Well one of our favourite restaurants in town closed last night. Usually it stays open until mid-december but this year with the lack of tourists and the pandemic, the owner Shane C. decided to close a month early. He will be back in mid-April. Hopefully 2021 will be a better year tourism wise on PEI. Another quiet year like 2020 will spell bankruptcy for many in that sector.
We always make a point of going on the last night to close the restaurant with a dinner amongst friends. This year we went twice before closing, once on Tuesday night and again on Thursday night. The Water Price Corner Shop is an institution. Regis Philbin who died recently loved the place, in fact he is one of the many celebrities who love this place and drop in during the Summer, a small restaurant with that Maritime souvenir decor with a solid quality seafood and Lobster, no pretensions.
Thank you to the staff, Maureen, Fiona, Theresa, Doug, Coady and Shane for many good meals and looking forward to seeing you again in April 2021.
On this beautiful Sunday, took a drive to Point Prim to see the 1845 Lighthouse still in operation as it marks for ships the entrance to the bay of Hillsborough into Port Charlottetown. We usually go to Point Prim every Summer but we did not this year instead going to New London/French river where another lighthouse is located.
This old map shows Point Prim that long extended point of ground at the tip of if since 1845 is the Lighthouse built by private interests and the Colonial Government of the Ile Saint Jean (John) as PEI was then known. The channel for ships sailing in is very narrow though it appears as a wide bay of water the reality is it quite shallow and full of rocks and sand bars. More lighthouses at the narrow entrance again to direct ships. Interesting to watch lakers and barges including cruise ships follow carefully that path.
A beautiful area with lots of trees and farmland all around. Many beautiful farm homes with vast gardens. Point Prim is about 30 minutes from Charlottetown on Hwy 1.
All the lighthouses are now automated and all maintained by the Canadian Coast Guard. In Winter the Ice breakers of the Canadian Coast Guard will open the way for the fuel ships coming to PEI, all fuel is imported since the Island being a sand bar has no natural ressources.
It stands 60 feet (18 metres) tall and is built of brick covered with wood cladding and painted white.
There is also a nice restaurant only open in the Summer time and very rustic. The seafood is great and it is worth going but you need a reservation, they have about 25 seats. The Chowder House sign is also fun, it is made of sliced US licence plates, apparently American tourists are happy to give up their car plates, you can see NY plates, Michigan, Mississipi,
In the distance is the entrance into the Hillsborough river and the port of Charlottetown.
PEI Red sandstone not very good against sea storms. To protect the lighthouse from the waves the Government of Canada imported shipments of granite rock from the Mainland and built a barrier all around the area.
Lots of pine trees everywhere along the coast. They seem to do well as a species.
Looking towards the coast of Nova Scotia around 2:30pm, very quiet, deserted area. Just nice to sit quietly by the sea. The silver colour of the water is blinding.
I also love to drive by this house on the way to the Point, the tree is always decorated with these colourful buoys. This is the road on Mount Buchanan leading to Point Prim. Note there is NO Mount, it is just a fanciful figure of speech in PEI.
This is the view from the road across the street from the Buoy Tree. The land belongs to this family and they have cottages for rent on the coast facing the Strait of Northumberland and the view across the water is Nova Scotia in the general area of Seafoam and Cape John.
and back at home with our Fall flowers and pumpkins.
Well yesterday we were at Greenwich National Park on the Atlantic side (North side) of the Island at Havre Saint Pierre known to the english as St-Peter’s Bay. A spectacular park, rich in fauna and very quiet where the only noise is the birds and small animals in the forest and the surf just beyond the giant sand dunes.
Greenwich was established as a National Park on PEI, one of many, in 1970 with the purchase of the Sanderson Family Farm. The Sandersons sold their land as the sand dunes were moving and encroaching unto their farm land, it was unstoppable and this also created other changes to the farm land they owned.
