Friday, August 23, 2013

Quintessential PEI


I feel like it took me so long to discover my favorite island drive, that I'm almost reluctant to share it.  I'd been out to the east, I'd been out to the west - I'd even been up to North Cape - before discovering this central island drive that I'm sure everyone and their uncle knows about.  Route 20 covers probably less than 20 miles, but with all the stops for photos and little side roads, you could easily make a day of it.


The road starts out in New London (you can take Route 8 to get there from the main drag, Route 2). Immediately, you're crossing a bridge by the first of several scenic harbors you'll encounter today.



A few miles north, there's a pullover in French River, a seriously picturesque little harbor town.  It's got everything PEI is known for - clear blue water, rolling hills, pine trees, fishing boats, potato fields, and the gulf beyond.



Route 20 takes a curve to the west as it meets Cape Road, a narrow dirt track.  Maybe it was just the light and crazy weather the day we went, but I swear, Cape Road is one of the prettiest drives on the island.  If it's dry, brave the 1.5 mile road all the way to the end, where you'll find the New London lighthouse.








Back on Route 20, you pass Park Corner, home to two L.M. Montgomery sites.  Both are worth a visit!


Continue west to Darnley.  Take Lower Darnley Road out to Thunder Cove.  There's not a lot of parking, but this is probably the most photographed stretch of beach in PEI.  The red sandstone cliffs bend into fantastic shapes here.  We arrived too late in the day to fully explore - the tide was coming in - but I can't wait to go back. 





Back on Route 20, drive into Malpeque, where you'll find the Malpeque Oyster Barn.  It's only open during the summer, but it's in a beautiful setting and is seriously the best dining experience I've had on the island.





After your meal, Route 20 takes you all the way back to Route 2, in Kensington. Kensington is worth a visit as well, with a converted train depot and several galleries.  As tiny as it is, PEI continues to surprise me.  I can't wait to go back and drive Route 20 again, as well as stumbling across parts of the island I have yet to discover!

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