Montgomery’s descriptions of the north shore of Prince Edward Island demonstrate the profound connection she has to the Island. Her stimulating descriptions of rural landscapes have contributed to the number of visitors, who upon touring PEI, come to appreciate a similar sense of coming home that Montgomery frequently expresses.
Through Montgomery’s work, Prince Edward Island became a home away from home for Natália Dukátová (Slovakia), who grew to appreciate the beauty of PEI’s red roads long before she actually visited:
Of course I’m a huge fan of Anne of Green Gables since I was 11. ... I always wanted to visit PEI so badly. But couldn’t imagine that it could turn out so beautifully with the bonus of LMM conference where I can participate. For one girl from Slovakia it was beyond my imagination. And my experience with PEI? More than wonderful. I didn’t know that one land can touch your heart so much. It made me happy to even think about PEI for several months after I came back home. Plus, the feeling of being “home” and safe is a thing that you can experience only when you are there, on PEI.
Emily Moxley (Bend, Oregon) describes her first introduction to the Island as a feeling of returning home:
I visited Prince Edward Island for the first time with my mother in the summer of 2018. I knew we had made the right choice when on our first night we saw a beautiful red fox run across our path. Seeing as red foxes are my favorite animal, I knew it was a warm welcome from the Island.
We stayed at Fairway Cottages in Cavendish and it was the perfect trip. I know people often use that cliche to describe their vacations, but even with getting a slight cold at the beginning of the trip, my visit to Prince Edward Island was unlike any other trip I have taken. Not only did I get to experience this magical place with my favorite person, but more than that, it felt like I was coming home. I felt such peace, calm, and belonging on this small island in the Atlantic that I never wanted to leave. My trip to Prince Edward Island healed my heart at a time when it was battered and bruised. Walking in the steps of Anne and Gilbert, and visiting Lucy Maud’s favorite places; feeling her presence in every nook and cranny helped piece together my shattered heart. Visiting Prince Edward Island was a balm to my spirit and healed my soul.
On our last day, my mother and I visited Lucy Maud’s resting place. I placed some dandelions on her headstone and whispered a soft “thank you.” After we had packed our bags and tears streamed down my face at the prospect of leaving, my mom said to me, “This is a place you can always come back to, Emily. It will always be here to welcome you back, and we know Lucy Maud will never be forgotten.”
It may have been my first trip to Prince Edward Island, but it certainly will not be my last. I cannot wait to return to the place my heart calls home, soon.
The vivid portrayal of PEI life in Montgomery’s work allows the Island to be understood as a place to call home for many readers around the world, regardless of physically visiting. Upon visiting, however, a visitor’s feeling of intimacy toward the Island, cultivated through Montgomery’s depictions, is often intensified, as mental images of red roads, blue coasts, and summer winds come to life.
Check out next week’s post, “L.M. Montgomery and PEI: Expectations and First Impressions,” to see how some L.M. Montgomery fans approached visiting Prince Edward Island for the first time.