In this picture you can clearly see the land mass surrounded by sea water, the dunes forming a high barrier with a beach and the interior is more sand with Marran grass and fresh water pond, spruce and birch forests on sandy soil. Lots of wild flowers and small mammals, like red squirrels, voles, meadow mice, minks, foxes, Northern Harriers, Eagles, snowshoe Hare, Sparrows, warblers, American red start, short tailed weasels. Many beautiful flowers growing in large numbers everywhere.
The most fascinating part is the floating walkway across the Bowley Pond. This year the water level was low due to the very dry summer we had, only 30 cm of water when you can easily have upwards of 1 meter.
Finally after a 4 km walk you arrive at the foot of the sand dunes and a built wooden staircase take you up and over to the beach. It is strictly forbidden to walk on the dunes. Vast swath of Lichen and Marram grass stabilizes the dunes.
This photo is taken from the top of the dunes looking down to the beach and the sea.
Clean and quiet, so pleasant.
Going back to the park area this is the view of the serpentine floating dock.
To think that this beautiful park and beach is just 35 minutes from our home in Charlottetown.
We also met during our visit a Mik Maq elder, his people have inhabited the area for 10,000 years. He was very interesting to talk to. His name Junior Peter-Paul. The Mik Maq live all over the Maritime Provinces and were closely allied and inter-married with the French Acadians until 1755 when the deportation (ethnic cleansing) took place.
He and Michael Sark a fellow Mik Maq had built using traditional knowledge a Birch Bark Wigwam and explained how it was done and all the symbolism that goes into such a construction. The 7 internal rings to give it rigidity are made of birch, cherry, maple saplings and symbolize the 7 sacred teachings on Respect, Courage, Humility, Love, Truth, Wisdom and Honesty. Spruce roots are use to tie it all together. The birch bark is cut in a specific manner and dried also following a specific custom. Upon inspection it looked like leather skins. The door always faces East for the rising Sun. I had never thought much about it and so it was interesting to hear about the techniques used from an Elder who had the knowledge.
Here in Charlottetown a new Mik Maq cultural centre is opening a stone throw from our house, an impressive building on the water’s edge.
After our walk we decided to go to Cardigan a small settlement in the vicinity of Georgetown and Montague. The restaurant Clam Diggers offers a very good menu of fish and fresh seafood. The portions are good and the seafood come directly from the wharf off the boats. Can’t ask for better really. The good thing is that Clam Diggers will remain open this Winter. As their name indicates Clams the big ones are featured on several dishes.
Today was another adventure, our Nicky went to the Dentist for his annual teeth cleaning. The appointment was at 8 o’clock, he had no breakfast and no water since the night before. We went out for our walk and then directly to the car. He gave me a funny look like, What? Where is my breakfast? When we got to the Vet he was not happy and could sense it was not a good thing, other dogs looked nervous and Nicky gave me the look, don’t leave me here. It all went well and I picked him up at 2:30pm. Next week it’s Nora’s turn. Our Vet is very good and has a nice gentle touch with them.
Well this is truly the end of Summer and the weather has turned cooler at night dropping to 12 C. which is 53 F. and with the wind it is cold, you need a sweater or a jacket. Last night we organized a dinner party in the garden of a friend just one block away. We are allowed to have a gathering of 20 people outside in a garden. Our friend organized her garden with tables and chairs and handled all the logistic, it was very nice of her to do so much.
The people we invited are all long time friends. Will made his gazpacho which required 5 Kg of tomatoes and other ingredients. It is very good and was a big success. We asked another dear friend to bake a Paella for us with all manner of seafood, crab, lobster, mussels and shrimps, also chicken thighs and chorizo sausage. It was very good and a big hit.
The making of the Gazpacho.
The dish is 30 inches wide and can feed 30 people.
We had planned to do this around mid May to celebrate four years on PEI, but with the pandemic we could not then. So now that the regulations have been relaxed and we have no more cases, we could have an outside gathering.
