Demolition of our barns at Victoria Homestay, PEI

Demolition of our barns are starting. The barns on our property are very old and have started to fall. One of the fascinating details is the width of the boards and the beams. Unfortunately, Mother Nature has also helped quite a bit. A couple of very strong winds blew a hole in one of them.

 We have enjoyed having some very big fires. It would be very interesting if the barns could talk – we know there have been chickens, cows and lots of potatoes stored in the barns.

Many people are very interested in doing “DIY” Do it yourself crafts from barn board, windows and doors. This is one of my favourite pictures of my sail boat and the Tryon River make from pieces of glass glued on an old barn window.

The next time you come to visit at Victoria Homestay – our property will look quite different. We look forward to welcoming guests next Spring to Victoria Homestay.

Potato harvest in PEI

Fall is in the air, the geese are flying south and it is potato harvest time in PEI.

Potato fields in bloom!

Early every morning I wake up to the sound of huge pieces of equipment traveling in front of Victoria Homestay to travel to fields in the neighbourhood to dig potatoes. Farmers are now anxious to harvest the beautiful potatoes they have been growing all summer.

A full potato truck returning to the barn!

Did you know that growing potatoes has been a way of life since the late 1700’s. Farmers have been passing down valuable knowledge from one generation to the next for many years. That explains why PEI potatoes are perfect.

PEI’s red, iron-rich soil is perfect for growing potatoes. It keeps the right amount of moisture in the soil, and warm summers and cold winters provide the right balance of heat, light and water!

I can’t even imagine this quantity
PEI harvests 1 billion kilograms of potatoes every year and they are shipped around the world.

Islanders love to eat potatoes in many different ways – mashed, boiled, fried – and even in potato fudge. One of my favourite recipes is Potato pie. I have included the recipe. And the next time you come to PEI we can make it at Victoria Homestay PEI .

Please stay safe and healthy and we look forward to welcoming you to Victoria Homestay in 2022 when we start welcoming guests again!

Where did the summer go to?

Where did the summer go to?

Anne of Green Gables sings “where did the summer go to” in the Musical when she is returning to school after a glorious summer playing. I also repeat these words and find myself humming it in my head this month. I didn’t make time this summer to write a blog post – life just seemed to never slow down. Please click on the link below – it has the song “Where did the summer go to” . It is a lovely song – hope you enjoy it.

11 ALAN LUND – ANNE OF GREEN GABLES – Where Did The Summer Go To – Bing video

The leaves are starting to change, the days are getting shorter, and it is getting cooler. I wanted to share with you an amazing local newspaper that is published monthly in PEI. It is called the Buzz Arts and Entertainment. It is a free paper that is a guide to what is going on in local arts and entertainment.
If interested, please read some of these stories at this link: The Buzz: Your Guide to What’s going on (

Sunsetting at Victoria Homestay
Our view from our living room at Victoria Homestay, PEI

On a personal note, Neal and I are “empty nesters”. This is a term we use when parents live at home and their children have left the house. Our family travelled to Ontario the end of August to move our youngest daughter Erin to University of Ottawa. The first week of September we moved Catherine back to Universite of Monction. We continue to be happy, healthy, and busy in our “piece of heaven” in Victoria by the Sea. Neal and I are keeping our fingers crossed that we will be able to welcome Japanese friends and guests back at Victoria Homestay, PEI in 2022.

Erin and Catherine before leaving for University!
Apple and Pumpkin harvest!

2021 Lobster season starts !

There is excitement in the air as “setting day” 2021 opens on May 1st. You may be thinking what is “setting day”. It is the day that Lobster fisherman leave the harbour after months of preparation to put their lobster traps in the ocean.

The lobster boats are very heavily weighed down with the lobster traps, and both the lobster fisherman and their friends and family wish for a beautiful day with very little winds.

The fisherman usually leave while the sun is rising and it is one of my favourite memories to commemorate the beginning of Spring and the return to life on the water!

Sunrise lobster traps

The fishermen spend most of April repairing traps, fixing holes in the nets, tagging buoys, and maintenance of their boats.


Can you answer all these questions about lobster?

