Friday 25 July 2014

PEI Vacation - List of Possibilities

I've been searching and searching for some baby and budget-friendly activities for our little vacation to the "Gentle Island." Here are some of our ideas. We may not get to see everything, because it's only a four day trip, but at least we have some options.  

1) The Butterfly House - ($14 for our family) This will be a repeat activity for my husband and I, but it's all new for C. I'm interested to see what he thinks about the butterflies. Hopefully they won't scare him! I'd never seen so many big colourful butterflies in one place before visiting the Butterfly House.  They seem to be quite friendly and will even land on you.

If you've never been there, it is part of the PEI Preserve Company property. They have created a gorgeous walking trail called The Gardens of Hope and invite you to enjoy the view,  "and let the sights and sounds of nature be sources of  peace, refreshment and inspiration." They have also built a Respite Cottage for families or caregivers dealing with terminal illness.  I think they're doing something pretty special.

If you visit, stop and buy some preserves (my favourite is wild blueberry and raspberry with champagne) and have a bite to eat at the restaurant. I ate there for the first time last year, and it was not only delicious, but the  staff was helpful and friendly and the restaurant itself was gorgeous. Its huge windows let in natural light which filters through the numerous pieces of colourful stained glass.

As you can tell, I can't say enough good things about this business. I love a business that goes beyond the business and creates an experience while giving back to the community. I'm excited to return to take in the sights (and hopefully some bites.)

2) Lobster & Mussels from Doirons Fish Market in North Rustico. If my husband has anything to do with it, this is probably  where most of our money will be spent! We love lobster, and usually buy it at home from a local fisherman, but it's not lobster season now, so it's really expensive. Lobster always seems to be a good price in PEI during the summer, so we always take advantage when we visit. It's also fun going to a lobster supper, (I like New Glasgow Lobster Suppers) but I don't think C would sit through a 3-4 course meal! Maybe next time.

3) Charlottetown: There seems to be a lot going on in Charlottetown for PEI 2014, so I think we'll check out the free events in the "Celebration Zone." There are buskers and kids performers, so hopefully we can find some kid-friendly entertainment. We're also hoping to eat at a restaurant, but I need to do a little research to figure out what kid-friendly restaurants are in the area. I'm looking for a place that has a high chair and doesn't mind a cute little boy eating cheerios and nibbling off of his adults' plates in their establishment. :) Any suggestions?

4) The Flavour Shack: I just learned that this is a thing! It's Chef Michael Smith's little shop (or shack) and features local products and Chef Smith's cookbooks.  Maybe this could be an excuse to buy a new cookbook! It's in Souris at the Souris Beach Gateway Park. It makes me wonder what else is there. I can't imagine that it's the only little business there. (The best part is that it's free to look!)

5) By the River Bakery in Hunter River: forget the eating well, I'm getting a coconut cream pie! This is always a stop on the way to Cavendish. Cookies, pies, macaroons, it's all good. I can't mess with tradition, can I? 

6) The Great Canadian Soap Company: Usually The Great Canadian Soap Company's goat's milk soap is the only soap we use, and I'm all out! I also love their other products - the baby soap, astringent, foot soak, dead sea mask, lip balm... Can you tell I love this place?! I am going to stock up while I'm there, and visit with the goats! There are always cute little ones, and they're all friendly!  

7) Kings Castle Provincial Park: This place is kind of creepy, a bit of a throwback, and I love every bit of it! It's basically a park with old statues of fairy tale and story book characters. I'm pretty sure that I have pictures of me there on my first trip to PEI, (way back in the summer of '86!) and I visited there about 10 years ago and thought it was hilarious.  If we are able to, I thought it would be a nice place for a picnic and some funny photo ops. I think there may be a playground there too. It's a bit out of the way, which is good and bad - it probably doesn't get overly crowded, but it means that it takes more time to get there.  Fingers crossed that we get to see the old creepy statues!

8) Island Hill Farm - This was a bit of a lucky find through a Google search. I was looking for places to visit animals. This place has had good feedback on their Facebook page and has posted a lot of nice pictures on their Twitter account. I'm hoping that they will be accepting visitors when we're there. I think C will like to get up close to the animals. 

A few of my favourites: Beavertails at the Boardwalk,
PEI Dirt Shirt store (both in Cavendish), the breakwater
& lighthouse in North Rustico (up the street from Doiron's
Fishmarket), The Toy Factory in New Glasgow (by the
Preserve Co.), and Anne of Green Gables Chocolates
Other than those, we are planning a few regular "try to dos" which don't take any time or planning and we'll fit them in, if we can:

  • The Toy Factory - fabulous handmade toys that are simple and (I think) encourage creativity. I'm thinking about doing a little Christmas shopping (although I shudder at that thought!)
  • PEI Dirt Shirt (Little C needs a souvenir!)
  • Beavertails
  • Cow's Ice Cream (Gooey Mooey is my favourite!)
  • The Cavendish Boardwalk - my favourite tourist trap
  • Anne of Green Gables Chocolates - I dream of their maple chocolates
  • Visit a lighthouse
  • Walk on the beach

I'm also going to try to squeeze in a visit to Village Pottery, in New London.  I love that store more than any other store. I could honestly drop an entire pay check in there. Or two. I have a pretty big collection of their mugs, tea cups and bowls, and love them ALL. They all get used too.  I rotate them, so that they don't feel lonely in the cupboard! That's how much I love them. Sadly, my husband has basically told me that I really don't need any more mugs. That may be true, but wouldn't a new coffee mug be a perfect "End of Mat. Leave/Return to Work" gift to myself? I think so. I just have to figure out how to get there...

One of the things that I've been trying to do for the past few years is see Irish Moss being harvested. Some family had seen it done years ago, and I thought it looked so interesting.  Some harvesters still use horses on the beach to do it! I know that there was a bit of a crash in the industry, but it is still harvested.  I've learned that it's best to see after a "big blow or storm," and that Tignish is the closest community to the harvest sites. I'm thinking that this will be a no go for this trip.  Going on a hunt for something that I may not be able to see is probably not on my son's list of fun things to do! While I'm there, I'm going to try and find some more information. 

The only other plans we have are to relax and have a great little vacation with our family! Do you think there will be time for relaxation?

So, what do you think? Am I missing a great kid-friendly, budget-friendly attraction? Any recommendations or feedback is VERY welcome! I'll be looking for new places to visit while I'm there, and I'd love to hear about your favourites!

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