A postcard is a distillation of experience in a single shot: Storefronts saturated in warm, late afternoon sunlight; a maple tree aflame with a collage of crimson leaves against a baby blue sky; steam rising out of the delicate contours of a hand-painted teacup sitting atop a hand-smoothed wooden table top, a journal opened to a half written entry, pen lying in wait in the crease between pages; church steeples piercing an endless rush of inky storm clouds. The key to choosing the perfect postcard is finding one that captures the tactile experience of place in the spot where the shot was snapped, so that a friend or family member back home is given the gift of momentarily discovering a sense of place in a destination that they may not have visited yet. Below are six postcards that capture some of the things we love about Charlottetown in the fall:
October on Prince Edward Island needs an extra day. For 31 days solid, restaurants all across the Island are serving pulled pork sandwiches – 32 of them to be exact. The pork is all local, and perusing the list of the sandwich ingredients is guaranteed to make you drool. The month-long festival—aptly named Porktoberfest—is a terrific way to celebrate the local hog industry and the perfect excuse (if you needed one!) to enjoy a cold pint of Island-brewed blueberry or pumpkin ale! If you prefer a home-cooked meal, a number of local markets like Riverview Country Market have an extra supply of PEI pork this month so that you can put your creative juices to the test and create your very own Porktoberfest sandwich at home! This is the second annual Porktoberfest Festival, and there are 24 options in Charlottetown alone, so you need not even venture out of town! For a full list of restaurants taking part visit www.peiporktoberfest.ca.
Charlottetown’s parks and streets in October transform themselves into a natural festival of colour: sunlight streams through canopies of brilliant crimson, pumpkin orange, canary yellow leaves, turning them into a breathtaking, constantly evolving collage against the wide open sky. Elms, lindens, maples and oaks blush brilliant hues and then slowly drop their fall blossoms like confetti, turning sidewalks, lawns and walkways into thick carpets of colour. Not to be outdone by the trees, residents decorate porches with pumpkins and scarecrows, and hang wreaths of dried flowers and crab apples on their front doors. If you are on PEI for the last weekend of October, Charlottetown also boasts the best small town Trick-or-Treating in Atlantic Canada. Don’t take our word for it—come see for yourself!
If you know where to look, Charlottetown is an excellent place to find those one-of-a-kind, “where on earth did you find that?” purchases. From vintage clothes and antiques, to hand-made lace scarves, jewelry, pottery, home decor, music and soaps; olive oil and cheese to chocolates, the number and diversity of shops is surprising for a town the size of Charlottetown. Refreshingly, many of the most unique shops are located within easy walking distance of each other in the heart of the downtown core, which gives shopping in Charlottetown a distinctly European flavour.
Fall is also the perfect time to spend a morning at the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market. Open Saturdays from 9-2pm you can mill around outside, enjoy a cup of hot apple cider and browse hand made clothes, home-baked cookies and fresh produce while listening to live music, or take the plunge and immerse yourself in the surge of shoppers inside. The market serves Island-roasted coffee, a flavourful array of teas and tea lattes; freshly baked bread; pastries and handcrafted chocolates; vegetables; Island wine and beer; fresh and cured meats, cheese, fish, and ethnic food from Africa, Mexico, the Middle East and China. Once your belly is full be sure to check out the jewelry, soap made using island seaweed, hand-dipped candles, pottery, hand-woven sweaters, scarves, hats, mittens and slippers, fresh flowers and door wreaths.
Vibrant Art/Music Scene
With all the colour outside, it is hard to want to go indoors. Save it for a rainy day, but don’t miss the Confederation Centre of the Arts Art Gallery, a beautiful exhibition space whose curator, a graduate of Yale’s art history program, brings a wonderful diversity of nationally acclaimed art together with lectures and literary events. This fall the gallery has three ongoing exhibits: Quotation: an exhibition focused on works of art that quote masterpieces from art history; Hilda Woolnough: A Retrospective, which includes drawings, prints, paintings and quilts created by one of PEI’s most influential artists of the past fifty years; Ni’n na L’nu: The Mi’kmaq of Prince Edward Island, which uses Wigwam-inspired structures to tell stories and interpret Mi’kmaq history; and Tactile Desires: The Work of Jack Sures, an exhibit of pots, sculptural forms and large-scale murals that explore the artist’s own roots, recent history and traditions of ceramics and pottery. A full list of upcoming workshops, lectures and readings can be found here. The Guild, across the street from the Confederation Centre of the Arts, also runs an interesting mix of art shows, dramatic performances and concerts.
There is so much happening in the Charlottetown music scene that it is hard to choose what live music performance to head out to every evening. From the lively, foot-stomping traditional Acadian fiddle tunes to jazz, blues or rock, Charlottetown’s nightlife is alive and thriving. A few upcoming performances you won’t want to miss at the Guild, The Mack and The Confederation Centre of the Arts are Stuart McLean and the Vinyl Café; Billy McGuigan’s Rock Legends; John McDermott; The PEI Symphony and Lennie Gallant; Dennis Ellsworth & The Dwellers and Jessica Rhaye; Rose Cousins, and the Cecilia String Quartet. For a full, updated list on everything happening around town, visit The Buzz or our website.
A Place to Rest Your Head
Charlottetown’s hotels, motels, B & Bs and Inns are charming, cozy, centrally located, and often downright luxurious. Whether you’re a budget traveler looking for accommodations that provide just the basic necessities, a business traveler searching for meeting facilities, or a couple looking for a private romantic retreat, you are guaranteed to find accommodations that will fit the bill. Many of our downtown hotels, B & Bs and Inns are located in historic buildings that combine old world class with modern conveniences. Large windows that look out onto tree-lined streets, the occasional clatter of a passing horse-pulled carriage, colourful, beds covered with hand-made quilts, claw foot bathtubs and crackling fireplaces for warming up next to with a hot cup of tea or coffee after a stroll along the coastal boardwalk provide the old-fashioned comforts of a slower way of life in the heart of Charlottetown. To see a full list of our accommodations and book an island escape visit our website.