Archive for November, 2019

Anne of Green Gables: The Musical

Friday, November 22nd, 2019

I’m telling about my 55th Birthday Adventure to Prince Edward Island with my friends Darlene and Ruth. We drove up from Virginia to Canada on a late September weekend. On Monday, we visited Green Gables Heritage Place and walked on the trail through the Haunted Wood to Montgomery Park and L. M. Montgomery’s Cavendish home. We finished the day with a short drive along the shore where we saw a fox. On Tuesday, it rained, so we visited museums — first L. M. Montgomery’s Birthplace and then the Green Gables Museum at Silver Bush.

Tuesday evening, we went to see Anne of Green Gables: The Musical in Charlottetown.  I’d purchased the tickets before our trip.  Since Darlene’s 55th birthday was right at the start of our trip, and Ruth’s 56th birthday was soon after our trip, I wanted to think of something I could get for both of them – and I decided that tickets to a show would be perfect.  They were!

I’d tried to decide whether to see Anne of Green Gables: The Musical or another show called Anne and Gilbert.  But when I learned that Anne of Green Gables had been running for 55 years, and we were celebrating all being 55, the decision was made easily!

I’d gotten directions on my phone at the cottage where we had internet access.  And my phone had gotten us to the cottage in the first place.  But we hadn’t gone far before I had no connection, and my phone directions stopped.  Fortunately, I had a map of the island that I’d gotten from tourismpei.com.  But even though I’d been in Canada two days by now, this was my first clue my phone wouldn’t work.

[Somewhere I should mention that my Dad had surgery on Monday to remove a growth from his colon that was very likely cancer, but in the very early stages.  The surgery had been put off until six months after he’d had a stent put in, so he could go off blood thinners, but it was very minor laparoscopic surgery.  I’d seen a post on either Monday night or Tuesday morning that the surgery had gone well, so I was relieved about that.]

Anyway, I was very frustrated to have my GPS quit working, especially the one time we were driving into a city, but we did manage to figure it out.  We parked near the theater and found a likely-looking restaurant.  That was the one time we ate at a restaurant on our whole trip, and it ended up being a lovely meal.

At the musical, I had gotten us the cheapest seats – in the front row!  I was afraid the view would be terrible, since they were in fact among the cheapest seats, but it was great to be able to see all the expressions on the faces.  We could also see right into the orchestra pit, and it was fun to watch the musicians, too.

A girl from Prince Edward Island who knew many of the actors ended up sitting next to me.  She had already seen the show dozens of times and was super fun to talk to.  I felt good about getting the front row seats!

We loved the show.  Now, I have to say that as a fan of the book Anne of Green Gables, of course no musical would be perfect.  The trouble is that the book covers years of Anne’s life as she grows from a little girl to a college student.  It’s hard to catch that in a couple of hours.  The kids in the school seem very childish at first and then quickly switch to romantic thoughts, whereas the book clearly covers years.

But I did love that they caught a lot of the key scenes – dyeing her hair green, accidentally setting Diana drunk, hitting Gilbert over the head with her slate, and so much more.  I did think all the actors were wonderful, particularly the leads.  Matthew and Marilla were just right.  I liked the way Rachel Lynde had a whole gaggle of Ladies’ Aid folks along with her.

We loved every minute of it, and I’m so glad we added that into our trip.

And it started pouring on the drive back to our cottage, but we did make it back!  It had been a busy and wonderful second full day on Prince Edward Island.

Silver Bush

Thursday, November 21st, 2019

In late September, I took a road trip to Prince Edward Island with two childhood friends during the week all three of us were 55 years old. We spent the weekend driving through New England and New Brunswick to get there.  On Monday, we visited Green Gables Heritage Place in nearby Cavendish, then walked through the Haunted Wood to Montgomery Park and L. M. Montgomery’s childhood home, finishing up with a short drive along the shore.  Tuesday was very rainy, so we decided it was the day for museums, beginning with L. M. Montgomery’s Birthplace in New London.

After browsing the memorabilia at her birthplace, we drove a few miles down the road to Park Corner, where a barn had a big “GREEN GABLES MUSEUM” painted on the side at Silver Bush, the home of L. M. Montgomery’s Aunt Annie and Uncle John Campbell and her “merry Campbell cousins.”

