Hang gliders danced in the blue sky above us, the sea breeze made wisps of hair tickle my face, and the waves made a delightful sound farther down the beach where they lapped at the red sand of Prince Edward Island. Hungry, I was ready for what I hoped would be a most romantic picnic. Of course, here on the island home to Anne of Green Gables, I should have realized our picnic would end in true Anne fashion.
I had planned a couples vacation to Anne of Green Gables’ Prince Edward Island with my own Gilbert and in my head it was going to be perfect. I had booked us a room at the Kindred Spirits Inn & Cottages and included the hotel’s “Meadows Memories Romance” package in my reservation because besides a dinner for two it included one picnic basket lunch. I’d always wanted to have a real picnic outside with a basket and a red and white checkered blanket. This would be twice as special because I’d be sharing the experience with my partner.
We spent the first couple days of the trip exploring all the Anne of Green Gables sites on the island we could fit in. First there was Green Gables Heritage Place, then the Anne of Green Gables Museum, and the author’s birth house. Then there was “The Lake of Shining Waters”, “The Haunted Wood”, and “Lover’s Lane.” My Gil was quite the trooper, indulgently letting me revel in everything my child literary self could have hoped for, despite not having been a life-long Anne fan himself. I did make him watch the film before we went so he would at least be familiar with the first Anne story! This way he could at least appreciate the sites we visited, if not in the over-excited way that I may have.
After a couple days of Anne fan-girling at all the touristy sites in Cavendish, we had planned to spend the rest of our vacation sharing each other’s company by exploring the less touristy places on the island and taking our time over our couples dinner and picnic lunch. We awoke early to a perfect blue-sky day. We spent the morning walking the beach before the crowds of other tourists awoke. Carrying our shoes, we dug our toes into the red sand unique to Prince Edward Island.
Returning to the car after our walk, we decided to explore all the backyard craft shops and distilleries the island had to offer until our picnic basket was ready for pickup. At each sign along the road we turned into a driveway to find homeowners had turned their garden sheds and old barns into small shops. We tasted liquor and purchased small local keepsakes until it was time to return to the hotel to retrieve our packed lunch.
I had originally envisioned taking our picnic to a grassy knoll where we could eat and overlook the Green Gables Heritage Place, but wanting to escape the crowds we instead made a plan to find a secluded beach, perhaps with a lighthouse, where we could eat and look out at the surf. We stuck the large, heavy basket covered over with the blanket, in the car and looked at the map for the nearest lighthouse beyond Cavendish. Finally, with stomachs rumbling and wanting to know what lunch was hidden beneath the blanket, we pulled into a sparsely populated parking-lot that promised beach access. The beach was obscured from view by sand dunes and bluffs.
By now the day had become somewhat windy. I eyed the picnic bench shelters next to the parking lot, but they were hardly a romantic setting so I thought we’d take our chances on the beach. Just past the sand dunes at the top of the beach we chose a spot to lay down the blanket, realizing almost immediately we’d need to weigh down the corners due to the wind. Using our legs strategically to hold down the checkered cloth, it was finally time to layout our lunch. I pulled out two bottles of fizzy Raspberry Cordial, two plastic flute glasses and plates, an assortment of cold cuts, a baguette, and chocolate-covered potato chips. Just then one good gust of wind threw sand all over our romantic picnic.
A thin film of sand covered everything. Sand swilled at the bottom of our glasses. Instead of gazing at one another romantically, we were eyeing our juice, trying not to drink sand. We were scraping off our cheese and meat as best we could so our sandwiches weren’t crunchy. Meanwhile we had to sit just so or the wind would pick up the edges of our blanket.
I should have been disappointed, but it occurred to me that this is exactly what would have happened to Anne. She would have been too busy gazing rapturously at the scenery to pay attention to her picnic. Upon realizing lunch was ruined she would have laughed, learned from her mistake, and then launched headlong into the next adventure sure to go wrong. Salvaging what was left of our picnic, we marked this down as a funny episode in our relationship and packed up, ready for the next scrape we’d get into together.
Have you ever had a romantic getaway not quite go as planned? Where would you go for a romantic getaway? Tell me in the comments below!
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