There is something about island life that allows you to slow down and soak it all in. Whether it is an island in the tropics, or on an outstretched crop along the Atlantic coast, an irrefutable magic lingers in the salty air. For me, it was the latter that carried me across the Confederation Bridge, the world’s longest bridge crossing ice-covered water towards, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Before the bridge was built in 1997, the only way to the Island famous for the beloved Anne of Green Gables was by ferry and a few flight options
I opted to take the Maritime Bus from Halifax on my sojourn. I relished being able to sit back and take in some of the Maritime Province’s bucolic landscapes. In just over four hours I arrived in Charlottetown, P.E.I., the birthplace of Canadian Confederation. I had been to Charlottetown before since moving to Nova Scotia fours years ago, but with each visit I became more smitten with its charm. I would stroll along historic Great George Street past the rows of colourful homes on one side and the towering St Dunstan’s Basilica on the other.
For mere moments I had traveled back in time, forgetting I was even in Canada and not in a small town in England. One glimpse inside the Great George Boutique Hotel and you would most likely concur.
Elegant Charlottetown Stay
I just had to stay there. To write, sip on a glass of red wine by the roaring fire, and to perhaps even run my hands along the grand piano lined with framed photos of famous past guests. Yet there I was, my small weekend bag in tow checking in to the Historic Great George for a weekend of rest and relaxation. My eyes darted over to the freshly baked chocolate chip cookies left out for guests to enjoy, along with complimentary wine and locally brewed beer. “Happy Hour” is included in your stay from 5 to 6 pm.
I was given my key by a most affable concierge and told that I was staying in one of the guest home suites – the very same ones that I had dreamed of staying in while in Charlottetown before. The Great George has several room options, from traditional suites to hideaway suites, each one with a touch of luxury. You can even rent a whole house if you choose! The options are truly endless. I made my way to the Carroll House, where I almost half expected Charles Dickens to open the door to greet me.
My upper unit suite was more of an apartment to be quite frank. One I could have easily spent my days writing and reading in while sitting by the fireplace. The loft like ceilings and upper level Jacuzzi tub added to the already perfect ambiance. Throwing open the shutters, the Basilica – all lit up at night, greeted me with its beauty. I was instantly at home, smitten by my surroundings.
I strolled along Queen Street, Charlottetown’s main street, a short jaunt from the Great George, to arrive at Sims Steakhouse & Oyster Bar. Sims is housed in an 18th century brick building, low-lit by candlelight and with an almost baroque inspired interior. I was anxious with anticipation, ready to indulge in some of Chef Kyle Panton’s recipes. I slurped down a few fresh local oysters paired with locally brewed Sir John A’s Honey Wheat Ale from The Gahan House.
Then the crème de la crème arrived before me – lobster ravioli stuffed with goat cheese, each moist bite captured that lobster flavour the Maritimes is known for. Lastly my seemingly endless appetite saved room for a flawlessly cut 6oz tenderloin steak. The Canadian beef is raised right on the Island, and aged in-house; it does not disappoint. I slowly sauntered back along the lantern lit streets of Charlottetown to the Great George. Opening up my door I could hear the smooth sound of the classic Moon River playing on the radio – a perfectly fitting ending to a most wonderful stay.