Day 8 – Charlottetown, PEI
Day 8 – Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
It was another spectacular sunset last night. How lucky we are. I sat in the Crows Nest on the Zuiderdam to watch it. The comfortable leather chair with foot stool was so comfy it would have be easy to fall asleep…. I haven’t cruised on this ship for a while so this is my first experience in the “newly revamped” Crows Nest. It’s located on the 10th Deck forward so there are commanding views. In the past it was primarily a lounge – now its a multi-purpose space – lounge, library, card playing, puzzle area and home of Shore Excursions Desk – dominated by a couple large video monitors with high tech information about the ships current location.
Eastern Canada easily draws you in. Its probably the combination of a more relaxed way of life (in comparison to Ontario), beautiful scenery and the friendly locals.
Charlottetown has a population of 50,000 and the entire island is around 156,000. Their link is the Confederation Bridge. Since its completion box stores such as Walmart have located here because its now possible to transport their goods over the bridge. They have no natural gas piped to this island so oil or propane is used – many homeowners install heat pumps.
Early this morning a large group of us boarded a coach and enjoyed a leisurely drive through the rolling, rural countryside. Its a overcast drizzle day. We made a stop at “Anne of Green Gables” – toured the homestead and strolled down “lovers lane”. The book “Anne of Green Gables” has been published in over 30 countries and in 11 languages.
I purchased “Black Garlic infused Sea Salt” from a young entrepreneur whose production is almost large enough that he can start shipping his product – I wish him well – http://www.peiseasalt.com
Agriculture is the number 1 industry here – fishing plus the farmers grow over 60 varieties of potatoes (80,000 acres) which are shipped all over the World. There are 1800 farms on the island, 18% are farmed by females and the average age of local farmers is 55 years old. The largest animal is the coyote and their red fox is a nuisance.
The Amish and Mennonites have been moving onto the island because land is still affordable. We didn’t spot any buggies but saw some Amish schoolchildren dressed in their colourful dresses. The locals flock to the Amish farms on Saturdays when they sell their organic produce and freshly made breads. There were Amish Quilts available for us to buy next to the pier.
We heard the story of PEI Island Preserves – opened by at the time a struggling chef who decided to put amaretto in his strawberry preserves and the rest is history. His preserves are now shipped all over World. The impressive manufacturing facility is on a beautiful piece of land with a large pond.
Sixty one lighthouses can be found on the island including the oldest one in Canada.
Last Tuesday there were a number of cruise ships in Charlottetown so 9600 passengers invaded the area. Today it was much more manageable – we are here with Holland Americas Veendam (a smaller cruise ship). It isn’t busy anywhere.
After our tour we enjoyed a light lunch onboard the ship and then some of us explored downtown Charlottetown. There are a number of beautiful churches to tour – I was especially impressed with the massive United Church which is known for its excellent acoustics. Although their congregation is getting smaller, they still attract around 400 for Sunday services. I was very happy to find a Starbucks. The last time we saw one was in Halifax. The location here in Charlottetown has a neat vibe to it and was packed.
We were impressed with the Great George Hotel. In the lobby they display pictures of celebrities that were housed here – Elton John, Reba McIntyre to name a couple.
Like the other Canadian ports of call we have visited the building next to the pier is filled with local crafters selling their wares.
Tonight I am treating my passengers to Dinner at Canaletto a speciality restaurant onboard. We will fill the entire restaurant. I had to book it soon after we boarded ship in order to secure the space. Everyone is looking forward to it.
Tomorrow we travel along the St. Lawrence River. I’ve arranged a number of event for my group including – Tour of the Galley, Backstage Tour and a Luncheon in the fine dining restaurant the Pinnacle Grill.
We continue to have a marvelous time!