Silver Bush was special to me, because it was a place L. M. Montgomery loved with all her heart.  She hadn’t lived in her birthplace long enough to remember.  The childhood home where she lived with her grandparents had been torn down.  And “Green Gables” was a place some cousins lived that she’d used as a model for her fictional heroine’s home, but not a real place she’d actually lived.  But a much-loved family of cousins lived at Park Corner, and Maud spent a lot of time visiting there.  After she got married and moved away from the island, this was a place where she was sure to stay when she came back for prolonged visits.

At L. M. Montgomery’s Birthplace, we’d seen a replica of her wedding dress.  At Silver Bush, we saw the actual room where she’d gotten married.

A card next to this screw on the landing says:  “As one goes upstairs one sees the screw on the stair landing that Lucy Maud Montgomery used to measure her height by – first she said it came to her nose and then to her knees.”

A good friend of mine, Erin MacLellan, a writing buddy, had happened to visit Prince Edward Island just before my friends and me, leaving the same day we arrived.  At this museum, I finally thought to look for her name in the guest book, and there she was, just a couple days before me!

A real live cat was sleeping in the cradle in this room!

Maud was such a frequent guest at Silver Bush, she had her “own little bedroom.”

In The Story Girl and The Golden Road, the Story Girl tells about “The Blue Chest of Rachel Ward” – a chest of one of her relatives’ wedding goods, sealed up when the wedding didn’t happen, and opened when the bride-to-have-been died many years later.  That was a real story, and the blue chest was here at Silver Bush, with its former contents in a display case here.

All the museums had some first editions of L. M. Montgomery’s books, but these were autographed to the family that lived here, her cousins and aunt and uncle.

Emphasizing how much L. M. Montgomery drew from her own life and the lives of her clan on Prince Edward Island, the caption on this cupboard told us that these dishes were from “New Moon,” her Aunt Emily’s home.

Next to Maud’s Crazy Quilt was an extended quotation from her journal:

I was from twelve to sixteen completing the quilt – five years; and verily it was “Love’s Labors Lost,” for by the time I had finished it crazy patchwork was out of the fashion.  My crazy quilt has been lying folded in that trunk ever since – and will continue to lie folded.  Perhaps future generations may regard it as a curiosity as we look upon old samplers now.

Nevertheless, I felt many a tug at my heart as I looked over it today.  It was compact of old memories; almost every gay piece or bit of embroidery called up some long-ago incident or place or face.  As for the dreams sewn into that quilt, they were as thick as Autumn leaves in Vallambroso.

A great part of the delight of “crazy” work was the excitement of collecting pieces for it – silks, satins, velvets – for of no meaner materials might genuine crazy patchwork be made.  Old boxes and drawers were ransacked and long hidden bits of finery joyfully found and used.  Contributions were levied on all my friends.  Did one get a new dress or hat a bit of the trimming must be begged.  Sometimes the work was at a standstill for weeks because of lack of scraps.  But eventually enough were collected and the quilt completed – a quaint cypher of many and many an old gayety and vanity and heartbeat.  Sometimes I sent away a dollar to an American silk firm and received a package of pieces about four inches square cut from remnants.  They were always very rich and beautiful, with the glamor of the outer world about them – the world of wealth and fashion where “grande dames” disported themselves in whole robes of these materials.  It was a never-failing diversion of my chums and me to “choose out” the various dresses we would have if given our pick of those gay samples.

There are many pieces of dresses from my mother and aunts in that quilt.  Many wedding dresses figure there.  And all are covered with intricate stitching.  The result is a very nightmare of jumbled hues and patterns.  And once I thought it beautiful!

Well, after all, it gave me pleasure in the making and so what matters if the result was not worth while?  I had “the joy of the working” and that was the essence of heaven.

Looking out the window, I doubt the view was very different from what Maud herself used to look out and see.

I admit, though, that I very much want to come back to Prince Edward Island and visit Silver Bush on a sunny day.  Maybe even splurge for “Matthew’s Carriage Ride” – though that should really be from the train station to Green Gables, not here in Park Corner.  There are trails on the grounds here, too, that L. M. Montgomery used to take, but we didn’t want to try them in the rain.  Instead, we spent a good amount of time in the lovely gift shop.  I took a picture of “The Lake of Shining Waters” as we drove back to our cottage.

