Friday, 19 July 2013

Day 1 on Prince Edward Island - July 9

What a great sleep I had our first night at our friends' home.  They put us up in the RV which was perfect!  The windows were open and a breeze blew across the bed all night long.  We used to live in the country and our friends live in a country setting now.  I love how quiet the night is.  Not a sound is heard.  No sirens.  No traffic.  Just blissful peace and quiet!  So after our refreshing sleep, we had a leisurely breakfast with our friends in their kitchen.  This was a time of chatting and laughing and planning.  This was the day that was going to be a quiet day without too much activity.  On my "to do" list for PEI was a visit to the Heritage Road called "Jack's Road".  I mentioned this to my friend and her husband.  He grew up in Flat River, PEI.  He new exactly where "Jack's Road" was.  He used to ride his bicycle on it when he was a kid!  So the afternoon of July 9, my husband, my friend, her husband and I piled into his 4 Wheel Drive Jeep to go touring through the neighbourhood.  First on the list was a trek on Jack's Road.

Jack's Road is considered a Heritage Road because it is typical of the old PEI roads.  It is a packed, red clay road with old growth trees on either side of the road.  These trees create a beautiful and peaceful canopy of greenery over the road.  The neighbouring property owners have agreed to keep a certain amount of growth in order to keep the character of the Heritage Road.  Jack's Road was narrow and had room for just one car.  The packed red clay was visible as tire tracks.  The middle section of the road was full of grass.  Needless to say, the road is not used very often.  Our friend who is originally from the area, mentioned that this road would be very, very slick and slippery after a rain.  It was full of steep hills and twists and turns.  We drove slowly as the Jeep bumped along. We had the windows open and could hear various birdsongs.  We could hear the tree swallows, robins, blue jays, finches and other pretty birdsongs that I couldn't identify.  There were also crows in the mix.   By the way, at the entrance to Jack's Road off the Trans-Canada Highway, there was a sign indicating that the road was not suitable for RV's and trailers.  We followed Jack's Road through to another paved county road.  Our friend turned left and took us through to Belfast and Eldon which are two small villages in the area.  Our friends pointed out the Belfast Community Centre and Arena.  This is one place that we visited on Friday, July 12.  More will be said about it in that future post.  Our friends also pointed out their church which I will mention in a future post as well.

As our drive continued, our friends pointed out Coopers Gas Bar and Grocery in Eldon.  This is the local gas station and our friends like to support the local businesses.  I was really enjoying the drive as it reminded me of Avonmore which is the community we used to be a part of when we lived in the country.  Supporting local small businesses is very important but also a very different experience to shopping in franchise businesses and big cities.  Our friends continued the tour of their part of the world with a drive through Pinette River and Flat River.  We drove down one of the many local side roads which are almost like lanes.  Some are completely grass-covered and go alongside a cultivated field of hay, corn, soybeans or potatoes.  We were driven to the "backshore" of the property which was our friend's childhood home.  He told about fishing, clamming and swimming at this beach.  His father had been a lobster fisherman.  He parked the Jeep and we climbed out grateful for the opportunity to stretch our legs.  The tide was partially out and we were able to walk a short distance along the beach.  Our friend pointed out a vehicle parked a fair ways from us on the beach.  He indicated that these were "clammers".  They were out clam digging or "clamming" using a plunger for efficient and quick work in finding clams.

As we walked the beach, I saw jellyfish stranded on the beach from the tide going out.  I remember jellyfish being on the beaches when I visited PEI when I was 12 years old.  Seeing them on the beach in this visit brought back the distant memory of my last visit to PEI.  I had been walking the beach with my sister and we saw some other children on the beach as well. I remember one of these children getting stung by the jellyfish stranded on the beach.  The memory became crystal clear and I paid close attention to where I was walking on this stroll along the beach with my husband and friends.  As I looked at the beach, I saw blue shells with pearly white streaks.  My friend informed me these were blue mussels.  I saw large shells that I thought looked like oyster shells.  My friend informed me they were bar clams.  It was very interesting to hear about his family history of the area.  I thoroughly enjoyed this guided tour of the area on my first full day on Prince Edward Island.

As the tour continued, we visited, laughed and enjoyed each others' company.  It was very relaxing and informative.  We toured the various lanes and side roads down to the backshore.  We made our way back to our friends' home where we prepared dinner.

After dinner, my friend in her true fashion (which I happen to love about her) pulled out her pen and paper and we planned out our holiday.  All four of us collaborated to produce a plan for every day so that all the "must do" activities were included along with some other activities that were suggested.  At the same time we plotted out our various dinners.  By the time we were finished, it was time to sit and watch the 10:00 news.  I didn't make it very far into the newscast before I was yawning and needing to head to the RV for bed. It was the end of a great day.  There's nothing like living fully in the moment.  I deliberately avoided going to the laptop or internet so that I could fully engage with communicating in person with my friends. I truly felt very comfortable like I had "come home".  It is not my home as I don't believe I have any descendants that were ever in PEI.  I have a couple who are very special friends and they have made my husband and I feel very much at home.  They have opened up their home to us and treated us like family.  I loved my friends' flower gardens.  Their front porch was a comfortable oasis with wind chimes gently chiming while the local hummingbird visited their hummingbird feeders as well as their lilies.  This was just the beginning of a wonderful holiday.  More to come in future posts so stay tuned.

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