Our kids wanted to spend a week in Maine with their old friends in late June. While they visited, we toured Prince Edward Island and coastal New Brunswick for a few days. We had perfect weather the entire time, temperatures were comfortable and we wore t-shirts and shorts the entire time.
We started out at the Calais ME / St. Stephen NB border crossing. Stops in St. John to see the Reversing Falls and outside Moncton to see the Bay of Fundy National Park and Hopewell Rocks before crossing the Confederation Bridge into PEI. (New Brunswick photos here.)
We arrived on PEI around dusk… 9:30 pm Atlantic Time and stopped at the Gateway Village welcome center. One of the young ladies working that evening mentioned the lighthouse tour and gave us the papers we needed.
Visit at least 8 of the 15 listed and earn a certificate. It sounded interesting and we figured we could squeeze in 8 with no problems. Each lighthouse listed has a information plaque on it with a small symbol to be rubbed as proof you were there. Hint: crayons work better than pieces of red clay and pencils are hard to come by.
Note: for safety reasons, the plaques were eventually removed from the lighthouses.
Plaque and close-up of an icon to rub.
Plaques from most of the other lighthouses are here.
We started looking for the first lighthouse on a foggy morning. North Rustico Harbor light was our first attempt as it was between our hotel at Brackley Beach and Cavendish. I hope they are easier for the boats to see in the fog than for tourists, as we could not find it. We gave up looking for it in the fog and went on to our first stop, the national park near Green Gables and walked along the beach a little.
We toured Green Gables and walked the paths around the grounds, enjoyed a raspberry cordial and decided it was way too commercialized. A golf course along the edge of Lover’s Lane? We decided the full lighthouse tour should be a lot more fun. And it was.
Our first lighthouse was Cap-Egmont. It was not much easier to find than the one in the fog. We quickly learned that lighthouses are not signed. And are at the end of little unmarked dirt roads. While Phil marked of the lighthouse on the papers using a piece of rock, I looked over the cliffs at the ocean below. It is so beautiful. We noticed a lot of farms along the ocean with cows grazing on the cliff edges and I was curious to see how high and steep they were. The answer is VERY to both.
Next stop was West Point light. This was Phil’s favorite. It has been turned into an Inn and Restaurant. (The seafood chowder is delicious.) There are 2 guest rooms in the lighthouse and they are booked well in advance. The lighthouse is open for visitors to climb and the rooms open if the guests have checked out. It was hot at the top but really neat and had great views of the ocean. We walked the beach a little in Cedar Dunes Provincial Park and collected a bottle of red sand to bring home to the kids.
Next lighthouse was at the northern tip, North Cape light. It’s only about 60 kilometers north to south on the island and was a beautiful drive. Phil didn’t want to take a dirt road and we didn’t know that dirt road was the dirt road that lead to Elephant Rock, so we missed it. We were told later than the elephant sustained damage during a winter storm and was not an elephant any longer.
There is an experimental wind station at North Cape. Unfortunately, there was not enough wind on the day of our visit and the turbines were still. But it was neat in the visitors center and along the ocean.
Next on Phil’s agenda was to find a post office so I could mail the kids post cards and he could buy some commemorative coins, so we stopped in Alberton. They didn’t have the railroad coins he wanted and he got seal ones instead. (Thanks Ken, for telling him the post office sold coins. I’ll remember that next time you need a favor.)
North Cape & Cape Tryon Lighthouses
We stopped at Belmont Provincial Park to enjoy the scenery and look over the ocean. (I love the ocean, if you hadn’t guessed already.) After a fish dinner in North Rustico we found the lighthouse. We couldn’t have been more than a block away from it in the fog and but were looking to the right and it was left. The evening was young and we had plenty of light left and Phil decided he wanted to find Cape Tryon and New London lights. We drove out past the Lake of Shining Waters and got lost trying to find both. After remembering that they are down unmarked dirt roads, we found Cape Tryon. It was beautiful, the western sky was in the final stages of dusk and the ocean glistened. It was dark till we figured out where New London light was, but Phil had decided he wanted to rub all 15 lights, so we kept looking. We had a nice walk on the dark beach on the way to the lighthouse.