So I don’t want to give a complete travelogue here of our trip out to The Island (we’re all down with the lingo now), but I did want to just endorse a few awesome things that were awesome and need to be Officially Awesomized.
(Please note that none of these places have paid to have their name associated with me or this blog. In fact, if I’d given them the option maybe they would pay to be not associated with this blog, given my last post about the F-word.)
Awesome Places To Stay
We broke the drive to PEI into two chunks, making it to Fredericton for the midway point. There, we stayed at the Amsterdam Inn, and it was FAB. So clean, the staff was super friendly and helpful, and a full (included) breakfast was served in the lobby in the morning, so we could hit the road all the more earlier, without having to eat fried crap first thing. But the best part was the room itself: a family suite, which is a room with a queen sized bed and a small attached room with bunk beds. Since we have three kids, we had a cot added to the queen-bed room and there was still plenty of space for luggage and walking about. The kiddie room has its own TV and a Wii, and in each family suite the kid room is hand-painted on all four walls and the ceiling with a theme – we stayed in the space room on the way there and the Big Top Carnival room on the way back. There’s no pool or anything like that, but if you are looking for a comfy, clean, cool place to crash overnight, THIS IS IT.
Coming back, we stayed one night in Moncton as well. There’s an Amsterdam Inn there too, but we were going to have a half-day of time to kill so instead we stayed at the Delta Beausejour. Why? This:
It’s a super fun water slide, right in the hotel! It’s not the biggest thing in the world, but it is plenty speedy and twisty, and the shallow landing trough means even preschoolers can be comfortable checking it out. I think it’s safe to say that our afternoon at this hotel was one of the kids’ favourite stops – many thanks to my friend Glenda for recommending it. Warning for families with three kids: their official policy is four-per-room-max, which means they will NOT add a cot to any room. But if you can squeeze your five-person family into either two queen beds or (in our case) a king and a pull-out couch (Sir Monkeypants and I shared with the Little Miss), they will look the other way. We all agreed the cramped sleeping conditions were worth it for the pool.
Lastly, our cottage on PEI itself was the Hampton Sands Beach House, and it was gorgeous. It’s a five-year-old rental cottage that’s very modern inside – like a house, but right on the beach. It can sleep up to 8 in bedrooms and also has a pull-out couch in the living room, there’s two full bathrooms, a lovely kitchen, and included satellite TV and internet access. But by far the best part was this:
This beach, literally right outside our front door. AWESOME. At low tide, there was nearly a kilometer of sand to dig in; at high tide it was warm enough to swim. We found tons of shells and sea glass, saw a wide variety of birds, caught crabs, and spent hours just watching the waves. Location-wise, it was about 15 minutes from the bridge, about a half hour into Charlottetown (but the COWS was even closer, thank God) and about a half hour up to Cavendish.
Awesome Day Trips
Karen of Sassymonkey wrote me an epic email when she found out we were headed to PEI, because she grew up there. She recommended a lot of great stuff, one of which was a day trip to Basin Head Beach. We probably wouldn’t have gone otherwise, as it’s way out on the most north-easterly tip of the island, about an hour and a half’s drive from our cottage. But we did go, and it was so, so worth it. It is a) a beautiful, white-sand beach (with, supposedly, “squeaky” sand when you walk on it but we couldn’t hear it ourselves), with b) gorgeous ocean with tons of super-fun waves, and c) a bridge over a narrow channel that you are absolutely NOT EVER allowed to jump off of, but everyone does it anyway and they even have a lifeguard posted there, so that’s just about the worst example of rule following I’ve ever seen. But OH SO FUN. Bonus: just up the road is the East Point Lighthouse, which is cool, and in the nearby town of Souris is another lighthouse that actually lets you go outside on the ledge when you get to the top.
Part of the reason we picked PEI is that the Little Miss is all into Anne of Green Gables right now, so of course we spent one day in Cavendish, where you can see the actual Green Gables house that inspired the story (and also spend the day at the lovely and very family-friendly Cavendish beach). We also saw the Anne of Green Gables musical in Charlottetown, and saw all the usual historical/touristy things in town. There’s a cute thing you can do with your kids in Charlottetown – start at the Information Centre which is down at Peake’s Wharf, and pick up an Eckhart flyer. Eckhart is a little mouse from a book, and statues of him have been places at key spots downtown. We had a great time looking for the statues (by following a set of clues), and got to see all the sights as well without having to force the kids to follow us around.
Lastly, we spent a day on the way home in Moncton so we could go to the Hopewell Rocks, which is the site of one of the biggest tides in the world, creating the famous flowerpot rocks through erosion. We were afraid the kids would find it boring, and they were a little cranky when we arrived at low tide and found that the sea bed is awfully mucky (but fun! What kids don’t like to get mucky? SHEESH.). But when the tide started to come in, we were sure to be at the very bottom of the access steps so we could see it slowly creeping up around our feet, which led to some pretty excited squealing. Make sure you check the tide times for the day you’ll be there, so you’re sure to have plenty of time to see both low and high tide.
Awesome Places to Eat
I’d love to recommend some places here, but sadly, due to our kids’ multiple food allergies, our food experience on this trip involved mostly a tour of all the Wendy’s and A&W locations in the maritimes. However, I will (like the rest of the known world) endorse COWS, the ice cream store, where the non-allergic among us ate as often as possible, while the milk-allergic indulged in Raspberry Cordials and additions to their T-shirt and bookmark collections. There’s several COWS locations and they are all great, but the one in Cavendish – the original – has a T-shirt outlet shop, so if you’re looking for deals it’s a must-visit. Our favourite french fries came from the Taters down in Peake’s Quay in Charlottetown, and you can also hit the PEI Brewery there for some J.J. Stewart’s locally brewed Root Beer, which we loved.
That’s all I can think of for now…but ask away any questions you have!