Monday, February 16, 2015

Childhood Haunts in Prince Edward Island

The cold days of winter are upon us so what better way to warm up than by remembering the lovely days of summer and two special trips to Prince Edward Island.  I have had a miserable cold so warm sunny days, even if in retrospect, help detract from this time of year and the "cold" season.

As I have many pictures, I shall write two about that lovely province as I visited the Island in both 2013 and 2014.  

The Confederation Building

My four sisters and I were born in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island's historic capital.  That is where the first meeting took place in 1864, leading to Confederation in 1867.  Until then, Canada had been part of Great Britain's colonial empire.  With Confederation, we became a country in our own right.  Prince Edward Island, however, did not join Confederation until 1873, six years after the first four:  Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario.  The Island wanted to be assured that they would have a continuous link to the mainland throughout the year.  That right was granted and thus they became part of the Dominion of Canada.

From left:  Anne, Janet, Carol outside the cottage door

In summer 2014, in mid August, my sister Carol and I drove to the Island.  It is about five hours from our house in Nova Scotia to the family cottages outside Charlottetown.  My sister Anne and Stephen drove over as well.  They had been visiting (from Ontario) in Nova Scotia.  This would not only be a family get-together but a nostalgic time with many memories from our earlier years.  In September 2013, my sister Paula and I had spent three days there closing down the cottages.  Both trips were eventful and filled with "days" past.  

 Paula in 2013.  We were having spaghetti that we brought with us.
On this occasion in 2014, as we three--Carol, Anne and I--hadn't been there together for several years, it was a special time.  Paula and Laurie had already been over earlier in the summer and would be again in September.  Their son, Ken, his wife Christine and their three daughters, though, would be at the cottages to greet us.

Carol and I arrived shortly after Anne and Stephen.  Our nephew Ken and Christine had supper in the making.  What a treat it was when we all gathered on their deck for fresh mussels before the meal, which followed a bit later.


Digging in!

On the deck of Paula and Laurie's cottage where Ken, Christine and girls spent much of the summer.
We were on the Island for only three days but we managed to do a lot. We had a visit with family we hadn't seen for a few years and some we hadn't yet met.  As well, we visited some of our old haunts in Charlottetown and some of our childhood haunts near our cottages across the harbour from the city.  I must add that we also partied a lot!  The three nights we were there meant eating together each evening as a family and sitting around until fairly late over some wine or beer. 

The red rocky shores and dirt roads are typical Island scenes.  The green grass and trees and the red sandy coves are a delight for the eyes and for the camera.

The road below leads up to our cottages and it hasn't changed since I was a child.
A little cooking came into our visit, of course, and we all participated in that endeavour.  I had actually taken spaghetti sauce from Nova Scotia with me (as last year), some Hans had made and left in the freezer for me. Stephen had loved it so much he wanted me to take the leftovers with me!  In fact, I took other leftovers as well and everything went.

The following pictures show all of us enjoying our meals together, some of them in the older family cottage and others at Paula and Laurie's, where Ken, Christine and children were staying.

Sitting on the deck of the old family cottage with Paula and Laurie's just behind (in red).  The harbour can be seen in the distance in the picture below it.  It is just a one minute walk from the cottages.

 Below, still on the deck of the old cottage with a different view


 The group enjoying a casual dinner

Inside the old family cottage where Carol, I, Anne and Stephen stayed.

Stephen and Anne 

A view of the main room in the old cottage

 Below, Anne and Carol
Our beds in the small, enclosed front porch.  Carol at left reading and I ensconced with a good book on the right.  All of us love books and reading.


 The house where we lived as children.

On my trip to the Island both summers a visit to Charlottetown was, of course, high on the list of things to do and places to see.  Carol and I spent most of our first full day there.  We stopped by our old house, drove past our old school and walked along the downtown streets.  

On one such walk it seemed interminable as we couldn't find the car!  We had forgotten which street we had parked it on.  Charlottetown in summer is busy!  I remember as a child sitting on the curb in front of the house and counting the cars as they drove by.  Even in the early to mid 1940s there were a lot of cars and visitors to the Island in mid summer.  Still are.  The population quadruples or more. 

A few of the pubs and eating places in Charlottetown, some of which are on Sydney Street not far from the Confederation Building.




We wandered into a couple of stores on Bayberry Lane, also not far from the Confederation Building.  Some Prince Edward Island souvenirs and clothing can be found here.

We also visited the cemetery, a beautiful and peaceful spot, not far from the centre of the city.  At one time it was on the outskirts, but the city has grown out to it.  My little sister Judith's gravestone is in the forefront.  Never to be forgotten, she was just three and a half when she died in 1946.  I remember her well.  Our parents and grandparents are beside her.

In 2013 Paula and I visited one of our favourite destinations:  secondhand book stores.  Below is the Island's oldest heritage bookseller:


A couple of B and B's in the heart of the city:


Music adds to the scene

Tending the city flowers

Our last full day on the Island (our second day there) we visited cousins we had not seen for some time.  In 2013 Paula and I visited Jean but Carol hadn't seen her for several years.  We are first cousins and she and Jean had always been close.  This was the perfect ending to our trip to the Island.  

At the back, Carol, I and Beth with Jean in the forefront 
This was a special time for us all, especially so as I would meet Jean's daughter, Beth, and Beth's husband, Dion.   Although we hadn't met officially, Beth and I had met on-line.  We felt we knew each other as we had been keeping in touch via email when she wrote to me after reading my blog.  She and Dion live in California where Beth works for a culinary academy.  She told me she sometimes puts my blog up on the screen for her students to see.
Dion, of course, is on the right and the left below.

A little later another first cousin, Barbara, arrived.  We hadn't known she would be coming by and we also didn't know that it was her birthday.  In all the excitement I totally forgot to get her picture.  Dion and Beth had graciously arranged a platter of squares and cookies for us all as we sat outside on the terrace and talked and talked.  This was certainly a highlight of our visit to Prince Edward Island, where we were born and grew up before moving to Nova Scotia when I was 13.  It was a wonderful ending to our short time in our native province.  We hope to have a longer visit on the Island next time and to see more of our relatives as well.

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