31. Green Gables and
Charlottetown (May 2013)
Kate was excited and apprehensive about visiting the famed Green Gables. It had held a sacred spot in her imagination for so long that she was wary of introducing actual fact into her idyllic image. They drove along the red roads, past sedate farms and an occasional tea room to Cavendish—also known in P.E.I. tour books as “Anne Country.” Kate saw the nearly empty parking lot by the Green Gables homestead and was grateful that they came before the real tourist rush. And she was still thankful, even when it meant that Green Gables itself was closed, and visitors could only walk around the grounds and see things from the outside.
This turned out to be exactly what Kate wanted. She wandered around the barn and the house. She looked at the flower garden and across a little stream to the “Haunted Wood”, which had enough dead and scraggly trees to indeed look haunted! It gave her a little thrill to think that, though some of the plants and trees had grown and died off since the time that L. M. Montgomery had written her Anne stories, the contour of the land was the same, the buildings and the pasture were the same, and the roads still led to the same places.
|a fun way home|
The group followed a walking tour from Green Gables, through the Haunted Wood, and to the site of the house where
lived with her grandparents. The path to the house (which had been torn down
after the Montgomerys
were annoyed with too many visitors) was still there and covered with gnarled
and twisted tree trunks. Kate imagined walking home that way—no driveway, no
garage, not even space for a carriage. Just a path to skip along and duck
through and then, all of a sudden, your home!
They didn’t complete the entire walking tour (it being rather long for the children, who were already requesting rides.) But on the way back, Kate and Mister strolled a short way down Lover’s Lane. Kate could tell that it would be a beautiful leafy pathway through the woods, but there were few leaves out, and it only seemed slightly more romantic than the Haunted Wood.
When they spent a day in
Kate realized that there was a whole Anne of Green Gables subculture that she
never suspected. There were Anne of Green
Gables Souvenir stores and a chain of Anne
of Green Gables Chocolates shops. Kate was excited to see the Anne of Green Gables Musical, or Anne and Gilbert, another musical—but
they were only playing over the summer months, and the first performances were
starting the week after they left the island. There were Anne of Green Gables
outfits for sale in all sizes. But when Kate actually looked at them, she
laughed to herself: How ironic that these
are the little girl dresses that Anne hated in the books, instead of the long
skirted, lacy bloused things she had when she was older!
At the chocolate shop, there were straw hats with red braids attached so that anyone could look like Anne! They tried some of the famous “cow chips”, which were potato chips dipped in milk chocolate. (Surprisingly addictive, Kate thought, and then laughed when she saw the very phrase printed on a package.) And in spite of their chocolate treats, they still had room to sample the world-famous Cows ice cream. It was thick and creamy, and everything that ice cream ought to be. And Kate found out later, when they were able to tour the Cows Creamery Factory in
that the ice cream had a much lower percentage of air whipped into it, which
makes it denser, like gelato. Yummmm.
|at the Cows Creamery tour|