Well today was a beautiful sunny day and we went to North Rustico, there are in fact 5 settlements, I would not called them villages because it is too small, with the name Rustico, all one after the other, you have Rustico, North Rustico, Anglo-Rustico, Rustico Ville and Harbor Rustico. The name Rustico is a derivation of Rassicot. A French fisherman by the name of René Rassicot gave the area the name Rustico because he would come and fish here all the time. It is a beautiful area on the Atlantic side of the Island, only 25 minutes from Charlottetown on Hwy 6, more like a country road. The Native Mikmaq have been settled in the area for the last 6000 years according to archeologists.
Most present day inhabitants are descendants from the Acadians, this is an Acadian area, many have French family names. We were alone for stretches on the road, it is very peaceful and beautiful countryside, rolling hills of red earth, lots of pine trees and beautiful farms.
In North Rustico the main industry is fishing but this being late Winter, all the boats were on the shore out of the water and all the fishing shacks were closed, however one coffee house and one restaurant were open, there is not fast-food in this area, it is all hearty and home cooked, all the businesses are run by families, no big corporations here. Even in Charlottetown, the fast food industry has a hard time outside of the two shopping malls, you simply do not see them. Starbucks had to close downtown because people resented having to pay $3 and $5 dollars for a coffee. Most prefer to go next door, to support someone they know, a local and get a good cup of coffee for $2.25, consumers voting with their feet.
We stopped for lunch in North Rustico at this little restaurant run by a Mr. Doiron (Acadian name) called the By-the-Bay Family restaurant. The lady serving told us the special was a Hamburger sandwich, this is NOT a burger by the way, did we want fries or mash potatoes, comes with peas and carrots and a bit of creamy coleslaw.
So what we got and I knew what it would look like, basically two slices of white bread stuffed with hamburger meat, not a patty, just browned meat and covered in gravy. It was quite good. The gentleman sitting with his wife at a table next to us, noticed that we obviously were not from the area, was it our licence plates on the rented car saying Nova Scotia or the fact that the word Ottawa was stitched on my fleece shirt. People here on the Island talk to everyone, people say hello, they wave at you. No they do not know you but they are just being friendly. You have to answer back, don’t do like in Ottawa and put on a mean face and ignore them, that would be rude. This fellow was also from away, not a native of PEI, to use a PEI ism. He came from Thunder Bay in Ontario and was living in Rustico now. We have met quite a few people who came to PEI from other parts of Canada to live, study or just retire.
After lunch, we went all the way to the end of the road where all the boats and the fishing shacks were, the tide was low and at the end of the harbour its the open Atlantic, you felt the cold in the air despite being a brilliant sunny day.
We then drove back to Charlottetown, again an easy drive but this time we had to follow some school buses depositing the kids at various farms and homes on the way.
So our stay in PEI is coming to an end, we fly back Friday to Ottawa and to the puppies who have been at Boot Camp this past 2 weeks. The trainer say they are doing very well and Nicky is a really good boy, Nora is a little needy and needs to know where the humans are at all times. They are going to the groomer, they look like wild fur balls.
Well we know we like it here and we can live here no problems. It is a much simpler life, slower and time is measured differently. People smile a lot more and are friendly.