Here I sit on a bench in Rustico Harbour pondering a little as to why I enjoy Prince Edward Island so much. I would venture to say that this little island would not have very much appeal to most Americans. It might warrant a two-day visit on a Canadian Maritimes tour or an interesting overnight stop while enjoying a cruise of the northeastern Atlantic. There’s certainly no excitement here, nothing remotely glamorous or compelling to capture the attention of travelers looking for exotic, breathtakingly beautiful locations to explore. Now here for the sixteenth time and staying for eighteen wonderful days, what is it that has captured my heart?
Certainly, there is a quaint beauty here. The little obscure fishing villages with their colorful shacks lined in a row at water’s edge, docks with boats coming and going all day carrying hard-working fishermen out to sea, and even the Anne of Green Gables attractions all have some charm. A large variety of lighthouses dot the shores providing some nice photo opportunities, and delicious seafood is always available just down the road at the local fish market. Traditional island music is here to enjoy any night of the week at a nearby ceilidh. Good quality theater productions are enjoyable during the summer season, and island artisans produce beautiful art. But as good as all of those things are, that’s not why we come again and again.
Peace, tranquility, serenity…we all need these things from time to time in our hectic lives in 21st century America. That’s what we have found here. Walking the trails, driving from east to west and north to south on these roughly paved or red clay rutted country roads, and interacting with the extremely kind, friendly islanders day in and day out has provided a now familiar sense of peace and security that we long for as the summer draws to a close each year.
PEI has become our respite, our special place for rest and rejuvenation, and our second home. The relaxed island pace has a renewing and refreshing effect, and we return to our home in Tennessee mid-September ready to savor the incomparable beauty of another Smoky Mountains fall. We leave each year with just a twinge of sadness that this time is behind us, but it helps to know that our reservations are in place for the next time and that our little island happy place will be waiting, unchanged and quaint, next year at the end of August.