Today the Chief Medical Officer had some very good news for Islanders, given our high proportion of vaccination at 85% and climbing fast, and the fact that we have 1 active case now and no new ones for quite a while, it will no longer be mandatory for people fully vaccinated to wear a mask. Though she did say that everyone should evaluate their personal circumstances and health status.
It also looks like people from other provinces will be able to come to PEI if they are vaccinated and seek permission to enter much sooner now than previously thought. The situation in Canada is good now and as a country we lead the world in vaccination. Good job on the part of the Government of Canada all around. The economy is also doing very well and job growth is strong.
The house is in order and we are leaving tomorrow afternoon for French River. The post tropical storm Elsa is a non-event it did rain but really not much and it was not heavy. It has stopped raining now and there is some clearing. According to the radar it will have past us by noon time tomorrow and then its sunshine.
The babysitter will stay home with our little ones, so this is a vacation for us. I do not know how much I will blog while at the beach. The photo shows our beach and the little lighthouse of New London. A very quiet and pleasant area, with the French River and the South West river emptying into the sea.
Gee the weather is cold at 14C and it is raining non stop, it is suppose to rain all week.
A terrible start to July, meanwhile out West it is too hot for words. We are going from a Pandemic to a climate disaster.
Will is now fully vaccinated and I will be on Wednesday and so happy for it. Some 17 months have gone by and frankly I am happy that we can see the end of this tunnel.
Here are some pictures of me at the BBQ at the Club.
We had fun and I enjoyed organizing the event. More events to come including the Golf Tournament. But in the coming days we are going fishing as they say, not in the literal sense but in the figurative sense. Looking forward to leaving town for a couple of weeks. Here is a photo of the area where we are going. Our neigbours at the cottage tonight told us that the surf was quite dangerous, high winds and driving rain and cold. But this is all changing by the time we get there. One strange thing we had to put the heat on in the house here in town today because it was a little raw. I have never done that in July. This is the New London Rear Light House on Yankee Hill Beach, it is our view and the sea is on the right.
We drove up to Kensington on HWY 2 to go to the groomers for our two puppies, being wirehair Dachshunds their coat needs to be stripped not shaved. Our groomer does a very good job. Since we were in the area we decided to drop by the cottage at French River at the end of Cape Rd. where we are going in about 3 weeks. The place is just as lovely as ever and today being a beautiful sunny warm day, it was just perfect.
We then went for lunch just down the road to SouWest which is a restaurant with a very nice terrace on the water where you can see oysters and mussels being harvested. Nice quiet place and good food, had a nice chat with the staff. The roads in the area are country roads and you rarely see another car, lots of nice farms and homes. Historical old churches mostly protestant and ancient graveyards. There are a lot of good restaurants in the area, given the proximity to water, fish and seafood dominates. You will find some art galleries with local artists, the theme of course is about the sea, beaches and maritime atmosphere.
We also stopped at St-Mary’s Church at Indian River which is a decommissioned church built about 130 years ago by the famous Island architect William Critchlow Harris, who was a musician. His churches are all wood inside and the sonority is wonderful, some say it is like being inside a violin. This year is the 25th anniversary of the Indian River Festival and we will attend the concerts. The church has kept all of its furniture and decoration in a style called Canadian Gothic. It’s steeple has life sized sculptures of the 12 Apostles. It is located in an area surrounded by fields.
We collected the kids from the Groomer, they were happy to see us and get the hell out of there. Any visit to the groomer is always stressful and we gave them liver treats and drove home, upon arrival they had a lot of water and then promptly went to sleep.
They got up to have their dinner and a little walk, only to return to have a cuddle and fall fast to sleep.
We are looking into planning what we will bring to the cottage, liquor and food, there is a nice big bar-b-q and of course we will go to some restaurants. Will made a fresh batch of Colette’s Cocktail and we will call our butcher for some nice cuts of meat.
Also last night Will suddenly remembered that this will be our 14th Wedding Anniversary, we have been toghether 43 years all together. The appropriate gift for 14 years of marriage is Gold, lucky me, I can only wear gold and I have my favourite jeweller BULGARI on speed dial. Though in November for 43 years together would be travel. Gee we have travelled so much in our life time, but then again if some kind hearted friends said, come visit us we are sending you First Class plane tickets to Palm Springs, gee that would be nice.
