Friday, May 22, 2015

More Island Touring: West PEI, Lobster Suppers, Sweaters and Music

Thursday, our last full day on Prince Edward Island, was spent touring the northwest portion of the island, more heavily populated and toured than the southeast where we were the day previous. Part of this is Anne of Green Gables country, though we simply drove past Cavendish, where the story centers and where the island gets most touristy. We began our day with a drive out to Dalvey-by-the-Sea where we walked along the beach, gathered a bit of driftwood and I took countless photographs. From there we wandered backroads, some of them paved and some of them downright scary. Rocinante was in mud up to the front air dam and 19 inch wheels. Traction control saved the day.

Dalvey Beach

Someone made this, I assume

Made? Found?


Lunch was at Fisherman’s Wharf Lobster Suppers in Rustico where I also added a hand knit sweater to my collection of Gaelic clothing. 

Sharon preparing to tuck into the traditional lobster supper. I had mussels, which were fantastic but I regretted passing up the lobster.
I just love what the Celts do with wool, sweaters, jackets, you name it.

In the afternoon we had planned to go out to Tignish and Sea Cow Pond at the northwestern most corner of PEI, but a road was out and it was getting late and we had some plans for the evening.

We finished the day in The Old Triangle Pub in Charlottetown, just three blocks from our hotel. What drew us there? Since neither of us drinks beer or is generally known for our clubbing?

Music. Twice before we have heard Celtic music the way it is meant to be heard, not from a recording or even a stage, but in a setting like a pub. Once in Dublin we were directed to an “Irish House Party.” While it was aimed at tourists the music was real and everyone (even we) participated in some form. It was fun and I am still in occasional facebook and e-mail contact with one of the couples there.

But before tonight our most authentic experience came in York, England when the Black Swan pub hosted a Gaelic music festival over a weekend when we were there. Musicians came from all over the North and Scotland and just played together in constantly shifting groups throughout the various rooms in that large, sprawling pub. There were no playlists or set performers, people drifted in and out and anyone could start up a tune and people would come in on it or not as they chose. We spent the better part of the afternoon there.

Tonight was far more informal. On Thursday nights the Triangle hosts musicians, buys them beer and in return they play. The format was much the same as before though people came in and out, folks swapped instruments back and forth and it seemed like everyone played at least two instruments.  There was a semi-formal “leader.” Cynthia MacLeod led, mostly through sheer musicianship and force of personality. When she played the whole group seemed tighter, but there were probably at least three bands at the big table, guitars, mandolin and fiddles; flutes, pipes and fiddles; and everyone. From the audience came three groups of dancers, and a song. And “band”members both sang and danced as the spirit moved them. My images came from my phone (everyone, including the band, were taking snaps) but hopefully they help to convey just a bit of the experience.
The "band" early in the evening
Musicians kept wandering in over the course of three hours or more

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