schedule permits, consider visiting Prince Edward Island in late August or early September, when the Annual Lucy Maud Montgomery Festival occurs. Daily performances by "Anne" and "Diana," traditional music, readings from Montgomery's work (including Anne of Green Gables), period games, ice cream socials, barn dances, fish-tasting feasts, and a memorial service for Montgomery are only a few of the events during the Festival. As for accommodations, consider staying at the Dalvay by the Sea Hotel, now famous as the "White Sands Hotel" featured in the Sullivan Entertainment production (where Anne delivers a fine performance of "The Highwayman"). Today, the Dalvay retains its reverence for a quieter time. There are no telephones, no radios and no televisions in any of the guest rooms. Visitors are encouraged to read by one of the oversized fireplaces, or play the piano, or go for a walk by the beach. Make reservations early, as the Dalvay is a small hotel offering only 26 rooms plus four cottages. And it's only open between the months of June and September!

Finally, a short drive from Cavendish is Prince Edward Island's capital city, Charlottetown. The delightful city features the annual "Anne of Green Gables" musical at the Confederation Centre of the Arts, which has been now running for nearly thirty years. This musical is a must-see during your Prince Edward Island vacation... Have a buffet at the Centre before the show, and be prepared for a good cry! There are also a number craft and gift shops in Charlottetown, where you can find the perfect Anne memorabilia. The Anne of Green Gables Store probably has a complete selection of Anne-related goods and right next door you will find the Anne Chocolates store, and next door to that you can join "Anne and her friends" for tea, as they present a "concert to raise funds for the African mission."

Finally, many "Anne of Green Gables" movie fans often inquire about the locations used in Sullivan Entertainment's award-winning miniseries. Less than 5% of the footage was shot in Prince Edward Island. Most of the scenes were filmed in Ontario, at the Westfield Heritage Center. The sets built were identical replicas of buildings typical to the island at the time. Only the scenic vistas of the ocean along with the beaches and red roads were filmed on the island. The directors chose to film most of the footage outside of Prince Edward Island. because it was less expensive to shoot close to Toronto and many of the existing buildings on the island did not have the proper look. Unfortunately, all sets have been were dismantled so it is not possible to visit them. For example, the bridge where Anne and Gilbert kissed is on the property of Emmanuel International, which is located at 3967 Stouffville Road, Stouffville in southern Ontario. Although Prince Edward Island advertises a carriage ride an orchard, "The White Way of Delight" in the Sullivan film was actually an orchard just outside of Toronto. The Green Gables house from the Anne films was actually two distinct buildings: one building was used as an exterior shot from a great distance to include the rolling hills and countryside.