Archive for October, 2019

L. M. Montgomery’s Cavendish Home

Friday, October 25th, 2019

I’m still writing about the first day of my road trip to Prince Edward Island with two of my childhood friends. After exploring Green Gables Heritage Place, we walked through the Haunted Wood and explored Montgomery Park while following signs to the site of the MacNeill homestead, where Lucy Maud Montgomery lived with her grandparents, which she described in her journals, and where she did her apprenticeship, learning to be a writer by writing hundreds of short stories and her classics Anne of Green Gables and The Story Girl. Here’s a picture from the doorstep of the bookshop, which we enjoyed and purchased goodies from.

Even though Maud had to leave Prince Edward Island after her grandmother’s death and moved with her minister husband to Ontario, she set all of her books except one back on Prince Edward Island, the home of her heart. The cousin who inherited the property ended up tearing it down, so now visitors can walk around the grounds and imagine what it was like. In the bookshop we saw a model of the home.

The sign below reads, “This was the kitchen section of the house which contained the original post office. It was here that LMM served as the assistant Post Mistress to her grandmother and where Anne of Green Gables was born.”

Then we walked around the grounds.

No matter how much I read Maud’s journals and pictured the countryside described in Anne of Green Gables, I didn’t imagine this view.

I got excited when I saw many apple trees on the property, since in The Story Girl, the King homestead has an orchard where they plant an apple tree at each family member’s birth, and several of her other books mention apple trees.

There were many trees down on the property from the hurricane Dorian that had come through a few weeks before. There were trees down all over the island, and people had obviously been diligently working to clear them. Some squirrels posed on downed trees.

And Ruth posed on a downed tree, too. (We can’t go somewhere with Ruth without her climbing on something. This was true in 7th grade and is still true at 55!)

I liked the L. M. Montgomery quotations posted throughout the property along the path.

They excavated the cellar recently, and here it is:

There was an apple tree on the property more than 100 years old! Though pointing it out made me realize that most of the trees were not here when L. M. Montgomery was. This tree was there, though!

They have reproduced the “Old Lane” she talked about, where she’d first see her home around the bend.

And I told you apple trees were important to L. M. Montgomery!

Okay, this next sign was neat. On the side, it says, “Project Bookmark Canada places stories and poems in the exact Canadian locations where literary scenes are set. A Canadian innovation, it is the only national, site-specific literary exhibit in the world. This Bookmark is the first in Prince Edward Island. It was unveiled June 2018, in conjunction with the L. M. Montgomery Institute’s 13th biennial international conference at the University of Prince Edward Island.”

On the right is Maud’s poem, “The Gable Window,” at the exact location where her gable window would have been. I stood there and read the poem aloud, looking out on the view she would have seen (or something similar, anyway).

And turning slightly, here’s some picturesque detail.

We’d almost finished the loop path, but now walked past a garden.

To get back to Darlene’s car, we went back through the Haunted Wood, taking the other part of a loop.

The woods were so peaceful. I understand Green Gables gets crowded in the summer, so that might not be true then, but we enjoyed it!

On this side of the loop, we passed a stream.

I was excited by every bit of Fall Color. It hadn’t really begun in Virginia yet.

And then we were back at Green Gables! We were too late to shop in the gift shop there, which was probably just as well.

We had one more adventure that first day when we drove along the shore. That will be the next post….

Montgomery Park

Saturday, October 19th, 2019

At the end of September, I went on a road trip to Prince Edward Island with two childhood friends to celebrate all three of us being 55 years old. This is the tale of that trip.

We took two days to drive to Prince Edward Island. On our first day in Cavendish, we went to Green Gables Heritage Place, and then hiked through the Haunted Wood. The first place we came to when we emerged was Montgomery Park, dedicated to L. M. Montgomery, the founders of Cavendish and the founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, who was also from Cavendish. (I suspect the sign is tilted from Hurricane Dorian, which passed through a few weeks before we did.)

It’s a quiet little park. We saw a sign pointing us to the site of L. M. Montgomery’s childhood home, and the way led through the park.

