I fell in love with Prince Edward Island on our first family trip there in 1998 and have returned several times over the years. At only 224 km (139 miles) long, PEI may be Canada's smallest province but there's no shortage of beauty as evidenced by my favourite Instagram photos from our recent trip
We started the week in the provincial capital of Charlottetown located on the south shore of the island. Charlottetown is known as the "Birthplace of Confederation" as the Charlottetown Conference of 1864 started the process that led to the formation of Canada. Festivities are ongoing in Charlottetown this year to celebrate the 150th anniversary of these meetings.
The Victoria Row neighbourhood is a stretch of Victorian heritage buildings on Richmond Street (between Queen and Great George Streets behind the Confederation Centre of the Arts) in downtown Charlottetown. During the summer months, Victoria Row transforms into a bustling pedestrian district with restaurants, cafés, shops, galleries, outdoor patios and live musical performances.
Charlottetown City Hall was built late in the 19th century and has been designated a National Historic Site of Canada.
Beaconsfield Historic House, built in 1877, is another lovely example of the city's Victorian architecture. Although the house is open year-round for tours, we didn't have enough time so I had to satisfy myself with a short walk around the grounds.
After two nights in Charlottetown, we moved to the Cavendish Region along the north shore of Prince Edward Island for the balance of the week.
One of our favourite things to do on the island is spend time in Prince Edward Island National Park of Canada building sandcastles, walking or lounging on the beach and admiring the red sandstone cliffs that PEI is famous for.
The girls walking the path through the woods from our cottage to the beach.
The diverse National Park area also features sand dunes and wetlands which provide a home for many species of plants and animals. The Dunelands boardwalk at Cavendish Beach allows for easy observation of the wetlands.
Prince Edward Island is known for the red sandstone cliffs and I spent a significant chunk of time trying to get a shot that would do justice to the natural beauty.
I also spent a day searching for any lighthouses that were near where we were staying. One of my favourites was Covehead Harbour Lighthouse in the National Park. There is a plaque on the side of the structure which commemorates the Yankee Gale of 1851 in which 80 boats and 161 lives were lost. We saw this lighthouse on our way to dinner at Dalvay-by-the-Sea and had to pull over. There might even have been a bit of grumbling from the back seat expressing disbelief that we were stopping so that I could take a photo of a lighthouse. I think it was worth it.
The tiny fishing village of French River - not at all difficult to see why it's one of the most painted and photographed landscapes on the island.
The Old Mill Restaurant in New Glasgow is one of our favourite restaurants on the island. I took this photo from the other side of the Clyde River at the PEI Preserve Company - one of my favourite place to shop for delicious souvenirs.
For vast numbers of visitors, Prince Edward Island is synonymous with a red-headed orphan known as Anne of Green Gables. When Lucy Maud Montgomery published her novel early in the 20th century, she would have had no idea that her fictional heroine would draw throngs of tourists to the Cavendish Region each year. Green Gables Heritage Place provided the inspiration for Montgomery's famous novel.
Our family tradition is to have our final dinner on the island at Dalvay-by-the-Sea, a historic inn which is located within Prince Edward Island National Park. Fans of the Anne of Green Gables movies and the Road to Avonlea television series may recognize it as the White Sands Hotel. Prince William and Duchess Kate also visited here on their Canadian honeymoon trip in July 2011.
And just like that, our week on the island was over. À la prochaine. Until the next time.