PEI & Maine '11 - Part 1: PEI Lights, Houses & Rocket Arenas
From NL to PEI, then Annandale, Souris, East Point, Naufrage & Charlottetown, PEI (Map)
It was that time of the year where my New England friends were going north to see the colourful leaves of their nearby forests.
Seeing as I don't care for how this Island limits my ability to do things which my mainland friends can do so easily, I decided to pay the $220 in ferry fees & drive the 13 hours down to Maine.
Leaving Newfoundland for the mainland has been covered here numerous times before; so let's start after our second ferry, finding ourselves on Prince Edward Island around noon. My recent trips discovering QMJHL hockey, meant that I wanted to stop & see a PEI Rocket hockey game in Charlottetown, while en route to Maine.
There was no point in driving right to Charlottetown though. I had never been to the northeast side of our smallest province, so a map of lighthouses was printed & that's how the afternoon was spent.
The above lighthouses are in Annandale & are basically in someone's back yard. We drove a red dirt road through a forest tunnel, then avoided the islander's back yard by climbing through a bit of a marsh onto the shore. Thankfully the tide seemed to be out. A heron was walking through the shallow water & picking at whatever creatures he could find.
Annandale might not have the most majestic lights, but after a crumby night's sleep on the Newfoundland ferry, it was nice to get out of the car & into the fresh air.
Continuing along PE-316, we didn't make it very far before noticing a handsome, quaint church by the roadside.
Little Pond's St. Francis de Sales Roman Catholic was worth the brief stop.
Souris' St. Mary's Church was just a little more prominent.
Souris is one of the bigger towns in PEI, so I had looked at their Google StreetView before coming (and therefore knew about this church beforehand).
Souris is also home to the historic Souris East Lighthouse. Built in 1880, you can normally climb to the top, but the manager was gone for a break when we visited.
Souris would be the last town for a while, so we had already stocked up on Robin's donuts & coffee - therefore, we simply went on our way instead of waiting.
Apparently you can see the Cape Breton Highlands from the top on a clear day. It generally doesn't matter to me if I make it inside a lighthouse, but that would have been nice to see. Souris is a nice place though, so I hope I'll find myself back there someday.
Leaving Souris, we passed their arena & continued on PE-16 towards East Point.
I've wanted to see East Point for a while, as it's an attractive lighthouse & it marks a geographic extreme: the easternmost point of PEI. Most people only talk about the northernmost & easternmost points of PEI; and now I've been to both. This makes me happy.
We had 40km(~25mi) to the next lighthouse, which is a far distance in PEI terms. Therefore, when this abandoned house was spotted, I drove for a minute or two, before deciding to turn around & check 'er out.
This was my 5th time in PEI, and from my previous trips, I held very little hope for abandoned buildings on the island. Having only seen 1 abandoned house on all of my previous trips, I wondered if today's section of PEI was where it is a bit harder to make it, leading to more abandoned houses.
Heck, Souris is named for the french word for mouse - as the area was prone to field mice plagues - so does this area have abandoned houses from the rampant field mice? The other parts of PEI are cushy & mice-free, so no one wants to abandon those homes?
Clearly that's what's going on here.
My friend Shahlene was all excited about exploring houses after that first one. A house where we couldn't go to the unsafe second floor? A place which only had a stove and a chair?
She must've liked those lime green mouldings.
Nevertheless, her newfound abandoned house excitement paid off, as she noticed this second house while I completely missed it!
Look at that arched window! Look at that tiny, circular attic window! It's a good thing someone was on the ball.
This house was a little more exciting in terms of what was left behind. It was also larger and the second floor was explorable.
I didn't expect a single abandoned structure on this gentle island. This was a nice surprise.
We had to keep moving if we wanted to have time for dinner before the Rocket game. There was time for one last lighthouse though.
