Two summers ago, the hubs and I made a 600-mile drive from Boston, to fulfill a long-held dream of mine: visiting Prince Edward Island, land of (quietly) spectacular seafood and sunsets, and of course, the home terrain of a certain red-haired heroine.
A few weeks ago, we went back. And – I am happy to report – it was as delightful as we remembered.
PEI is gorgeous: it’s a green, quiet, bucolic place, a mix of furrowed red fields and meadows and glimpses of the bright blue sea around every corner. There are charming villages, trim farmhouses, and so many patches of lupines by the roadsides that I was always on the lookout for Miss Rumphius. I was also expecting (naturally) to run into Anne Shirley herself at any moment.
But I think the main reason we were so excited to be back is a little different: PEI is ours.
Most of us, I think, have places like that: a handful of spots on this earth that call to us, that feel completely right. (Oxford is one of those places for me, as you know if you’ve been reading this blog for a while.) There are other patches of ground I really love: the Aran Islands on the west coast of Ireland; the tiny village of Whitby in northern England; Harvard Yard, which I get to walk through all the time. Those places belong to me, though I am usually happy to share them.
But my husband and I also have a few spots that are ours. They speak to both of us in that bone-deep way, sneaking into our souls and filling them with peace. Two years ago, we both fell so completely in love with PEI that when we left, we looked at each other and said with absolute certainty: We’re going back.
Anne wrote a post a while back about choosing to love certain places: how you have to put in a bit of effort to make them yours. The vacation home you return to year after year; the restaurant you visit on special occasions; the coffee shop or bar where you’re known by name. (Once again, my experience with Darwin’s comes to mind.)
In the case of PEI, this means rearranging our schedules and making a 12-hour drive across New England (and New Brunswick, and part of Nova Scotia) to reach a place we both adore. And this time – gloriously – it did feel like ours.
We stayed at the same guesthouse where we stayed two years ago, and our hostess, Patty, came down the steps to greet us with smiles and bear hugs. We revisited a few favorite restaurants: The Mill, Carr’s Oyster Bar, the Blue Mussel. We spent hours soaking up the sun and wading in the shallows on the Island’s red, sandy north shore. And it all felt, not only relaxing and lovely, but familiar. Like coming home.
I’ll have much more to share about PEI soon. But for now, I will simply say: I’m so glad we went back. I’m so glad we are putting in the effort to make it ours.