Here’s a diagram of the main sites in Cavendish: Green Gables Heritage Place, the MacNeill Homestead (L. M. Montgomery’s childhood home), Lover’s Lane (which was closed because of trees down from the hurricane), and the Haunted Wood trail. I think this park was probably on part of the grounds of the MacNeill Homestead.

Such a lovely view!

The wording on the plaque in the next picture is:

L. M. MONTGOMERY’S CAVENDISH

Bringing together the real and imaginary worlds of Lucy Maud Montgomery (1874-1942), this landscape is intimately associated with her formative years and prolific career as a writer. To the northeast are the ruins of the author’s home from 1876 to 1911, the Cavendish farmhouse where she lived with her maternal grandparents, Lucy and Alexander Macneill, following her mother’s illness and death. It was here that Montgomery wrote her most famous novel, Anne of Green Gables (1908), and her beloved The Story Girl (1911), as well as numerous other stories and poems. She drew inspiration for much of her writing from these surroundings, including the house to the west, now known as Green Gables, and places such as the Haunted Wood and Lover’s Lane, which are cherished by her fictional character Anne Shirley. This landscape of rolling farm fields, woodlands, and winding paths provided Montgomery with great joy in her early years, and remained dear to her throughout her life. This setting has also held special meaning for generations of her admirers, who continue to visit and reflect upon the life and work of this well-loved, internationally renowned author.

Then I saw the Maud Montgomery statue. She’s pausing in her writing to enjoy a Flash of beauty.

And a bench off to the side has a curious cat sculpture.

I had to pose with my heroine!

Darlene took a turn.

And Ruth chose to pet the cat!

It wasn’t until I was taking pictures of Ruth that I noticed another cat behind the author.

Also in the park was information about the Founders of Cavendish. A map of some of the original settlers shows Clarks, Simpsons and MacNeills. Maud Montgomery was related to both the Simpsons and MacNeills, and the other surnames listed as founders of Cavendish all show up as names of friends in her journals.

The monument pictured below reads:

FOUNDING OF CAVENDISH 1790 BY SCOTTISH SETTLERS

who had arrived on the island of St. John in 1775

on these acres Cavendish was born

Near the sand hills the first home — a log cabin — was built by William Simpson Senior and his wife Janet Winchester

Here with four of their ten children sons William Junior and James and sons-in-law William Clark and John McNeill with their families five homes were established and Cavendish became a community

It was time to go on past the park to the site of L. M. Montgomery’s Cavendish home. We bid farewell to the author.

The next installment of the tale of our trip will cover the site of her Cavendish home.

The Haunted Wood

Wednesday, October 16th, 2019

I’m going to slowly tell the tale of my trip to Prince Edward Island with my childhood friends Darlene and Ruth to celebrate all three of us being 55.

After we explored Green Gables Heritage Place, we took the path through the Haunted Wood.

The story of the Haunted Wood is told in Anne of Green Gables. Anne and Diana thought the woods were boring, so they invented ghosts that inhabited the wood. Their imaginations were so vivid that they scared themselves. One evening, Marilla told Anne to borrow something from Diana’s house, but she didn’t dare go through the Haunted Wood after dark. Marilla would have none of that nonsense, and made her do it anyway rather than go around by the road. Well, Anne did it, but was terrified all the way.

Maud Montgomery confesses in her journals that she and her childhood friends did the same thing, and the Haunted Wood is a real trail.

Now, Green Gables Heritage Place is not the house where L. M. Montgomery lived. It was a place where some cousins lived, but she modeled Anne’s house after this one. And the path through the Haunted Wood from Green Gables leads to the site of Maud Montgomery’s Cavendish home (which was since torn down). So my friends and I took that path.

The island was much more hilly than I had realized. From the top of the hill before we got far into the wood, we looked back on Green Gables.

And here’s the barn on the property:

And see how the shiny Interpretive Centre looks a little out of place?

The trail wasn’t like I’d ever imagined it. For one thing, it was a longer trail than I’d guessed, going deep through the woods.

