Sunset for Two

Our friends Meriç and Oktay came for dinner last evening – well actually they brought dinner but that’s another story. As always we ate well, drank sufficiently (don’t get me started on the pleasures (?) of non-alcoholic wine), laughed a great deal and enjoyed their company.

After a stroll on the beach just before sunset we headed back to the cottage and a cup of tea. The mosquitos had discovered our presence and were sending on dinner invitations to their friends so we sat inside. But through the deck doors I spied two birds conversing at the top of one of the evergreens that edge the property. Meriç captured the duo and the glorious sunset that is pretty much typical of sunsets here.

The word for July 18th is:
Glorious /ˈɡlôrēəs/: [adjective]
1.1 Having, worthy of, or bringing fame or admiration.
1.2 Having a striking beauty or splendour that evokes feelings of delighted admiration.
Middle English: from Old French glorieus, from Latin gloriosus, from gloria ‘glory’.
The second definition definitely applies to Island sunsets.

Are We There Yet?

I’m sure that friends and acquaintances are getting rather tired of us harping on about our pending departure for French River. More than one eye-roll has indicated the general feeling mirrors Lady Macbeth’s command to: stand not upon the order of your going, but go!

It is funny – both haha and odd – that where once we would pack our bags and in some excitement head to the airport to journey around the world we are just as excite these days about a 65 minute car ride from home. Is it the pandemic that has elicited this reaction? Or is it perhaps weariness, after many years, of long distance travel? Whatever the reason we’ll be on our way tomorrow to one of our favourite spots on the Island: French River and Yankee Hill.

The village of French River – two more kilometres and you’re in Yankee Hill.
Photo: uncredited

So what are we going to do up there for two weeks? Well Sunday we head over to the Indian River Festival for a concert and then dinner with friends at Sou’West, a favourite in the area. Another evening we’re going to the Watermark Theatre over in North Rustico for The Gin Game. While we there at the cottage we’ll be celebrating our 14th wedding anniversary with a BBQ with our friends Pico and Don. And our Lori, Cathleen, and Nora have promised to come up and explore the Yankee Hill Cemetery and have lunch at O’Neil’s, another favourite. A trip down to Holman’s Ice Cream Parlor in Summerside is mandatory for whatever ice cream treat they’ve whipped up that day. And I’m pretty sure there are hamburgers with our names on them at Backwoods Burger over in Tyne Valley. Plans are afoot to explore a bit Up-West and make a trip over to Lennox Island First Nation and possibly a bit further up the western end of the Island which we have yet to explore.

Other than that there is the sandy beach that stretches from the mouth of the French River to the Gulf. (A left click here will take you to a short video) Only the locals use it during the week and even on weekends 10 or 12 people is a crowd. And should it rain well I picked up two books to read. The Temptation of Forgivenes, the latest Donna Leon mystery – her 27th – will give me a chance to get reacquainted with Commisario Guido Brunetti, one of my favourite detectives. New London, the Lost Dream recounts the history of the Quaker settlement that was established in 1773 on the very spot we are staying at. It is a largely unknown bit of Island history.

And then there is the possibility of just sitting on the deck at the cottage sipping an iced tea (yes I’m still on the wagon) and watching the changing backdrop of an Island sky behind the New London Rear Lighthouse.

The New London Rear Lighthouse from Yankee Hill.
Photo: W. Bruce Stewart.

The threat of Hurricane Elsa seems to have passed us by – some wind, driving rain, thunder and lightening – and as I write this it looks like it’s clearing. The forecast for the next little while suggests a typical Island summer – sun, the odd rain shower, hotish days and cool nights.

Okay! Okay! We aren’t standing on any order and we’re going! We’re going!

The word for July 9th is:
Vacation /vāˈkāSH(ə)n,vəˈkāSH(ə)n/: [1. noun 2. verb]
1.1 An extended period of leisure and recreation, especially one spent away from home or in travelling.
1.2 The action of leaving something one previously occupied.
2.1 To take a vacation.
2.2 To leave something one previously occupied.
Late Middle English: from Old French, or from Latin vacatio(n- ), from vacare ‘be unoccupied’.

More Hiking on PEI

Now I’m sure our friend Nora, and probably Cathleen, Nora and Lynn, will laugh at what Laurent and I call “hiking” but it sounds more athletic than “walking”. Nora is a hiker par excellence having done the Camino de Santiago and a hike around the Island’s 700 km perimeter as a member of the group mapping out The Island Walk. However hike or walk these little jaunts give us a chance to explore our Province, take in the sea air, and the beauty of where we have chosen to live.

Back in early September we had done the Greenwich Dunes Trail; one of the three routes marked out and maintained by Parks Canada at Greenwich National Park. I wrote about that hike in an earlier post.

It was a warm, off-and-on sunny Saturday a few weeks later and we decided to head out to Greenwich and tackle the second trail: Tlaqatik. It traces a path through some of the Sanderson farm land but also that of previous settlements of the Mi’kmaq peoples and early European settlers. The French colony of Havre St Pierre (St Peter’s Harbour) was the commercial centre of the Island from its founding as a cod fishery in 1720 until the Deportation in 1758. The third trail small trail at Greenwich explores the area where the village once stood.

The Tlaqatik Trail begins at the junction of the Dunes Trail and goes through the fields overlooking St Peter’s Bay to the shores of the Bay itself. It loops around through a small patch of woods to the back of the Greenwich Dunes and returns to the junction by another forested path. To be honest it’s an easy hike but one that both of us enjoyed.

