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Prince Edward Island Reminiscences

I’ve been meaning to write up this post since last year’s L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge at Reading to Know, but one thing and another happened, and I haven’t done it.  Part of my holdup has been that all of the pictures I took on the trip are enshrined in a scrapbook (one with green covers, of course), and because I have no scanning skills, I knew I would have to be content to simply photograph my photographs. This year, though, I determined that I was not going to let the challenge end without my sharing at least part of our story here at Hope Is the Word, bad pictures notwithstanding.  😉

I say “our story” because as you’ll soon find out, this story would not be possible at all without my precious husband, known here in blogland as Steady Eddie.  We met one fateful day in the library where I worked–he came in to check out some books (imagine the mileage a “check out” joke can get, folks, and you’ll know how much we’ve heard it in the past 13 years!) and it was love at first sight.  Okay, I don’t really believe in “love at first sight,” but it was definitely “something’s up here, and I think it might be a God thing” at first sight.  😉  (To tell you a little bit about how Steady Eddie was affected by our meeting, which consisted of zero to few words,  he went home and read what I recall being THREE average-sized novels so he could bring them back the next day.  It never occurred to him to bring them back unread.  What a guy!)  We dated for about fifteen months before he proposed, and after leaving him hanging for a few days, I succombed to what I knew by then WAS a God thing and said yes.  Since at the time I was teaching school and he was in graduate school to become a teacher, we decided to get married the following summer. 

As we began to plan our honeymoon, it really did seem that the possibilities were endless–two young, financially unencumbered (relatively speaking) newlyweds–what destination was our heart’s desire?  Of course, since I was about fourteen years old I had been enamored of all things PEI, so it was one of my first choices.  Steady Eddie, being the loving, agreeable fellow that he is, readily said yes. (!!!)  I remember sitting in our local Pizza Hut with an atlas of the United States spread out between us, plotting our course.  We decided on a two week honeymoon in which we would take in some of the sights between Alabama and PEI, Canada, spend about a week on PEI, and then take another route back home.  What a plan!

We had leisurely week-long trip north/northeast, stopping for a few days in one of my favorite places on earth, Washington, D.C.  We even spent an afternoon in Philadelphia.  We got lost in New York City in an attempt to get close enough to the Statue of Liberty to take a good picture.  (We spent that night in Vermont, folks–as far away from NYC as we could get without having to drive into the wee hours.)  We saw some beautiful, picturesque places in Maine that I would love to return to some day. 

But finally we were on PEI.  Can I tell you how thrilling it was to finally be on “the island”?  Our first stop was at the Cavendish visitor’s center, and of course, I had to have my picture made here–this is Avonlea, folks!

After this, one of our first stops, even before we saw our lodging, was at Cavendish beach.  I couldn’t wait to see the famous red cliffs! To my remembrance, this was a Sunday (?), and the beach was rather deserted, although we obviously found a nice passerby to take our picture. 

From here it was on to our lodging, a beautiful inn called Kindred Spirits.  I’m not taking the space to post any of the pictures I took of this beautiful facility, but please, do visit the website and look around.  It is truly a gorgeous place to spend a vacation.  The website even features our very room for the week here and here and here.  One of the best parts of all about this inn is that it is situated right next door to Green Gables!

(As a side note, I almost never crop pictures in silhouettes anymore.  😉  However, for some reason, I still like the effect for this one.  Maybe it’s the quote.)

We stayed at Kindred Spirits for about a week and took in all the Anne-related sights we possibly could.  Some snippets I remember from the trip:

  • thinking this would be a wonderful place for a family vacation since the beaches, even in June, were not very crowded and it wasn’t too hot.
  • the huge amount of Japanese tourists who love Anne. One of the funniest things that happened to use happened at Bright River Restaurant in Cavendish.  A table full of Japanese women had a very difficult time communicating with the waiter.  He couldn’t get the concept of mashed potatoes across to them, and Steady Eddie and I really got a kick out of these refined Japanese tourists ordering “two beer” to share among the lot of them.  🙂
  • as in most tourist traps, everything thereabouts is named after something from the Anne books.  I didn’t mind this time, though.
  • PEI has an amusement park which then boasted a very rickety roller coaster which I rode, even though in general I detest being frightened in the least.  It was either the influence of the honeymoon or the location, or both.  😉
  • life seemed to travel at a much slower pace in general on PEI.

