Whether through L.M. Montgomery’s books, subsequent shows and movies, or Netflix’s new “Anne with an E” series, generation after generation have been captivated by the spirited redhead from Anne of Green Gables. Many fans have enjoyed a visit to Prince Edward Island in Canada, the fictional home of Anne and the real-life birthplace of author Lucy Maud Montgomery, while others daydream about taking such a trip.
If you would like to plan a PEI Anne of Green Gables trip with your mother or daughter to share the origins of this beloved story and bucolic island, let this be your guide. PEI would make an ideal mother-daughter trip for daughters of all ages, especially the elementary school through early teen years. I also have other suggestions on planning a mother-daughter trip with your tween or teen.
Prince Edward Islanders are proud of the province’s literary history and cultural tie-ins to Anne of Green Gables. Visitors come from around the world, especially from Japan, where Anne of Green Gables is part of the school curriculum, to celebrate all things Anne.
Where to Stay on a PEI Anne of Green Gables Trip
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Most of the Anne of Green Gables sights on Prince Edward Island are located along the “Green Gables Shore” near the town of Cavendish. Cavendish also has a beautiful beach and walking trails that are part of Prince Edward Island National Park, making this area a great home base for your Anne of Green Gables mother-daughter trip.
A good option in Cavendish is the Kindred Spirits Inn & Cottages. Book lovers will appreciate the name is a play on one of Anne’s famous lines, “Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”
I opted to stay about 30 minutes further down the coast, also in Prince Edward Island National Park, at the Dalvay by the Sea. I absolutely loved my stay at this historic property and the wood-paneled rooms, large stone fireplace, and vintage charm of the hotel added to my Anne of Green Gables nostalgia.
Alternatively, if you would prefer to base in the capital city of Charlottetown to be close to plenty of restaurants, Delta Hotels by Marriott has a great location and is a good choice for Bonvoy members looking to earn or redeem points. Otherwise, the Holman Grand Hotel is another good option.
Things to do on a PEI Anne of Green Gables Trip
If you are planning a Prince Edward Island Anne of Green Gables trip, I would recommend either spending a long weekend or taking a full week to also enjoy plenty of beach time, along with scenic drives, and other special PEI experiences. Just visiting the PEI Anne of Green Gables attractions will take at least a full day.
Here are the top things to do on a PEI Anne of Green Gables trip:
1. Gateway Village
If you are driving to Prince Edward Island (like I did after taking a New Brunswick road trip), after crossing the eight-mile Confederation Bridge, stop at Gateway Village in Borden-Carleton. This will be your first introduction to Anne of Green Gables and some of the popular brands you will see across PEI, including the popular Cows Ice Cream.
In front of the Shop & Play gift shop, you will find a statue of Anne welcoming you to Prince Edward Island. Inside, you can shop from a wide selection of PEI souvenirs or dress up as Anne in Anne’s Dress-Up Parlour.
Shop & Play is located at 99 Abegweit Blvd., Borden-Carleton, PE. It is open from 8 am to 6 pm daily.
2. Anne of Green Gables — The Musical
Before you take a deep dive into the Anne of Green Gables coast, you may want to refresh your memory of the original Anne of Green Gables story by taking in a performance of Anne of Green Gables — The Musical at the Confederation Center in the provincial capital of Charlottetown.
Running from mid-June through early September, this show brings the classic story to the stage in a charming fashion that makes you fall in love with Anne all over again. It is especially adorable to see the young girls in their braids, pinafores, and straw hats dressed as Anne.
Another option is Anne & Gilbert, The Musical, at the Florence Simmons Performance Hall in Charlottetown. This picks up with Anne of Green Gables in love with Gilbert, her old nemesis/crush.
Confederation Centre is located at 145 Richmond Street, Charlottetown, PE.
3. Green Gables Heritage Place
Green Gables Heritage Place, part of L.M. Montgomery’s Cavendish National Historic Site, is run by Parks Canada and tells the story of both the author, L.M. Montgomery, and her most famous heroine, Anne Shirley. While Anne is fictional, this site pays homage to the inspiration of Green Gables through the experiences of Lucy Montgomery.
The site includes a modern visitor center, which provides a detailed author biography and timeline. Parks Canada also worked with the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of Prince Edward Island to share the story of the Mi’kmaq people in Cavendish.
Most guests want to see the Green Gables house, which is an original farmhouse that belonged to the Macneill family, cousins of author L.M. Montgomery. The author grew up with her maternal grandparents about a kilometer away through the Haunted Woods and she used the farmstead as the inspiration for the setting of her novel Anne of Green Gables.
You can walk through the house, which has been restored and decorated in the time period of Anne of Green Gables to match the fictional home belonging to the Cuthberts. There are also costumed interpreters dressed as Anne Shirley during July and August. Kids really enjoy completing a scavenger hunt while walking through the house.
