Jun 18, 2013

Anne with an E (PEI Day Two)

The next day I woke up to the sound of birds, and a little bit of sunshine streaming in through curtains. It was rather cold and windy, but at least it was raining. Thursday was to be my Anne Day, so I got ready and went down to ask the concierge (yes, I stayed in a place with a concierge! And where they would fold the toilet paper into little points. I quite spoiled myself!) how to get to Cavendish, where Green Gables is located. She printed out the instructions, then gave me more detailed instructions. She said that people in Charlottetown are bad drivers, so to be aware of that. I never did notice any particular bad driving habits, so either I'm the same brand of bad driver as the Islanders, or they aren't as bad at driving as the the concierge says.

The drive was very nice, as all the drives are I was to learn later, and I found Green Gables without any trouble at all.

The house belonged to some neighbors of LM Montgomery, and it is what she based Green Gables on, though she admits to not keeping very sharply to the facts. I have to admit I may have teared up a bit while I was on the property. I saw the house, and could imagine Anne in her bedroom, or discovering the drowned mouse in the crock in the kitchen. I could even see Mrs. Lynde making her way up the road to the back door to discuss the latest piece of gossip with Marilla. 

Lover's Lane
Green Gables is part of the PEI National Park. This means that the wilderness around the house is protected and properly looked after. There are two walking paths, about a half mile each. The first I walked was Lover's Lane. I can't even begin to express how green everything is. I don't think the pictures even show it properly.

The second walk was through the Haunted Wood. Montgomery called this wood the Haunted Wood when she was a young girl. The spruces creak and groan in the wind, which to a young, imaginative child would sound like spirits. I tried to capture it on video--you may have to turn your sound on high to hear it. Off of the Haunted Woods there is a path to the homestead where Montgomery was raised by her grandparents, and where she wrote Anne of Green Gables

Only the cellar still exists of that house, but some cousins of Montgomery's live on the property and have opened it up for visitors. They realized by reading her journals how much she loved the homestead and Cavendish, so they have tried to restore it as much as they could. There is a little book shop on the property where you can get a little verbal history of Montgomery's life.

After I was done at Green Gables (and had bought a warmer sweatshirt in the gift shop along with a copy of Anne of Green Gables), I headed over to New London, to see the house Montgomery was born in. Her mother died when she was 21 months old, and then she was sent to live with her maternal grandparents at the homestead we saw above. The docent at the birthplace was a nice woman and we had a good chat (and I came to learn that you can't go anywhere without having a conversation with someone. Islanders really are very nice). She told me how to get to the Anne of Green Gables Museum, in Park Corner just about 6 miles down the road, which is where I headed next. 

The Anne of Green Gables Museum is in the home of Montgomery's cousins (the Campbells). She would come and stay frequently throughout her childhood. She used this home in some of her other books, and called it "Silver Bush." This is also the home where she was married, in the parlor. I also was able to see the room she would stay in, and read quite a few selections from her journals. 

It is at Silver Bush that the Lake of Shining Waters is located. In fact, there is a letter on display in the museum that says that she did use the pond as her inspiration for the Lake of Shining Waters in Avonlea. 

On my way back to Charlottetown, I drove past the Cavendish cemetery. I thought briefly of stopping and seeing Montgomery's resting place, then I dismissed the idea. Not much further down the road, I decided that it wouldn't be much of a pilgrimage if I didn't stop by, so I turned around and went to go see it. My eyes got a little watery again as I told her thank you. Thank you for Anne, for without her I never would have come to PEI.

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