We have been traveling to Prince Edward Island as a family for many years and one of the things that we love most about the island is the Anne of Green Gables connection. Both of my girls have grown up with Anne stories and some of our best family memories revolve around PEI and the red-headed orphan.
Anne of Green Gables is a novel, written by Lucy Maud Montgomery early in the 20th century, that tells the story of a spunky young orphan who finds a home and a family in the rural village of Avonlea. The novel has sold more than 50 million copies worldwide and countless visitors have been drawn to the island for the express purpose of seeing the land that inspired Montgomery.
Avonlea Village is an attraction in the family-friendly Cavendish Resort area of the island (often referred to as Anne's Land) that features a full schedule of activities to entertain visitors over the course of the day. Avonlea Village is entered through the Bright River Train Station just as Anne arrived in the fictional village and once visitors exit the train station on the village side they will find that they have entered Anne's world - a magical world of imagination.
Editor's Note: As of June 2015, Cavendish's Avonlea Village only features restaurants and shops rather than actors interacting with visitors. There is no longer a fee to enter the village. There will still be musical performances and an evening ceilidh.
A visit to Avonlea Village is one of the most anticipated days of our trip each time that we travel to Prince Edward Island. These are just a few of the reasons why.
Costumed actors portraying the novel's main characters act out highlights of the story at various scheduled times during the day, interact with visitors, pose for photos and participate in games with the children. The actors do an incredible job of staying in character for the entire day and visitors who play along will feel like they have stepped into the pages of Anne of Green Gables - children, by the way, have no trouble doing this.
The Avonlea Showband (Michael Pendergast, Leon Gallant, Brendan Peters, and Rémi Arsenault) entertains the crowds with ceilidh style musical performances featuring island music, fiddling, spoon playing and sometimes step dancers. The band performs several times during the day and Pendergast also performs a show specifically for kids. The characters and the band also get together outside and lead a demonstration of square dancing and visitors are encouraged to participate.
There are plenty of shopping opportunities in the village as well ranging from Cows Ice Cream and Anne of Green Gables Chocolates when a sweet treat is needed, the Anne of Green Gables Store for souvenirs and the Avonlea General Store which is "just the place to meet the needs of the human race" (that's a reference from Anne of Green Gables the Musical which you should also see while visiting PEI).
Old-fashioned games such as potato sack races and egg and spoon races similar to what Anne and Diana played when they attended the Sunday School picnic in the novel are part of the fun for kids visiting Avonlea Village. The characters participate in the games alongside the kids and adults are also invited to compete much to the delight of the kids who get to cheer on their parents falling all over the field in a potato sack.
Horse and Wagon rides are available in the village throughout the day as are pony rides for younger children and there are animals to view in the barn. The highlight of the day though has to be the final event on the schedule - the Avonlea Pig Race. A pig race is impossible to describe - it has to be seen to be believed!
Visitors of all ages can dress up in period costumes and take photos of themselves. This is one of Emma's favourite parts of the day.
Avonlea Village provides visitors with a full day of old-fashioned family fun. Perhaps it is a bit touristy and it may not appeal to everyone but if you are traveling in the area with kids or if you are a fan of Anne then you might want to pay a visit and judge for yourself. We have visited Avonlea Village on each of our trips to PEI and we have had a delightful day each and every time. As far as my kids are concerned, it is one of the must-see attractions in Cavendish.
What You Need To Know
- The Village of Avonlea is located on Route #6 in Cavendish.
- The Village of Avonlea operates seasonally. There is full programming from mid-June through the end of August and fall programming for the first two weeks of September.
- Visitor information is available at Village of Avonlea information.
- No pets allowed other than working dogs.
- The village is strictly non-smoking.
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