At Green Gables Heritage Place there is also a barn, carriage (perfect for photo opps), 19th-century gardens, and walking trails including the Haunted Wood and Lovers Lane — inspired by Anne of Green Gables of course.
Anne of Green Gables Heritage Place is located at 8619 Cavendish Rd, Cavendish, PE. The Anne of Green Gables Heritage Place is open 9 am to 5 pm daily, from May through October.
4. Matthew’s Carriage Ride
The love of Anne of Green Gables has spurred an entire tourism industry around these beloved books, spearheaded by the Campbell family in nearby Park Corner. The Campbells were cousins of L.M. Montgomery and the author spent a lot of time in their home during her childhood. In fact, if you look out the window of the home that was built in 1872 on farmland that has been in their family since 1776, you will see the inspiration for Anne’s “Lake of Shining Waters.”
The Campbell family operates both the Anne of Green Gables Museum and Matthew’s Carriage Rides on their property, along with a gift shop. George Campbell has even gone on to publish Anne of Green Gables in multiple languages, along with a series of picture books, early readers, and books inspired by the original story.
At the Anne of Green Gables Museum, you can also book an outing for a carriage ride, reminiscent of Anne’s first carriage ride with Matthew Cuthbert. Carriage rides can be pre-booked for 30 minutes or one hour and can accommodate up to four guests per carriage.
I had the fortunate chance to ride with none other than George Campbell, who filled me in on this family history as we rode past beautiful flower gardens, past the Lake of Shining Waters, and along a private lane through pastoral fields, rolling hills, and red farmland.
Matthew’s Carriage Rides is located at The Anne of Green Gables Museum is located at 4542 Route 20, Park Corner, PE. They are open 9 am to 5 pm, 7 days a week in the summer, excluding holidays. Carriage ride reservations are required.
5. Anne of Green Gables Museum
Before or after your carriage ride, take a self-guided tour through the Anne of Green Gables Museum, in the home where author L.M. Montgomery often stayed when visiting her Uncle John and Auntie Anne Campbell. L.M. Montgomery (called Maud by her family) called this house “the Wonder Castle of My Childhood” and she wrote in her journal “I have always liked its arrangement better than that of any other house I have ever known. I only wish I could have a house of my own like it and I would be satisfied.”
Maud enjoyed many happy moments at the home, which are captured in the Museum, including her wedding in the parlor on July 5, 1911. The same organ and furnishings that were used in Montgomery’s wedding are still there and have been used by couples from around the world who have come to the Campbell family home to be married.
Visitors can also see Anne’s “Enchanted Bookcase”, the room where L.M. Montgomery stayed as a child, many of her hand-developed photographs, the author’s book collection, and even the crazy patchwork quilt that she worked on for five years, from the ages of 12 to 16.
The Anne of Green Gables Museum is located at 4542 Route 20, Park Corner, PE. They are open 9 am to 5 pm, 7 days a week in the summer, excluding holidays.
6. Avonlea Village
The fictional town of Avonlea in the Anne of Green Gables books was based on the real-life village of Cavendish where author L.M. Montgomery grew up. However, you can visit the fictional recreation of Avonlea Village.
Today, this fictional village is home to eight eateries and five shops, including local favorites like Cow’s Ice Cream, Anne of Green Gables Chocolates (where you can also get a bottle of Anne’s favorite raspberry cordial), and Dave’s Lobster. While the village is quaint, there isn’t really a reason to stop here unless you are hungry and want to enjoy one of the eateries.
Avonlea Village is located at 8779 Route 6 Cavendish, PE.
7. Lucy Maud Montgomery Birthplace
If you are a really big fan of author Lucy Maud Montgomery and want to learn more about her life than you saw at the visitor center at Green Gables Heritage Place, you can also stop at the Lucy Maud Montgomery Birthplace historical museum.
You can take a self-guided tour of the tiny home where the author was born and see artifacts from her life, including a replica of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s wedding dress and accessories, scrapbooks depicting LM Montgomery’s life as a student at Prince of Wales College and her years as a writer and teacher, period furniture, and the organ belonging to her Montgomery relatives.
This site isn’t a “must-see” but it is a quick and easy stop on your way to the Anne of Green Gables Museum.
The Lucy Maud Montgomery Birthplace is located at 6461 PE-20, New London, PE. It is open seven days a week from 9 am to 5 pm.
Other Things to do on the Green Gables Shore
Even if Anne of Green Gables is what drew you to Prince Edward Island, those attractions aren’t the only thing to see and do on PEI. The area around Cavendish is truly a family vacation delight, with soft sand beaches, fun family attractions, and some unique experiences. I’d recommend choosing a few of the following to sprinkle into your mother-daughter trip:
- Cavendish Beach at Prince Edward Island National Park – Cavendish Beach is a gorgeous stretch of soft sand, lined by calm, relatively warm waters and a perfect spot to plan a beach day. The beach offers full service facilities including restrooms and showers.