We visited L.M. Montgomery’s gravesite

Silver Bush

At Silver Bush (the home which inspired Pat of Silver Bush and Mistress Pat, I might add), we also saw the inspiration for the “Lake of Shining Waters”

and the cabinet in which Anne found her first friend, Katie Maurice.  (Remember that?)

On our way to Charlottetown to see Anne of Green Gables:  The Musical (fun, but not much like the book, as I remember), we drove across Prince Edward Island National Park and stopped to visit Dalvay-by-the-Sea.  This beautiful resort appeared as the White Sands Hotel in the Anne movies and Road to Avonlea.

Of coure, before we left PEI, we had to make a trek over to L.M. Montgomery’s birthplace

I absolutely loved being able to visit all of the sites related to L.M. Montgomery and Anne. 

We left PEI on Canada Day, but the night before our innkeepers planned a surprise for their guests:  Anne and Diana came for a visit!  This was so much fun, and the girls did a great job of portraying the characters.

I couldn’t have planned a better honeymoon if I had planed it by myself.  😉  Looking back after over ten years, a couple of job changes, two children (and one on the way), and the usual trials and tribulations of life, I can truly say that it was a dream come true and I owe it mostly, if not entirely, to this guy:

Thanks, Steady Eddie!  I love you!

L. M. Montgomery Reading ChallengeCarrie’s L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge ends on Sunday, January 31, so there’s still time to share your memories of Anne or PEI.  I’ve really enjoyed this jaunt down memory lane, and I hope the length of this post and the number of photographs weren’t too much for you (or your computers!).


Mistress Pat by L.M. Montgomery



6. a women who is skilled in something, as an occupation or art.

According to the Random House Dictionary via Dictionary.com, this is one of many definitions of the word mistress.  Unfortunately, nowadays the word usually has a more nefarious connotation, but back in 1935 when this book was copyrighted, the idea that a woman could or should be mistress of her home was completely acceptable, even admirable.  It has been a great long while since I first read the Pat books, and certainly it was before I was mistress of my own home, but if I could sum this book up on just a phrase, this would be it:  a glorification of all things domestic.

Mistress Pat is the completely charming sequel to Pat of Silver Bush (linked to my review), and indeed, it literally picks up where the first book leaves off.  However, Mistress Pat just offers a little glimpse, a vignette, of the Silver Bush doings in the succeeding eleven years.  In these years, Pat traverses her joyful and at times painful twenties and watches literally everything about her life change.  She has and rejects scores of suitors, to the point that most of her neighbors consider her “on the shelf.”  Her one consolation in life, though, is that she still has her home, Silver Bush.  I don’t want to reveal the ending of the novel, but I will say that it ends satisfactorily.  I will also say that I shed more than one tear in this novel, and it really reminded me of one of the reasons I love Montgomery so much.  (I’m a sap–I’ll admit it.  Nevermind the fact that I am 19 weeks pregnant AND I had a raging headache when I read the sad bits.  As an old acquaintance of mine, an English teacher turned pastor, once said to me, “You just love a good catharsis.”) 

Now that all the sobbing is over, let me get back to my original premise–that this book is all about the delights and joys of homemaking.  You see, Pat is completely content to simply live in her childhood home and care for it, despite the fact that she has no husband and at times, no real prospects in sight.  I enjoyed reading this, and it made me (if only briefly 😉 ) think about mundane tasks a little differently.  Of course, based on Montgomery’s descriptive powers, who wouldn’t want to care for Silver Bush, but I digress. . .

It does seem just a trifle odd at times that Pat would give up the prospect of a life of love in her own home to simply keep looking after her childhood home, but of course, it all comes to rights at the end. 

L. M. Montgomery Reading ChallengeI’m so glad Carrie is hosting her L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge again.  It gives me a nudge to do something I probably otherwise wouldn’t find time to do:  pull out these delightful old “friends” and visit with them again.  Thanks, Carrie!

These are the books (linked to my reviews) I’ve read for this challenge, which I’ve now participated in for two years:

I think my walk with L.M. Montgomery is probably over, at least for the first part of this year.  However, I do have another Anne-ish post or two up my sleeve, if I can manage them.  Steady Eddie and I spent our honeymoon on P.E.I., after all, and I do have the pictures to prove it. . . 🙂

Stay tuned!

