Tuesday, August 21, 2007

5 Reasons Why..

I'm back from my summer hiatus in Prince Edward Island and felt compelled to list 5 reasons why you absolutely--if but once in your life--need to visit this Island.

First and foremost--as with most rewarding vacations--the food.
We all know the pros and cons of eating potatoes, but this Island's bountiful crop, dispels all notions that eating these glorious round orbs can be anything but beneficial. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that most potatoes in the summertime can be found roadside, in small carts at the end of a farmer's lane. There's something tantalizing about dropping a loonie (the Canadian $2 coin) in a Tupperware jar and driving off with your little stash of goodness.
And if you are visiting the Cumberland/Rice Point/Rocky Point area, dropping in at Gorveatt's roadside veggie/chicken stand gives you more options (fresh chicken--plucked and ready--beets, carrots, eggs...you get the idea. Same honor system for payment.)
Not only can you get your food from roadside stands, you can also dig some up. Our beach is famous (well, at least locally) for bar clams and small clams. One afternoon, at low tide, my daughter and my niece spent an hour laughing, exploring, and getting very sandy while digging up our dinner.

Second are the Island Lobsters. They are simply fantastic and Island chefs know how to serve them best...boiled with drawn butter. No braising, dicing, or mixing. New Glasgow Lobster Dinners are simple the best venue for trying these out as they are served with endless Island mussels, real fish chowder chock full of tons of seafood and rolls. The rolls at this restaurant make you forget why you ever decided to reduce your carb load. They are mountain high, fluffy, yet crusty on the outside. Absolutely the best ever.

Okay enough about food. The third reason to visit this Island is the mere fact that it's an Island.
Geographically speaking as well as metaphorically. My cottage, located on the south shore, receives sporadic cell phone coverage, making my first few days feel quite lonely. Once you get over the notion that you are alone, the benefits start to become crystal clear. In all fairness, the Island has technology available, it's just that you may end up in areas where it's not. I love it. It makes you feel human again. People actually have to drive over to see you, stop by and sit a while. Maybe even have a glass of ice tea. It's a good thing.

Number Five are the traditions. The annual Gold Cup and Saucer Race and Parade coincides with Old Home Week, which is truly the week that all native Islanders come home and literally bump into each other at fairs, parades and restaurants. The Gold Cup and saucer Race features eight top standardbred pacers from all over Eastern Canada, each represented by a local gal who acts as an ambassador. Back in my day, we were called Gold Cup Girls, and yes, I was one of them. We had to wear jockey silks and carry a whip...yes, I know what you are thinking but it actually was a big honor and quite a fun week schmoozing with the harness racing crowd.
If you are from away (anyone not born on the Island) this Old Home Week thing is either silly, boring or very hokey but if you look at it for what it is, you might appreciate that it's tradition at its finest.

This is me (4th from the left) in our first official photo as Gold Cup Girls. Think what you want, but it was fun.
So there you have it. For me it's always a little blast from the past!


  1. Hey Patty - Nice writing! I adore the little roadside stands based on the honour system....that alone is a must see! Did you brave the weather for the gold cup race....We didn't....

  2. Is that you Heather? I can't believe we missed bumping into one another...I mean, the place is NOT that big! We loved our vacation--full of family time--and we can't wait to go back next year. Hopefully we'll see each other soon!


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