Now that’s a long bridge. The Confederation Bridge leading from New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island is eight miles long, the longest in the world over ice-covered winter water.
The island itself has rolling hills covered with farms, small villages – some no more than a house or two – and two towns. It is beautiful with large green fields next to freshly tilled red earth. They raise potatoes, grains, turnips, hay, pigs and cattle. And, of course, they fish.
We settled in Summerside, population 14,500, ao named because it was on the “warm” side of the island. When we arrived, the sun was shining and it was a balmy 63 degrees Fahrenheit but the 35 naut wind made it a bit chilly.
We visited the 1867 Wyatt House which was within a half block of destruction by the “Great 1906 Fire.” There is a widely proclaimed poorly done mural of the fire on the firehouse wall. Murals are common here but great artists are less so.
Perhaps more interesting are the 63 lighthouses around the island. Those built before 1873 are octagonal; post 1873 lights are tapered squares.
There are many places to relax and many things to do, but most visitors to the west coast stop to see the three bottle houses and gardens built by Édouard Arsenault between 1980 and his death in 1994. A retired fisherman, carpenter and lighthouse keeper, he had a sense of humor and made odd use of recycled materials. He started by recycling votive holders from the Catholic parishes, but he also used liquor bottles to make the altar in his chapel, site of several weddings.
There are wind mills scattered all over the west part of the island. At the North Point or North Cape depending on which sign one reads, there is a test station with a generator and propeller on the ground so one gets a better sense of their enormous size. At low tide, one can also walk out the longest rock reef in North America and sometimes see seals and the harvesting of “Irish moss,” seaweed. We were there at high tide and saw seagulls – can’t win them all.