Great Scot!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010 Road Junkies 0 Comments

Day 33:  Charlottetown, PE to Halifax, NS.  Leaving Charlottetown this morning, we finally headed south, if only temporarily. Driving to Wood Islands on the southern coast of Prince Edward Island gave us one last opportunity to appreciate why the island calls itself "Canada's Green Province."
Before boarding the ferry for Nova Scotia, we had one more letterbox to locate on PEI.  Our search took us to Rossignol Winery in the community of Little Sands on the eastern coast of the island. 
Rossignol Winery
The pastoral setting could not be more beautiful and today's bluer than blue sky only increased the idyllic appeal.  This was a place that could easily lure visitors to linger longer.  In fact, we were at risk of missing the ferry so reluctant were we to leave.
Rossignol scene
We stayed long enough to find the letterbox and buy a bottle of one of their signature wines, which are sold only in Canada at present.   We haven't tried the wine but maybe it'll be so delicious it will provide just the excuse we need to return to this special place.

After an uneventful ferry crossing of Northumberland Strait, we disembarked in Nova Scotia and visited the coastal village of Pictou.  In 1773, the Dutch cargo ship Hector arrived in the tiny settlement of Pictou, bringing 179 passengers from the Scottish highlands.
A replica of the Hector, which brought settlers to Pictou in 1773
Upon hearing tales from these first settlers, thousands of Scottish immigrants soon followed to this land of New Scotland.  This wave of Scottish migration would last for decades. As the first port of entry, Pictou became known as the birthplace of New Scotland, a title the town continues to celebrate.
Caladh Avenue, known as Avenue of the Clans, displays large panels on lampposts that depict clan tartans, buckles and mottos.  Stores sell Scottish related items. Businesses carry Scottish names. Everywhere one looks, tartan banners are proudly displayed.  Scottish heritage is clearly a matter of pride in Pictou. 

A local resident we met while walking about town told us that the great great grandfather of his great great grandfather had been a passenger on the Hector.  We were astounded to learn that he had grown up on Pictou Island, a 2-mile x 4.5-mile island in the Northumberland Strait between Nova Scotia and PEI.  How we would have loved to hear more about that, but he had run out of time to entertain us.

A picturesque Pictou street
With its rich maritime history and enduring pioneer spirit, Pictou is definitely a town we'll remember.

  • Miles driven: 175
  • Letterboxes: 3
  • Gas: $3.569/gallon
  • High temp: 59° F
  • Clan tartans: 42