Anne of Green Gables
Credit: Tourism PEI / Paul Baglole

 

When Anne of Green Gables was published in 1908, most people thought it was set in a whimsical land of the author's imagination. At that time, many people did not even know where Prince Edward Island was.

Today, millions of people who have been captivated by the book flock to the island to discover the land that the imaginative Anne was so enamoured by in Lucy Maud Montgomery's stories. Anne of Green Gables tourism is now a major industry in the Canadian province, so the government has been prompted to preserve the sites that inspired the author.

So if you’re looking to spend a holiday with Anne this year, here are some places that you should not miss...

 

New London

New London©Tourism PEI / John Sylvester

The town of New London served as the inspiration for the fictional town of Bolingbroke, Nova Scotia, where Anne Shirley's orphanage was located. The town is actually the birthplace of author Lucy Maud Montgomery.

Visitors are treated to a new perspective on the scenery described on the book by visiting New London. They can walk the sandy shore with waves lapping at their legs, view the red sandstone cliffs with ocean-weathered rocks at the bottom and walk through woods of towering sugar maples.

New London©Tourism PEI / John Sylvester

While New London doesn't get as much Anne tourism as the neighbouring town of Cavendish, many use it as a jumping off point from their Green Gables tour because of the serenity of the rural landscape, close proximity to Cavendish and its slew of excellent bed and breakfasts. The town is also an excellent spot for antique-lovers and those who want to browse the Anne of Green Gables gift shop.

 

Avonlea Village in Cavendish

Avonlea Village©Tourism PEI / Yvonne Duivenvoorden

Though the real Avonlea Village is a place of fiction that could only be real in the books, the town of Cavendish on Prince Edward Island gives Anne fans a real look at what it would have looked like.

An interactive village just outside town gives visitors a chance to live the Anne story and takes them back in time to 1908 through song and sets. Costumed actors take visitors on tours. The singing is a bit cheesy at time, but the recreated village is still quite interesting.

Visitors can partake in a number of activities, such as oyster shucking, spoon-playing lessons, dance lessons, pig races, kitchen parties and horse and wagon rides. They can also enjoy premium handmade chocolates, raspberry cordial and ice cream that are all made on site and guaranteed to be delicious. This is a great outing for fans of the books. When walking along the red dirt roads of this little mock village, Anne of Green Gables fans can really feel scenes from the book spring to life.

 

Green Gables House
Prince Edward Island National Park

Green Gables House Prince Edward Island National Park©Tourism PEI / John Sylvester

While the author had a house in Cavendish, it was not her own house that she was thinking of when writing Anne of Green Gables. Instead, she wrote about a house that belonged to her cousins, the MacNeil family.

The house has since been deemed a heritage site and it attracts millions of tourists to the area. It practically jumps from the pages of the book with its white outside panels and dark green gables. The interior of the house has been remodeled to fit with the book, and all the rooms for the Green Gables family are present. Matthew's room is on the bottom floor by the parlour and dining room, while Anne and Marilla's rooms are on the second floor along with the sewing room.

While the house has, and probably will always be, preserved as a heritage site, the surrounding area hasn't exactly been kept the same. While visitors can go and see the nearby Haunted Woods and Balsam's Hollow, the rest of the area has been turned into the Green Gables Golf Course, designed by Stanley Thompson.

Haunted Woods and Balsam Hollow
Prince Edward Island National Park

Lovers LaneTourism PEI / John Sylvester

Just outside the Green Gables House are two sites that are detailed in the book: the Haunted Woods and Balsam Hollow. The Haunted Woods are best seen via the Haunted Woods Trail. Visitors can use this trail to walk approximately 45 minutes in a loop through the forest. Along the path there are interpretive signs that point out how Lucy Maud Montgomery's childhood environment inspired the creation of her beloved story. There are also a number of scenic places to rest and take in this magical spot.

haunted woods©Tourism PEI / John Sylvester

Alternatively, there is also a trail near the Green Gables house that leads around Balsam Hollow. This trail begins at Lover's Lane, wandering through mixed woodlands before eventually tracing a babbling brook.

Lake of the Shining Waters
Prince Edward Island National Park

Lake of Shining WatersTourism PEI / John Sylvester

The Lake of Shining Waters was one of the first places that chatty Anne Shirley gave her own name to while she was on the way home from the station in Bright River. Matthew Cuthbert told her that the water was called Barry's Pond, but refusing to call it by such a sensible name, Anne renamed it the Lake of Shining Waters.

This lake is located near the Anne of Green Gables Museum at Silver Bush. The author of Anne of Green Gables enjoyed a great many visits to the lake when she was a child and it was where she was married as an adult. Now a number of visitors enjoy sitting on its shore, watching the lake glittering in the sun and finding it easy to know how it got such a name in fiction and reality.

 

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