For this trip we split our stay on PEI between two B&B’s. The first in New Glasgow, a little quieter and less touristy, and the second in the heart of Cavendish, the touristy area. Our plan was to visit the heritage sites and spend our evenings relaxing at a quiet B&B with a Jacuzzi tub, and then switch to a B&B in the heart of the tourist district, and spend our days relaxing at the beach. It sounds backwards, but if you’ve spent your entire day sightseeing, you know the only thing you want to do in the evening is soak your tired feet and then collapse, exhausted, into a comfortable and quiet sleep with the anticipation of a delicious homemade breakfast awaiting you in the morning. If you’ve spent the day lying on the beach, by evening you’re less likely to crave the comfort only a hot bath and deep sleep can provide. While the weather didn’t quite cooperate for the beach days, both Inns were wonderful and I would highly recommend them.
Edit 2018: My Mother’s Country Inn has changed to Farmhouse Inn and the room names are no longer Anne of Green Gables themed.
New Glasgow- Just past The Toy Factory
Vacation is about taking time away from your every day life to relax, and after finally opening the new State Library, Archives & Museum (Read more about that project here)- a process that involved often working in less than ideal conditions, coworkers with very frayed nerves, and then the final push to make sure everything was in place for the grand opening day- Micah and I both needed time to relax.
Upon our morning arrival on Prince Edward Island we secured our rental car and were determined to drive out of Charlottetown to our B&B in New Glasgow to shower after flying through the night. While we had hoped that our first B&B would be a little off the beaten path, more oriented for the quiet vacationing couple than the large family Anne of Green Gables cottage compounds, we hadn’t expected it not to be on any path at all! By which I mean, Google Maps took us right to the middle of a farm field and insisted we had reached our destination! Tired from flying (do you sleep on airplanes? I never can.), frustrated that road signage in PEI seemed lacking, the addresses of PEI made no sense to us, and the cell phone reception was minimal at best, I began to fear I’d made a grave mistake in coming to PEI! Remembering that the website photo of the Inn had shown a lake, I next searched the slowly loading Google Map for any nearby lake, the closest appeared to be in New Glasgow. We headed that direction hoping that we could find some friendly local Canadians who might be able to point us in the right direction. The Toy Factory, a shop name I recognized from all the PEI travel planning material I had read, came into view so we pulled in to ask directions. Luckily our Inn was not a spam website we had just thrown money at, but was only 2 km up the road from the Factory!
When we finally pulled into the Inn drive and saw the lake with a little rowboat, I wondered if I’d ever want to leave. After we realized the barn was not the Inn, as the website photo had led me to believe, we poked our head into the orange house and another Inn resident scurried off to find the owner. The place is run by a very nice Swedish man and his wife, Ragnar & Nellie. Ragnar greeted us at the door, took us to our room and kept insisting, as he showed us around the house that we “Just relax, just relax.” I knew then that we’d come to the right place! Don’t mind if I do!
We stayed in the Diana Room. (As in Anne of Green Gables best friend, Diana) It was smaller than I expected, but clean, comfortable, and the shower had GREAT water pressure! The bathroom had recently been renovated to accommodate a Jacuzzi tub. After two days of flying, all I wanted to do was shower. I felt so grimy that I would not have been surprised if someone had taken me out back and hosed me down. Once I felt clean enough that I could once again acceptably go into establishments, we drove back to Charlottetown in search of dinner (Read about PEI’s Good Eats here). After dinner we were so jet lagged that we returned to the Inn and slept soundly for the next 13 hours.
In the morning once we blearily got ourselves out of bed and showered, we were tempted downstairs by the wafting smell of breakfast. We started with juice and tea/coffee. Then Nellie brought us fruit bowls with banana, strawberries, and yogurt. Next she brought out banana bread slices. Finally, eggs & bacon appeared. There were also cold cereals and toast available. It was all delicious, and I was delightfully over-full by the end of breakfast. We happily conversed with another older American couple that had also come to visit the Montgomery Heritage Sites (you can never be too old to appreciate Anne!) and Ragnar and Nellie joined us, providing helpful sightseeing tips and interesting tidbits about PEI.
After breakfast we set out to visit Green Gables and the other L. M. Montgomery heritage sites & independent museums. (Read more posts about the heritage sites here) When we returned at the end of the day, desperate to wash off the layers of sun screen and rest our sight-seeing weary feet, we indulged in our Jacuzzi tub and then ended the day spending a little time in the Inn’s living room to use the wifi before bed. Reliving the day in my head as I recorded it in my journal, I told Micah, “This day was just about perfect. I want to start over and do the day all over again just the same!”
Kindred Spirits Country Inn & Cottages
Memory Lane, Cavendish
I had decided, while researching PEI accommodations, that I MUST stay at Kindred Spirits Inn and Cottages simply because of its name. Kindred Spirits sits on the lot just between Green Gables Heritage Place and Avonlea Village and tucked at the end of a lane lined by other cottage compounds. PEI, rather than having high rise hotels is full of B&B’s with small family size cottages lined up like RV’s in a park and often the lot contains a large lawn for kids to play, small playground equipment, and a pool. Cavendish is very much geared toward family vacationers with children. Kindred Spirits is one such compound. Beyond the beautiful white picket entrance fence (which I witnessed being repainted despite its spotless appearance!), sat the Inn, a large lawn for activities, and surrounding cute looking cottages. It had an outdoor pool and hot tub too. When I asked the young man at the Kindred Spirits front desk why the island is full of cottages and Inns rather than high-rise hotels, he said everything is kept low on the island because they prefer to preserve their sky line. I think that’s lovely. I prefer cottages and Inns to sprawling hotels.
