Another early start in the morning to make our way from Iona in Cape Breton to Pictou (back on the main island) to get the ferry to Prince Edward Island (PEI).
The NFL (Northumberland Ferries limited) ferries are very similar to the BC Ferries that run from Tsawwassen/Horseshoe Bay to Victoria/Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. They only run at certain times of the day and can get booked up quickly if you are taking a vehicle on board.
The main difference is that you only pay the fare when you leave PEI (either by the ferry or via a bridge – more on that later). If you are only travelling one way on the ferry, you cannot make a reservation and just have to hope you get there early enough to get a spot.
As I was the only one driving (due to Adam having a hangover…) I was in a rush to be able to make it to Pictou for 10.30am. I managed to arrive at 11.00am and lined up in the area for non-reservations. Fortunately we could get on the ferry otherwise we would have waited until 15:30 for the next ferry.
The ferry trip took around an hour to get to Woods Island in PEI and it was a nice calm trip across the waters.
PEI is Canada’s smallest province that is part of The Maritimes. The main economy is farming and this was clear from the drive to Charlottetown where I saw many farms and fields. PEI is also the famous location of the novel ‘Anne of Green Gables’.
It took around an hour to drive from Woods Island to Charlottetown, the capital of PEI and the Birthplace of the Confederation in September 1864.
We didn’t have too much time to look around Charlottetown so we spent most of it by the waterfront area.
One of the highlight’s of Charlottetown was trying oysters for the very first time at Peakes Quay restaurant overlooking the harbour. The restaurant was really nice with live, traditional islander music.
After the delicious lunch, I treated myself and Adam to an ice cream from Cow’s. I have been to one of these in Banff but the company started in PEI and there are only 8 locations across the country. I chose a chocolate rimmed waffle cone with a scoop of ‘Fluff N’ Udder’- chocolate ice cream with marshmallow swirls and Reece’s Pieces . No photo of the ice cream but it was yummy!
The houses in Charlottetown are very colonial looking and Victorian in style, there are very few modern buildings and certainly no tall condo towers. I really liked the city and its traditional style.
Leaving Charlottetown, we drove towards The Confederation Bridge. As I previously said, the only options to arrive/leave PEI is either by the ferry or by bridge and you only pay the fare/toll when you leave. For some reason it is cheaper to travel to PEI via the ferry and leave by the bridge then it is the other way round. The ferry costs $71 return and the bridge is $46 return.
The Confederation Bridge was built in 1997 and is a 13km route between PEI and New Brunswick, it is meant to be the longest bridge across ice waters in the world.
Unfortunately for much of the 13km route, you cannot see too much of the view because of the high barriers but it does go up and down in gradient so when you are at the top of a slight hill you can see across. As it was a beautiful day and coming up for sunset it was quite a sight.
When you arrive in New Brunswick, you are greeted with a sign and a lot of fields and greenness. If more time allowed, I would have liked to visit Moncton ad Fredericton but alas that will have to wait for another trip in the future.
New Brunswick is the only bilingual province in Canada, recognizing both English and French. All the signs have English and French translations.
The rest of the journey took around 2.5 hours to get back to Dartmouth and I was exhausted when we arrived. I had driven 600 kms for around 6.5 hours, taken a ferry and crossed the most expensive toll bridge I have ever seen.
It did feel good to know that we had visited three separate provinces in 1 day 🙂