Welcome to Charlottetown, PE | Hometown Hostess

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When trying to decide what town to begin the Hometown Hostess series in, I didn't have to think very hard or look very far. My best friend Meghan is the best hostess I know, in fact she makes hosting people in her home look so easy when we all know there is a bit of an art to "getting it just right".
meghan

Meghan and I met in first year university when the universe brought us together by having us live on the same floor in Loyola at SMU. We have since worked together as a team on many projects, helped each other decide on decorating idea, exchanged recipes, vacationed together, been each other's sounding board and really have just been best friends no matter the distance or time in between our chats. Meghan is extremely hard working and being from a small community on Prince Edward Island was raised to work hard, enjoy the little things in life and to be as helpful to others as possible.

After living in Toronto, ON for a little more than 7 years Meghan moved home and is loving it! She has had lots of visitors so Meghan is going to take us to Charlottetown for a Girl's Weekend. Her suggestions can all be adapted for families, but who wouldn't want to enjoy a girl's weekend away on the island?!

Girl's Weekend in Charlottetown, PEI
by Meghan Van Gaal

For most guests, and especially for a girls’ weekend, I try to have the items on hand to make a few different snacks that we can grab before and between activities. Lucky Fox popcorn is always on my list especially when Jenna visits. I also plan to have breakfast foods, but keep it simple with yummy fresh bagels, fruit trays, yogurt cups, coffee and tea. Basically, I do all the things I normally do before guests arrive (with a few girlie adjustments).

Here is my itinerary based on the types of guests I have had and assuming it is a summer Girl's Weekend, of course you could easily change the order of any of the suggestions and I've included some ideas on how they could be adjusted to fit other types of travelers too:

Arrival Evening (Friday)
Restaurant in Charlottetown followed by a show or live music 
It's always fun to get dressed up a bit and hit the town, especially with all of the amazing choices Charlottetown has to offer.
victoria row
Victoria Row - Photo: Grace Naumann
I recommend going to any of the restaurants on Victoria Row - there is a large variety and patios with live music during the evening making for a great atmosphere. If it happens to be raining however I would suggest going to the Hop Yard, it has delicious food and a relaxed atmosphere but doesn't offer a patio, perfect for a rainy evening. If the girls visiting happen to be up for more of an intimate and unique dining experience I always jump at the opportunity to dine at Terre Rouge; it's more upscale but a treat to enjoy once and a while.

"The Buzz" always has a list of bars that will have live music playing any night of the year so be sure to check this out before heading out to have an idea of where you might want to end up after dinner. I have to add though, the Confederation Centre of the Arts and The Guild are two of my favourites for shows. They both always have a variety of shows for a variety of audiences. In fact, Jenna and I saw Mamma Mia at the Confederation Centre during one of her recent visits. The quality was exceptional and rivals any Broadway production.

Morning (Saturday)
Relaxed morning 
Take the early part of the morning to enjoy some rest with a little sleep in, casual breakfast and planning your adventure for the day over coffee and bagels, getting dressed and packing of a bag for the activities of the day (recommend: water bottles, sunscreen, beach/picnic blanket, towel, book, sneakers, flip flops & sweater). I know this might sound like a lot of stuff, but I always like to be prepared and with the changing weather on PEI you'll be happy you brought along many of these items as the day goes on.

Afternoon (Saturday)
As this is likely to be the day with more time since the arrival and departure days are only going to be part days, I recommend getting out of Charlottetown for part of the day. I know this is all about Charlottetown, but PEI is such a beautiful island that you really should take advantage of what the island has to offer. Most people who visit PEI want to visit Cavendish Beach as you hear so much about it. It offers a variety of activities, but if you wanted to have a less "tourist attraction" based day, I also always recommend Greenwich National Park. Both are easy drives from Charlottetown. So you can pack up and head out to enjoy two different types of afternoons:

Option 1 - Greenwich National Park
greenwich park
Greenwih National Park Walking Trail - Photo: Meghan Van Gaal
The park is about a 1 hour drive from Charlottetown. It has beautiful and easy walking trails but to make them more pleasant – sneakers, light layers and water are encouraged for the hot summer days. At the end of the Greenwich Dunes Trail, you will have seen some amazing views and end up at a  gorgeous white sand and relatively “un-busy” beach (especially compared to Cavendish), now the sunscreen, beach blanket and book come in handy! This is a great place to have a snack or lunch if you didn’t stop along the way.

Speaking of lunch... if you didn't pack a lunch to bring with you, I love stopping at The Trailside Café or Rick’s Fish and Chips. on the way to Greenwich. Both are popular places with delicious food, so I'm sure you'll be happy with either place.

