Location: Whitby, Ontario, Canada

Born in Malta but in Canada since age 5. Has written three books and presently does several columns about wine and food for various magazines.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

September 15th Day One: Hello Prince Edward Island!

Leaving Pearson One More Time
It is no secret that I hate airports and being cooped up in a plane for any amount of time. Only a couple of weeks ago I had arrived from Quebec and now I was away with Roy on yet another adventure. This time it was to Prince Edward Island. Why PEI? Of course the show was called "Two In A Vineyard" so what does PEI have with wine or vine?
The fact is that grapes have been grown and wine has made in this area. However, as mentioned before, my concept of wine is more than the sum of wine's parts. Not a heck of a lot of wine has been made in PEI but if one takes a historical and geographical perspective, the fermenting of many products has been a part of the provinces history for many years and that fact includes wine in the mold.
Historical Perspective
Named after the Duke of Kent and Stratheam who was the father of Queen Victoria. PEI is the 104th largest island in the world. It is Canada's smallest province with a population of 143,000. The island consists of deposits first made by streams some 300 million years ago that deposited the silt, sand and gravel into the area. This was added to by glaciers in the Ice Age. When the glaciers disappeared the land rose to form the island.
The island usually had cold winters and moderate summers with lots of precipitation. Weather varied depending on the other weather patterns from other regions but was usually moderate.
The island was settled by Mi'Kmaq people and first "discovered" by Jacques Cartier.
The island was obtained by Britain from the French as part of the "Treaty of Paris" in 1763.
In 1798, the island's name received its name of Prince Edward Island(which was St. John's) to distinguish it from other places with the same name. In Mi'Kmaq the island is called "Abegweit" or "Epikwetk" meaning "land cradled in the waves."
The island is also known as the "Birthplace of Confederation" due to its hosting (1864) of the meeting that designed the "Articles of Confederation" and eventually led to the formation of Canada in 1867.
Arrival Charlottetown
The jet landed in Charlottetown airport around three thirty in the afternoon. Waiting for us was Tara Jackson. Soft spoken with smile that would charm the most grizzly of characters (moi) she introduced herself and went to get the car. The weather was warm----around 24 Centigrade and it was sunny-----a far cry from what we left in Ontario. However we were told that this wasn't typical weather for what was happening this summer in PEI. If fact, it was supposedly one of the coldest and wettest on record with average daily high temps barely making it into the upper teens.
By the time we left the airport grounds it was getting on to dinner time so we stopped off in Charlotteown to have a bite at a restaurant called "The Merchantman Pub" before we treked to our home for the next seven days----Platter House next to Souris Bay. We chose a great little restaurant in the downtown and then proceeded to our Platterhouse destination.
One Super Place To Shack Up!
We arrived at the Platter House located in Souris Bay. The South East part of Prince Edward Island is certainly full of lovely homes all stately in manner. Not far from the house is a magnificent Light House that is still functioning. The Platter House itself was huge! Five Bedrooms, a huge living area, an even larger dining area complete with a board table and chairs, many closets and laundry room, five bathrooms and a monstrous eat in kitchen-------just for the two of us!!! The house also had a wrap around balcony and was on a lovely red beach that faced Souris. I looked outside and the fog was rolling in----could this be a sign of things to come??
I sat out on the balcony and looked around me. Nature was everywhere. The clouds reddened by the setting Sun seemed to hang as if suspended and timeless. The reddened blue sky "back grounded" the feeling of quiet solice as sea birds: Gulls, cornets and ducks flew silently and effortless in the air---landing and taking off at will. One lone Heron hunted in the shore below me.
The Sun itself transformed Souris with all its buildings into a glowing Mediterranean port---aglow in the luminous light surrounding it. Shortly after the image was slowly replaced by the cool blue of a darkening sky and then---darkness.
Then it was Souris' turn to light up the shoreline with diamonds of light sparkling. The sky had its own sparklers shining down and decorating the night sky and the Light House spoke its warning to any on-coming ship. I lit up a cigarette as I do from time to time when I ponder the day and the events. A fog was rolling in from outside of the bay area. Could this be a sign of things to come??