With the sweet taste of Amapola still lingering on my tongue, I threw myself onto the day bed in the front verandah of my childhood home. As I often did on summer afternoons while others siestad, I pulled a classic from my father’s collection. What I didn’t realize at the time was the indelible impression this book, Anne of Green Gables would have on me at 12 years old. With breezes pushing their way through the spaces between the verandah’s wooden bars to cool me, I drifted into an imaginary world that supplied my dreams for many years. This summer, several decades later, my dreams of seeing Green Gables in physical form and walking in the footsteps of the author Lucy Maud Montgomery, came incredibly true.
Here’s the video if you’d like to see what it looked like and hear about a most incredible experience I had there. Maybe my imagination began to run wild like Anne Shirley’s, but I’d like to think what I experienced and what happened, actually happened.
If you do visit the Green Gables Visitor Centre in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, know that you will first walk through a beautiful bright gallery that obviously centers on the author Lucy Maud Montgomery – her life, her many books, and her characters. This came as a surprise to me as I was expecting only to see Green Gables (the house), but I was thrilled and fascinated to discover the new visitor centre which opened in August 2019.
Give yourself plenty of time here to take in all the information whether you are a LM Montgomery fan or not. You will need more time if you are a huge fan as I am. You will see many facts, quotes, images, books and artefacts beautifully displayed, including the first written page from Anne of Green Gables and the original published copy of this famous work by Lucy Maud Montgomery.
Once through the museum you will visit the house where LM Montgomery’s cousin’s lived and the place that lent beautiful descriptions to the books. It has now been decorated to emulate the descriptions in the book and you will find Marilla’s chair, Matthew’s room complete with his Sunday outfit, and Anne’s room with her puffed sleeve dress hanging on the closet door. It was an incredible experience.
The barns on the grounds include many displays and information of the times. And are also not to be missed.
Then follow the trail beyond the gorgeous gardens into the Haunted Woods. The name was given to this trail by Anne Shirley in the book and by Maud, who travelled on foot here between her cousin’s house (Green Gables) and her own home where she lived with her grandparents, The Macneill Homestead.
The just over 1 Km trail ends at a road. Cross the road and you will find yourself in Lucy Maud Montgomery Park where you will see a bronze sculpture of Maud called A Glimpse of Beauty. My next video will include a story on this so subscribe to my YouTube channel if you’d like to learn more about what LMM called “The Flash.”
The path through the park continues, leading you to Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Cavendish home area. You can just imagine LMM sitting at the gable window or in the kitchen post office writing her many books, articles, and poems. The view would have been and still is spectacular, of open fields full of wildflowers or wheat or perhaps covered in blankets of snow in winter.
The bookstore where I met John Ross Macneill, a cousin of LMM’s is where you purchase your ticket to truly walk in the footsteps of Lucy Maud Montgomery, and a walk I will never forget.
You can purchase all of LMM’s books here, among other interesting Anne related items and see images and artifacts that have been carefully collected and curated by the Macneill family, Lucy Maud Montgomery’s maternal relatives.
The ticket to walk the trail was just $6 and will lead you from the kitchen which was also the local post office at the time. LMM and her grandmother served the public here sending their letters across the world and can you imagine LMM mailed her manuscripts for publication from this very place.
The trail is a great testament to Maud’s writing and experiences here where she lived in the late 1800s and early 1900s. She married and moved to Ontario with her husband only after her widowed grandmother died in 1911. Her personal journals expressed her deep love for the Macneill Homestead where she was raised and for Cavendish, Prince Edward Island.
The church beyond the field is where LMM worshipped and near the cemetery where she is now buried.
Lucy Maud Montgomery’s life story is as intriguing as the many stories she offered us. I am fascinated by her as a person, as an author and with the many books and journals she wrote. I am certain I will fill you in on other aspects of her life and times in future posts. It is much to extensive to cover here.
For now, consider this a check off my bucket list and an absolute dream come true. Visiting Prince Edward Island and walking in the footsteps of the great author Lucy Maud Montgomery is something a twelve year old girl once dreamt about. And now decades later that dream has finally come true. I will always remember it like the taste of that sweet shoe flower on my verandah that summer afternoon.
“It’s wonderful when your imaginations come true, isn’t it.”
Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables
The Green Gables Visitor Centre for everything Lucy Maud Montgomery https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/lhn-nhs/pe/greengables/activ/centre
The Green Gables Heritage Centre. The location of Green Gables, the house itself. https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/lhn-nhs/pe/greengables
The Macneill Homestead where Lucy Maud Montgomery was raised by her Macneill grandparents and lived until 1911 https://www.lmmontgomerycavendishhome.com/about_us