PEI and Magdalene islands

September 1- 14 2016

It was an easy day's drive from Florenceville to Charlottetown, PEI. We had a day to walk around the historic area where political leaders of Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia met in 1864 and signed an agreement to form the new country, Canada. It took another three years of negotiations to complete the process in 1867 so preparations are in place to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canada all across the country. 

Phone calls between the Burnham siblings confirmed that everyone was soon to arrive at our B & Bs in Souris. The reunion had begun. We checked into our rooms and got ready for the big night ahead. It was a short drive along the coast to the Inn at Bay Fortune where guests, who like us, had booked months before for the one sitting per evening meal.  

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The property, prettily situated above the ocean, consisted of the original house and two new additions for guests who chose to stay overnight, or just enjoy the countryside. We had arrived at 6 PM to take advantage of four different appetizer stations, situated both on the extensive grounds where herbs and fresh vegetables were grown for the dinner table and inside the main building. It was a beautiful, still sunny evening and perfect for strolling the grounds, drink and appetizer in hand. I must admit, my favourite appetizers were fresh oysters on the half shell topped with a frozen Bloody Mary sauce. Ray preferred the smoked salmon, although if any kind of salmon is on the menu, that will be his choice. The rest of the meal, all five courses, was served to us at a table seating 20 guests on the screened in force facing the sea. It was the perfect place to watch the sun go down. Ray and I thoroughly enjoyed the evening. 

The next day we had time to walk on the beach at Basin Head Provincial Park and visit a lighthouse before returning to Souris in time for the ferry to the Magdalenes. 

The Magdalene Islands, the most easterly settlement in the Province of Quebec, are situated NE of PEI and west of Newfoundland, in the golf of the St Lawrence River. You can fly to the islands, if the winds are cooperating, which is not often the case, you can take a cruise ship from Montreal and Quebec City, with a side trip to the Saguenay River, past the Gaspe peninsula to the Magdalenes, or you can take the 5 hour ferry crossing from Souris, PEI. We took the 1:30 PM ferry from Souris. The seas were calm, the sun shone and we spent a relaxed five hours in comfort before reaching the Magdalene Islands. A half-hour drive took us to L’sle de Havre Aubert and Auberge Chez Denis et Franšois, where we checked into our large, comfortable rooms and were just in time for our dinner in their excellent restaurant. We all proclaimed that Ray had picked a gem for our visit. 

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We spent the next three days roaming the five islands that make up the Magdalenes. Yes, the wind always blows over the mostly flat islands, connected by sand bars, and our first day was partially rainy. Despite that, we all were charmed by the wild scenery, the friendliness of the people and the consistently excellent food in all the restaurants we sampled. We stopped by the roadside to watch kite-surfers and wind surfers take advantage of the winds in the bays and inland lakes. We walked the beaches, explored the many art galleries and craft shops, visited the excellent museum close to our Auberge, and hiked to a light house on one of the other islands. 

Our return ferry ride to PEI left in the late morning, allowing us to have an excellent lunch in the ferry dining room. It made for a very congenial ending to our visit together. The PEI dinner and visit to the Magdalenes was an excellent choice for our group and we highly recommend the islands to everyone.  

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