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Prince Edward Island (PEI): Anne of Green Gables Day Trip

I have always been an avid reader. As a youngster, I remember reading and re-reading my favourites. I felt a special connection with Lucy Maud Montgomery's freckled, red-haired orphan and spent many nights under the covers reading by torchlight. As I grew older, I never missed a movie or TV series featuring Anne. When my cross-Canada road trip arrived in Prince Edward Island (PEI), I knew I wanted to design a day trip to the most iconic places associated with Anne of Green Gables. Come meander with me as I explore.


“It's been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make

up your mind firmly that you will.”

Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables


a blue signpost advertising Lucy Maud Montgomery Birthplace
New London, PEI

 
 

The Books

Anne of Green Gables, by Lucy Maud Montgomery, was first published in 1908 and is one of the world's best-selling novels. More than 50 million copies, translated into 36 languages, have been sold worldwide. There have been many sequels, including one written after her death and an authorized prequel. Numerous movies, television shows, and musicals have also been inspired by this beloved character.

8 books from the Anne of Green Gables series
The Anne series -- photo credit Amazon

The story of 11-year-old Anne Shirley tells of a young orphan mistakenly sent to live with elderly siblings Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert in Avonlea, Prince Edward Island. Matthew and Marilla were expecting a boy to help with farm chores. Matthew was immediately charmed, but it took Marilla longer. Anne has many adventures based on a wholesome theme of how mistakes help people grow into good people.


PEI's Anne of Green Gables Self-Drive Day Trip

This day trip begins in the capital city of Charlottetown and will make stops at Prince Edward Island National Park, North Rustico, before moving to the main attractions in Cavendish, New London and Park Corner before returning to Charlottetown.


Each leg of the drive is fairly short, usually less than 10 minutes. Total driving time is less than 2 hours, giving visitors plenty of time to linger in their favourite spots. Be aware that most of these attractions are only open from May to October, so plan your trip accordingly.



Charlottetown

Charlottetown is the capital of PEI and the "Home of Confederation." Here, the first agreements to create a nation from the colonial provinces in British North America were made. This small city bursts with history but is also known for its foodie and arts scene. Visitors will find a wide range of accommodations, restaurants, and activities. Today's post is all about Anne.

Anne of Green Gables Store (72 Queen Street)

Your Anne of Green Gables experience should include a visit to the Anne of Green Gables Store for Anne-related souvenirs. There are several other locations, including in Cavendish and Park Corner.


A store display of Anbne of Green Gables dolls
The Anne Store

Anne of Green Gables Chocolates (100 Queen Street)

Visitors won't want to miss checking out the delights at the Anne of Green Gables Chocolate shop, declared "Best Chocolate in Canada" in multiple media reports. A best-seller (and my personal weakness) is their "COW Chips"—chocolate-dipped potato chips. Pair with Anne's favourite drink, a refreshing Raspberry Cordial.


Store front sign advertising Anne of Green Gables Chocolates

Anne Musicals

Charlottetown has two Anne musicals. Anne of Green Gables - The Musical is the world's longest-running musical and follows Anne's story as she grows up in Avonlea. Anne and Gilbert, the Musical is the story of Anne's teen years and her romance with her high school rival, Gilbert. Check the websites for show times and tickets.

A stage scene showing Anne and Gilbert kissing
Anne and Gilbert - The Musical photo: PEI Tourism

I would suggest seeing Anne of Green Gables - The Musical the night before you head out on this road trip to have the story fresh in your mind. Save Anne and Gilbert for the evening following.


Confederation Centre of the Arts (145 Richmond Street)

The Confederation Centre is a National Historic Site that includes performance spaces, an art gallery, and an extensive arts education program. The Art Gallery's permanent collection includes a treasure trove of Montgomery's personal artifacts and original manuscripts, including Anne of Green Gables. It is the home of the Charlottetown Festival, a summer-long celebration of the arts.


A metal sculpture outside the Confederation center
The Confederation Centre

Prince Edward Island National Park (23km, 25 min)

Follow the signs along Highway 15 out of Charlottetown to Prince Edward Island National Park. The Park is probably best known for its wide, sandy beaches, but there are also trails, boardwalks, and cycle paths. Located on the north shore of the island, it makes a great place to stop for a short stretch of the legs or a full day of exploration.



North Rustico (18km, 15 min)

From PEI National Park, take Highway 6 to the small village of North Rustico, located on a small natural harbour along the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The village reflects both the Acadian and British roots. Locals call it "The Crick".

Dockside wooden marine buildings housing businesses along a pier

Although quite small, North Rustico is a charming fishing village that is the starting point for many eco-adventures, including fishing, kayaking, and wildlife viewing. Visitors will find shops, restaurants, and an interesting boardwalk.

A 2-story shingled wooden building labelled "Seagulls Nest" includes a mural of North Rustico

Cavendish (7km, 6 min)

Our next stop is Cavendish, where Montgomery (known as Maud) spent the majority of her life and was the inspiration for the fictional Avonlea. Cavendish became a popular tourist resort after the publication of the Anne books. Recognizing the potential tourism success and a desire to protect the site, Parks Canada declared the area L.M. Montgomery’s Cavendish National Historic Site. Visitors will want to plan to spend at least a couple of hours wandering the area and discovering favourite settings from the books.