I decided to end the video with a panorama shot of St. Peter’s Bay taken from a belvedere on Highway 2. I had mistakenly thought that the Bay had been named after the guardian of the pearly gates. However it turns out it takes its name from the original principal shareholder of the trade expedition to the North Shore of what was then called l’Isle Saint Jean: Louis-Hyacinthe de Castel, Comte de Saint-Pierre.

The word for October 24th is:
Hike /hīk/: [1. noun 2. verb]
1.1 A long walk, especially in the country or wilderness.
1.2 A sharp increase, especially in price.
1.3 American football: a snap.
2.1 To take a long walk, especial in the country or wilderness.
2.2 To pull or lift up (clothing).
2.3 To increasing something sharply (price).
2.4 To snap a football.
From English dialectal hyke (“to walk vigorously”), probably a Northern form of hitch, from Middle English hytchen, hichen, icchen (“to move, jerk, stir”). Cognate with Scots hyke (“to move with a jerk”), dialectal German hicken (“to hobble, walk with a limp”), Danish hinke (“to hop”).
Notice it says “a long walk” – well I consider 4.5 km a long walk, so I guess we did a hike!

Island Goodies

This monring, as always, on our mid-day walk Nicky and I passed by SPUD 102.2 the radio station next to us. One of the employees was out on the front lawn with a station display. Nicky got his expected pat and I got a bag of potatoes!

I mean what could be more Island than a bag of potatoes? Well how about a bag of Island goodys!

Not a russet in sight but I was more than pleased with gifts from Receiver Coffee, the Preserve Company, Dairy Isle (ADL), The Great Canadian Soap Company, Honibe, and Cows. All great Island products.

When the Island was opened to visitors from the Atlantic Bubble (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland) the gang at SPUD welcomed everyone at the Bridge and Ferry Dock with a selection of Island products. And they’ve decided that as winter approaches it was a good idea to remind Islanders of what we have available to us right here at home.

Nora was a bit disappointed that there were no doggie biscuits but Papa and GrosPa were pleased with their haul and the reminder to support our local producers.

Laurent tells me that he is planning to post the Potato Chocolate Cake recipe if I am planning to make it!

Another word for October 16th is:
Local /ˈlōk(ə)l/: [1. noun 2. adjective]
1. An inhabitant of a particular area or neighbourhood.
2. Belonging or relating to a particular area or neighbourhood, typically exclusively so.
Late Middle English: from late Latin localis, from Latin locus ‘place’.
Now more than every it is important that we support local when ever we can, where ever we might live.



On This Island

Last Thursday wasn’t the most pleasant of days. Rain and gale force winds had cut the mainland off from the Island but we headed Up West into the Evangeline Region to meet friends at Tyne Valley. The four ladies had been been on a hiking trip of the trails along the north most tip of the Island and were on the last leg heading back home to Charlottetown. They had plenty to tell us about the food, friendly people, and glorious fall colours of a region that is often neglected – including by ourselves.

Tyne Valley is a beautiful small community a ninety minutes drive from Charlottetown. For such a small place they have a remarkable choice of restaurants including an oyster house, a pizzeria, a tea shop, and a burger joint. Though I wouldn’t really call Backwoods Burger a “joint”. Dating to the late 1800s it has served the neighbour variously as a bank, general store, post office, pharmacy, flower shop, and restaurant. As the name implies Burgers are the specialty and they have teamed with Moth Lane a local brewery. Food is great, service friendly and accommodating, and the beer exceptional. We plan to go back to the Backwoods and to further explore the area.

St John the Evangelist in Miscouche; it is one of the oldest wooden churches on the Island.
Photo courtesy of Verne Equinox at the English language Wikipedia / CC BY-SA.

Miscouche is the gateway to the Evangeline Region. In 1884 it was the location of the Second Acadian National Convention where the Acadian Flag was adopted along with many other national symbols. Since 1964 there has been the small but well curated Acadian Museum next to the beautiful Church of St John the Baptist. One of the reasons for our trip was to stop in as none of our party had ever seen it.

As well as the permanent exhibition there was a temporary display highlighting Acadian Children on the Island. It’s an interesting mix of photographs, commentary and artifacts and as always my attention fell on one or two items that I had to investigate further.

According to the description this wooden high chair was available by mail order from the T. Eaton Company in 1901. It was $2.25 – plus one would assume a delivery charge – which would be about $69.00 today.

A nice high chair to be sure but I found the leg structure rather puzzling. Why were they such and odd shape, what was that strange mechanism at the joint, and what did that lever at the back do?

An early version of a “transformer” – it would have been interesting to see it demonstrated but I had to make do with a similar chair in its rocker mode.


Thinking of how much is spent on hockey equipment today it would be interesting to know how much a pair of skates like this cost. Or were they homemade?

The word for October 13th is:
Acadian /əˈkādēən/: [1. noun 2. adjective]
1. A native or inhabitant of Acadia.
Canada: A French-speaking descendant of the early French settlers in Acadia.
US: A descendant of the Acadians deported to Louisiana in the 18th century; a Cajun.
2. Relating to Acadia or its people.
There is some discussion on the etymology. It is suggested that the name is derived from Miꞌkmaq, in which Cadie means “fertile land”. Another theory credits the explorer Verrazzano who named the Eastern coast after the Greek Arcadia and at a later date Champlain fixed its location but omitted the “r”.