- Cavendish Dunelands Trail – also in Prince Edward Island National Park, the Cavendish Dunelands Trail is a flat, easy trail that combines grasslands and a floating boardwalk through marshland out to an ocean cliff overlook.
- Mariner’s Cove or Sunset Boardwalk – there are two dining/shopping areas in the Cavendish area that appeal to tourists. Both Mariner’s Cove and Sunset Boardwalks feature gift and apparel shops and eateries including Cow’s Ice Cream, Dave’s Lobster, and Beavertails.
- Mini Golf – there is no shortage of fun mini golf options including River of Adventure, Mariner’s Cove, and Drive-U-Krazy mini golf.
- Shining Waters Family Fun Park – this amusement park features 40 wet and dry attractions, a petting farm, concessions, and more.
- Sandspit Amusement Park – this small amusement park has a range of classic carnival rides, including a roller coaster & bumper boats, plus go-karts.
- Thunder Cove Beach – 30 minutes north of Cavendish is Thunder Cove Beach, which has scenic red sand cliffs and rock formations. If you visit at low tide, you can walk up the coast and into a cove to see the famous Tea Pot rock.
- Fisherman’s Wharf Lobster Supper – home to a famous 60 ft salad bar featuring all-you-can-eat mussels and seafood chowder.
- North Rustico Harbour – after dinner a the Fisherman’s Wharf Lobster Supper, head up to the North Rustico Harbour and lighthouse to watch the sunset at a scenic spot.
- Prince Edward Island Preserve Co. – the Prince Edward Island Preserve Company sells artisan preserves, fine teas, retails fine bone china and local pottery. It is also home to a beautiful restaurant featuring regional fare and house jams.
- Glasgow Glen Farm – this was one spot on my itinerary that I ran out of time to visit but Glasgow Glen Farm produces artisan gouda cheese and has a picnic area to enjoy the farm’s fresh stone-baked pizzas, and giant cinnamon rolls.
- Sand Castle Building – Experience PEI offers a range of cultural and food experiences throughout Prince Edward Island, including a sand castle building lesson with a professional sand sculptor in North Rustico. I did a oyster tong and shuck outing with Experience PEI and it was such an enjoyable and special experience.
- Brackley Drive-In Theatre – if you haven’t experienced a classic drive in movie lately, finish off your night with a film at the Brackley Drive In.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best time to visit PEI?
The best time to visit would be May through October. Many attractions may not get into full swing until late June or early July, once school is out for the summer. Many hotels and attractions close in October after Canadian Thanksgiving for the winter.
How long should I spend on Prince Edward Island?
If you just want to visit the Anne of Green Gables attractions, one to two days should do it. However, I would recommend spending a minimum of three days on Prince Edward Island. While only 140 miles long, there is much to see and do on this island province and, if you also want time to relax on the beach, I’d highly recommend staying a week.
Who is Anne of Green Gables?
Anne of Green Gables is a book written by L.M. Montgomery depicting the life of a feisty orphaned girl, Anne Shirley, after she came to live with brother and sister duo Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert at their home of Green Gables. There are eight books in the Anne of Green Gables series, featuring both Anne Shirley and her children.
Is Anne of Green Gables a true story?
Anne of Green Gables is a fictional story and Anne of Green Gables was not a real person. However, author L.M. Montgomery did take inspiration from her childhood surroundings growing up on Prince Edward Island.
Did Anne of Green Gables live on Prince Edward Island?
Yes, in the Anne of Green Gables book, the fictional character of Anne Shirley came to live in Avonlea on Prince Edward Island. Avonlea was modeled after Cavendish, where author L.M. Montgomery grew up. In later books, she also traveled to Nova Scotia.
Why is Anne of Green Gables so famous?
Anne of Green Gables is believed to have sold more than 50 million copies worldwide and has been translated into at least 36 languages. On Canada Day 1999, L.M. Montgomery was nominated as one of the top 20 Canadian heroes of the 20th century by English and French online survey respondents. In addition, Anne of Green Gables, along with other works by Montgomery, have been adapted for stage plays, radio dramas, musicals, movies, an interactive CD-ROM and television miniseries.
It is hard to say what about the character of Anne of Green Gables captures the hearts and minds of so many. It could be her independent spirit at a time when there weren’t as many strong women characters. Or it could be the throwback to a simpler time that still seems to sometimes touch Prince Edward Island and keep the spirit of Anne alive. The recent television series, which was adapted by Netflix as Anne with an E, has introduced Anne of Green Gables to a new generation of fans and keeps the legacy alive.
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