We finally did a major clean-up of our wardrobe and gave away bags full of shirts and other items. All good and clean but well they all shrank while in the closet and no longer fit. I wonder if some scientist is working on this problem or maybe the Fashion industry is conspiring to prevent any research in order to sell more and more clothing.
On the Health News, now that the population is vaccinated to 70% on PEI and we are in fact approaching the 80% mark, no cases at all of Covid and only a handful of new infections in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, the bubble of Atlantic Provinces is re-forming and travel will be allowed next week for all persons who apply for a PEI Pass to enter PEI by the bridge or by the Ferry service, you will need a certificate to prove vaccination and submit to a test at the border. Other Canadians will be allowed to come from 28 July under similar conditions. As for USA citizens an announcement is expected by Monday. So part of the Summer Season may be salvaged. All good news.
I would like to bring a little perspective into my previous post where I was quite despondent on the situation in Canada. One blogger I follow for some time now and who lives in British Columbia on the other side of this country in the beautiful rocky mountains, https://palliserpass.ca/author/underswansea/ always has wonderful pictures of nature around him and of his wirehair Dachshund Willow. He provided a perspective which I found helpful to understand what is going on today in Canada. Though the author is a younger fellow than me by about 10 years, is comment left me with the feeling of even handedness and with some wisdom. Basically things are getting better bit by bit and we have to look at this in the greater context if you look at the last 60 years, progress is achieved. Also not listening to the media report which have a knack to bring out the most negative outlook without nuance or context, call it lazy journalism. We seem to have a lot of it in Canada.
As we are now in Mid-June, we spoke to day with the lady who owns the cottage where we are going in a month to spend 2 weeks at French River, so looking forward to it.
Will is making another batch of his cocktail that takes a month to cure, a recipe by the French Author Colette. He made a batch with lemons, with orange and now he is doing mandarins and another one with Strawberries. These cocktails are potent but so refreshing in the Summer, served very cold. The base is fruit and white wine, in the second phase you add brandy. We are also looking at what to bring in terms of food, there is a nice gas bar-b-q on the deck.
There are also lots of nice little restaurants in the area, all serving seafood, oysters, mussels, lobster. The most popular is the lobster roll, everyone appears to have a recipe for it. Basically its 4oz of lobster mixed in with other ingredients.
The beach at French River is very nice and this year I will try to get across to the big sand dunes which are part of Cavendish beach. You need a boat to get there, cannot swim it, the current is far too strong. At low tide it looks like you could walk across but no, the channel in the middle is too deep.
We hope that the nice couple who live by the Cousins Cemetery will be there, they live in Nova Scotia but with the closures they have not been able to come so far this year. They have a lovely house and a great view of the water and the New London rear Lighthouse which is about 100 feet from their front door.
Almost everyone now on PEI has been vaccinated what is left is mostly small children under 12. On 27 June we are suppose to enter a new phase with even less restrictions and this will make a big difference. What everyone is waiting for is the Atlantic bubble which would allow all to travel from one province to the other in our region.
Well we returned yesterday from our week at the Beach House Inn at French River near New London PEI where we rented a cottage. It was delightful and sooooo peaceful compared to the noisy Capital. Surrounded by woods, fields, red sandstone cliffs and the beach. Only the birds and a family of Foxes for company, we were the only guests on the property. The birds are interesting, from eagles to hawks, cormorants to blue jays, swallows, robins, warblers, quite the variety.