Pat of Silver Bush by L.M. Montgomery

You know, when it’s all said and done, I have a really hard picking which book of L.M. Montgomery’s I truly love best.  Every time I re-read one, I realize that the elements that I love most about, say, the Anne series itself are also present in the book I just read.  Pat of Silver Bush is no different.  In this book, we have an imaginative, loving, unique-if-plain (but she does grow better looking as she gets older, of course) little girl heroine who lives in a charming home with a loving family on Prince Edward Island.  As in the case of all Montgomery heroines (and please, if I’m forgetting one who doesn’t fit this pattern, remind me of who she is!), Pat has a surrogate mother.  Hers is her family’s housekeeper, Judy Plum.  Oh, Pat has a mother all right, and a perfectly acceptable one at that.  (This isn’t always the case in Montgomery’s books, you know.)  Pat’s mother is sickly, though, with some a malady which only becomes known at the end of the story, and despite the fact that she has work-worn hands (as described by Pat at one point in the story), we don’t see much of her around Silver Bush.  The situation reminds me of “Mrs. Doctor Dear” and her deference in most things domestic to Susan beginning (I believe) in Anne of the Island.  

 Judy Plum is my favorite character in the whole story.  In fact, she just might be one of my favorite characters of all of Montgomery’s.  I don’t know if it’s her Irish brogue, her superstitious nature, her ability to wring a story out of mere suggestion, or just her general spunk, but I like her a lot.  In fact, she has most of the memorable lines in the story.  Rather than regale you all with a plot summary, I’m simply going to share a few of my favorite Judy Plum quotes here:

On Aunt Hazel’s wedding day:

“Quane’s weather,” said Judy in a tone of satisfaction.  “I was a bit afraid last night we’d have rain, bekase there was a ring around the moon and it’s ilil-luck for the bride the rain falls on, niver to mintion all the mud and dirt tracked in.  Now I’ll just slip out and tell the sun to come up and thin I’ll polish off the heft av the milking afore yer dad gets down. . . ”

“Wouldn’t the sun come up if you didn’t tell it, Judy?”

“I’m taking no chances on a widding day, me jewel.”


“I’ll soon fatten up on your cooking, Judy.  Life tastes good today.”

“Sure and life do have a taste, don’t it, Patsy?  I’m only a poor ould maid as has worked out all her days for a living and yet I’m declaring life has a taste.  Sure and I smack my lips over it.”

The other thing I like about the Pat stories is that Pat isn’t beautiful and she isn’t extremely clever and she isn’t ambitious in the least.  She does have something that sets her apart, though.  Judy Plum sums the situation up best in this exchange with Pat:

“And I’m not even clever, Judy.  I can only love people. . . and things.”

“Oh, oh, ’tis a great gift that. . .and it’s not ivery one that has it, me jewel.”

L. M. Montgomery Reading Challenge
 I’m glad I chose Pat of Silver Bush as my first re-read for this year’s L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge.  I enjoyed this story so much that I’ve already begun its sequel, Mistress Pat.  

Go here to read my review of Jane of Lantern Hill from last year’s challenge.

Go here to read my review of The Blue Castle from last year’s challenge.

L.M. Montgomery Challenge

L. M. Montgomery Reading ChallengeIt’s time once again for the L.M. Montgomery Challenge, hosted by Carrie @ Reading to Know.  I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent with Montgomery last year through this challenge.  I read The Blue Castle and Jane of Lantern Hill, which I believe means that I have now read every novel available by L.M. Montgomery (excepting perhaps a volume or two of her short stories–I can’t remember if I ever finished those, but I prefer full-length novels anyway). 

This year (well, not this year as in 2010, but you know what I mean) I’ve already spent some quality time with Pat of Silver Bush; I’m half way through this delightful story already, and if time permits, I hope to read its sequel, Mistress Pat.  Really, one just can’t go wrong with anything by L.M. Montgomery!  In addition to my reading, I hope to share some of my remembrances of falling in love with all things Anne.  Who knows–maybe a photograph or two will even be involved!  😉

Carrie is sweetening the pot quite a bit this year with a fantastic giveaway, so be sure to check out this year’s  L.M. Montgomery Challenge soon!

Happy New Year!!!