Central Coastal Drive
By Dave Stephens and Susan Randles
Touring Regions in Central Coastal Drive
The northern section of the Central Coastal Drive, Green Gables Shore Region, is probably the most travelled road on the Island as it passes through the Cavendish and PEI National Park region. While
British Days across
the bridgethe more commercial attractions appeal to many visitors, we have discovered a number of special places a little off the beaten track. At Winsloe North we often stop in to see the Cheese Lady for
View Highway map some traditional Dutch-style Gouda (we like the herbed flavour) and to say hello to her llamas. And we always drive to North Rustico to enjoy a stroll along the boardwalk that edges the bay and admire the weathered bait sheds.
When the children were younger we would take them to the playground at Cabot Beach Provincial Park but nowadays we turn off the Drive at Darnley and let them walk the beach and climb through the sandstone sea caves that pepper the shoreline. As with other secluded beaches there aren't any change facilities or lifeguards, but then there aren't many people either. If it is a Saturday morning we will stop at the former railway station in Kensington to take part in the weekly market held in the old freight shed.
Victoria-by-the-sea The southern section of the Central Coastal Drive, Red Sands Shore Region, runs along the calmer Northumberland Strait side of the Island. We are lured to the little beach park at Victoria to have a picnic and splash in the warm water. Another good picnic spot is Port-la-Joye-Fort Amherst National Historic Site (besides, the trails are great energy burners for children).
As visitors to Prince Edward Island arrive at the crest of the 13-kilometre Confederation Bridge, 60 metres above Northumberland Strait, they are presented with a marvellous vista of the Island. South Shore is a region of rolling hills and redcliffs, and is in many ways the economic and political centre PEI.
Confederation BridgeAt the Visitor Information Centre in Gateway Village, located at the foot of the Confederation Bridge, the Our Island Home exhibit is an imaginative introduction to our industries, arts and culture. Gateway Village also contains a selection of more than 20 shops, restaurants and snack bars. If you have ever wondered what you would look like with red braids à la Anne of Green Gables, stop in at Cavendish Figurines and find out!
Midway between the Confederation Bridge and Charlottetown lies a quiet village that seems almost untouched by modern development. However, a stroll along the tree-lined streets of Victoria-by-the-Sea will reveal craft shops, galleries, cafés, a theatre and even a chocolate factory! A park and seafood market suggest a nice picnic option, or sign up for a kayak tour.
DeSableTo get a first-rate view of the Confederation Bridge from the shore, drive up to the St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church in North Carleton and get a shot of one of the world's longest bridges. Then have your picnic lunch at Chelton Beach Provincial Park. Keep your eyes peeled for local horsemen jogging their standardbreds as they get ready for the races. The Charlottetown Driving Park has a busy harness racing schedule. This year they host the World Driving Championship.
Charlottetown celebrates its status as The Birthplace of Canada in many fun ways. At Founders' Hall on the waterfront, visitors to the multimedia exhibit centre are transported through Canada's history, from the moment of conception at the Charlottetown Conference to the Canada of today. Province House National Historic Site has restored the chamber where the discussions were held in the fall of 1864. Why not pick up a Heritage Passport which includes admission to the sites, a tour and lunch?
Confederation PlayerCharlottetown is also a very lively cultural centre where theatre productions range all the way from the professional musicals performed at the Confederation Centre's 1000-seat theatre, to local dinner theatre and improv-style entertainment. And music begins on the street corners and extends all the way to the nightclubs, pubs and stages covering the gamut from Celtic to jazz. Shopping in South Shore also provides marvellous entertainment as the region is home to many excellent galleries, specialty shops and even product tours for those who want the full story.
Charlottetown is the base for many great touring options. Sign up for a walking tour guided by one of the Confederation Players in historic costume, a double- decker bus tour, or a day tour to the beach or another region of PEI. For a special driving tour, central PEI is home to many of the Island's Scenic Heritage Roads. In the city, follow one of the "Routes to Nature and Health" or join the many Islanders who enjoy daily strolls on Victoria Park's very popular Boardwalk.