P.E.I. Worth a detour??

Feb 11th, 2004, 06:14 AM
  #1  
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P.E.I. Worth a detour??

We are hoping to go to Nova Scotia in June/July this year. It will be our second visit in as many years, so my question is should we try and include P.E.I. as well this time? (We have already visited Cape Breton so that would not be included this year). The trip will be for about 15 days and we would rather spend two or three days in each place we visit rather than travelling on every day. If we decided on P.E.I how many days should we devote to it. Also so as not to'go back the way we came', (I hate that!), what are the waiting times like for the ferry to Pictou as the guide book I have says it is not possible to reserve a crossing?
JanG is offline  
Feb 11th, 2004, 06:33 AM
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Jan, what are your interests? My family stayed on the island for two weeks, about 1 1/2 weeks too long for us!

Our favorite things about the island were the amazing bike trail through some truely beautiful scenery, fishing {my husband and son caught many mackeral - delicious!}, walking along the beaches {the water was too cold for swimming, but I hear that this is often not the case}, attending a church supper, and a going to a celidah [sp} at the College of Piping {is this what it's called?}in Summerside.

The island, outside of the touristy Cavendish area, is, or was, very peaceful and serene, perfect for relaxation. My active family found more to interest us in Nova Scotia, but enjoyed our stay in PEI.

I'll leave the ferry question to someone else.
Molly2 is offline  
Feb 11th, 2004, 11:04 AM
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We spent 3 days in PEI last summer as part of a two week New Brunswick/PEI/Nova Scotia trip. We really enjoyed it. The island is pastoral, lovely and low key. Definitely worth a couple of days. We took the ferry from PEI to Pictou without a wait (we arrived in PEI from New Brunswick via the Confederation Bridge). We loved New Brunswick, too.
Neil is offline  
Feb 11th, 2004, 09:57 PM
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Definitely make a detour to PEI. It is one of Canada's best kept secrets. Definitely spend at least 3 whole days there so you can cover the majority of the island. It is not just all Anne of Green Gables. There are beautiful beaches, great scenery, museums, history, music and great food. This year the acadians are celebrating 400 years so there is alot going on. Make sure to go to a ceildh- I recommend the one in Malpeque on Wednesday nights. You can take the confederation bridge to get on the island and the ferry off. As the bridge is very popular I don't believe you have to wait too long for the ferry these days. Stay in a bed and breakfast centrally located on the island (close to the bridge) and try to stay in the same place for the whole time as the island is not that big. A good website is www.peiplay.com. Have fun!!
Burakom is offline  
Feb 12th, 2004, 06:47 AM
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Accommodations fill up quickly in the summer around the touristy bridge area. If you're planning to locate there, you'll need to make advanced reservations. P.E.I.'s North Cape area is noted primarily for its fishing industry and very scenic although not in the same manner as Cape Brenton Island. Blueberry season comes on the end of July and we found lots of wild berries growing along the roadside on the North Cape during one of our trips. If you want to exerience the ambience of the island, spend a night or two at a B&B on the cape.
Retired_teacher is offline  
Feb 12th, 2004, 02:56 PM
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My 16 year old son and I visited Nova Scotia and PEI last summer on a 10 day trip. I loved the 2 days we spent on PEI. We stayed in a B&B on the north coast and visited various areas in the national parks, including the more remote Greenwich park area. I thought the beaches and sunsets were lovely. If you do go, visit the Gouda Cheese Lady.
stillhouse is offline  
Feb 12th, 2004, 06:25 PM
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wow
 
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Hi, again, Stillhouse! What was the name of the B&B? We may go to PEI when we are in CB this summer.
wow is offline  
Feb 12th, 2004, 11:23 PM
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Many thanks for all your replies. The positive comments in them make us want to include P.E.I. on our trip to N.S. I think 3 nights staying in one place is a good idea, thanks Burakom.We love hiking, wild life, and great scenery, (not to mention lobsters which are too expensive here in the UK!), so it sounds just the sort of place we would like. Any thoughts on good B&B's??
JanG is offline  
Feb 13th, 2004, 04:15 AM
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Jan, since you have already been to Cape Breton, you may wish to consider the Wolfville and Parrsboro areaas of Nova Scotia. Your interests are the same as my husbands and mine - hiking, scenery, wildlife, bandbs, and we loved these areas.

Wolfville is a cute college town with some excellent banbs and romantic victorian inns. We stayed there twice, once at the Gingerbread Inn {small room with a balcony,very nice} and once at a more simple band b. We liked both, though the victorian inns looked even better.From here, you can drive out to hike Cape Split{a good hike} to see the tides {get charts, we missed it!}. You can also drive to Hall's Harbour where you can eat fresh lobster and see the tide action at work; boats stranded as the tide recedes. There is an excellent theater, and fine restaurants. I also remember a great pub in nearby Kenttville[Paddy's?}, with excellent food and ale. At nightfall, people gather to watch a bizarre attraction - dozens of chimney swifts flying into a chimney. Also nearby is the Grand Pre Historical site, which offers French history and is very neat.

