In Prince Edward Island, we have a saying about our seasons.
We get summer, almost winter, winter, and still winter.
When kids are waddling door to door on Halloween with their costumes sausaged on over snowsuits or when I’m walking along the beach in April throwing snowballs for my dog to chase, this seems pretty real.
As much as we like to complain about the weather, in reality, we do get autumn and it’s actually one of the most beautiful times of the year to experience PEI. I was able to spend almost all of autumn on PEI this year which hasn’t happened since 2010. Being home during my favorite season has been so enjoyable and breathtakingly beautiful that I wanted to share some of the best things to do in PEI during the fall season.
Trails and Trees
Prince Edward Island isn’t exactly the destination you would think of when looking for challenging hikes or any outdoor activity that involves rough and rugged terrain… or any significant altitude. The island is made up and sandstone and shale and has a stunning natural beauty that is accented by long rolling hills.
Mounting climbing may be out of the question but no matter what trail you explore in PEI there is one thing for certain; It’ll be damn pretty.
The Confederation Trail was developed on the abandoned railway lines. These walking/biking trails take you through fields, wetlands, and woods, with lots to see and quaint little villages with drool worthy bakeries to stop in. I recently discovered the trails in Bonshaw where, not only was I able to explore and admire the beauty, but I also got a great workout in thanks to the maps pointing out the more difficult paths.
There’s something about being in PEI in the fall that makes you want to go on a date. No, this isn’t where I spill about my fall dating experiences; mainly because those are limited to stealing my friend to go for a walk when her fiance is at the gym. Lack of dates aside… PEI in the fall is terribly romantic.
Whether it be a date, a day with a friend, or a beautiful spot to take wedding pictures, apple orchards on PEI are a must. The best part is the array of baked goods that go on for days afterwards!
Farm Day in the City
Farm Day in the City is an event in Charlottetown that I have yet to attend. I never seem to be home when this is going on and every year I scroll through my Facebook feed thinking, “Next year, PEI. Next year”.
During this event, the main streets of downtown Charlottetown are blocked off to traffic to make way for the artists, producers, and crafters of PEI. I shouldn’t say that all traffic is blocked off because a farm day in PEI wouldn’t be complete without an antique tractor display.
Visit a Farm
Are you getting the sense that there’s a bit of a theme here?
Agriculture is a big part of PEI. I’m talking 1700+ farms kind of big. To help raise awareness of the PEI Agriculture Sector Council and the Agriculture Awareness Committee, PEI hosts an annual Open Farm Day to give locals and visitors an opportunity to visit the farms, talk to the farmers, and learn how the food here is produced.
In case you aren’t here on open farm day, there’s other fun places like Kool Breeze Farms in Summerside and The Chuckwagon Farm Market in Belfast. Here, you’ll find huge corn mazes, impressive hay art, and delicious foods. Forget dates, this is fun for the whole family!
Confederation Center of the Arts
Things certainly don’t slow down at the Confederation Center just because tourist season is over. Shop for unique island gifts, let the kids get in touch with their artistic side at one of the children’s programs, and check out one of the must see on stage productions.
Maybe it’s just my personal preferences showing here but I went to see The Comic Strippers at the Confederation Center this fall and it was way more fun than seeing Thunder Down Under in Las Vegas. These guys can put on a show. They can’t dance… but they can put on a show.
Find Hidden Gems
One of the great things about the PEI countryside is that every road you go down is bound to have some hidden beauty.
During one of my foliage hunting trips this season, a friend and I parked the car on the side of the road and found so many gorgeous spots just by walking down the side of a field.
Okay, so maybe there was a sign that said no trespassing and maybe we went anyway.
On our way out the farmer was driving towards us in his tractor and, as we frantically came up with excuses and apologies, he did what any other farmer in this beautiful province would do, he gave us a beaming smile and a wave.
Man, I love this place.
Eat Your Heart Out
Many crops in PEI are harvested between August and October so it’s a great time to get out the stretchy pants and indulge in some delicious Island food.
The Fall Flavors Festival is a month long culinary celebration where you can choose anything from an intimate tasting of clams on the beach to a large kitchen party with some of PEI’s best brews. The International Shellfish Festival is another one you don’t want to miss. This festival is described as the biggest kitchen party in Atlantic Canada and if you’ve ever experienced a kitchen party on the East Coast before, then you’ll know that’s something to brag about!
Tourists flock to Prince Edward Island in the summer. They come for our golfing, our beaches, Anne of Green Gables, and our warm Island hospitality. Contrary to popular belief, PEI does not completely shut down when the summer is over and in fact, I would say that autumn is an even better time to visit.