Prince Edward Island, North Cape - May 2015
May 26, 2015
|I have split the PEI blog into three parts. This is PEI Part I - The North Cape Coast.
PEI is the Maritimes most easterly province. Summerside and Charlottesville are the two largest cities with Charlottesville the capital of PEI. The tourist guru’s have split the island into three regions: The North Cape Coast, Central Coast and Points East Coast Scenic Drives. The North Cape Scenic drive is about 217 miles start to finish. The Central Coast Scenic Drive is 157 miles and the Points East Coastal Drive is 295 miles start to finish. We will not be doing every mile, but hope to see as much as possible.
The central part of the island is further defined as Green Gables and Cavendish to the east and Charlottetown(Red Shores area) to the west. The counties are Prince (North Coast), Queen (Central Coast & Red Shores), and King (Points East Coast)..
A few statistics: The island is 2,184 Square miles and the smallest province in Canada. The highest point of land is 466 feet above sea level. No part of the island is more than about 10 miles from the ocean. The island is located in the Atlantic timezone. That means if it is 9 am in New York it is 10 am in PEI and the rest of the Maritime Provinces. If we were on Newfoundland, another Canadian province, it would be 10.30 am.
We have chosen to head to the North Cape side of the island first. Our travel day to Prince Edward Island (PEI) is a grey, rainy day. JC and I were both not feeling good. We have picked up some bug. Hope is passes soon.
At first glance, the thing we remarked about first was how red the dirt in the fields and the sandy shores is on PEI. There is a high concentration of iron which makes the earth here a rich, rusty red. They say that is why their potatoes are so good. It is also windy, the kind of wind you just can’t get away from. I am sure if I lived here, I would get used to it, but I don’t live here. :o)
As soon as we crossed the Confederation Bridge, on the right is a small village with a nice visitor’s center and places for buses and RV’s to park. Alice told to be sure to visit “Cow’s” and have a taste of their homemade ice cream. The ice cream was very good, but the waffle cone was to die for.
There was a tremendous amount of snow this year and most of the Provincial Parks and many of the private campgrounds are not opening until very late May or early June to mid-June. We were fortunate that Mill River Provincial Park opened on May 22nd. We were the first customers of the season. In fact, we were planning to arrive several days earlier, but had to delay waiting for the park to open. The nearest town is Bloomfield which is extremely small. The Mill River area sits between the town of O'Leary to the west and Alberton to the east.
This is a very nice, large park with 30 and 50 amp w/e or Full Hook ups. Just a note: The park in the Maritimes call water with electric a "two way" and full hookups is called a "three way". There are 2 sections, one open with few trees and sweeping green grass. The other are sites nestled in pine tress. Really pleasant park. The rate for 50 w/e is $30 per night. Seniors get 10% off. Stays of 14+ days get an additional discount.
Next door, is the Rodd Mill River Golf Resort. A beautiful golf course, nice resort and restaurant with free wifi. We needed some wifi, so we went for dinner after getting settled at our site. The Lobster Salad on Focaccia Bread is yummy. Oh, and the fries, outstanding!
We spent Friday (Rainy), Saturday(Sunny & cold) and Sunday(Sunny & warm) getting lots of rest to get rid of the bug we both now have.
Monday, Memorial Day, started out a little grey, but ended a beautiful, warm day. We just had to get out, so we took a portion of the north coast drive we had planned which was about 90 miles.
This north end of the island is one farm after another. There are many things to see and enjoy. Potato and grain farms and working draft horses. Wind farms. The North Cape Lighthouse and Interpretive Centre about wind power. The longest natural rock reef in North America is at the North Cape.
The exhibits about wind power are very impressive and thorough. The motor housing is bigger than our rig and the blades are unbelievably huge. When they are suspended way up in the air they are big. But, laying on the ground, they are gigantic.
Traveling south from North Cape on the west side of the island are more potato and grain farms. It is a beautiful coast dotted with small communities, lobster traps and farm after farm.
The next lighthouse was West Point. This lighthouse is the first to be used as an inn. It is adjacent to the Cedar Dunes Provincial Park. None of which are open yet. The parking lot was overrun with sand from the winter storms.
Our next stop was in the town of O’Leary where there is a Potato Museum. Many interesting facts about the potato. Here you learn everything you ever wanted to know about the potato and things you never thought of. Where the potato came from, the over 120 varieties, the many diseases that can ruin a field and the volume that New Brunswick and PEI produce for the world’s consumption.
We finished the day with a second visit to the Rodd Mill River Golf Resort. Got a bite to eat and sat in their quiet reading room using the wifi. The staff here is very friendly and generous allowing us to use their reading room and wifi. Wish we could have played a round of golf.
We did our best to see most of the North Cape Coast. We did not get to Cap-Egmont where the 'Bottle Houses" are located or into Summerside. If we have time left, we may try to see these two places later.