Another friend prepared beautiful shortbread and strawberries in chocolate. It was great fun and a good chance to see people we had only spoken to on the phone since March or seen en passant on the street.
School starts on PEI on Tuesday and we hope that all goes well. The Federal Government has given upwards of $22 Billion dollars to help all our Provinces with re-opening schools. This came about in a negotiation with all Provincial Premiers and is being respectful of their jurisdiction on Education which is solely theirs. What is funny with this pandemic is how the Provinces who are jealous of their jurisdictions are getting the Federal Government to pay for what is essentially their responsibility but are not shy to critic if it is not done the way they want.
It has been a beautiful summer, lots of sunshine and hot days, I remember 2019 was cold and rainy, what a pleasant change. Now we arrive at the Ides of August without the usual Gold Saucer and Cup Week however given the nice weather many are at the beach and we had the opportunity to go to French River in the New London area and what fun that was.
So Ferragosto, the August Feast is upon us and many of my friends in Italy are at the seaside or in the mountains. Everyone is deserting the city and enjoying between 2 to 4 weeks of vacation. Here in PEI we will see friends and have quite a few social engagement within our bubble, Covid19 oblige!
Tonight we went across the street for dinner, today was a scorcher of a day, so hot and so humid. I remember 40C in Jordan and in Egypt but it was dry desert heat and you do not perspire, so the heat is tolerable. The hot humid air is difficult to tolerate. So it was easier to go to the restaurant, we had some halibut and potato salad, sitting outside with a nice breeze talking with the owner. Afterwards we went to see the sail boats on the river returning to the Charlottetown Marina. Lots of nice sails and we recognized some friends as they enter the marina.
The breeze on the river tonight was very refreshing. The view from the Federal Dock of the river as it stretches towards the entrance to the Strait of Northumberland is quite nice, at dusk you see the various lighthouse blinking in the distance.
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.
Today Saturday 16 May was the first day live lobsters were available on the market place. Yesterday was setting day and the fishers went out to sea to harvest lobsters. So today long line ups of Islanders in 45F weather, respecting the 2 metres or 6 feet apart rule of social distancing could be seen outside shops selling seafood. It is a tradition to have your first feed of lobster, it is like Beaujolais Nouveau.
Until about 1960 eating lobster was not popular, lobster was poor people food, in schools the poor kid ate lobster sandwiches while the rich kids ate baloney on white bread. I know it is laughable but that was the way back then, how things have changed.
In the maritimes lobster is fished everywhere but they do not all taste the same. Also lobster trapped in one region does not travel or is not exported to another region, this is done to protect markets and the fishers. So in Caraquet in New Brunswick the fishers will sell their lobsters in N.B. In PEI it is sold only in PEI and exported to foreign markets. We do not get lobsters from Nova Scotia though their season starts earlier than ours in PEI. No we do not have Maine lobster, considered foreign. Though on international markets PEI competes with Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and the US market. Usually Canada wins because of our dollar being 0.25 to 0.30 cents cheaper than the US dollar.
Lobster is a rich meat and usually a one pound beast is enough for a satisfying meal. Many tourist will try the 2 pound lobster and some brave soul may go for a 3 pound lobster, but I cannot imagine how you do that, it is sooo rich tasting. Also the price in a restaurant can start at $30 for a one pound lobster and will go up with weight. At the fish store today the little canner sold for $6.99 and the one pound lobster sold for $9.99. You will pay more if you want only the meat. You can buy it cooked or live. What you should look for when buying a live lobster is the long antennae, if they are intact this means that the beast is not stressed and was not involved in fights with other lobsters, it’s a sign of quality.
Cooking your lobster at home, remember only fresh Sea water never tap water. Do follow carefully cooking time, over cook it and it’s uneatable and chewy. The meat should be like butter. Lobster is good served with lemon wedge or if you prefer with hot melted butter but that is not necessary since the meat is rich tasting.
