Canadian Maritimes Tour: Day Six (Part One) – Confederation, Celtic music, beach dunes, Green Gables, preserves and a lobster supper!

Many of us were up early this morning for a walking tour of Olde Charlottetown. A young guide, dressed in 1860s-era clothing, showed us around the historic sites of town and then left us at Province House, the national monument (and still active legislature) to our Confederation. It was amazing to walk through those corridors, peering into the rooms where Canada was born.

After lunch, and a little shopping, we got back onto the bus for a tour of the northern side of the island with stops at the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada; dipping our feet in the ocean near some amazing red sand dunes in P.E.I. National Park; Green Gables – where the details of last night’s play came to life; the absolutely amazing Prince Edward Island Preserve Company (and gardens) near New Glasgow and, finally, an old-fashioned lobster supper close by.

It was a very full day – and I still was back at the hotel early enough to call Mom (an hour behind) to wish her a happy birthday!

Bruce MacNaughton, pictured with me below in his gardens, is a true island success story. When our bus pulled into his parking lot, the owner of The Prince Edward Island Preserve Company hopped aboard, took the microphone, told a couple of Scottish jokes and – most importantly – warmly welcomed us with a little of his own story. As a way to market his jams, jellies, shortbread (!!!) and all sorts of other goodies he began driving around to hotels on the island (“the ones with the most buses”), asking that his shop be included in their day-trips. He was very successful and now markets his products, his proud Scottish heritage, and P.E.I. itself all over the world through word-of-mouth advertising and catalogue distribution. Above his kilt Bruce was wearing a sweater from the local Great Northern Knitters – just another sign that he is a proud island business booster. (I am eagerly awaiting a bright red sweater from G-N-K.)

His latest dream is to raise enough money to build a hospice in that little corner of heaven and, with end-of-life considerations never too, too far from my mind, I wish him well and would say that he is not only highly motivated but also very deserving of all good fortune!

While it may not be the best self-care the shortbread reminded me that I have not tested my blood sugar once during this vacation. I don’t think there’s any use although, to his credit, Bruce’s preserves are made with less sugar than most.

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