1. How many lobster fishing seasons are there on Prince Edward Island?
There are two lobster fishing seasons each year, one in the spring and one in the fall.
2. At one time, lobster was considered very common and not at all the delicacy of today. How did farmers use lobsters?
Farmers often spread lobsters on their field as fertilizer.
3. Lobsters are fished using traps. What is the section of the trap where the bait is attached?
The bait is attached in the “kitchen.” The lobster enters the kitchen through a mesh tunnel that closes behind them.
4. How do you tell the difference between a male and female lobster?
The body of a female lobster will have a red material or “roe” which is excellent for eating.
5. Most lobsters are greenish-brown in color, though occasionally ones will turn up in shades of blue, partly white or bright red. It’s rare but it happens! Why?
These lobsters – those blue, partly white or bright red – have genetic defects in the pigment of their shell.


Spring is “sugaring off” time

Longer days and sunshine are the mark that it is time the sap starts moving from the roots of maple trees to the branches. Most Canadians know the term “sugaring off” for this procedure.

Woodlland Maple Syrup farm tapped tree

The “sugaring off” season usually begins mid March and can last into late April during a late spring. The average season lasts three to four weeks. It is very important that it is cold at night and warm in the day.

Did you know it takes 50 litres of sap to make 1 litre of maple syrup. 95% of the maple syrup in the world is produced in Canada and most of that is made in the Province of Quebec.

Tapping the tree
Woodland Maple Syrup Boiling sap

I grew up in the Province of Quebec and it was always an important tradition to go to a “sugaring off” party. A “sugaring off” party involved a meal where everything is cooked or flavoured with maple syrup. The meals I remember are ham, baked beans, scrambled eggs. Dessert would include maple pie, and maple syrup poured on snow to make taffy.

Woodland Maple Syrup Fire
Making taffy

Woodlands Maple Syrup Farm is the only place in PEI that you can visit to see how maple syrup is made. Woodlands Maple Syrup Farm uses a traditional method of production: Maple sap is collected in buckets, gathered by hand from over 450 Sugar Maple Trees and boiled on a wood fired evaporator.

Woodland Maple Syrup
Maple syrup candy

In our family we love to use Maple Syrup on pancakes and French toast. I also like to use it in my granola in the mornings. There are lots of yummy desserts where you can add maple syrup. One of my favourite recipes is Maple Pecan Tarts from the Prince Edward Island Preserve Company.

We hope everyone is well and you can come to visit us soon to enjoy brunch with lots of food cooked in maple syrup. Happy Spring!

Visit Prince Edward Island on a shoestring budget!

There are many things to do when visiting Prince Edward Island even if you are on a shoestring budget. If you have a car, a map, a sense of adventure and a picnic and you can spend many days exploring PEI without spending a lot of money.

If you like to enjoy the outdoors Prince Edward Island has a fabulous network of Provincial Parks which offer an opportunity to enjoy spectacular beaches, scenery, nature trails and lots of outdoor recreation programs. The Day use Parks are open from Mid June to Mid September, seven days a week from 8 to 5. All the services in the park are free of charge. One of my favourite Provincial Parks is Chelton Beach: one of PEI’s best kept secrets – it is always empty! it has a beautiful beach and a spectacular view of the Confederation Bridge.

View of Confederation Bridge
Red cliffs of PEI
Peaceful vistas
White sands

Prince Edward Island also has many lighthouses. The first kind of transportation for Islanders was by sea and lighthouses were important to guide ships into harbour safely. Today many of the lighthouses are great places to visit and or stay overnight.

The West Point Lighthouse is a museum, country inn, restaurant and gift shop. It is a fantastic experience to wake up in the morning and lookout towards the Northumberland Strait.

One of my favourite light houses is Cape Tryon – it is a bit of a challenge every year to find it and a hike to get in but I am always impressed when I get there. The view is breathtaking, and you can usually sees flocks of seagulls and gannets.

Cape Tryon
Sunset at Covehead lighthouse
West Point Lighthourse
Victoria by the Sea

We hope you can visit soon and enjoy the wonders and nature of our beautiful Island!

Helen, Neal and the girls!

Coronavirus changes the way I work.

