If you are going to visit Prince Edward Island, you really should take some time to see the island by water. The views of the red cliffs, bays, inlets and green fields spinning out toward the horizon is a view not to be missed.
Last year, we went for a morning boat tour that included fishing and clamming. This year we went a little more low key and a lot more musical. We booked a ‘jigs and reels’ sunset tour with the Fiddling Fisherman out of Souris.
Our summer of two islands and two countries has come to an end. A bit of a luxury? Sure. Better than spending that money on day camps, water parks, or new toys? Absolutely.
Our girls definitely learn best by doing. Reading books and looking at pictures is great but nothing beats hands-on experience. One of my many favorite little memories from the past week was passing the Amish family buggy on the road near our rental house and the conversation it sparked with Cecilia. You could almost see how the first hand brush with a vastly differently culture was re-mapping her worldview through curiosity and not skepticism.
Whether we were on a working lobster boat or visiting the community bakery, the girls were able to see firsthand how different cultures live, taste the food, and maybe step into their shoes for a short time. These sensory experiences allow the girls to gain knowledge in a more meaningful way. I think that’s worth stretching the budget for.
If you are reading this it means we’ve survived our 12 hour car trip across the border into Canada without an international incident and are back in PEI for a week of mussels….and not much else beyond a relaxing end to the summer.
Family road trips can be many things but mostly they are a test for parents on how long they can keep kids occupied before the children reach their breaking point. I try to see this as a way to help them develop patience and slowly prepare them for a life of sitting in a cube working on TPS reports.
The girls actually did great. We’ve built up their stamina with road trips to Jersey, Philly, and DC and they handled the extra hours pretty well. We did Harry Potter on audio, they did a few movies, there were silly road games, some French pop on the radio, and a breakfast truck stop.
We have three cardinal rules for our road trips: First, keep everyone fed. Second, embrace the chaos with as much humor and patience as you can muster. Third, always bring baby wipes no matter how old your kids (or their father) get.
The big fourth grade project is a report on Canada. This includes research, a typed presentation, and an artifact. One of the things I like most about Cecilia’s teacher is how she gives the kids the time and space to do things on their own. For better and for worse. Sorry, for better and for learning opportunities.
Watching Cecilia ‘type’ her slides was almost viscerally painful. Until she discovered dictation! We thought about stepping in but if we are going to let them figure things out why can’t she use all the tools on her Chromebook.
The toughest part for me to witness has been the design of the slides. I worked for almost 8 year as a consultant. I spent a lot time using PowerPoint. A lot. I would sometimes dream in PowerPoint. People would open their mouths and a perfectly formatted slide would pop out with their dialogue.
Cecilia’s slide dialogue would have been…difficult to read. She enjoyed different fonts. Explored different font sizes. Discovered rainbow fonts. She discovered Comic Sans. We had to have a chat.
As a designer, I will not let my child submit a report using Comic Sans. Time and space has its limits.
Would you think any less of me if my lasting memory of our recent vacation to Prince Edward Island wasn’t the beautiful vistas, iron red roads or Anne Shirley’s Haunted Woods, but rather sitting down in some shaded grass and biting into a warm, flaky hand pie?
Just over the Confederation Bridge, there really is no excuse not to hit up this hidden gem both coming and going. It’s that good nd the perfect opportunity to get and stretch your legs after making it over the bridge.
One measuring stick for today’s parent for the success or failure of almost any venture is the amount of times the kids ask for, think about, glance at, or try to sneak in tablet time.
Amount of times this happened in the last week on PEI? Zero. That feels like money well spent right there.
Prince Edward Island exceeded our expectations in just about every way. And given Michelle’s almost religious fanaticism in the last year about the place I think that’s saying something.
It’s hard to pin down exactly what it was about PEI that made such an impression. They make odd bedfellows, but it reminded us how we’ve felt visiting Hawaii. The confluence of beautiful scenery, swaths of undeveloped landscape, and unhurried pace make it almost impossible not to step out of the flow, unplug and truly relax.
The weather cooperated magnificently. The girls got along. The hand pies were outstanding. The beaches sang. The sea glass sparkled. Green Gables did not disappoint. Many pounds of mussels were consumed. It was a great week.
It all came to end on Saturday and, fittingly, with it came the rain, a drenching downpour that chased us off the island, but first we had to pack. And get more hand pies for the road…
We crossed the border yesterday and the girls learned an important new term: international data plan. You need to pony up some extra money to keep Spotify, Netflix and tablets running in Canada.
We made it to Prince Edward Island yesterday and Michelle is living her dream. Even without the help of some fortifying wine, I’m pretty sure she believes she has walked onto the set of Anne of Green Gables.
You don’t have to squint very hard to be transported back a hundred years. Outside of a few areas, the lack of development is both startling and refreshing. It’s large blocks of pines, tracts of farms and open views to the water.
Not a bad place to spend a week of vacation. Unplugged, unhurried and uninterested in anything resembling normal responsibilities.
That’s how the rest of the week will go (along with bottomless cocktails, long meals and practicing some free-range parenting), but first we had to get to the island….