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Prince Edward Island

Old 09-24-22, 06:06 PM
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Pratt
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Prince Edward Island

Anyone have any experience/advice about touring PEI?
How to get there from Vermont, must sees, must misses, etc.
Thanks in advance.
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Old 09-24-22, 09:48 PM
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We've been there, a few years ago, with the kids. Pleasant. Not much in terms of suggestion...

I remember taking the Confederation bridge (shuttle, not allowed to ride), visiting a site dedicated to Ann of the Green Gables, a must see for some and a pass for others, regretting not having knobby tires that would have enabled us to ride charming backcountry roads covered by a rather thick layer of red dust (2" Supremes were spinning), and being underwhelmed by the campgrounds at a couple of National Parks, a few yards from the sea, but with little to no privacy. Most people loved it though.

From Vermont.... The Route Verte had a nice corridor up to Quebec city, then north east up to Rivière du Loup, then New Brunswick (mostly on paths), then Nova Scotia. Our bunch started close to Portland (ME), then New Brunswick. Great memories from Maine. Perhaps less so from New Brunswick where the are few accommodations so you have to get used to gas station gastronomy.
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Old 09-25-22, 04:38 AM
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Thanks
It is early in what I laughingly call planning, but I am thinking of Driving up to Maine, taking the ferry to NS, then ferry to PEI, with maybe a side trip to the Madeline Islands, when else will I be near them. Probably non camping, since my sister will be coming with.
I was there back in the late 60's and I remember the Provincial parks as being lovely to camp at, grassy places to pitch tents and a gazebo for cooking with a wood stove and free wood.
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Old 09-25-22, 07:28 AM
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I was there in 2019, so pre-covid.

I was camping. I did not have a sim card for my phone, so had no data. I got on the ferry for PEI which had wifi so I could get a weather forecast and saw that there was five consecutive days of rain forecast, and I remembered that there was a hostel in Charlottetown. I completely rewrote my plans while on the ferry and made reservations to stay at the hostel on Canada Day weekend. That was the best way to spend the middle part of those rainy days, indoors instead of in a wet campsite.

I rode their rail trail some, the Confederation Trail, it was well maintained. And I enjoyed the sightseeing in Charlottetown the best I could, in the rain.

The ferry was free to cross onto the island, they charge to leave. (Reminds me of the song Hotel California.) The ferry is approaching the port in the photo below.



My bike on the ferry.



Probably half of my distance on the island was on their trail system, half on roads.



Their trail system.



This was the second rainy day as I was approaching Charlottetown where I would sleep indoors for three nights.



They do not allow bicycles to ride across the bridge, must take shuttle. When I called them on the phone to say I needed a shuttle, they said it would take a few extra minutes as they needed to hook up the trailer for my bike. I had four panniers and a rack top bag, I was afraid they were going to charge for all the additional luggage after the first bag, but they only charged me the fee for having a bicycle. These are 2019 prices, likely have gone up since then.



They did a good job of securing my bike to the trailer.



And the ride across the bridge to leave.



I am not a Canadian, thus I was ignorant of much of the history of the role of the Confederation Papers that were signed in Charlottetown and the origins of Canada Day. I wish I knew more of the history before I went so I could have enjoyed the historical sites more.

If you have never seen Bay of Fundy, if you were camping I would suggest one of the hike in campsites at Five Islands Provincial Park in Nova Scotia, but you said you probably are not camping.

I spent five weeks in the Maritimes, I can't really think of anything unique to PEI, that is why I have little to say on what to see. And most of my time there was raining, so I do not remember seeing a lot either.

