|(JOHN SYLVESTER/TOURISM PEI)|
On novel's 100th anniversary, it's 'Anne' more than ever on PEI
CHARLOTTETOWN, Prince Edward Island - For 100 years, a freckle-faced, redheaded orphan named Anne Shirley from a fictional village on this island's northern coast has captured the hearts of readers. This year, the island celebrates the centennial of the publication of Lucy Maud Montgomery's "Anne of Green Gables," and the world is invited. Translated into 36 languages, the book has sold 50 million copies.
Tourists flock to Cavendish, a small farming community when Montgomery grew up and where relatives had a farm nearby named Green Gables, because of Anne. Now each year from June through September Avonlea comes alive. Last year 169,000 people visited Anne attractions on PEI.
This anniversary summer will be all Anne, all over. You can start your tour here in the capital. Anne-related shops are plentiful in Charlottetown and you can attend the highly-praised "Anne of Green Gables - The Musical" still going strong in its 44th season. Of course, there is more to this small but elegant city than Anne. Manageable on foot, it is filled with good restaurants and history.
The Anne 2008 website (anne2008.com) suggests an itinerary that begins at Green Gables, less than an hour's drive from Charlottetown. Montgomery's relatives still reside at her Cavendish homestead and offer tours.
Your route must include time at Avonlea, where much of this year's celebration will take place, and at the Anne of Green Gables Museum in Park Corner.
Although the festivities will go on all summer, there are a few one-time events, including "ANNE-imated" on June 14 in Charlottetown, where you can meet the cast of the musical and enjoy a day of activities celebrating 100 years of Anne. Another special event is the July 3-6 Green Gables Country Fair in Avonlea Village.
It may be the anniversary that brings you to PEI, but the Gentle Island has much more to keep you here. At 173 miles tip-to-tip, the island can be toured in a relatively short visit, and in addition to an almost endless coastline with beautiful beaches, it has more than 25 golf courses. Its Confederation Trail allows you to walk or bike the length of the island past rolling farmland with fields of potatoes and wheat, and dotted with colorful barns.
Oh, and if potatoes are your thing, you can visit the village of O'Leary, home of the world's only potato museum.
Judy F. Kugel, a writer in Cambridge, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.