Craig and I do that as well. We call it exploring, but it has the same feel. On Sunday we headed out to explore the Northwest part of Prince Edward Island.
I found a listing for a Potato Museum in one of my resources. It was a bit of a drive, but fun and educational.
Farming and processing potatoes are among the primary businesses of PEI. Of course there is also oyster production and fisheries, but the potato is king.
|A branch of Craig's family tree perhaps?|
I love potatoes. When I was a child, no supper was complete without potatoes, and along with bread they were the one thing we could always have more of.
They were the food of the poor. My mother told stories about growing potatoes in a field adjacent to their home when she was a child, and how they stored enough to feed the family throughout the winter.
At the potato museum we learned about the history and development of potatoes, and how they went from a strange tuber from the Incas, which was fed to slaves and the pigs, to a staple food crop. Although there are 4000 actual varieties, including some inedible wild ones, all the potatoes we eat fall into seven kinds.
So, how do you build an exhibit of all the ways a potato crop can be ruined and make it interesting to someone other than a potato farmer?
This long row of little coffins each contained (a model of?) a potato showing the damage caused by some pest or disease, and information about how to prevent it from attacking the next planting. Often the treatment included planting other crops in the problem field for at least three years.
Of course there were exhibits of old farm machinery and of new technology advancing the safe storage and distribution of potatoes. All in all, it was a very good little museum, and deserved its place on the "Best Things to Do on Prince Edward Island."
What is Prince Edward Island like? As tourists we really only get an overall impression of a place. We do not know what the everyday problems or joys of the people are. The people we meet are usually employed in the tourist industry, or are on vacation.
My general impression of the parts of the island we have seen is that it is very rural. There are many, many small (probably still family owned and run) farms. There are some large industrial farming concerns, and they probably function in cooperation with the smaller operations. We did see some very large fields, but most were smaller and divided by tree lines.
I always look at the condition and style of houses as we travel. I noticed large, well kept clapboard homes, as well as many smaller single story places.
At the same time I saw dozens of very old, empty, decaying house, barns and other structures. Often there was an empty house on the same lot as a newer home. I learned in Nebraska that often farmers will move to a nicer home in town and still work the family land. I assume it is the same here, and the empty houses just haven't been taken down. Hermit crabs come to mind: when they outgrow one shell, they just abandon it and move on to a bigger, better one.
PEI is a beautiful place. It has not been spoiled by tourism or chain attractions, and is very welcoming to strangers.
On our way back to camp, we stopped at a beach and took a walk.
The tide was low and there were people out swimming. Craig tested the water and said it was not very cold.
The sea is an amazing sculptor. These sandstone cliffs have been here a long time, but the life-guard told us they had lost over ten feet in the last year due to erosion.
When we saw this sign, I said:
"We're not in Kansas anymore Toto!"
Most signs we saw in Canada were in both English and in French. This stop sign is on a little island that is First Nation land.
Our Sunday drive was long, but it was a good drive.
We finished with a nice meal of fresh oysters (for Craig) and a dish of the best seafood chowder I have ever had, at a little roadside cafe called the "Red Door".
I end this post with a few of the pictures we took at the Brackley Beach, on the Saint Lawrence Bay just up the road from our campground.
Sunset, always my favorite time of day.
What is yours?