When I made the reservations I added a modified Meadows Memory Package. Since we’d already seen the Anne sites, I left off the Heritage Site pass vouchers. Our package included 1 Cows ice cream each, a chowder dinner, white robes, chocolates, a chilled drink, and a picnic lunch. While I’d envisioned fresh ice cream made from cows milk, the ice cream was actually vouchers for cones from any Cows ice cream parlor. This was ok though because…I think we visited a Cows almost every day. The dinner was also not served at the B&B, but came in the form of a voucher for dinner at the Blue Mussel Cafe! (Read about Cows and the Blue Mussel Cafe in the post Good Eats PEI) We didn’t end up using the robes because we didn’t go to the pool. Nor did we drink the sparkling juice. If we hadn’t been too tired each night, we might have borrowed a video from the lobby and sipped our beverage and tucked into the Anne Chocolate Shop Truffles. Instead I briefly scribbled some notes in my journal while Micah played computer games before we fell fast asleep.
By the time I made our reservation there was only one economy room available for the nights we wished to stay. The room was comfortable and had air conditioning. It was clean, although sparse. It lacked any decor on the walls which made it feel sadly kind of sterile. The B&B was a bit noisy in the evenings as well. If I went back I’d stay in one of the cottages and stay longer to use some of the amenities.
The breakfast was decent and changed each morning. When Micah asked if there might be coffee available before breakfast opened in the morning, he must have looked desperately sad. The girl at the desk took pity on him and agreed that she would bring in her own hot water heater and have coffee available for him early, despite that this was not usual procedure. They really went out of their way to accommodate!
Meadows Memory Picnic
The best part of the Meadows Memory Package, in my opinion, was the picnic lunch. We specified with the front desk which day and time we wanted our picnic. So at noon on the day we had requested, a huge basket, complete with a red and white checkered picnic blanket, appeared at the front desk! I had always wanted to have a real picnic like this! And folks- this basket was heavy!
I had imagined having our picnic on a lawn, perhaps overlooking Green Gables or beside the Anne of Green Gables Museum’s Lake of Shining Waters. However, this morning while wandering the Avonlea Village Gallery shop I had seen many images of the Cove Head lighthouse and decided it was near enough that we should visit. We had hardly seen any of the Island’s locations portrayed in the gallery’s images. With basket in the car, we drove towards Cove Head in the hopes of finding a good picnic spot. Cove Head Lighthouse is in the Brackley Beach National Park area. The boy at the park entry booth recommended we head to Stanhope Cove if we wanted picnic tables. We found the Cove Head Lighthouse, but it was in the middle of a construction zone, so we kept going. The lighthouses of PEI are so short, they look like play house lighthouses! None that we saw were open for the public, but it didn’t look like there was much in them. I’ve always wanted to go in a lighthouse, but it wasn’t going to happen in PEI apparently.
At Stanhope Cove we did indeed find picnic shelters, but they were in the parking area behind the sand dunes where you couldn’t see the beach. Despite the very windy day, we decided to picnic on the beach, which was mostly empty of other people, aside from a few wind surfers, go figure. This should have perhaps been a warning sign. We weighted down our picnic blanket and spread out the contents of the basket, which were adorable! We had colorful butterfly shaped plastic plates, plastic wine glasses, Raspberry Cordial, a vase with fake flowers, a baguette, cold cuts, cheese, Cows Chocolate covered potato chips, candies, and apples. Everything (including food) was quickly covered in a layer of sand. Picnicking on the beach on a windy day was not the brightest plan. We ate our grit-filled sandwiches quickly and sipped our Cordial not quite to the bottom where the sand had rested. Not the best day for a picnic, but it was definitely memorable!
Tea & Cookies
Kindred Spirits also had evening activities. Our first night there was a Tuesday and the activity list stated “day of rest,” but Wednesday evening at 8:30pm was Tea & Cookies in the lobby. (I hesitate to call it a lobby. It was more of a sitting room and entry way with a short staircase to the rest of the rooms.)
When we arrived back at the Inn Wednesday evening after a rather large dinner at the Blue Mussel Cafe, we joined the small gathering in the sitting room. A woman offered us each a tea cup and a cookie. She had a small plate of cookies and a tea pot on the coffee table. The tea was a black strawberry mix from the PEI Preserve Co. Even without milk or sugar, I quite enjoyed it. As it was late and I didn’t want to be up all night, I only had a very small amount. The cookies were oatmeal raisin. Not liking raisins, but also being completely full from dinner and dessert, I passed on her cookies. While I sipped my tea I worked on transferring photos to my computer and chatted with the other guests who had appeared. One was a couple who had come to replenish their preserve supply at the PEI Preserve Co. and decided to make a weekend of it. One was a librarian from a Canadian university who was a week away from retirement and trying to use up her sick leave. We all chatted amicably until my computer battery was almost dead, at which point, yawning heavily, I decided to call it a night.
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Check out this post: Plan the Perfect Anne of Green Gables Vacation