Parrsboro is an often overlooked area that we thought was fascinating.It is convenient to PEI, depending on your route. The hike out to Cape Chignecto takes you above cliffs and the ocean, and is quite spectacular, though we didn't opt to backpack overnight. There is also wonderful scenery enroute. Parrsboro is known for fossils and rocks, and we took tours to learn about and collect both. Nearby Joggins is also known for its fossils; we didn't get there. There is also a small theater on a boat. I can't remermber the name of the inn we stayed at, but should you decide to go to Parrsboro, I'll look it up - we really liked it.
Molly2 is offline  
Feb 13th, 2004, 06:36 AM
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Wow-

We stayed at the BeachHouse Inn in French River on the northern shore. It's very convenient for touring the national park and sampling various beaches, which is what we enjoyed most. There are rooms in the house, which we didn't see, and several free standing buildings which have rooms. Some have kitchens. Ours didn't. When I saw it from the outside I was a bit skeptical, because it looks rather rustic, but inside it was wonderfully decorated and set up like a suite with 2 queen beds and a separate living area with comfortable couches, TV table, TV etc. The breakfast area in the main house was lovely and casual, with views across to open fields and a somewhat distant view of the sea. The innkeepers made delicious breakfasts and serve dinner one or two nights per week. We didn't sample one because they focus on seafood which I love but my son doesn't. You can check out this property at www.gov.pe.ca.

I highly recommend the visitor center and the guided tours at the Greenwich national park. The beach there is gorgeous, as are all of the other sections of the national park. My favorite experience on PEI was spending a few hours on the beach in the afternoon and returning to watch a glorious sunset. My son was very tolerant playing hackysack while I set up my tripod and snapped multiple pictures.

JanG-

If you do decide to take the ferry from Pictou, we spent a night at the Pictou Lodge. Nothing fancy, but pleasant and the food wasn't bad. They have free watercraft (paddleboats, canoes) for paddling around in a small pond.

Re: Parrsboro: We also included this on our trip because I thought my son would enjoy seeing the immense tidal changes. We wondered around looking for fossils and amethyst without success. If you decide to incorporate this into your trip, there are several shops which host organized fossil finding trips, some of which go into areas that are otherwise offlimits to the public. Unfortunately this didn't fit into our schedule since we arrive late pm and left the next am.

I thought the area was rather bleak compared to the natural beauty of some of other areas we had just visited, but nevertheless it was interesting. I wouldn't want to spend more than a day or so there.
stillhouse is offline  
Feb 13th, 2004, 08:38 AM
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Thx, Stillhouse! Did you get some womderful pictures?
wow is offline  
Feb 14th, 2004, 03:31 PM
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Unfortunately, no wonderful pictures.
stillhouse is offline  
Feb 17th, 2004, 12:12 PM
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Jan- Looks like the consensus is to take in PEI. We did 3 days last summer and enjoyed it, but would have opted for an additional day to be able to look around a bit more. The capital has nothing going for it, tourist-wise, although I'm sure lots of people would disagree. But compared with Halifax, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, etc., it's pretty ho-hum. But the province is different from NS - more pastoral and low key. Lots of pretty countryside and there's lots of roadside veggie and fruit stands, not to mention the famous PEI potatoes.
We have two kids and so focused on fun things for them, too. Near the strip with Ann of Green Gables is a couple of fun parks, one a large water park with 4 large water slides. The price is much more reasonable than here in the states. Also the province is well known for its established bike routes. We spent one day biking in the countryside, and really enjoyed it (most routes are mostly flat or moderate hills). Lots of places to rent bikes for a few hours or for the entire day. We found Frommers guidebook on the Maritimes very helpful. Finally, if you like summer live theatre, the small and quaint village of Victory-By-The_Sea has a small beautiful theatre running most of the summer, mostly evening productions. It's located just a few miles from the bridge and about half hour from Summerside. We had a nice dinner in one of the 2 or 3 local restaurants and took in the play and had a very nice time. Have fun!
waltd is offline  
Feb 26th, 2004, 10:49 PM
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Just to thank you all again for your replies and to let you know we have booked four nights at The Beach House, (thanks Stillhouse it looks wonderful on their website), looking forward to some hiking and cycling and just relaxing. Will post the details of our holiday on our return!
JanG is offline  
Feb 27th, 2004, 09:24 AM
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The town's name is actually Victoria-by-the-Sea. In addition to the theater, there's a wonderful chocolates shop there, a funky candle shop, a lighthouse to visit, and a great cafe (catty corner from chocolates shop -- close to theater).
laurafromtexas is offline  
Mar 4th, 2004, 08:59 AM
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I know I'm late to the conversation, but I just had to recommend My Mother's Country Inn on PEI. My husband and I spent 3 nights there last August and it was so wonderful I didn't want to leave. The web site is www.mymotherscountryinn.com
Jennare is offline  
Mar 7th, 2004, 10:39 AM
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The Confederation Bridge has certainly made the ferry less crowded. Here are a few thoughts.

Halifax is a great place to be on Canada Day. The tattoo is one of the great indoor shows in the world and draws performers from all over the globe. The Canada Day parade consists of the perfomers from the tattoo. When we were there two years ago it was military and show bands from Canada, Germany, Norway and The Netherlands. The bands in the tattoo also stage concerts daily around Halifax.

Drive back over the Confederation Bridge leaving PEI so you cross New Brunswick. Detour South to Hopewell Cape and spend the night at one of the motels. Hopewell Rocks, where you really get the effect of the Fundy Tides and walk on the ocean floor,is one of the wonders of Canada. Stop in Frederickton in the afternoon to visit the old military district. The changing of the guard and retreat ceremony is worth seeing. If you like German food, there is a great restaurant across from the parade ground. They are open only at dinner. You can then cross into northern Main from NB. I always try to return to the states late in the evening to avoid hours of waiting at customs. At 9 pm on a Sunday we were the only car crossing where there had been mile-long lines earlier in the day. We then overnighted in Maine.
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