Once you settle in at the beach, you can take time to relax, enjoy the quiet, have a nap, take a walk along the beach, chit-chat and really just enjoy the day, it is a girl’s weekend after all! You may find yourself spending the rest of the day here and even into the evening. Don’t forget to save time to walk the approx. 30 mins back out the trail to the car.

Option 2 - Cavendish Beach
beach
Cavendish Beach - Photo: Jenna MacDonald
Start by heading towards North Rustico and stopping at the Blue Mussel Café for lunch. Try to arrive there for their opening time in order to not wait too long for a table. There is a gift shop and little boardwalk that is close by where you can walk to while waiting for a table if you end up being a bit later than expected - they give you a buzzer to notify you when your table is ready. It's busy but it’s worth the wait!!
dinner
Lunch at Blue Mussel Café - Photo: Meghan Van Gaal
After lunch, take the coastal drive up to Cavendish (10-15 min drive) for some spectacular views. As you’re driving into Cavendish, you can always take a few minutes to pull into the Anne of Green Gables house to see what everyone is talking about. Then you can go to Cavendish Grove trails where there is a short (1 hour round trip), but easy walk out to the Cavendish beach. From there you can then go to the beach or continue along the trails in that area, including an Oceanview Look-off  with more beautiful views. This beach area is busier than that at Greenwich, but it’s still a great area to go with the group and play in the sand/water, but it's a little busy for my liking when on a girl's weekend and trying to relax.

If you don’t want to walk the trails or don’t have time after spending too much time visiting Anne (don't worry, it happens to all of us!), you can drive directly to the beach area and find lots of parking places. This beach is part of the National Park as well so the facilities are top notch.

Evening (Saturday)
Charlottetown Nightlife
For a girl's weekend I recommend getting back into the city to enjoy the nightlife, but if you were travelling as a family I would tell you to stop in at Avonlea Village on your way back where you can find lobster rolls, wood-fired oven pizza, grilled cheese, coffee & sandwiches. Not to mention Cows Ice Cream... This village is also a great place for lunch if you would prefer the Blue Mussel Café for supper.
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Picnic tables on Victoria Row - Photo: Eric's Visuals
All of the suggestions from Friday night stand true for Saturday as well. Here is your chance to see another show, catch more live music and eat at the restaurant you skipped the day before. And, if you can't decide where to go... have fun with all of the great options and have a beverage/appetizer at several places or play checkers on the picnic tables in Victoria Row while the group decides :) For a "go-to" option you can always stop for a lobster roll at The Chip Shack at corner of Prince St. and Water St. No matter what, you need to get Cows Ice Cream at the end of the night – they have a couple of locations in downtown Charlottetown, which are usually open late.

Morning (Sunday)
Brunch & Downtown Charlottetown
On your final day, you may be travelling home during the afternoon/evening so I always enjoy taking the girl's for a nice brunch. I recommend the brunch at Sims Steakhouse and if the girl's aren't driving I recommend mimosas since it's a special occasion :) Leonhard’s Café is another one of my favorites in the city as well. Both are lovely restaurants with great service and have delicious, fancy brunch options.
brunch
Brunch at Leonhard's - Photo: Leonhard's Cafe
Following brunch, take a walk over to Victoria Park to explore the waterfront boardwalk. Although this is a girl's weekend many of you are likely travelling with little ones... and if so, there is a great play area and pool in this area that is well suited for kids. There are also shops along Victoria Row and Peakes Wharf, all within the downtown core and close to the brunch locations, where you can pick up some souvenirs and locally made goods.

If you have time, I suggest checking out all of these areas… but if not, either of them are a great way to spend your time. If you decide to stay in the city on Saturday you can certainly make use of these areas both days!

Meghan and I hope you have the best time while visiting her hometown of Charlottetown! Be sure to share this post and save it for all of your trip planning needs.

If you would like to become a Hometown Hostess and give us a tour of your hometown (or adopted hometown), filled with local flavor and the “real suggestions” of what to do, contact Jenna at jenna.l.macdonald@gmail.com with “Hometown Hostess” in the subject line.

Meghan's shoes for that: Bueno Sandals "The Donna"
sandals
Photo: Jenna MacDonald

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charlottetown
Original Photo: Jodi LeBlanc



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3 comments:

  1. Great travel tips for the island. Thanks Meghan 💕 and Jenna 💕

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great recommendations! I'll be checking some of these places out when we go back to PEI!

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