If you change your mind and camp, bring repellant for the bugs.
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Old 09-25-22, 03:04 PM
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We were there a few weeks ago and 2 things that surprised us: PEI is far hillier than we expected, and their food culture was very developed.
re: hills- they aren’t daunting or anything but most rides in the western half were genuinely hilly. For some reason we all thought PEI was basically flat, and certainly their tourism ads all show great swaths of flat coastline.
re: food - No matter where or what we ate, and no matter the price point, the food was better (fresher, more creatively prepared, more carefully presented…) than food at similar price points elsewhere.
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Old 09-25-22, 04:30 PM
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I biked it in 2007 along with the other 4 surrounding provinces. Entered it from NB. The only things I remember are the first skunk in my life I saw, the 20 varieties of potatoes they grow and how hilly it was. This is not a flat island!
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Old 09-25-22, 08:15 PM
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I was there a quite while ago, 1997 about five weeks after the Confederation Bridge opened. I took the shuttle across the bridge and departed Wood Island on a ferry to Nova Scotia. Interestingly enough looks like the ferry is still going. At that time, the shuttle was a pickup truck and was free.

Largest impressions I was left with is the island was touristy and some beach areas crowded in early July. Made my obligatory stop at House of Green Gables. Saw lots of potato fields (at the time PEI grew ~1/3 of the potatoes grown in Canada) but then was surprised to see sacks of US potatoes in the grocery store.

There was a bike shop in Charlottetown (MacQueen's) that still seems to be there. Also looks like they still do "island to island" guided tours of Cuba.


I enjoyed my visit to PEI, but my favorite three provinces of the trip for cycling were Newfoundland, Alberta and Nova Scotia.
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Old 09-25-22, 08:54 PM
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Also did the trail in 2019, but drove there, too far to ride with kids in tow. The biggest issue we had was the mosquitoes were incredibly plentiful around dusk on the trail. Didn't do much raining while we were there and 35c tires were adequate for everywhere we went. The small gravel was a bit deep in a couple spots but few and far between. As someone else mentioned, the campgrounds along the trail on the north were well packed with little privacy. Off the trail the roads were fairly hilly, nothing big or too difficult, just nothing flat in a lot of places. We stayed at the Lord Selkirk campground, in the 5 miles from the trail to the campground there wasn't more than 20 level feet it seemed, they also have a scottish museum at the campground that was a nice diversion. The singing sands beach on the NE was also fun if you take the time to relax, in the walk from the parking lot to the beach you cross a bridge that says not to jump off of, the lifeguards who are watching didn't care that everyone was doing so and the current coming in would sweep you fast into the inlet making for an exhilerating jump. Overall the island was a pleasant area with nice lighthouses, and beautiful beaches.
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Old 09-26-22, 04:15 AM
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Originally Posted by mev View Post
...
There was a bike shop in Charlottetown (MacQueen's) that still seems to be there.
...
I bought a bike jersey at McQueens to have as a souvenir for my trip. But that was pre-covid.

They were small but well stocked.

Looks like Fiona was rather vicious, but I would expect much of this to be repaired by next summer.
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/princ...otos-1.6593377
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Old 09-26-22, 06:09 AM
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there now is a new trail that circumnavigates the island in addition to the rail trail they had. This new trail seems to be more for hiking but I have seen photos of people biking it on mountain and fat bikes.
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Old 09-26-22, 06:50 AM
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Have only been there as a car tourist, last time already a long time ago, 15 years probably, but I can confirm most of what others have said.
Mosquitoes comments are accurate, but not really any different than areas around here, but could be shocking to non campers or those from non mosquito-ey areas.

Singing sands Beach and folks jumping off into the current, I remember that clearly.

One other clear memory, "Islanders" are generally very friendly, drive super considerately and pretty darn slow often (geriatric slow)

Will PEI be that different than the other Maritime provinces, maybe not, but will still be a neat coastal experience.
I've thought in the past about biking in the Maritimes but in the end preferred going to France or somewhere more exotic for this Canadian. ( But probably because I went there as a kid a bunch of times and then drove out there with our kids, a lot of driving)
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Old 09-26-22, 08:32 AM
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If anyone is curious, this was my route for my tour in 2019. Started and ended in Halifax. This is from my GPS data that I put on a satellite photo in Google Earth.



