Last year one of my father’s colleagues asked for advice on planning a family camping trip to Prince Edward Island. I just heard back from him that my advice was helpful, so I thought I’d post it here.
For campgrounds, I recommended:
Cedar Dunes Provincial Park: near West Point. Right on the ocean. Breakfast available from the local West Point Lighthouse restaurant. Very scenic — amazing sunsets.
Strathgartney Provincial Park: near Charlottetown. An excellent campground if you want to explore Charlottetown, as it’s only about 15 minutes
eastwest (!) of the city. In the Bonshaw Hills, and very green and forested. Access to the West River for swimming. Children’s playgrounds and frisbee golf course. The Town of Cornwall, 1/2 way to Charlottetown, is very handy for groceries and supplies.
Panmure Island Provincial Park: on the eastern side of the Island. Beautiful beach. Quite isolated, and very scenic. Close to Montague for supplies.
Red Point Provincial Park: very very east, near Basin Head. Amazing beach, beautiful views, and a good reason to go this far east. Basin Head Fisheries Museum is next door, and is worth a visit.
For restaurants and things to do, I suggested:
The restaurant near the North Cape Atlantic Wind Test Site is excellent, and has a great view. The Wind Test Site is worth the drive to the far north-west tip of the Island: the giant wind turbines are now providing 4% of the Island electricity, and are a site to behold.
The MacAusland’s Woolen Mill in Bloomfield is very interesting, and much unchanged over the last 50, 60, 100 years. The turn raw fleece into great blankets, and you can walk around and see all of the machines at work. You should certainly buy a blanket as well, as they are top-rate.
The Brackley Drive In (www.drivein.ca) blew down last year, but if they manage to rebuild by the time you’re here [ed: they did!] it’s worth a visit. Very nice drive-in movie theatre in the woods near Brackley Beach.
Also near Brackley Beach is The Lobster Claw, an unassuming family restaurant with good food and excellent service, The Dunes, and architecturally interested gallery and studio, with a restaurant attached, and Shaw’s Hotel, which is a hundred-year-old seaside inn that’s a good place to splurge on a room or cottage if you’re looking to do that (reservations are needed well in advance).
In Charlottetown, we like the Formosa Tea House (186 Prince St.) for Taiwanese-inspired snacks and drinks, Interlude (Kent St. across from City Hall) for a different take on the same, COWS for ice cream, the Town & Country for a simple, uncrowded family restaurant with a great outdoor patio. Timothy’s on Kent St. or Beanz on University Ave. are both good for coffee. Sirenella’s is good for slightly formal Italian food (it’s across from the Delta Hotel on Water St.).
As I said, some of my advice seemed to have worked: the family did, indeed, visit MacAusland’s and bought a blanket. They stayed Cedar Dunes and Panmure Island, and went to the wind test site.
My friends John and Sherin at Yankee have been covertly distributing pirated copies of a hand-sketched map of PEI that I made to accompany them on their visit here a couple of years ago. I should try and track down a copy of that and post it here.
Look at me… I’m a budding Nancy Chandler!