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“You can’t get there from here.” Until six years ago, that old Yankee idiom certainly held true about driving to Prince Edward Island. Canada’s smallest province, PEI, floated between New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Newfoundland in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, accessible only by boat, plane or ferry. But ever since 1997, when the eight-mile-long Confederation Bridge connected the island to the mainland, this idyllic enclave has become one of Canada’s more popular destinations. Yet for all the additional tourism, PEI remains famously and resolutely simple. Yes, on the northern shore, there’s Cavendish, about the closest thing PEI has to a theme park. But the theme is “Anne of Green Gables,” the timeless children’s novel Lucy Maud Montgomery wrote while she lived here. Lucy wouldn’t recognize the place now, what with all the fast-food joints and ticky-tacky souvenir shops. But somehow it’s gratifying to know that a 95-year-old book continues to inspire visitors from around the world. Ironically, with the exception of Cavendish, much of PEI remains the utopia Montgomery described. Red clay lanes still ribbon through thick, verdant forests. Weathered farmhouses dot much of the roadside landscape, while fishing boats bob along the shore, as they have seemingly done for centuries, their catches of lobster, oysters and mussels finding their way to the island’s ubiquitous “lobster suppers.” The most famous of all these eateries, New Glasgow Lobster Suppers, sits on the island’s north shore, near Prince Edward Island National Park, one of the most stunning slices of coastal perfection you’ll ever set foot on. Cinnamon-tinted cliffs, immaculate beaches, sculpted dunes, and frothy waves extend for 25 unspoiled miles. Those “from away” (as the locals refer to non-islanders) will find B&Bs (quaintly known as “tourist homes”) and other seaside lodging along this stretch. Try, however, to stay at Dalvay-by-the-Sea (telephone 902-672-2048), a Queen Anne revival-style mansion near Tracadie Bay, at the eastern end of the park. Watch the great blue herons and piping plovers swoop near the surf. Then repair to one of two sumptuous dining rooms for chef Andrew Morrison’s creations of Malpeque Bay oysters and fresh lobster. The Dalvay makes the perfect central base from which to explore the entire island. Light out in a different direction each day. Head west to Prince County and visit oyster-rich Malpeque Bay, the perky port town of Summerside, and the province’s largest Acadian area-the R�gion �vang�line. Acadians are the descendants of the seventeenth-century French settlers of Nova Scotia, and in the town of Mont-Carmel, you can sample their culture and cuisine at �toile de Mer, a superb restaurant at Le Village Resort specializing in such dishes as rap�re (a potato and chicken pie) and the rich raisin, apple and cranberry pastry known as poutine � trou. To the east lies the wildly rustic Kings County, where you’re as likely to see buffalo grazing as tobacco growing alongside the road. Golfers absolutely must get on the Links at Crowbush Cove, a fabulous layout that hugs the northern dunes near the town of Morell. Opened in 1994, Crowbush Cove (telephone 800-235-8909) spurred PEI’s current golf course boom. With two dozen courses currently speckling the island, it’s no wonder the readers of Canada’s SCOREGolf magazine rated PEI as the country’s most popular destination. PEI’s capital of Charlottetown is the Philadelphia of Canada. It was here, in 1864, that the Fathers of Confederation laid the foundation for Canadian independence, and as you stroll Old Charlotte Town, with its brick walkways and gas lamps, you gain a sense of appreciation of Canadian history and pride. The Province House, where the meeting took place, stands amid the Confederation Centre of the Arts, where, from late May to mid-October, the Charlottetown Festival draws Canada’s finest performers, designers, playwrights, composers, and directors (telephone 800-565-0278). Across the street is Victoria Row, a cozy pedestrian mall of quaint patioed restaurants perfect for apr�s-theater. Walk down the hill toward the waterfront, and you’ll find even better culinary offerings. Among the more memorable: Off Broadway, Sirenella, The Merchantman Pub, Lobster on the Wharf, and the Culinary Institute of Canada’s Lucy Maud Dining Room. Oh, and the local McDonald’s serves lobster burgers. A day or two in Charlottetown provides a mild jolt of urban energy, just enough to prevent total rustication. The stately downtown Rodd Charlottetown and Delta Prince Edward rate as top-notch places to bed down for a night or two before heading home. Just remember to have $27 for the toll-taker at the Confederation Bridge. Although it doesn’t cost anything to enter PEI, you’ll pay a price for leaving this fertile paradise. TRIP BASICS Getting there: Air Canada serves Charlottetown Airport (YYG) with direct flights from major U.S. cities. By car, you can get on the Confederation Bridge in New Brunswick or drive onto the Northumberland Ferries in Caribou, Nova Scotia. Ferries depart every 90 minutes (telephone 1-888-249-SAIL). On the Web: www.gov.pe.ca; see golfpei.com for more on the island’s golf courses and golf packages.

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