With a busy family, date nights are rare, so when Valentine's Day coincides with winter camp weekend for the kids, my husband and I jump at the chance for some romance in Rustico! It may not sound like the most exotic get-away, but Rustico enjoys unique charms.
It is a quaint Acadian fishing village nestled in the heart of "Anne's Land," with all of the "Anne" sites in
Cavendish located within a couple of kilometers, and yet, you are not in the middle of touristy hustle and bustle. This place is real.
Colourful harbour-front homes and fishing shanties boast some of the most stunning views on the Island, and there is a beautiful seaside boardwalk from which to enjoy those views. We walk it in every season, and it always rejuvenates, but a brisk walk in winter, overlooking the expanse of solid ice in the harbour, dotted here and there with the darkness of a fishing hole, is both awe-inspiring and enormously refreshing. (PEI winter walks along the shore are not for the faint-hearted!)
In the summer, one enjoys The Montgomery Theatre, established as a tribute to
Lucy Maud on the 100th anniversary of the publication of
Anne of Green Gables. If outdoorsy, head out on a deep-sea fishing trip or bask on some of the best beaches on the Island. The freshest of seafood is readily available from various family restaurants, lobster suppers, and other local eateries. All this in a village of 600 residents!
But let's get to the winter romance! The Graham Inn is the scene of our rendezvous; we arrive slightly late, a little flustered by the effort of packing and shipping off our girls. We are welcomed at the door by all three of the lovely ladies who own and run the Inn, two sisters and their friend who recently made the brave decision to up and leave their homes in Ottawa to chase the magic of PEI. They maintain that they have never regretted it for a moment.
Within minutes, the gracious hospitality makes us feel at ease and I sense the tension of a busy workweek start to melt. We are given a tour of the beautifully decorated guest lounge, the array of eclectic rooms, and of course, the resplendent pool area. There are no disappointments; everything is even more impressive than expected. We stay in the Ooh-la-la room, complete with a glittering chandelier above the bed (ooh la la, indeed)!
Shortly after arrival, I wrap myself in the most spectacular robe ever worn, and head to the salt-water pool. There goes the remainder of my week's stress, washed away by the warm water in a dimly-lit tropical paradise while snow falls gently outside the windows. Ahhh...
After a relaxing dip in the pool, it's off to dinner, where we are served an extraordinary meal of bubbling coquille St Jacques, a marinated grape tomato salad, tangy salmon in orange butter on a bed of fragrant rice and asparagus, followed by a red velvet parfait. Perfect.
A good night's sleep (nope - no details!), a fantastic gourmet three-course breakfast, and it's off to enjoy our room for one last hour before returning to real life. But not without making plans to visit again over the March Break - why leave PEI when you can be so spoiled by a "staycation" in Rustico?
The Graham Inn
Jane Hastelow is a former high school English teacher currently working as a Secondary Curriculum Coach in PEI, Canada. She has a Masters in Communication Studies from Sheffield Hallam University in the UK, and loves to combine her love of writing with her love of travel.