Denise Goldberg's blog

Wandering along the edge
An exploration of Prince Edward Island

Monday, January 26, 2009


Hey Denise, it's August: And you still haven't settled on the location of your second biking vacation of the year!
Journal entry written on August 1, 2005

Yes, you're right, I really am talking to myself, although I could just as easily be talking to one of my touring bikes. She has been bugging me about making plans ever since I got home from my trip in Downeast Maine at the end of June. What do you mean, normal people don't talk to themselves or have bikes that join in the conversation? Are you implying that I'm not normal?

Rather than follow my normal vacation planning habit of planning more than one trip (for the year) at the same time, I deliberately waited until the successful completion of my first bicycling vacation this year. I wanted to make sure I was really back to myself again... I'm still cycling at a slower speed than I was pre-crash, but I really do feel like I am back. My trip to Maine at the end of June definitely was a successful tour, and whle my intentions were to plan a second tour for this year as soon as I returned home, somehow that didn't happen. I have been tossing some ideas around in my head though.

Given that it's already August, my plans are to take an early fall trip. Not too late though, because the destinations I'm thinking of are all in the north - I'm hoping not to have to deal with really cold temperatures. Of course I don't have any control at all over the weather wizard, so I could be dealing with colder than desired temperatures even with a relatively early in September start.

The real questions at this point are 'where?', and 'what sounds interesting?'. As usual for me it's not a case of not being able to find someplace interesting to visit, it's a case of having to choose, and in my mind that's a good type of problem to have. The places that are bouncing around my mind right now are Nova Scotia, Ireland, and Prince Edward Island.

Table of Contents

For now, please use Blogger's list of posts in the sidebar to follow my trip in reverse sequence. I plan to flip this blog on its head so that the posts flow from oldest to newest (like the table of contents in a book), adding a real Table of Contents and a Page by Page sidebar entry, and adding (better) next and previous links at the bottom of each post.

I probably won't be able to make these changes for the next several weeks.

...Denise, January 26, 2009

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Would I recommend a tour of PEI?

...and will I go back myself?

Absolutely! I thoroughly enjoyed my time wandering Prince Edward Island. It's a beautiful place, and I found the people to be very friendly.

The terrain in this province isn't flat; I'd describe it as rolling. If you're looking to tour in a place with serious hills or mountains, then PEI probably isn't for you. But if you want to visit a beautiful and friendly place and you like access to the water, then I believe this is a great touring destination.

My travels were along the edge of the tourist season. The weather for the most part was very acceptable. The temperatures were a bit cooler than at home, but that was what I expected. Most places - restaurants, motels, B&Bs - were still open, and many places were offering off-season rates. Traffic was very light, although I suspect I would consider even in-season traffic to be light.

And will I go back myself? The answer to this question is yes! The thing I'm really starting to wonder though is if I'll someday do a tour someplace where I don't want to return...

Monday, September 26, 2005

A New Brunswick non-biking side trip

Hopewell Cape

If you're considering a trip that includes (or passes by) the coastal areas of New Brunswick, I highly recommend stopping at Hopewell Cape to see the amazing tide changes in the Bay of Fundy. Information about the area - including tide charts, which are pretty important in planning your visit - can be found at It's definitely worth the time to be there long enough to see both low and high tides.

I spent the hours to wait out the tide change in the morning. That's a lot of hours on a biking trip that is already packed with more stops than time permits, but I think it's definitely worth the time off of the bike. When I was there, low tide was at 6:32 PM on the day that I arrived, and at 6:58 AM the next morning. In order to see both extremes, I really needed to stay in the park (or leave and return, which didn't make much sense to me) the entire morning of my visit. It would be nice if the tide changes allowed you to see one tide in the evening and the other early in the morning, but of course a 6-hour tide cycle doesn't support this type of viewing.

Just to whet your appetite, I've included a photo below that shows the Flower Pot Rocks in the park at both low and high tide. More photos can be seen in my Hopewell Cape & beyond photo gallery.

The well known Flower Pot rocks, shown here at just before low tide and at high tide.

These photos were actually taken on two different days as it probably evident from the difference in colors between them. The left photo was taken when I arrived at Hopewell Rocks late Saturday afternoon as the tide was nearing low tide. The right photo was taken just before I left the park on Sunday, at very close to high tide.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

A typical part of a "Denise" tour

...changes in plans

You're right, I did miss part of this island. I suppose I can use that as an excuse to go back again. I wonder if there will ever be a place that I'm satisfied with visiting only once.

The purple lines on this map show where I wandered on my bike. The green lines are where I had the assistance of my car during the time that Tropical Storm Ophelia was visiting PEI; perhaps I'm a baby, but riding in the rain is not my favorite thing to do.

(Map minus the purple & green lines courtesy of

As you can see from the map of where I traveled by what means of transportation, I managed to change my plans mid-stream again. Why? This time I was driven mainly by the weather. I had really intended to ride around the island, following the perimeter roads.