I was delighted by any bit of Fall Color we found.

Some parts were a bit dark and spooky even without imagining ghouls and even in the middle of the afternoon.

It wasn’t a long walk, but it was delightful. I got to thinking about how in the days before cars, children like Maud would take walks through the woods simply to get to school or to a friend’s house. No wonder it was such a big deal when a boy walked a girl home from prayer meeting!

We did notice many trees down from Hurricane Dorian, which had hit the island three weeks before. The path had been cleared and we saw much evidence of hard work — which made me feel better about Lover’s Lane being closed. They weren’t neglecting the tourist paths, but doing a thorough job — and it had clearly been a lot of work.

We had a lovely walk through the woods together.

After braving the Haunted Wood, we came to Montgomery Park, honoring the Founding Families of Cavendish and L. M. Montgomery. That will be my next installment.

Green Gables Heritage Place

Friday, October 4th, 2019

On the first day of our vacation in Prince Edward Island, after sleeping in to recover from our long drive, we drove a few blocks down the road to Green Gables Heritage Place!

I was a little taken aback by the shiny new Interpretive Centre and huge parking lot. It seemed so completely out of the spirit of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s times — yet it was precisely the popularity of her writing that made such a big centre necessary.

Once we got inside, the disconnect subsided. It was a very lovely presentation of the story of Maud Montgomery’s life, an interactive exhibit that you walked through at your leisure. I was glad that my friends were as interested in reading every panel as I was.

Now, I’ve read her Selected Journals and all her books, so the information wasn’t new to me. But I really liked how it was presented.

I got a special thrill out of seeing her actual typewriter:

And here’s the actual manuscript of Anne of Green Gables:

Have I mentioned that all three of us friends on this trip have different kinds of brain damage? Mine mostly manifests by getting motion sickness. Darlene and Ruth kept remembering important things and then forgetting little things. I noticed it at the Interpretive Centre when we walked into an orientation film about Green Gables in the middle. They started the film again, so we stayed to catch up the part we missed. But when we got to the part we’d seen before, neither Ruth nor Darlene remembered having just seen it! I went outside and took pictures while they watched the end of the film for the second time.

The former barn had more fun stuff. We all had to dress up as Anne!

Next to an exhibit about Anne and Diana’s vows of friendship seemed like the perfect place to take a picture of the Friendship Bracelets Darlene had gotten for each of us. On the side is engraved “A friend loves at all times” and “Proverbs 17:17.”

Once we got through the Interpretive Centre, the road was mostly hidden from us, and it did feel like we were back in Anne’s world.

And then it was time for a house tour!

Green Gables is interesting, because it’s a fictional place. Maud Montgomery never lived here, but she based the description in Anne of Green Gables on the nearby home of her cousins. So that’s the house that was renovated to look like the house described in Anne of Green Gables. It is a distance from the road (now filled by the parking lot), and it just takes a walk through the Haunted Wood to get to the home where L. M. Montgomery lived with her grandparents.

I never imagined Anne using a stove like this one!

And here’s the pantry:

I loved the geranium named “Bonny” in the window. We were told that in the days before screens, geraniums helped keep bugs from coming in the windows.

Here’s Anne’s room!

I was still excited by every red leaf I saw, and just loved this ivy on the side of Green Gables.

I wanted to go for a walk on Lovers’ Lane, but Alas! It was closed due to downed trees from Hurricane Dorian, which had hit the Island three weeks before. We saw trees down all over the island. They’d cleared the Haunted Wood Trail, but not yet with Lovers’ Lane.

I did cross the tape to take a picture of the beginning of the Lane, though.

We simply enjoyed the grounds, wandering around, taking pictures.

Have I said that my friends are true kindred spirits? I was so happy when I wanted to linger — that they wanted to linger, too. We all agreed that our families probably would have gotten impatient by then.

We finished off this first part of our day with a late lunch in the cafĂ© — drinking Raspberry Cordial, of course!

Next — our walk through the Haunted Wood!