Thursday, October 17, 2013

Islanders: East Coast Style

As I live on a small island at the mouth of the Fraser Riverand my maternal grandfather came from the small island of Whalsay in the North Sea, it seems fitting that I have really enjoyed Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton.

While I am on a cruise ship, I have chosen to find my own way among the locals rather than joining the ship's excursions. In Charlottetown, we met Billy Murphy , who we paid for a tour of the central part of Prince Edward Island. Billy loved to talk, is married to a Islander and even gave us home-baked cookies. We learned so much about the Island life, economy and history. We watched mussels being harvested, saw the first credit union in PEI, visited the Green Gables house and I found a pub to try the local ale.

In Sydney, there was a Fiddle Festival going on. At an information booth, we were given a free walking map and we visited historical houses manned by volunteers in period costume.For a small donation, we learned about Loyalists and Acadiens and we received warm hugs from a local in period costume.

The people of Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton are very warm and hospitable. They appreciate the tourist dollars and treat visitors well. It was so nice to have the opportunity to meet them and to enjoy the beauty of the east coast of Canada.

I am writing on a free connection in Halifax cruise ship terminal so photos and links are almost impossible. I will try in Bar Harbour to share some photos.

If you are visiting a Canadian or American port on a cruise ship, I would highly recommend finding some locals for a tour. Licensed guides can be found in any cruise ship terminal and the fee will be returned to the local economy. In Mexico and Central America, if you do not speak Spanish or feel the least bit uncomfortable, I would recommend the ship's excursions.

I always think of Valdy as the quintissential Islander.
Socking mussels in Prince Edward Island.

1 comment:

  1. I've been to PEI, but never made it to Cape Breton (or Newfoundland) -- on my someday list! I'm sure you've probably read Alistair MacLeod's No Great Mischief. . .

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