L. M. Montgomery’s Birthplace

Monday, November 18th, 2019

I’m telling about my 55th Birthday Adventure to Prince Edward Island with my friends Darlene and Ruth. We drove up the East Coast on a late September weekend. On Monday, we visited Green Gables Heritage Place and walked on the trail through the Haunted Wood to Montgomery Park and L. M. Montgomery’s Cavendish home. We finished the day with a short drive along the shore where we saw a fox.

Tuesday, our second day on the island, dawned with pouring rain. But that answered the question I’d had in planning the day: Should we begin our journey with all the L. M. Montgomery sites, or break them up with sight-seeing and hiking? The answer was that a rainy day was an absolutely perfect day to visit museums, and that’s what we did, beginning with L. M. Montgomery’s Birthplace in New London.

It’s a lovely little house, only about fifteen minutes away from Cavendish by car. I kept thinking about how different that would have been a hundred and forty-five years ago, when people got around with horses and buggies. It was a beautiful drive, too, with more hills than I had realized would be there, and plenty of farms and trees with leaves changing color.

Now, Lucy Maud Montgomery only lived in this house a couple of years. Her mother died when she was still a baby, and her father gave her into the keeping of her mother’s parents in Cavendish. So Maud Montgomery was brought up by her grandparents, very similar to the situation of her heroine from Emily of New Moon.

Even though Maud didn’t live in this house to remember it, the house is packed with L. M. Montgomery memorabilia, including an exact replica of her wedding gown.

I loved the original manuscripts and scrapbooks!

There were also some first editions of her books.

Clippings from articles about her included a picture from Cavendish shore. I now filled in the red-colored cliffs I’d seen the evening before!

The rooms upstairs were furnished for the time period.

This is the bedroom where Lucy Maud Montgomery was born on November 30, 1874.

We lingered over the displays and then did some shopping. I chose some books about L. M. Montgomery and Prince Edward Island that I didn’t already have and couldn’t simply buy on Amazon. They stamped them as purchased at L. M. Montgomery’s birthplace.

Then we prepared to drive on to Silver Bush, the place where Maud Montgomery’s “merry Campbell cousins” lived, the place she got married, and the place she came back and visited for the rest of her life.

Cavendish Shore

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

This is the story of my September road trip to Prince Edward Island with two of my childhood friends. We drove up through New England on the weekend, and then began our sight-seeing on Monday. We were staying in Cavendish, and drove only a mile down the road to Green Gables Heritage Place. From there, we took the path through the Haunted Wood to get to Montgomery Park and L. M. Montgomery’s Cavendish home.

We were back at Green Gables Heritage Place when it closed, and Darlene asked where the nearest grocery store was. We had a kitchen in our cottage, and she had plans for making dinner. So we drove to North Rustico and found a store and bought some fresh ingredients.

After shopping, I thought we should drive back to Cavendish by the shore road, which went into Prince Edward Island National Park. That was a great choice!

Mind you, by now it was definitely raining. And the sun was going down. But we were still thrilled by the red rocks and the beautiful shoreline and the water.

And then we saw this fellow!

He kindly stopped and posed for us!

So after making such a friend, we were thrilled!

L. M. Montgomery has several photos in her journals down by the shore — and it probably would have been this same section. But somehow without them being in color — I didn’t imagine it like this.

I do regret that we never went back to this part of the shore when it wasn’t raining, but you’ll see that we got plenty of time by the water.

L. M. Montgomery almost always mentions the sea in her writings — but I must gloss over a lot of the description. Now that I have been on Prince Edward Island, I will always think of it in conjunction with wonderful views of the sea. I’m sure now her descriptions will call images to mind much more readily.

The road was closed after we got partway into Prince Edward Island National Park, so we couldn’t get back to Cavendish that way and had to backtrack, but we were not disappointed — we didn’t mind looking at the sea.

We went back to our cottage and had some dinner. I uploaded my pictures but realized that my plan of daily blogging was unrealistic. Before I went to sleep, I read from L. M. Montgomery’s journals and her biography. And we were ready for another big day on Tuesday!