The claws are powerful and be careful not to put you hand or fingers near them, it can be painful and very unpleasant and they don’t let go. In 1990, The U.S. National Institutes of Health tested lobster for cholesterol content and found that it was just as low in cholesterol, fat and calories as chicken and turkey. (Just watch out for the butter!)
So tomorrow Sunday we will go get some lobsters across the street at the Water Prince restaurant for our dinner.
Today is a very important day in the Maritimes. Setting Day is 2 weeks late this year due to the Pandemic. Fishers are nervous and anxious about this day but following established rules, all should go well. Lobster traps are set today and this means that we will have PEI Lobsters available in the next day or so.
The current price in fish stores is $9 a pound uncooked and $10 cooked. However the Island is still closed to visitors until further notice, so the pricing may stay low with only local demand.
The boats set out at dawn from various harbours around the Island.
Well the good news is that PEI has had NO new infections from COVID19 for the last 6 days and of the 25 people who were sick 23 are now recovered and 2 are at home. The Government of PEI is looking into making even more stringent requirements about anyone coming to PEI and at the moment it is strict, I would say you cannot get to the Island unless you live here permanently and have a home. All others are turned away at the Sea bridge. Our Chief Medical Officer Dr Heather Morisson says this is the only way to beat this thing and everyone must pitch in and observe the rules.
Tomorrow is 15 April and this would have been the day our favourite restaurant for seafood and lobster The Water Prince was to open for the Season. That is not going to happen now. The manager is a good friend of ours and we were talking about the situation.
Of course being a seafood and lobster restaurant, they need the supplies and it will only happen if the Season Opens at the end of the Month. Currently the Province is waiting for the Federal Government and the Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans to give the go ahead. Hopefully it will happen, otherwise it will be an economic disaster for all the fishers all around the Island, the industry is worth tens of millions of dollars to our economy but the fear of Covid19 is great.
Last year I posted pictures of Setting Day which opens the lobster fishing season and how much it means to people here. This year 2020 we do not know yet and it is worrisome. Usually the boats leave at dawn to set their cages in designated area.
I never was much of a lobster eater before coming to PEI, but here the fresh product coming right off the boat into your plate and the quality of the Lobster makes all the difference. Then there is also the Oysters harvested from various coves and bays around the Island, PEI Mussels famous in North America and scallops and the Halibut my favourite fish.
The problem with the Lobster boats is that you really cannot have distancing between people. You have 4 to 5 guys working side by side and it is hard and difficult work. So we will have to see how this is worked out. At the moment PEI will loose about 20,000 jobs just in the Hospitality/tourism industry this Summer. Many operators will not survive since the Summer Season was how many made their money. No tourists allowed on the Island, no business, you cannot really count on Islanders alone to support the whole sector.
Gardens are another area affected, will we be able to visit garden centres and buy some flower flats for our garden, will they open this year. Usually you wait until about 10 June to plant and to organize flower boxes and pots.
So yes there are delays and we have to be patient and all good things will eventually come.
Let’s pray to the Goddess Hestia, whose attributes are Patience, keeper of the Hearth and eternal fire of the home for a quick resolution to this pandemic.
Today was a bright but cold sunny day, tomorrow a storm is coming and it will not be fun. Around 3pm we got a call from across the street from friends asking us to come and have a drink at the Water Prince Corner Shop our local and famous seafood restaurant.
Shane and his son Coady Campbell are the owners and it is all about quality seafood, oysters and lobsters in a simple decor. We went and met our friends over oysters on the half shell, Shrimps in cocktail sauce, Clam chowder and lobster with white wine, what a wonderful happy hour it was. Never going back to peanuts and chips or whatever.
We will repeat this experience next Monday for another Birthday. It was great fun and gave us that wonderful feeling of ” Oh life is so good here”.
Tutto iniziò con Memorie di Adriano, sulle strade dell'Impero Romano tra foto, storia e racconti! It all began with Memoirs of Hadrian, on the roads of the Roman Empire among photos, history and stories!
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