Prince Edward Island
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Prince Edward Island brings together a rare harmony of rural and maritime landscapes. In the minds of many people, it is the epitome of a tranquil and serene life. Picturesque little fishing villages with adorable white clapboard churches lie tucked away in the rolling countryside. Peaceful roads run through the rich farmland, and you can see the pulsing glow of lighthouses on rocky outcrops rising over the sea. The brilliant palette of colours is striking, with vibrant yellow and green fields and the deep rust-coloured cliffs plummeting into the lapis-blue sea. Bathed by the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the north and the Strait of Northumberland to the south, this island is above all known for its magnificent white sand dunes and beaches, often deserted and extending inland from the sea as far as the eye can see. It goes without saying that these stretches of sand are among the most beautiful on the east coast of North America.
Charming and quaint, Charlottetown has a unique atmosphere. Despite its size, it differs from other small Maritime towns: it has all the prestige, elegance and institutions one would expect of a provincial capital. Though everything here seems decidedly scaled down, the capital of Prince Edward Island has its own parliament buildings and a sumptuous Lieutenant-Governor's residence, a large complex devoted to performance and visual arts, with pretty parks and rows of trees concealing beautiful Victorian residences, a prestigious hotel and several fine restaurants.
The Province House National Historic Site (corner of Great George and Richmond St., 566-7626) can be considered the cradle of Canadian Confederation. It was here that the 23 delegates from United Canada (Ontario and Québec today), Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island assembled in 1864 to prepare the Confederation of 1867.
The Cavendish area is a very popular spot for visitors to the island. Located next to some of PEI's most beautiful beaches and several big tourist attractions, Cavendish has many lodging possibilities, restaurants and shops. A visit to the island wouldn't be complete without a trip of at least one day to Prince Edward Island National Park (in Cavendish, near the intersection of Rtes. 6 and 13, 963-2391), which stretches 40km along the northern coast of the island. The park was created in 1937 with the goal of preserving a unique natural environment, including sand dunes with their fragile ecosystem, red sandstone cliffs, magnificent beaches and salt-water marshes. While exploring the park, you will be delighted by stunning views of the sheer coastline, the sudden appearance of a red fox or one of the many activities that may be enjoyed here.
Green Gables House (Rte. 6, west of Cavendish, 672-6350) is the house that inspired Lucy Maud Montgomery, and the setting of her famous novel Anne of Green Gables.
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