In May, I visited Prince Edward Island to research a travel story on Anne of Green Gables (which appears in this Sunday’s New York Times). I know, I say this every time, but this was one of my favorite pieces to report and write. As a lifelong fan of Anne-with-an-e, the entire experience was a joy. The photos that illustrate the article are stunning, but I thought I’d share a few snapshots from my travels with Anne Shirley…
The Dunelands trail (photo above), part of the Prince Edward Island National Park, edges a magnificent rock and sand shore. She doesn’t mention it in Anne of Green Gables, but Maud—as L.M. Montgomery was known—often walked here. “To my left extended the shining curve of the sandshore; on on my right were rugged rocks with little coves, where the waves swished on the pebbles,” she wrote in her journals. “I could have lingered there for hours and watched the sea with the gulls soaring over it.”
Green Gables looked so exactly as I’d pictured it, I almost burst into tears. I went through the house twice and on my second visit I was alone (it was lunchtime), just me and a couple of Parks Canada staff. I felt like I’d actually stepped into the pages of the book.
Here’s the Haunted Wood—and you can see the 18-hole golf course that surrounds it, too.
As I ventured further and further from Cavendish, everywhere I looked I caught glimpses of Maud’s island of “ruby, and emerald, and sapphire.”
My late May visit allowed me to see the island in its spring glory. “The young leaves are such a bright, tender green,” wrote Maud in her journals. “The grass is green and velvety, starred with hundreds of dandelions.”
“I don’t know what lies around the bend, but I’m going to believe that the best does,” said Anne, at the end of Anne of Green Gables. “I wonder how the road beyond goes—what there is of green glory and soft, checkered light and shadows—what new landscapes—what new beauties—what curves and hills and valleys further on.”
More reading about Lucy Maud Montgomery:
Mary Henley Rubio’s Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Gift of Wings, is one of the best biographies of an author I’ve read, meticulously researched, offering insights into Maud’s personality—and a shocking, controversial theory about her death.
Maud’s journal from 1889-1910 was a charming companion to my trip.
Of course, I reread Anne of Green Gables and found her as lovable as ever.
With recipes, crafts, and more, The Anne of Green Gables Treasury is a wonderful way to recreate Anne’s world (for kids—or anyone!). Co-author Carolyn Collins also has a website, Ingleside Impressions, filled with Anne info.