The Fox family was a mother and her 4 kits, very tame and unafraid of people though they always keep a respectful distance. The property was beautiful and very well maintained, the main house had 7 mature Linden trees on the West side, a big marsh full of water reeds on the East side of the property and on the hill the famous Cousin Family pioneer cemetery known as Yankee Hill. The Cousin family were French Huguenots who fled France ended up in the American colonies and at the revolution came to PEI fleeing again the chaos. The were probably wealthy if one looks at their elaborate white marble tombstones. In September 2019 the hurricane Dorian came to PEI and devastated the area around Cavendish where 70% of the trees were damaged. This old burial ground is in a forest and many of the poplars toppled. Luckily none of the 200 year old tombstones were damaged, a miracle of sorts. Across the road to the beach stands another old cemetery called Simms, this one is dedicated to the 200 sailors who died in the historic storm known as the Yankee Gale in October 1851. Our view was the sand dunes and the beach and it’s small lighthouse, the New London Rear Lighthouse nowadays surrounded by a large marsh. It is automated like all light houses. The waterway is treacherous, large ever moving sandbanks at the entrance to the South West and French River, both leading to small fishing harbours. The surrounding countryside is picturesque, lots of farms cultivating wheat, potatoes, mustard and corn. The area was settled after the Acadians where deported and their land confiscated by the British around 1755. The new settlers were stern Protestants, Presbyterians and Anglicans. Some of the Acadians did come back after 1763 and settled further West on the Island.
This year of the Pandemic there are virtually no tourists, the only people who can actually come to PEI are from the other Maritime provinces and they do not need to isolate. Anyone else would be automatically forced into 14 day isolation upon arrival and people are watchful.
Some good seafood restaurants and art galleries in the area. The beaches are very clean and quiet. We could actually walk from our home to Cape Tryon and its Lighthouse an 8 Km treck along the cliffs, very beautiful scenery. It was a good staycation just to get out of the noise of Charlottetown.
The Linden Trees at the Beach House Inn. We could say we were unter den Linden.
Sunset on the cliffs at Cap Tryon, with the lighthouse. In terms of direction looking out into the Gulf of St-Lawrence, towards Anticosti Island and Newfoundland.
Truly peaceful away from it all. You come to appreciate the silence.
With the Summer Solstice, we have been cooking a lot. I usually do all the shopping and W. does all the cooking. Today he made one Quiche for a dear friend and one for our supper, both ham and PEI Asparagus, we are at the end of the Season now. The New Potato Season has started and on PEI it is like Beaujolais Nouveau you have to try them and be able to offer an opinion. PEI Strawberries Season are about 2 weeks away though we have Strawberries from Nova Scotia because of a special micro climate there, it is protocol to wait for PEI Strawberries, they are very fragrant and have a good fruit perfume, reminds me of the olden days.
Then in terms of Seasonal Cocktail I got out my bottle of PIMM’s No.1 which is the Official drink of the British Foreign Service and Army. PIMM’s is the drink of diplomats, of Wimbledon, Henley Royal Regatta, Chelsea Flower Show, Glynbourne Festival and Ascot. It is very easy to prepare as a cocktail, the recipe in on the label. PIMM’s has won 14 international awards in 160 years. Served cold it is very refreshing and elegant. The creator was James Pimm’s who invented the liquor in 1823 and served it at his Oyster Bar in London.
The liqueur featured is Pimm’s Cup No. 1, a gin based spirit with the flavor of spiced fruit. Adding a mixer as subtle as lemonade enhances its character and turns it into a stimulating and light beverage.
1 part Pimm’s Cup No. 1
3 parts 7up or Lemonade
Garnish: mint, orange, and/or strawberries
Garnish: cucumber slice or peel
For dessert I got some Pears to poach in Red Wine, a wonderful dessert and again something you see a lot in Italy in Summer. Refreshing and elegant serve cold at the table. Finding the right kind of pears might be difficult, because you are poaching them and you want a firm fruit not a mushy one. For the red wine a good table wine will do.
Tomorrow, W. is going to make another dessert with Rhubarb, the Season is at an end and we will use the stocks we have left. W. is also making a Veal Stew for our dinner. We have good simple meals always.
Now in 29 days we are going to the Cottage at French River PEI near Cavendish and looking forward to it.
The French River area of PEI is on the North Coast of the Island and faces Cavendish the area made famous by author Lucy Maud Montgomery who was born in the area and her modest family home is now a small museum, she wrote extensively, novels and poems and other works the most famous being Anne of Green Gables. Her last novel was with her publisher in 1942, it arrived on his desk the day she committed suicide. Only published in 2018, rediscovered and it is anti-war.
French River refers to a French colony in the area as of 1710. French speaking Acadians settled in the area as fishers and farmers. Some evaded the mass ethnic cleansing of 1758 by the British army. The area is lovely, peaceful and scenic.