My initial plan was quite different for PEI, but when I saw how much rain was in the forecast, I decided to stay in Charlottetown for three nights which cut my distance by quite a bit. I only actually biked on the island for five days, and the time spent on the ferry and the bridge shuttle were part of those five days. Thus, a significant amount of my time was spent walking in Charlottetown instead of pedaling the countryside. That said, Charlottetown was a great city to spend a few rainy days.
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Old 09-26-22, 02:26 PM
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Very helpful. Already pencilling in DEET and head nets. Looking forward to the food, especially the seafood which is rare, or nonexistent here in Vermont.
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Old 09-27-22, 03:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Pratt View Post
Very helpful. Already pencilling in DEET and head nets. Looking forward to the food, especially the seafood which is rare, or nonexistent here in Vermont.
I mostly used Picaridin as repellant, but I had a tiny bottle of 100 percent Deet that I used one day in a Nova Scotia campground where the Picaridin did not really cut it. One day on PEI I saw a trail crew doing maintenance, I stopped at asked what they used for repellant. I assumed that they had all compared notes and decided what was best, but I was quite surprised when every single one had a different preference for repellant.

My jerseys are knit with large holes that the mosquitos can bite through. This was my last trip before I bought a spray bottle of Permethrin to spray my jerseys and knit socks. I have not bike toured since that trip, covid changed many of my plans so I have not had a chance yet to report on whether or not Permethrin works or not. But decades of reports by others suggest that it may be a useful addition to knit clothing for daytime touring in wooded areas where there is not enough wind to keep the bugs down when you stop.

I was camping, photo below, in the morning the mosquitos were waiting for me to open the netting door of my tent so they could come in for breakfast.




I live in Wisconsin about a hundred miles from the nearest of the Great Lakes. When I travel to a coastal area, Fish and Chips is my go to meal when touring and eating food cooked by others. I think on this meal that double fish was an option that I chose. My photo dates indicate this photo was taken on my second day on the island.



As soon as I was on the island, I stopped at a tourist info booth to get a paper road map that I was still studying.
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Old 10-02-22, 10:09 PM
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There is a guy and his wife cycling around PEI right now. His Journal is on Crazyguyonabike:
Nova Scotia an PEI

I've been exploring different options to finish our ride across Canada. We have from Toronto to the east coast to complete the ride. Doing it during the hurricane season does not look like fun.

Last edited by Doug64; 10-02-22 at 10:14 PM.
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Old 10-03-22, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
There is a guy and his wife cycling around PEI right now. His Journal is on Crazyguyonabike:
Nova Scotia an PEI

I've been exploring different options to finish our ride across Canada. We have from Toronto to the east coast to complete the ride. Doing it during the hurricane season does not look like fun.

Ya, you said it. I realize the east coast is chock a block full of tourists in summer, but Sept can be such hit and miss for hot, clear, rain or cold, that's certainly not when I would plan to go to the east coast. Well certainly not the later part of September.
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Old 10-03-22, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Pratt View Post
Thanks
It is early in what I laughingly call planning, but I am thinking of Driving up to Maine, taking the ferry to NS, then ferry to PEI, with maybe a side trip to the Madeline Islands, when else will I be near them. Probably non camping, since my sister will be coming with.
I was there back in the late 60's and I remember the Provincial parks as being lovely to camp at, grassy places to pitch tents and a gazebo for cooking with a wood stove and free wood.
Not sure when you are going, it's late in the season currently, the provincial park campgrounds may be closed or closing soon, Maine as example closes its state park campgrounds around 10/10-15 or so, due to cold weather.

No need for insect repellant usually after about mid August, is my experience, the colder nighttime temp's see the biting insects in hibernation.

Sept. is always the time we would travel to camp, we rarely needed reservations, maybe once at bay of Fundy National Park. The Maine state parks close down their reservation system after Labor Day, but the parks we've been to always had plenty of sites available.

