Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Long Post About More Magnets & PEI

Whenever we take a trip, we buy magnets… so there they are on the fridge reminding us daily of some great times we’ve had. For about 2 ½ weeks in the summer of 2003, we took a long road trip. We drove from our home in Michigan to Souris, PEI (Prince Edward Island) in Canada. There we rented a house on the ocean for a week. Our trip wasn’t only the week on PEI, but also the drive to and from. We loves us a road trip.

Since it was such a long drive, we went through a lot of states, as well as a few Canadian provinces. We started by crossing the bridge in Port Huron over into Canada, crossing back over through New York. Stayed in a crappy hotel late the first night.

Made Massachusetts the second night, and stayed a real nice hotel there. Great pool. Found a piece of apple (yes, apple) on the mattress of one of the beds when we turned down the covers for the night. Apples attract ants. Lots and lots of ants. The 2nd room was even nicer. And no ants.

Our 3rd day on the road, we finished up Massachusetts, did a short stint through New Hampshire, then up along Maine’s east coast.

Maine was beautiful, especially the northern part. Lots of signs warning us of moose on the highway, though we never did see one. That was disappointing. Crossed over into New Brunswick, Canada, and made it to Fredericton.

That’s where we stayed the night, at the Lord Beaverbrook Hotel. How could you not want to stay at a hotel called Lord Beaverbrook? It was very nice. Old, but nice. The pool was like some kind of Grecian bath. Tile mosaics extravaganza.

From New Brunswick, we crossed the 8-mile long Confederation Bridge to PEI. I was creeped out by that bridge. I just don’t think that bridges are meant to be EIGHT MILES LONG. Whew.

We tend to buy magnets that remind us of specific things about our trips, so I can’t believe I didn’t find one that had lupines on it. Oh, the lupines! Gorgeous, gorgeous lupines. Miss Rumphius must have visited PEI.

We found the house we rented easily, and it was better than we expected… and we had high expectations. A truly beautiful home in a spectacularly beautiful setting. The red cliffs and blue-gray sea, with the sweeping fields of green patchworked with shades of pink, blue, purple, white and pale yellow lupines. We spent an amazing week there. We didn’t do much of anything amazing, just had a wonderful time. We’d go down the steps to the beach (it was a high cliff) and search for beach glass and shells. A little too cold to actually swim, but we made our little screaming dips in and out of the ocean. Made sand castles with intricate canal systems. We would make our daily trip into “town” (Souris is small), stopping at the fish market for lobster or other catch, at the Beer Store for whatever we were in the mood for (lots of Blue Sapphire gin that week, plus some great PEI wines and Canadian brewskies). We were there the last week of lobster season. I became a pro at cleaning lobster.

The house had a “gourmet kitchen” outfitted with everything. I loved cooking in it. We would also visit the grocery store daily, and then the gas station to rent videos. Buy fresh potatoes at the roadside stands. PEI is famous for their potatoes, with good reason. Great potatoes.

I made a potato chicken casserole dish one night because Joycie had picked up the recipe card at a welcome center. It was excellent. The kids have both asked me to make it since, but I haven’t… I don’t know if I want to spoil the memory of that PEI dinner.

We played board games and watched Wimbledon on TV. Cooked dinner every night together, and ate it with a fire going in the beautiful local stone fireplace. Made necklaces out of the little shells we found. Celebrated 4th of July (not such a big deal in Souris); called family that day. We took a day trip into Charlottetown for a play, “Anne of Green Gables.” We are big fans of Anne.

On our last day at PEI, on the way off the island, we went to Green Gables in Cavendish, to tour the house that inspired the author to write the Anne books. It was quite a ways from our path off the island, but well worth it.

We stayed that night in Maine, stopping late at night and ending up at another awful hotel. Lots of bugs! The next morning, 20 miles down the highway were a half dozen great hotels. So now on road trips, it’s always, don’t stop there, let’s keep going, remember Maine?!!

We mostly took the turnpike back home, making a few stops. I remember a really great seafood lunch before we got away from the East Coast. Stopped in Pennsylvania, but only briefly. Somehow acquired 2 magnets. Heinz because Heinz ketchup has a special place in the hearts of my family members (gotta be Heinz), and who knew it was from Pennsylvania?

And Hershey’s because, why not? Who doesn’t love Hershey’s.

I like the turnpike. I’ve talked with folks that hate it. We play license plate games, and we people watch. I like stopping for the 4th time and hearing Sam say, hey, they were at the last stop we made. Sam likes to sometimes try and get the semis to boop at him.

Our last night on the road was at a Radisson in Utica, New York. Beautiful. Nice pool and great pizza. The next morning, we headed out and hit McDonald’s near the hotel for breakfast. This McDonald’s had one of those 1950’s theme going. We sat in a booth and not too far away was a big corner booth. In that corner booth were 3 or 4 old men. I only remember 2 of them well. They were still arguing in their New York accents when we left. It was hilarious. They were throwing some serious shit at each other, but they just kept on and on with it. You could tell it was a normal morning routine for them. Once they got to cussing at each a little too strong, and Kev turned around in his seat and gave them a look. They apologized for the blue talk in front of the lady and the children. The incongruousness of it just made me laugh all the more… the kids and I were not offended, we were cracking up. I think Kev was the only one frowning at them. He’s so protective.

We had planned another night on the road, but booked on home. Stopped at one last Cracker Barrel for dinner. We love the road trips, and at the end of them, we love arriving back home.

A few days after we got home, Joycie and Sam, while spending the day at Grampa & Gramma’s, each drew a picture for me of the house we rented on PEI. I framed both drawings and hung them on the wall in our living room, along with three small sand dollars we found on that beach that I put in a frame.

I kept a journal of our trip, with all the receipts and other stuff. We’ve looked through that journal/scrapbook and the photo album often. We have lots of reminders of that trip. It was one of our best vacations.

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