This is Shipwreck Point Lighthouse in Naufrage. Judging by its style, I'd imagine it was built in the 60s. The old lighthouse from 1913 had its lantern removed, but the house remains. Of course I forgot to take a picture of the old lighthouse-turned-normal-house; but you can see a tiny piece of the chimney in the above picture.
This lighthouse ranked high on today's list after I discovered the fact that you could walk to the seaside of the lighthouse, then make it look like it was in Saskatchewan with the mustard-coloured grass & the steel hangar.
We left Naufrage & I sped towards Charlottetown, but Shahlene proved her worth yet again, as she somehow noticed this church in a split-second of passing.
This led me to really wonder about much I miss while driving (my head is typically on a swivel, I was surprised to miss this).
The inside was lined with dark wood & lightless corners. It was a little easier to take pictures because of the falling sun, but I still gave up after a short time.
I love the outside shot of this church, I loved the actual experience of checking it out, but I have to say "oh well" to the interior picture. (I was standing on the altar when I took this picture. It's not very big inside either.)
As you can see from the pictures it was a nice day on the island. It continued to be nice into the afternoon, as we raced towards Charlottetown. We started passing through larger places and places based around large rivers.
Once into Charlottetown, we checked into our motel & called a cab instantly. We only had about 90 minutes, hopefully enough time to grab dinner. I had previously researched a place, settling on the appealing Gahan House Pub. It was quite funny actually, the online review had a man complaining about the attractive young women who are employed as waitresses. This might've been a negative for a man who has his wife monitoring his TripAdvisor reviews, but I was (surprisingly) fine with it. Shahlene found it funny as well, wondering which pubs don't hire attractive waitresses.
Anyway, the Gahan House was actually good, even if you overlook the waitresses. The food was lightning-fast, the pints were delicious & the interior had 100x the pub authenticity you could find in Corner Brook.
We called a cab & made it to the Charlottetown Civic Centre right around puck drop.
The Charlottetown Civic Centre was built in 1990 and I think that's the best way to describe it. It's 'nice' in terms of atmosphere & the servers are 'fine', but if it weren't for BRN, I'd imagine this is the type of arena I'd probably forget.
It simply didn't get my blood flowing in terms of my love for old barns. I can even appreciate new shiny arenas when they're done right, but I think these ones from the 90s have their work cut out for them.
The PEI Rocket don't have much of a history, only becoming a franchise in 1999 (then known as the Montreal Rocket - named after Maurice Richard).
Therefore, there aren't portraits or historical pictures of old Rocket players.
I was amused with the Civic Centre's bragging wall of musical entertainment though: Karl Wolf! Girlicious! Sean Kingston!
I obviously continued the tradition of QMJHL poutines, even though I wasn't all that hungry.
Not surprisingly, Charlottetown's poutine fell a cavernous depth short of the poutines in Victoriaville, Drummondville & Gatineau.
I do realize that the smart money would have probably been with the clam strips, but tradition is tradition.
As for the actual hockey game, Geordie's Halifax Mooseheads were in town (I've now seen them play in Victoriaville & Charlottetown, haha). There was a good amount of action & back-n-forth, resulting in the Mooseheads eventually winning 6-4.
There were a few empty seats, but the fans made an admirable amount of noise when the Rocket scored. One fan by us made some especially memorable noise. He had a very high-pitched voice & yelled "Go Rocket" over and over and over...and over. It annoyed Shahlene a bit, it amused me quite a bit, but it was definitely angering others. The poor young man meant well, but after 3 hours of it, people definitely wanted him to be quiet (some teens tried to pick on him, but he surprisingly chirped them back pretty good).
We walked back downtown as it wasn't very far & we only cab'd it earlier because of time restraints. We walked through a working class neighbourhood, with houses clad in that old, grimy siding. The houses became nicer on the fringes of downtown & we then passed a few bars. Finally settling on one, I was happy with the Labatt 50 on tap & the live music was alright.
Didn't stay out too late this night. It had been a long day.
Continue to Day 2.
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Sources: 1 - Souris Harbour Authority Inc., Souris Historic Lighthouse
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