From Craggy Cliffs to Green Gables PEI offers Shuck & Awe


From Craggy Cliffs to Green Gables PEI offers Shuck & Awe

Prince Edward Island, or PEI, as it is fondly referred to by the natives is located off the eastern coast of Canada, nestled between the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Québec and Newfoundland and Labrador in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Charlottetown is the capital. The area feels very much like a harbor town with boatyards and lighthouses dotting the coast line.

The island is a mix of red sandstone cliffs, soft blue skies, and the white-capped waves from the surrounding sea.

 

Places to Go & Discover

When the novel Anne of Green Gables was first published in 1908, most people could only dream of visiting its magical setting. The book gained popularity around the world and was translated into 36 languages. The story was about an orphan named Anne Shirley who came to Cavendish on Price Edward Island to live with a family. Today millions of the book’s fans have made the trip to PEI and discovered the land that captivated Anne in Lucy Maud Montgomery’s stories. I am no exception; little orphan Anne captured my heart and I had to tour her homestead and buy a few souvenirs. Apparently Green Gables is one of the most visited places by Chinese tourists coming to the island as well. We hired a driver and did our own private tour. The house is small and is best done independently not with a tour group. Be sure to stroll down lover’s lane before you depart. The trip to Green Gables can be combined with a lovely drive down the north shore of Cavendish Beach.

 

Dine-Devour

If you like mollusks, you will love PEI. There are endless supplies of clams, oysters, mussels and all varieties of fresh seafood. It doesn’t get more fresh or favorable than a PEI oyster or mussel. They pluck them from the sea and shuck them at your table. Experienced slurpers, which I am not one of, may choose to adopt particular rituals, while beginners will find these simple do’s and don’ts helpful. Knowing the basics can help you better appreciate the entire tasting. As a beginner, I have a fear of the oyster. Try Blue Mussel Café in North Rustico Harbor.

Expert Insight- Consume Plenty of Seafood

There are many ways to enjoy raw oysters on the half shell, depending on the situation and place. Whether it’s an intimate tasting or a relaxed “shuck & suck” right at the source, the key is to pay attention and have fun. When a fresh oyster is properly shucked, a small pool of clear liquid will remain with the oyster in the bottom half shell. It is actually filtered sea water in which the oyster lives, and it holds a robust amount of flavor. By sipping this liquid immediately before or after eating the oyster it will naturally complement the meat. You can even sip a little to start have the oyster, and then finish the remaining liquid. Whatever you do DON’T pour out the oyster’s liquor. This is the best part. If there isn’t any liquid this tells you the oyster isn’t fresh. Do NOT swallow it without chewing; that would defeat the entire purpose of a tasting. Once the entire oyster is in your mouth, pause for a second to appreciate the initial flavors.

Jodi Cross is a marketing strategist, travel blogger and speaker and may be reached at jcross@crossnm.com or www.crossnm.com    

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They Call It… The Journey Through the Clouds

 


Last month we traveled from Calgary to Vancouver on a trip they call the Journey through the Clouds. We saw majestic mountains, scenic valleys, wildlife and azure lakes. Part of our vacation was aboard a train called the Rocky Mountaineer, which set an enjoyable pace through Western Canada and across the Great Divide.


We started out in Lake Louise at the infamous Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. If you ever get to Alberta this resort is not to be missed! The property is a lovely old hotel with vistas overlooking some of the most beautiful mountain scenery, emerald waters and a stunning glacier all surrounded by cool Canadian temperatures, mountain trails and refreshing air.

 Known as the hiking capital of the world, Lake Louise captivates you with meandering paths, sightseeing Gondolas and the adventure you would expect of a national park. In fact, the majority of the trip both by car and train takes you through Canada’s treasure chest of National Parks.


We headed out of Lake Louise and continued on our journey to Jasper to pick up the train. The drive was about three hours long on the Icefields Parkway. Normally driving bores me, but this was the most spectacular drive I have ever been on. The ride takes you through Banff and Jasper National parks. Rugged peaks, turquoise lakes, waterfalls and glaciers peek out at you around ever turn. It is absolutely stunning! There are places to camp, picnic or  hike all along the route. We stopped several times but you could literally spend an entire day on this drive.


We picked up the train in Jasper a sleepy little town of 4,700 people.  The Rocky Mountaineer was top notch. We opted for the Gold Leaf experience which provides meals, beverages and a dome like viewing coach. Meals are served in a dining car below. The over night stop is in a town called Kamloops then you continue for another day heading toward Vancouver. Over bridges, through tunnels, and past rivers we traveled. We saw fisherman and salmon swimming in one of the  biggest salmon runs in 40-years.

 

We arrived in Vancouver to spend a couple of days in a chic metropolitan city with great restaurants, shopping and nightlife. The city was easy to get around with a bus system that continually loops to all the attractions.  There is a wonderful mix of culture and nature in Vancouver with Stanley Park being a highlight. We walked to Granville Island, breezed through ChinaTown and shopped along Robson Street. This was the perfect mix of scenic landscapes, outdoor activities and big city fun. I feel refreshed and ready for the busy fall season ahead. 

  

Jodi Cross is a marketing consultant, speaker and freelance writer and may be reached at jcross@crossnm.com or www.crossnm.com


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