Let's assume you have just picked up your free Island map, at our picturesque train station. The friendly staff have answered all of your questions and you are ready to "Hit the Road". Leaving the station, turn left and head out towards Malpeque along route #20. Tourism has aptly named its scenic route Blue Heron Drive and don't be suprised if you see one of these magnificent birds foraging in the marshes and ponds along the roadway. A few miles outside of the town the Blue Heron Drive turns left on route #104. Follow it for a short distance and on your right is the magnificent St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church.
Prince Edward Island is famous for its beautiful old wooden churches and this is one of the prettiest.
The church was built in 1902 in Gothic style, and its most striking exterior feature is its round spire with a circlet of arches at its base occupied by statues of the twelve apostles. The interior is awe-inspiring, with its vaulted ceiling of lightly stained spruce. Mass is held here every Sunday morning during the summer and this beautiful building with its wonderful acoustics is the sight of classical concerts in the afternoon.
A few years ago this beautiful and historic building came close to destruction when years of deferred maintenance finally caught up to it. A huge public outpouring of support and money saved the day. Sponsers adopted various architectural features of the church including, for a price, one of the twelve statues. Back on route #106, you may notice rows upon rows of white buoys in the water and these are a sure indication of mussel farming. Cultivated mussels are a little seafood treat which comes along as an appetizer with many lobster suppers and these "farms" are where these little delicacies begin.
Your tour will bring you back to the junction of route #20. Turn left and soon you will arrive in the community of Malpeque. Jacques Cartier landed on the shores of Malpeque Bay in 1534 but Europeans did not settle for more than two hundred years. In 1728 settlement began with the arrival of three Acadian families and some forty years later the English began a settlement.
Malpeque was once a large ship building area and the "Kier Memorial Museum" in town has an abundance of artifacts and history on the area. If you follow the signs to Cabot Beach Provincial Park, you will come to the Malpeque Bay and Malpeque Harbour.
"Malpeque Oysters" have long been recognized nation wide as the finest available to the oyster connisseur and the "Cabot Reach Restaurant" located right here serves these fresh, mouth watering delights on the half shell.
Cabot Beach Provincial Park is a great camping spot and it also provides picnic areas and related facilities for its popular sandy beach. Take along a picnic and spend the day. The park also offers interpretive programs for the young and old.
Now backtrack to the community of Malpeque (Route #20) and turn left, again following the Blue Heron Drive through Darnley, Sea View, and Park Corner. You will be driving along the coastal route with spectacular views of the ocean. Be adventurous! Take one of the little red clay roads on your left and discover secluded white sandy beaches where you can swim, sun or explore.
Along the way you will discover two interesting museums, especially if you are an "Anne" fan. The Museum of Green Gables at Silverbush overlooks the Lake of Shining Waters and its collection contains many family artifacts including Anne's "Enchanted Bookcase". Just down the road is the Lucy Maud Montgomery Heritage Museum, which was the home of Lucy's grandfather, Senator Donald Montgomery.
Your next stop is the quaint little fishing village of French River. At the junction of route #20 turn left onto route #263, and head towards the harbour. To get to Wild Goose Lodge, take your next right to the lighthouse at Cape Tryon. Do not forget your camera!
What a lovely site! Now backtrack along the clay road, passing the paved road on your right and proceed straight ahead to Yankee Hill. This location gets its name from the Yankee Gale of 1851, one of the worst natural disasters in Island history. This ferocious storm decimated an American fishing fleet, wrecking 80 ships and taking 160 lives. The victims are buried in cemeteries throughout this area.
Continuing along you will come to Springbrook. Here on your right hand side is the Geddie's Memorial Church. This church was built in 1836 and the adjacent building is the bell tower which was built in 1904.
Continuing along route #20, your next stop will be New London. At this quaint fishing village you may want to experience the life of a fisherman and charter a deep-sea fishing cruise. Another popular choice is a feed of fresh seafood at the restaurant on the wharf. Out of the sea and onto your table....couldn't be fresher than that. New London is also known as the birthplace of the world-famous author, Lucy Maud Montgomery. New London was once called Clifton and L.M.Montgomery was born in a comfortable little house on November 30, 1874. The birthplace remains relatively unchanged, still tastefully furnished with Victorian pieces.
If, at the birthplace, you are out of time and decide to save Stanley Bridge and Cavendish for another time just turn right at the intersection and head back home. As you are driving through present day Clinton, watch on your right hand side for some of the most picturesque scenery along the southwest river. You may want to be adventurous again, and turn down some of those clay roads to find our secret places!
We hope that you have enjoyed this short excursion through our neighbouring communities. If you are still sitting at home reading this tour and "armchair" travelling, may we take this opportunity to invite you to come and experience our hospitality. With this little tour we can only tell you about some of the sites and activities you may encounter, but we cannot create the feeling of actually experiencing an "Island" vacation. So come and visit us...we're looking forward to sharing our Island with you.