Friday 7 September 2012--Up at 6:00. Stuff my things into my bag and the bag into the car, and head on up Route 199 to Cap-aux-Meules. Stop for
coffee at Tim Horton's. Funny, Tim's has only recently made inroads into Quebec--it's joked among the Québecois that it's the essence of Canadian (not
Québecois) culture--but this particular shop is apparently a very busy one. It seems to me this morning to be an island of mundanity in an otherwise
magical place, a symbol, perhaps, of my return to the real world from these enchanting isles. Yes, I'm sorry to be leaving. At the moment, I just need
coffee and a muffin.
On the ferry, I watch Cap-aux-Meules recede, and Entry Island slip by. I can pick out the places I've been there now--the pier, the church, Big Hill, the picnic platform. I used to think of Entry as Skull Island on those rare occasions when it floated above the horizon, seen from Cape Breton. I know now that Kong does not lurk in the hills beyond the stile. If the place has lost its mystery, it is no less beguiling, perhaps more so. The best places are like that.
I snooze a while in a lounge chair, and then head up to the sun deck, my preferred perch on any ferry crossing if the weather is at all tolerable. It's pretty cool and breezy today, and the only two other humans there are Claire and Julie, last seen on the deck at Josey's on Entry. We talk about our experiences, comparing notes. I get some ideas for my next visit. There will be a next visit, and it won't be eighteen years from now, if I can help it.
Before long we are looking at the light at East Point, and soon enough we are landing at Souris. I drive up to East Point to see the light up close, and then visit the Prince Edward Distillery, which is run by a couple of ex-pat American women. They are emphasizing their vodka, made from potatoes, a natural for PEI, but surprisingly the only such made in Canada. They also produce aged spirits, which are of more interest to me. There is a whisky, which qualifies in every way as a bourbon, except that it isn't made in the US--Julie Shore, the distiller, is evidently from a distilling family back home. The rum I sample has been aged in very small barrels, a common method among start-up distilleries to speed maturation, and the result is predictably dry and woody. I'll be interested in trying later batches from larger barrels. So, too, with an apple brandy, which is yet a month from bottling and not available for sampling.
Drive into Charlottetown, find my B&B, and go to the Pilot House for dinner. The Gahan House, a few blocks away, has for years been claiming to be the only brewery in PEI, but the Pilot House has been making their own beer for a decade. They are so low-key about it that they don't even mention their beer on their website, except as an ingredient in a dish or two on their menu. And they only make two beers, neither very adventurous, but I like them better than Gahan House's, which are rather yeasty. The menu is a cut or two above the pub fare across the way, as well. I enjoy a couple of pints before calling it a night.