You have quiet sandy beaches, a few houses in an agricultural setting and dirt roads. There is also a famous cemetery called Yankee Hill. We visited it two years ago and it is the resting place of some 25 American sailors who perished during one of the most spectacular storm of the North Coast around 1850, the storm immortalized in painting is called The Yankee Gale. In total 250 sailors where caught in that storm and with their ships disappeared. Unfortunately last year hurricane Dorian came up the coast and destroyed this ancient cemetery and left behind many dead trees which are still scattered around and block the approach to the resting ground. Hopefully the PEI Government will do the necessary to clean up the mess. I have also learned that a volunteer group has worked for many years at maintaining the site, but this clean up job will require machinery and know how.
Too dangerous to go in as the ground is unstable and too many broken half fallen trees around.
We decided to rent a cottage in the area this Summer for a week to get away from the hubbub of Charlottetown. Despite Covid 19 the city has returned to normal and that is not necessarily a good thing. Self-discipline is not a virtue here and given that we have no cases and no trace of the virus, people have relaxed though it is in the back of people’s minds.
The view of the lighthouse and a portion view of the beach from our cottage. Few people come here, the narrow dirt road is semi-private and is a dead end with no parking. Lots of birds and a few fishing boats here and there.
For lunch we stopped at SOU’WEST a restaurant in the harbour of French River serving the freshest of seafood. It was delicious and so relaxing, looking over the water a boat was harvesting oysters just 200 metres from shore. Locals and businesses buy direct from the fishers as they come into port, cannot get any fresher than that and prices are pretty low this year for seafood.
I ordered the Bruschetta with seafood in a white wine cream sauce with balsamic drizzle. It was wonderful and so nice. There is nothing nicer than fresh seafood off the boat.
A very nice sunny day. Can’t wait for our time at the cottage.
We recently visited friends who were vacationing in the French River area of PEI which is near Cavendish. It is also the area where the birth home of author Lucy Maud Montgomery is located, not to be confused with the house used to lure tourist to Green Gables a fictional place created by Lucy Maud for her 8 books on the story of Anne. That house was the home of her uncle and aunt, she visited them and this gave rise to her inspiration to write the series on Anne. The houses look similar both White and Green and made of wood in the cottage architectural style of the island. But I digress what I wanted to talk about was the abandoned cemetery of Yankee Hill.
photo of the French River area on Lot 21, PEI
At the Art Gallery we have a painting called the Yankee Gale, it shows a terrible storm at sea in 1851 with many ships lost. I knew it referred to a real storm and a naval disaster but did not know anymore about it.
Prior to the Halifax Harbour explosion in 1917, the single greatest Maritime disaster and loss of life occurred in 1851 in the Gulf of St. Lawrence when an American fishing fleet was caught in a tumultuous October storm that lasted for two days. When it finally abated, the coastline of Prince Edward Island was strewn with the wreckage of sailing vessels and the bodies of drowned seamen. In all, 74 vessels were lost and 150 men perished in what became known as The Yankee Gale.
This cemetery is abandoned since 1904 and the forest has grown in and all around it. A group of volunteers have cleaned the under brush and restored the ancient tombstones, also in this cemetery the Cousins Family is remembered, they were French Hugenots from Normandy who had immigrated to New England prior to the revolution of 1776. They were well established and prosperous. As Loyal to the Crown they came to l”Ile Saint-Jean now PEI and settled in the area. The Crown for their loyalty rewarded them with free land, well in fact it was land seized from the Acadians who were either slaughtered or deported in 1755. The name French River comes from the fact that residents of the area were French (Acadians).
The cemetery is lovely and the forest lends an air of mystery to it all, almost no one comes here, it is so well hidden, thus not disrupting the peace of the place.
This is quite a lovely place and not far from us in Charlottetown, then again nothing is far on this Island. We are thinking of renting a cottage there next Summer for 2 weeks just to get away from the bustle of the Capital.
Telling the stories of the history of the port of Charlottetown and the marine heritage of Northumberland Strait on Canada's East Coast. Winner of the Heritage Award from the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation and a Heritage Preservation Award from the City of Charlottetown