This morning we cooked breakfast in our cottage. We made a traditional English Breakfast with a Canadian twist… eggs, sausage, tomatoes, mushrooms, Canadian bacon, maple baked beans and a baguette. We like to have a hardy breakfast because more often than not we skip lunch. Peter at the Ambleside in Stratford-upon-Avon would be proud!

We drove to the western part of P.E.I to an area known as the Region Evangeline, a group of communities that still maintains its Acadian heritage in language and customs. We started our exploration in the town of Miscouche at the Acadian Museum. Cecile gave us an overview of the French beginnings and the Acadian history of Eastern Canada, especially Prince Edward Island, which was formally called Ile St. Jean.  The museum is small and well-organized, and can be visited in about an hour. The main exhibit traces the founding of Acadia to today, and includes artfully-created mannequins, with story boards telling their stories – real people with real stories. During the various periods of expulsion by the British, many returned to France, some went and hid on the mainland, and others emigrated elsewhere. Many perished in shipwrecks; others began new lives in France, while still others returned to Acadia after years elsewhere. One of  my former students has the last name of Arsenault, which is the #2 name among the people here. All Arsenaults in North America originated from this area, and are descendants of Pierre Arsenault. There is an archive and research area at the museum for people wanting to know more about their genealogy. The history of these bold, determined people acquainted us to the area we discovered today, and will continue to explore tomorrow.

After leaving Miscouche, we turned into the Region Evangeline and made our way to the Bottle Houses. Beginning in the 80s, Edouard Arsenault began building a series of small buildings out of bottles he acquired from various places. The bottle bottoms face outward, with the necks inward, drawing in the light. He used bottles of every size and color, from mini-bottles to gallon-sized jugs, all making for spectacular designs of light and color! Edouard’s daughter, Rejeanne,  now owns and operates the houses, and came out to greet us and give us the tour of her father’s work. Surrounding the bottle houses are lovely gardens, a goldfish pond with a  fountain, and a replica of the Cap Egmont lighthouse. Edouard was also the actual Cap Egmont lighthouse keeper, so Rejeanne remembers living in that lighthouse! One of the houses is a chapel, complete with pews and an altar made of bottles. Another is called “the tavern,” which is appropriately named since it is, of course, made of…bottles!  You could spend hours there just looking at all the colorful designs in the walls of those houses…truly stunning. We thought about our friend Beth the whole time….she would live in one of these houses if she could – or at least try to make one.

We took a detour before heading back to Cavendish to see the actual Cap Egmont lighthouse, perched on am eroding red cliff over Egmont Bay, in the Northumberland Strait. Luckily, I can decipher the French road signs, since in this region they are pretty much just in French. We saw the street sign with the word “phare” in it, and I realized that was the way to the lighthouse. No other clue or signage. We bumped our way down a red dirt road, and what a view we had when we stopped! This is the classic PEI lighthouse, sort of wide obelisk shaped. We ventured up to the edge of the cliff for a view back at the other cliffs and the shore.  My favorite lighthouse yet.

To add some unprecedented variety to our adventures, we decided to take in an amusement park in Cavendish. But not just any amusement park – a nostalgic-style park with old-fashioned rides like the Scrambler, Tilt-A-Whirl, and a small roller coaster that resembled those of days gone by. This park is called Sandspit. We learned about it from A fellow named Larry who was at Annie’s Table with us. He was the engineer and mastermind behind the park’s design. He used an old quarry as the setting, thus the name “sands pit.” Courtney discovered that her tummy does not do too well on these types of rides anymore, but was a trooper and rode them anyway! I convinced her to go on the Paratrooper, telling her it was gentle and relaxing. Oops. I do not remember it being a high-speed thriller….. Courtney had her revenge later on the bumper boats, pounding into my boat, creating a mini tsunami that soaked my jeans to the skin. Thanks. I just love walking around an amusement park in wet jeans. The view of the Gulf of St Lawrence is spectacular, especially at sunset.  We took the GoPro on the coaster, and got the view toward our faces. That is some funny footage right there! We also held it to the front, so viewers can experience the ride. We trade-off for going to a fun park like this is that you have to eat amusement park food, which is not exactly Annie’s Table! But it is part of the experience, and we try to mix it up and keep it real. We closed down the park, leaving at 11:00, explaining why this blog is a day late. What a blast we had!

Enjoying the journey with a little vertigo…..

Heather and Courtney