I skipped the eastern tip of PEI for two reasons - really a combination of the wind conditions and of the difficulty of finding towns with both places to stay and places to eat. The wind and weather conditions were really primary on the day I left Montague. Rain and an extremely strong headwind made me seek out a short route and had me heading to St. Peters. Options? If the weather had been supportive of a longer cycling day, I could have headed to the east and planned to stay in Souris, where there is both a place to stay and easily accessible food. Then I probably would have done an out-and-back ride from Souris to the eastern tip of the island - probably about a 60 mile day, which in the overall scheme of things is very reasonable. Given the wind conditions, I have absolutely no regrets about my decisions for the day's ride!

The weather again made me change my plans for my exploration of the west side of the island. The tail of what was by then Tropical Storm (as opposed to Hurricane) Ophelia was scheduled to strike the Atlantic Canada provinces on Saturday and Sunday. Based on where I was and where I'd left my bright blue 4-wheeled transportation, I made a decision to ride back to the car and use it to allow me to avoid riding a loaded bike in the rain for at least two days. I'm not that fond of wet weather riding, and I really wanted to see North Cape - so skipping that side of the island wasn't even an option.

Despite the fact that my total mileage was not what I'd planned, I had a great trip - and I am very happy with my on-the-fly decisions of where to go (including the means of transportation I used to get there). And - I have no doubts that I will return to Prince Edward Island someday.

Planning not to plan

Where to ride, where to stay, where to eat!

My day-by-day plans for this trip were not very detailed, as in not planned. But - I did plant a stake in the ground with my "plans" to circumnavigate the island in a counter-clockwise direction, started and ending in Summerside. As you know now, my non-plans were changed during the tour, primarily due to weather conditions and my lack of excitement about riding in the rain.

I did a fair amount of reading before the trip, mainly on the PEI tourism web site. I also requested paper copies of the PEI map and the PEI Visitor's Guide. Unfortunately, the mailing schedule for requests like mine and the time I had before I left on my trip didn't coincide, and the requested brochures actually arrived in the mail while I was in PEI. Not very helpful, but not a problem either. There are visitor centers scattered throughout the island, including one at Borden-Carleton (the bridge entry point), and at Wood Islands (the entry point for the ferry from Nova Scotia). It can be a quick stop to pick up a map, a visitor's guide, and any interesting brochures - plus all of the visitor centers have at least one computer available for guest use.

The Visitor's Guide is a magazine-style document, and the 2005 version is over 200 pages. I didn't really want to carry one, but I did want the information on places to stay and restaurants. I picked up a guide when I entered PEI, then removed and threw out the first 65 pages. A little lighter, and it made me happy to have the information with me as opposed to hoping that visitor centers would still be open when my bike and I arrived in a town. I found it helpful to have this information with me, and if (or should I say when) I return to PEI, I will probably repeat this behavior.

One of my tasks each day was identifying an end-point for my day's journey that included both a place to stay and a place to eat. While that seems like it would be a simple task in a place like PEI that attracts a lot of tourists, I found that finding both in one place could sometimes be a challenge. The map identifies cities, towns, and villages. There are only two cities in PEI, Charlottetown and Summerside. As expected, they have all services, and the only challenge there was deciding on a place to stay and a place to eat. No complaints there! The places that were categorized as towns often met my requirements with places to stay and eat, but the places that were categorized as villages usually had no commercial establishments at all. In fact, one day I noticed that the villages all seemed to have houses, farms, and at least one cemetery. The towns were still pretty small and didn't always have much in the way of choices. Looking back at my homes for the night, the only place I stayed that was classified as a village was Cavendish. There were a number of motels there plus a couple of choices of places to eat - but I think that was because of the presence of the Green Gables National Historic Site (you know, Anne of Green Gables...).

One thing that I found a little odd was that there were signs for cottages in the middle of no where. That is, there were no services in the form of restaurants or food stores anywhere near them. That might be acceptable if you were traveling by car, but it certainly wasn't my choice when my bike was my only form of transportation. Of course if you were carrying several meals with you staying in a place like this might work.

I just looked back through the visitor guide, and there also appear to be a lot of B&Bs that are in the middle of no where, or B&Bs that are a few miles outside of a town. This might work for you, and I could have made it work by biking to dinner, but I have a strong preference to be able to walk to find food. I also talked with some women who were riding the Confederation Trail who ended up one night in a town with a place to stay, a convenience store, and no restaurants. Luckily for them the convenience store had a microwave and a few choices of frozen dinners.

On the maps front, the highway map distributed by the province is a good map, and I used it for most of my travel days. I also used a map from the Canadian publisher MapArt. The MapArt map included more detailed maps of the cities (Charlottetown and Summerside) and also included maps of a couple of the larger towns that weren't on the official map. In addition, the MapArt map included highlights of "places of interest" that weren't noted on the provincial map. The map from the province was free (of course!), and the MapArt map was $4.95. For me, that was a little bit of money well spent.

There are more pictures... really!

I could say that my camera was out of control on this trip, but I'm afraid it wasn't the camera, it was me! I took over 800 pictures in just under two weeks, totally filling three 512 MB Compact Flash cards. About half of those pictures have been uploaded to my photo galleries.

Interested in more pictures of my wandering in PEI, New Brunswick, and Maine? I've split the pictures into 6 distinct sections within gallery titled Wandering along the edge: September 2005. You can get to them from the top level gallery, or you can click to each individually, as noted below: