Wednesday, September 30, 2009

beach break

Taking a break from Anne, we visited Brackley Beach. It's September and a bit on the chilly side, but even with that the beach was still beautiful.
The colors are gorgeous in PEI. On land, it is a symphony of emerald and gold and silver, but on the shores the it is the a warm burnt sienna red of the sand and the deep blue ocean that paint the picture. While I made a little collection of egg-shaped rocks, Squatchie took some photos--I think the first photos he actually took for himself. I guess he really wanted to capture the moment that he was sans-Anne that day!

descriptions come to life

Coming from a picturebook background, I struggle with writing description. I often tell students how after sending in my first draft of The Year of the Dog my editor sent it back to me with the note "You need to add at least 2-4 description on each page." This was because I hadn't written ANY. In picturebooks, there are always illustrations so I never had to write description before. Now, I had to learn.

And one of authors I studied was, of course, Lucy Maud Montgomery. Even if you don't like the Anne books, you should have the deepest respect for her ability to create beautiful images from words. And, while visiting PEI, my admiration for her only increased. So much of what she had written was exactly like the land around me.

From the red earth,
to the placid animals,
(Squatchie & I dubbed this the "oreo cow")

to the mirroring water,the sapphire blue gulfs,
and the silver and gold light:
"The sun had set some time since, but the landscape was still clear in the mellow afterlight. To the west a dark church spire rose up against a marigold sky. Below was a little valley and beyond a long, gently-rising slope with snug farmsteads scattered along it."
-LM Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables


To continue the extreme girly-ness of the day, I decided to visit the Blue Winds Tea House. This incredibly sweet tea house serves treats made from recipes found in LM Montgomery's journals, "New Moon Pudding" for example.
I chose their high tea menu: egg sandwiches, scone, shortbread, peach poundcake, tea and the Lucy Maud's famous raspberry cordial.
Those familiar with the Anne books know that raspberry cordial played a large part in the first book. Anne invites her best friend Diana over for tea and mistakenly serves red currant wine instead of raspberry cordial to her. Subsequently, Diana returns home drunk and is forbidden to play with Anne ever again.

Here I am, sipping the raspberry cordial:
or is this the currant wine? I'm starting to feel a bit tipsy....

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

museum of anne

After the relatively short visit at Lucy Maud's birthplace,, I decided the next stop would be the Anne of Green Gables Museum.
I found this place quite fascinating. The museum is actually "Silver Bush" the settings of where Lucy Maud's books Pat of Silver Bush and Mistress Pat are based on. It was the home of her cousins' and where she had many happy and fond memories.
In fact, she was married right in this parlor. Apparently, modern-day couples can get married here as well. It is said to be especially popular with passionate Japanese fans.

I have to admit that I can kind of understand that. Because the museum has an incredible amount of fascinating memorabilia. This is the glass door bookcase where Lucy Maud imagined a friend from her reflection, much like Anne's Katie Maurice:

And these are the dishes and drawer/vanity that Lucy Maud describes in Emily of the New Moon:
And across the street is the real Lake of Shining Waters

with lovely landscape all around:

Lucy Maud's Birthplace

The next place we decided to go...well, even though I say "we" it was really the next place I decided to go was Lucy Maud's Birthplace.

This was not as exciting as I thought it would be as Lucy Maud did not spend more than a few infant months here. Her mother contracted tuberculosis and Lucy Maud was sent away to her grandparents. Lucy Maud's mother, Clara Macneill, died when Lucy Maud was 21 month old. So, in some ways, she was very much like Anne.
However, I was rather happy to see a real braided rag rug. This, like the tulip quilt, is something also mentioned in the books that I have always kind of longed for.
And the birthplace did also had Lucy Maud's wedding outfit, complete with shoes.
Back then, they did not make right or left shoes. A shoe was made for your foot, without any specifics. I would imagine these wedding shoes were even less comfortable than today's heels.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Grace of Green Gables

After a delectable and filling breakfast of waffles, bacon, oatmeal, scones, fruit, and tea, we were off. First to Anne's (as in the fictional character Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables) land of Avonlea...or really, Cavendish, which is the area that Lucy Maud Montgomery based Avonlea on.
Yes, I am a super Anne of Green Gables dork. I am SOOO happy to be here!

The first place we go, of course, is the Green Gables House. Apparently, Lucy Maud based the fictional Green Gables on the house and land that her grandfather's cousins owned.

But before we see the house, we sit through a cursory movie about Lucy Maud's life and various installations that contain tidbits of the author and the books. I'm sorry to say that I did not pay attention to most, as I was in a rush to see the house.

The only one I did happen to stop at (waiting for Squatchie to catch up) was this one:
which featured "the face" of Anne. Apparently, Lucy Maud happened across a photo of this woman in a magazine, cut it out & pinned it up and imagined Anne around her face. This I found surprising as it is not how I pictured Anne at all. Also, the model (Evelyn Nesbit) had somewhat of a sordid real life--embroiled in a love triangle which had her ex-husband murdering her lover. Not very Anne-ish.

But I quickly shrugged off this strange bit of trivia because in my sight was...
Green Gables! Just like the book!

In fact, it was quite obvious that many pains were taken to make it as much like the book as possible. The interior was faithfully decorated to the descriptions of the book. From Anne's room displaying her first "pretty" dress, a brown gloria with puffed sleeves:

to the spare room with Mrs. Lynde's warp cotton tulip quilt. I was especially thrilled about this as I have always wanted a tulip quilt after reading about it in the books, but was never quite sure what they looked like. Now, I know!

And, as I said earlier, not only was the house the basis of the book but the lands were too. There really was a path that Lucy Maud called "Lover's Lane":

with a romantic, rustic bridge over a sparkling brook:

And, there was also a real Haunted Woods too:
However, in the book, going through the Haunted Woods led you to Diana's house. Here, going through the Haunted Woods led you to a golf course:

But, I found myself overlooking small details such as these, they were easily ignored, "like spots on cherries." Because for this small half an hour, I was Grace of Green Gables-- with childhood imaginings coming to life in adulthood.

me, with my childhood Anne of Green Gables book (dated 1987)

My Mother's Country Inn

Squatchie and I woke up the next morning to a shiny, albeit a bit drizzly day. I had choosen the B&B we were staying at off the internet and after being there, I must say I was quite proud of myself. It was a completely charming place. The red-headed owner was, as a child, photographed as "Anne" for Maclean's magazine in the '50's!

From the sign:
to the house:
to the view:
it was truly delightful. We stayed in the lovely Green Room:

and ate the most delicious waffles I've ever had. There is no photo of the waffles because we ate them.

My Mother's Country Inn

New Glasglow, PEI
1 (800) 278-2071

Sunday, September 27, 2009

on the way

My traveling companion (a Canadian Sasquatch who for now will be referred to as "Squatchie") and I decided to drive to PEI. Not only is it a very long drive (over 10 hours), one must keep alert for oversized mooses:
which we saw none of. We did, however, see beautiful New Brunswick scenery:
And we could not help but stop to see Potato World:

and the longest covered bridge in THE WHOLE WORLD:
but seeing these additional sights made the trip even longer so by the time we made it to PEI, all we saw was:
The moon seemed pretty welcoming, though.

Friday, September 25, 2009