Looking into a window showing a teapot and a vase of flowers

The site includes an interpretation centre, the Green Gables House, and trails to Haunted Wood, Balsam Hollow, Lover's Lane, and the babbling brook. During the summer, costumed interpreters bring Anne and her friends to life. Anne fans will want to visit the Anne store in Avonlea Village, where they can get their copy signed by one of Montgomery's relatives.


A wall of the house with a map of local attractions

Admission is free to all locations except Green Gables and L.M. Montgomery's home. Visitors can choose to pay for each separately or purchase a combination ticket.


The Green Gables House

The Green Gables House was the original farmhouse belonging to the McNeil family, Montgomery's cousins. Maud grew up on the other side of Haunted Woods. Like many homes of the time, it started quite small but grew larger with additions. It is decorated as Maud described in her vivid and detailed descriptions.

A 2 story farmhouse painted white with green trim

L.M. Montgomery's Cavendish Home

From Green Gables, walk through the Haunted Wood and cross the road to the trail leading to the house. Take your time to read the signs along the way. The site of L.M. Montgomery's Cavendish Home is privately owned and lovingly maintained by descendants of the McNeil Family. This is where Maud grew up with her grandparents and where she wrote some of her most well-known works. Although the house is long gone, the grounds and gardens have been restored. Signage, including information about Maud, quotes from her writings, and other interesting information, is scattered around the homestead site. A bookstore and museum include some of the decor from the original home.

A one story natural wood building with white trim and a white picket fence

New London (11.5 km, 10 min)

From Cavendish, continue along Highway 6 and follow the signs to Highway 20 and the town of New London to the Birthplace of Lucy Maud Montgomery. Maud was born here in 1874 and lived here until her mother's illness required her to move to Cavendish to live with her grandparents.

A smaller white painted house with green trim.

The home includes period decor and furnishings, and artifacts from Maud and her family's life. I particularly enjoyed walking around the beautifully maintained gardens.


Park Corner (11km, 9 min)

Continue along Highway 20 to Park Corner and the Campbell Homestead, known in the books as Silver Birch and home to the Anne of Green Gables Museum. This was one of Maud's favourite places, referring to it as "The Wonder Castle of my Childhood." Maud spent much time here, playing with her cousins. Later in life, she was married in front of the fireplace. A highlight is a carriage ride around the property that passes the Lake of Shining Waters.

a horse pulling a 4 passenger surrey
Matthew's Carriage Ride

Fans of the books will be delighted to spot items that appear in the stories, including the Crazy Patchwork Quilt and the famous Blue Chest from The Story Girl.

Final Thoughts

After a full day of all things Anne, it's time to return to Charlottetown. Enjoy the lovely drive as you review the stories and wonders of your Green Gables Experience. This evening would be the perfect time to go see Anne and Gilbert or one of the other Anne-related shows at the Confederation Centre.


looking across the water to a small scenic village
On the road to Park Corner

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6 Comments


Guest
May 20

Oh I like art inspired travel and was not aware of the book series up until now. I can see that the locals of the Prince Edward Island have fully embraced its literary ties and can profit off it now bringing visitors in from all over Canada. The logo from the chocolate shop reminded me a bit of Pippi Longstockings (a Swedish children's herione). Did you enjoy the musical?


Carolin | <a href="https://solotravelstory.com/">Solo Travel Story</a>


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Replying to

I am familiar with Pippi Longstockings and can see why Anne would remind you of Pippi. I loved the musical! It was great fun and well-written.

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I remember the television series of this name and watched several episodes in teh UK.

you have certainly picked up a theme and run with it on this occasion to great effect!

Those towns and villages look idyllic - I love weather-boarded houses.

Unfortunately I never got to PEI on my Canada trip as it was just a tad too far off my route. Seems like I missed a lovely place


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Guest
Apr 30

Lyn of Green Gables - this one sounds lovely too ;-) This trip might have been one of the most fun and enjoyable. Retracing a childhood adventure through books and realizing it as a grown-up person make its so dreamy. The town itself is dreamy and idyllic and enough to make you appreciate even more the words of the novelist #flyingbaguette


Jan - https://flyingbaguette.com/

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PEI seems to have found a theme and really run with it. But I love the quaint feeling of how Charlottetown looks. Very old English village. I'll admit though, I never read the books as a child and worry I might be a little old to appreciate them as an adult. But this is a really great guide to some of the best places to see for a fan of the books, and maybe even if you haven't read them

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I remember reading and enjoying Anne of Green Gables when I was a little girl but that was decades ago, so it was lovely to read your post which brought back lots of memories of the plot. This day trip perfectly captures the inspiration for so many elements of the books as well as incorporating the very real locations from Montgomery's life. The route looks to be very well structured. Thanks for the warning about opening times. So many lovely attractions to visit and I know we would especially want to go to the chocolate shop and indulge in those COW chips and raspberry cordial!

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