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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CT Takes Off -Destination Key Largo

Keys4     Key Largo’s Newest Hotel

It’s just a Flip Flop Away From Miami

Where to Stay

Discover Playa Largo, Key Largo’s newest destination resort perched on the Bay in the Florida Keys. We recently made an impromptu getaway and our GPS was set on Key Largo’s newest resort, Playa Largo. This mini-sanctuary is just a short jog from the mainland but you feel like you’ve left the hustle and bustle behind; the local’s call it Key’s Time. The resort offers a unique vantage point from the lobby with a glimpse of the pool and bay beckoning you in.  Ah, a deep breath and a rush of relaxation flowed over us as we are met with warm hospitality and a resort associate who remotely checks us in with iPads. Libations are offered as we assess our surroundings. Keys6

Playa Largo was once a pineapple plantation and the resort gives a nod to its history with fresh pineapple water in the lobby and bright colors throughout. If you feel the need for some pampering, Ocean Spa offers a citrus twist on services and the therapists couldn’t be more welcoming. The lobby has a swanky feel with a Ceviche Bar, hanging swings and blown glass fixtures, dangling about catching the suns rays.

Playa Largo Pool

Playa Largo Pool

We decided to head to the pool and enjoy a frozen drink and some light cuisine. The pool is a playground for guests in need of relaxation. There are numbers of cabanas and beach side hammocks to help you fully relax, Keys’ style. This Florida paradise atop a vibrant archipelago awakens your senses to become present in the moment. As we sway carelessly in the hammock overlooking the bay we spot jumping fish. The sky turns orange then a deep red as natures masterpiece unfolds before our eyes and we realize why we’ve come to this serene spot in Florida.

Where to Play

Keys7While in Keys, immerse yourself in the local culture, in particular the underwater playground is not to be missed. The Florida Keys offers world-class snorkeling, diving, deep sea fishing and many other water sports all set upon a canopy of a sapphire blue water. Exploring in John Pennekamp State Park reveals the iconic underwater Christ Statue, an awe inspiring moment to be remembered along with more than 23 other man made and artificial reefs. If you feel lazy, which does happen in the Keys, you can opt to just lounge about in a hammock or hang out in a pool cabana. Key Largo is the longest key with 30 + miles to explore. You’ll find kitschy T-shirt shops and restaurants serving all varieties of fresh seafood, along with Artisan Villages selling local bounty.

There is so much more than just T-shirt shops and key lime pie stands. Playa Largo is a much needed haven and an upscale alternative to the sometimes scruffy Keys experience. This is one secret you won’t want to keep to yourself. Learn more www.playalargoresort.com.Keys8

Expert Tip

Take the road less traveled by driving Card Sound instead of US 1. There are only two ways to get in and out of the Keys, the traffic can be brutal especially on holiday weekends.

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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