Last edited by Steve B.; 10-03-22 at 08:13 AM.
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Old 10-05-22, 11:40 AM
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Maybe I should have said, I'm planning for 2023. I read the CGOAB article. I'm leaning towards just the Eastern part of the island, particularly since I'm also thinking of the Iles Magdeline as a side trip, and excuse to take another ferry ride.
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Old 10-08-22, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
...I realize the east coast is chock a block full of tourists in summer, but Sept can be such hit and miss for hot, clear, rain or cold, that's certainly not when I would plan to go to the east coast. Well certainly not the later part of September.
I usually try to do my long tours in June and early July before the roads get busy with RVs and the campgrounds start getting full. My Maritimes trip, I never made reservations for campsites, but I did for hostels. Later I suspect the campgrounds would be busier. My last full weekend on that trip was about a week after Canada weekend, and the campground I was in was at about 95 percent full.

But earlier in June, yes it was buggy and more likely to rain, but roads were less busy and the campgrounds emptier. There were several times when I was the only one on a weekday in a tent site.
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Old 10-08-22, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I usually try to do my long tours in June and early July before the roads get busy with RVs and the campgrounds start getting full. My Maritimes trip, I never made reservations for campsites, but I did for hostels. Later I suspect the campgrounds would be busier. My last full weekend on that trip was about a week after Canada weekend, and the campground I was in was at about 95 percent full.

But earlier in June, yes it was buggy and more likely to rain, but roads were less busy and the campgrounds emptier. There were several times when I was the only one on a weekday in a tent site.
Hey there, ya that's pretty much what I've done also, try to be before vacation time. I too have been in pretty lonely campgrounds in June, even in France. Nice as you have better site choices for shade, or less neighbours etc. Often the other campers are retired folks who also want to avoid the big rush vacation times.
I'd like to do Spain some day, and going in September to avoid the heat and crowds certainly seems the way to go.
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Old 10-09-22, 04:47 AM
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June is pretty full of family obligations chez Pratt and August is both hot and high tourist season, so September is my default. Last summer in Quebec, I was always able to find a campsite, but the campgrounds were all near capacity with permanent camps. People seemed to be using their RVs for the R function, and writing off the V function. They were like little cottages.
One idea I'm toying with is to ride to Montreal and take a train to Moncton or Pictou and take the shuttle or ferry to PEI, or IPE, if you prefer.
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Old 10-09-22, 07:52 AM
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Re the entrenched RV campgrounds, it seems to me that those tend to be private ones in areas where locals spend their summer. Ive biked past them sometimes just outside of Montreal and up near Mont Tremblant, but I think it's hit and miss, as there are always smaller campgrounds where it's mostly tents with a certain amount of "stay for the season" campers, mixed in with people who only stay for a few days or a week or whatever.
I imagine the "V" crowd do this because it's a lot less money that owning a cottage, plus all the maintenance of a cottage, but still has the appeal of going up for the weekend.
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Old 10-09-22, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Pratt View Post
[...] so September is my default.
We've had a glorious month of September here is Quebec, this year. Few rainy days, pretty warm by our standards. This site may prove useful to get a feel for the more recent weather patterns, in addition to Weatherspark. One thing, perhaps, would be hurricanes. NPs are (apparently) closed because of Fiona. This is unusual and can probably be anticipated days in advance if you keep up with the news.
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Old 10-10-22, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I live in Wisconsin about a hundred miles from the nearest of the Great Lakes. When I travel to a coastal area, Fish and Chips is my go to meal when touring and eating food cooked by others.



.
A man after my own heart. Never underestimate the recuperative value of fish & chips with tartar sauce. They have saved me several times.
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Old 10-16-22, 07:20 AM
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September is my time for short tours, just past the crowds, but before everything has closed.

I toured PEI in 2014 (crazyguy link at https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/georgePEI2014). I did mostly coastal roads, since I like to see lighthouses, but the Confederation Trail down the center of the island is a pretty easy ride. Other folks do fish-and-chips; I did lobster rolls 🦞.

I live in Texas, so I flew in.
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