One of my favourite stretches of road on Prince Edward Island is Route 12 north from Route 2 to Alberton. It’s a road that runs through the heart of Cascumpec, through hills and valleys, over bridges, through twists and turns, with stunning views of Cascumpec Bay along the way.
I drove the route tonight at dusk en route to Alberton for a home and school meeting. The leaves were at peak; the weather cleared from rain as I crossed through the peat bog heading west from Miscouche; conditions were perfect.
The first time I drove Route 12 to Alberton was 22 years ago, one stop on a series of visits to Island crafts producers when I started my work with the PEI Crafts Council. I drove up to visit Herb Leavitt, who made things out of bird’s eye maple from his shop at the corner of Church and Prince William. He was a genial host; over tea and a biscuit he told me about his craft, and then took me on a tour of his shop.
Herb died 4 short years later, in 1997, and in 2012 the former home of Leavitt’s Maple Tree Crafts, the shop I’d toured at at the corner of Church and Prince William, was demolished.
I returned to Route 12 in 2001 and 2006, in both cases to visit the Princess Pat Drive-in, a singular place to watch a movie with a view over the bay, a solid canteen, and friendly staff. It too is no longer, alas; it suffered wind damage in 2008 and closed shortly thereafter. It was for sale for a time, and I must say that I gave more than passing thought to acquiring it. I could think of many things worse than living out my days changing the reels in the projection booth while the residents of greater Cascumpec lined up for popcorn. But it was not meant to be.
The home and school meeting in Alberton was engaging: parents from Alberton and Bloomfield gathered to talk about the PEI Home and School Federation resolutions process. There was much good discussion of education, and I emerged sure in the knowledge that the good ship ship home and school is well-tended in West Prince.