Less than an hour’s drive from Charlottetown, PEI is the small, yet beautiful resort area of Cavendish. Home to the pristine Cavendish Beach and the panoramic views from Prince Edward Island National Park, this bustling hotspot grows to host the largest population on the island in the summer months. 

Anne of Green Gables Cavendish PEI

Besides its natural landmarks and proximity to the province’s capital, Cavendish has a fictional history that dates to the mid-twentieth century, attracting tourists and locals alike. Anne of Green Gables was written by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery in 1908, as she gazed into the fields of Cavendish from her window. The novel recounts the adventures of Anne Shirley, an imaginative, talkative, red-haired orphan who is mistakenly adopted instead of a boy to help on a family farm in the fictional town of Avonlea on Prince Edward Island, Canada. The story of Anne of Green Gables has since become a world-renowned staple with renditions having come in the form of television, theatre, radio and literature.

There is a good reason why provincial license plates once bore the face of Anne of Green Gables. So, if you’re a local or a summer-time visitor to Charlottetown, take a short day trip to Cavendish to go on the journey of Anne of Green Gables. Many of the fictional landmarks mentioned in the story remain, awaiting your exploration.

Lucy Maud Montgomery Birthplace Anne of Green Gables

Stop by Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Birthplace

Start your journey at the spot where it all began. Fact prevails fiction in this section, as Lucy Maud Montgomery’s birthplace is the home in which the story of Anne of Green Gables was written in 1908

As night turned to day, it was here that she sat at her window writing while overlooking the fields of Cavendish. There is no doubt that the story’s geographical landmarks were inspired by the beauty of the landscape she gazed upon daily. Montgomery used a photograph of Evelyn Nesbit, an American artists’ model, chorus girl, and actress, taped to her bedroom wall, as inspiration for the face of the main character, Anne Shirley.

Take a photo in front of Green Gables Heritage Place

No Anne of Green Gables inspired trip is complete without a visit to Green Gables Heritage Place. This is the site that truly inspired Lucy Maud Montgomery to write the story. Located inside the magnificent Prince Edward Island National Park, this landmark attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world, each year. 

Stand on the yard and get a photo in front of the doorstep, just like Anne Shirley might have. While there, grab a seat around the landscape for a picnic, backed by the beautiful scenery. If these activities don’t fully immerse you in the experience of Anne of Green Gables, a walk-through Balsam Hollow and Haunted Wood Trail will. Both trails provide an easy walk that’s under 1 km in length. In particular, the Haunted Wood Trail served as the inspiration for the Haunted Wood that appeared in Anne of Green Gables. This trail will take you on a journey passed the Cavendish Cemetery, resting place of Lucy Maud Montgomery, as well as connecting to the site of her home.

Enjoy a peaceful carriage ride by the Lake of Shining Waters

After enjoying lunch and the walking trails, wind down with a carriage ride by the Lake of Shining Waters. Better known as Matthew’s Carriage Ride, this journey on horse and buggy is hosted by a Matthew Cuthbert impersonator for a more authentic experience. For those who have yet to read the story, Matthew is the brother of Marilla, both involved in the accidental” adoption of Anne Shirley. 

Available in half-hour or one-hour segments, the carriage ride will take you around the Green Gables Heritage property, luscious flowerbeds and — of course — the Lake of Shining Waters.

Make Your Version of Raspberry Cordial

In the chapter titled Diana is Invited to Tea with Tragic Results,’ Anne’s adoptive mother Marilla leaves town for a meeting. She allows Anne to invite her friend, Diana, over to Green Gables for tea while she is away. It is here that Anne prepares raspberry cordial for herself and Diana to enjoy. What turns out to be an unfortunate occurrence, Anne accidentally serves up a red wine instead of the raspberry cordial. Due to its red tint, Diana becomes very drunk, while Anne goes on to face shame for her actions for quite some time thereafter.

After a long day following in the footsteps of Anne of Green Gables, there is nothing more relaxing (and refreshing) than sipping on some raspberry cordial of your own. Making a batch of your own is also quite simple. A traditional version consists of simple ingredients like fresh raspberries, sugar, lemon juice, and water. Vodka can also be added for those looking to kick it up a notch.

Interested in experiencing more of Prince Edward Island? Be sure to stop by some of its outstanding natural landmarks.

Special thanks to the staff at the Comfort Inn in Charlottetown, PE for their suggestions.

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