Friday 22 August 2014

My PEI Vacation! (Part 1)

I’m home from five days in Prince Edward Island. I never seem to tire of visiting the Island. The fields, coastline, water, winding roads, and (of course) that red dirt... it’s all picture perfect. I’m so happy that I got the opportunity to visit before the end of the summer and my return to work.

I had made a list of possible things to do, and I am happy to say that I was able to check off most of them! It rained a lot, but we still had a lot of fun.

I’m not going to go into crazy detail over my trip, but I thought I’d share some pictures from my trip to show off my favourites. I will probably end up posting in two parts, because I took a lot of pictures, and it will be hard to narrow them down.

In no particular order, because I can’t actually pick favourites, here are some highlights from Little C's first ever vacation!

1) New Glasgow:
As I mentioned before, the Butterfly House is a side project of the people who own the PEI Preserve Company. They built a respite cottage, for people with terminal illnesses, and a walking trail called Gardens of Hope. Admission is $7 for an adult, but it is expensive to run and all profits go to the respite cottage, so I think it's a very fair price.
This place is so cool. It's a small (hot and humid) greenhouse-like building full of butterflies. It doesn't get much better than that. They fly all over, so you have to watch where you step, but if you're lucky (usually if you are wearing red or orange) they will even land on you. You can convince them to hop onto your finger so you can get a closer look. The orange slices can help. The butterflies love them! They stick out their curly tongues to lick the oranges. I find it fascinating. Little C seemed mesmerized by them. Since visiting, I've noticed that he is watching butterflies when we're outside a lot more.
The Butterflies loved Little C's shoes!

These oranges couldn't be picked up, but there were others that could. The butterflies went crazy for the oranges!
Close-up! Check out those eyes!

This is what the butterfly above looks like when he (she?) lands.

Can you see that curly tongue?
This was my favourite. Beautiful!
After we finished at the Butterfly House, we went for a walk in the Gardens of Hope. It's a nice place to stop, smell the flowers, and take in the view. I'm sure that it is a peaceful walk for families of those in their respite cottage.

What a view!

At the end of the pathways, you arrive at the PEI Preserve Company.

As a little side note, at the Preserve Co., I spotted this - a recharging station for electric cars! I'd never seen this before!

You'll also find the Toy Factory in New Glasgow. I love it there! They make their own line of wooden toys, and also carry some nice lines of quality toys made by other companies. If you like castles, knights, or princesses, you'll love this place! I was able to pick up some toys for now and for Christmas presents. (I know, I know, don't talk about Christmas in August!)

2) North Rustico

North Rustico is a small place, but full of my favourite things - a beach, a lighthouse, restaurants, and LOBSTER!! I'm a maritime girl, so those are all close to my heart. It's pretty close to Cavendish, where we always stay, so multiple trips to North Rustico are always made.

In my experience, I think the best place to get PEI seafood is Doiron's. Seriously. I've bought lobster at other places, but I always return to Doiron's. We sometimes go to a lobster supper for the full PEI experience, but if you go to Doiron's, buy some perfectly cooked lobsters and some mussels to cook on your own, you can save some money - or get more lobster!

Our first night of lobster! (As a note, always store your lobster on their backs in the fridge, so the juices stay in the lobster!)
Our last night in PEI - we added some clams. Neither my husband or I had ever eaten freshly steamed clams before. They were easy to cook - just like mussels and were SO GOOD!

Blue Mussel Café: I've always seen this restaurant, but had never eaten there until this year. I'm pretty sure it was a Chef Michael Smith recommendation that led me there. I'm so glad we stopped in! It's got a great atmosphere - a casual/cool/classy mix. Their cute blue tables with matching benches and lighthouse candle holder centerpieces make for a fun dining experience. It's simple, but intimate. I bet it would be a great date spot. There was a mix of families, couples and friends eating while we were there. I don't think they had highchairs, but I didn't ask, because Little C was happy to sit with me. The staff was very friendly too. These all make for a great restaurant.

Then there was the food: it didn't disappoint! They have a small menu, but I got the impression that anything I picked would have been good. I chose the lobster roll. (It was a toss up between that and the seafood chowder or the seafood bubbly bake. I guess I'll need to return!) The lobster roll was served with potato or pasta salad, or you could upgrade to a garden or Caesar salad. The potato salad was delicious - definitely homemade with their own recipe. The lobster roll came on what looked like a crusty bun, but was actually really soft. So good. Actually, I'm wishing I was eating it now! I am just realizing that I've written a lot about this place. You need to go there. Seriously. I don't think you'll be disappointed. Even Little C. enjoyed a little lobster!

 Other North Rustico highlights:
-nice looking lighthouse
-beach with lots of waves on one side and dunes on the other
-breakwater that you can walk along and watch the fishing boats come in (not stroller-friendly or little one friendly, but a nice rocky walk)
-beach you can drive your car on during low tide
-gift shop - pretty touristy, but it's in a lighthouse shaped building
-lots of deep sea fishing excursions leave from North Rustico (I've gone with Aiden's Deep Sea Fishing in the past)

3) Island Hill Farm
This was my favourite family-friendly find of this trip. I had searched for a way for Little C. to see some animals, since he seems to enjoy them. I was lucky to stumble upon Island Hill Farm (Check them out on Facebook and Twitter!) Island Hill Farm is a gem. It's a petting farm, but it also seems like a little education center. They host birthday parties and camps and welcome regular folk like us to their farm. The day after we were there, they had an International Student group visit. Just think of the number of children (and adults) who have learned about farms and animals from them!

They have goats, pigs, kittens, chickens, alpacas, bunnies, ducks, and a donkey! (I'm probably missing something!) It was so much fun! We started in the barn and were led around by a young girl. I'm not sure if she was a daughter of the owners or someone who worked there, but she was fantastic - so knowledgeable and friendly, and you could tell she loved the animals. She was so caring and proud of them. You can tell that these people love what they do. The barn was decorated with art work and twinkle lights. Everything was very clean and you could tell that they animals were very happy. It's a happy farm.

"Allow your passion to become your purpose and  it will become your profession."
These folks have certainly found a way to turn their passion into their profession.

That pile of fuzz is actually a pile of baby bunnies! I think they were 11 days old and just starting to open their eyes.
Inside the barn - I like the little goat "stage." I think they like it too. (See the fun artwork!)
Another picture inside the barn. I love the twinkle lights. What animal WOUDN'T want to live here!
Pigs! Little C's favourite. He loves hearing pig noises.

Friendly reminders :)

Alpaca with a funny haircut (with his goat and noisy chicken friends)
Little C checking out the goats. He had just made friends with them after they scared him, by licking his hand. Soon after this picture was taken, one sneezed on him! That was scary, but he got over it pretty fast. :) Not too traumatic, and I think he loves goats again.

That's not it, but it's all I have for right now. In Part 2, I'll show you what I found in Souris, Kings Castle Provincial Park and some other quick stops we made!

Where would you recommend I visit when I return to PEI next year? Please comment and let me know, so I can add it to next year's list! I love finding new places to visit!



  1. if you like goats!

    1. I love the Canadian Soap Company! We use a lot of their products and visited when we were in PEI. Stay tuned for part 2 of this post, and I'll share some pictures from there! (And tell you my favourite products!)

  2. Love the pictures! I haven't been to PEI in such a long time, and I've actually never been to The Butterfly House! I think it needs to be on our list for our next trip to PEI.

    1. PEI is one of my favourite vacation spots. The Butterfly House is beautiful! It's extra special that all the profits go to a good cause.

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