It's the Economy

Tuesday, June 01, 2010 Road Junkies 0 Comments

Cavendish, PE and Summerside, PE
Today we ventured into the heart of "Anne Country." As a child, author Lucy Maud Montgomery often  visited her grandparents in the village of Cavendish (pop. 272), and later found work in the community as its postmaster.  Montgomery drew on her impressions and memories of Cavendish in writing her classic book Anne of Green Gables (and several sequels).  This novel, originally published in 1908, has sold more than 50 million copies, building a legion of fans worldwide.

The population of Cavendish swells to 7,500 in the summer as tourists flock to see for themselves the beautiful landscapes and charming village that inspired this beloved work.  A popular theme park with replicas of quaint buildings and guides dressed in period costumes invites visitors to experience places mentioned in the novels.
Even beyond the village, the province promotes its connection to Anne. In the capital of Charlottetown one can shop for the perfect Anne memorabilia (look for the official AOGG licensing seal), enjoy treats from the Anne of Green Gables Chocolate Shop, and enjoy the annual summertime production of the Anne of Green Gables musical.

While in the Cavendish area, we went in search of a few letterboxes, one of which was located on a trail near Cavendish Beach. Road construction kept us from the beach and the box, but we did see a fox. It was like being in the middle of Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham.  "We did not get to the beach for a box, but on the way we found a fox."
The highway worker told us that foxes are not an unusual sight on the island.  Others repeated this when we mentioned seeing the foxes.  Tourists feed the foxes, making them willing to approach any humans.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, fox farming-- breeding the animals in captivity for their fur-- became widespread on PEI.  Fox pelts were very fashionable among women during this period.   By 1923, there were 448 fox farms on the island.  At the time, the price of a scarf made of a single pelt ranged from $350 to $1000.  By the late 1930s, changing fashion and the Great Depression caused a rapid decline in the industry.  Yet this history may account for the island's unusually large fox population.

Across the western part of Prince Edward Island, potato fields are freshly plowed and planted.  The red soil of this region seems to be particularly conducive to potatoes, the island's primary cash crop.
Though small in area (about 75% the size of Rhode Island), PEI produces about a third of Canada's annual potato crop.  And you can't forget it while you're here.  There's SPUD radio, the popular "Bud the Spud" song, and even a potato ambassador, Spudley.  Tonight, Dianne found a spudburger (PEI's version of the veggie burger) on the menu of a local pub. 

The red fields contrasting with lush green meadows produce a beautiful landscape.  Tomorrow we will leave this scenic island as we board the ferry to Nova Scotia, where more adventures await.
Daily Stats
Miles driven: 118
Letterboxes:  4
Raindrops:  32,891,456
High temp:  50 ° F
Foxes:  4
Potato fields:  756