For many years I have taught English face to face and welcomed Japanese students to our home in Prince Edward Island. Comments from our guests. The Coronavirus has forced me to think and do things differently. Due to the virus I have increased my technical computer skills and learned to be a little more creative in lesson planning. As a result I have had many wonderful virtual English conversations with students via Skype or Zoom.

Shows me working at my computer
Zoom meeting

Our face-to-face tea parties have also moved to become Virtual Tea parties using Zoom. I have been working with Club Tourism for the last four months and we have hosted four tea parties. It has been an absolute joy to share my love of PEI with men and women all ages who are interested in PEI. For now, Japanese people cannot come to PEI, so we are bringing PEI to them via the internet.

Tea cup via Zoom
Helen on a Virtual tea party

Each virtual tea party lasts about 90 minutes. During that time, I talk about our family, our home, the seasons, Prince Edward Island, LM Montgomery, and my Anne tour. Guests are learning about PEI and learning English. During the party, guests enjoy tea from the PEI Preserve Company and cookies from the Blue winds Café. These have been sent directly from Prince Edward Island. Guests have a chance to ask questions to me.
There are always a lot of questions about the weather in PEI, when to travel here, foods that I like to cook, our family and how I use maple syrup. Everyone is very surprised when I showed guests the BIG maple syrup container that I have at our house.

Snow covered birch trees
Victoria Homestay in the winter

I love talking about PEI and answering questions from the guests. I think that everyone is very courageous to try to speak English even if they feel shy and nervous. I look forward to the day when we can welcome guests in our home at Victoria Homestay however, I think that this is a very creative way to bring PEI to Japan during these unusual times we are living in.

The next tea party is about Life in the winter in Prince Edward Island. If you are interested in joining the party, please sign up at this link:

Places to stay while visiting Anne’s land?

Prince Edward Island, our home, is a small province on the East Coast of Canada. I have heard many people say it feels like it is a place that time has forgot. Many guests from Japan know it better as “Anne’s land”. I am always amazed at the number of Japanese guests that come to visit. We are famous for beautiful beaches, pretty fishing villages, farmhouses and churches, fresh shellfish, lobsters and oysters, and world-renowned author LM Montgomery. I think many of our guests from Japan love PEI for its friendliness. People are always surprised that everyone waves to each other or says hello as we are walking down the street.


People visit for various reasons – to relax, to play, to eat, to be active, to visit family or a combination of all these reasons. With over one million visitors annually there are a variety of accommodations dependent on your budget and reason for coming to PEI.

Charlottetown, capitol of PEI

A big decision on where you are going to stay depends on the amount of money you want to spend and if you have transportation. If you have a car the choice of accommodations is amazing throughout the province. In Charlottetown, guests can choose from a range of accommodations: economical rooms at the University of Prince Edward Island or the Youth Hostel or high end cozy and elegant five-star boutique hotels.

Fairholm Boutique Inns

Neal and I recently spent a night at Fairholm Boutique Inns – Charlottetown PEI ( to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. It has beautiful architecture and charm. We wanted to enjoy a relaxing evening in a beautiful setting.

Fairholm Suite
Historic Fairholm Boutique B &B

Summer accomodations

If I was looking for accommodations in the summer, I would look for accommodations directly on the beach as we would be spending most of our time outdoors. I would like to try is called Treetop Havens. Visit Treetop Haven PEI | Nature and Wellness Destination Their accommodations are domes or tree pods elevated in the trees.

Domes in the sky
View from our bed

Please remember the type of accommodations you choose while visiting Anne’s Land really depends on the type of vacation you would like, transportation and your budget. If you have stayed in Prince Edward Island please leave a comment where you have stayed and why.

Victoria Homestay in the Winter

Victoria Homestay in the winter

We hope everyone is staying well !

Helen and Neal

Happy and Healthy New Year.

I am sitting in our living room looking at the twinkling lights on the Christmas tree with a big fire in the wood stove and I realize how many things I am thankful for in the past year even though it has been challenging with Covid.

Twinkling lights on our Christmas tree!

Last winter we spent a lot of time outdoors – Erin trained for her Level 2 certificate in Snowboarding. She is the youngest person in PEI to try it. Neal also took additional training – his goal is to get his Level 3 in Downhill skiing.

Happy and healthy skiers and snowboarder!

During the pandemic we were still able to celebrate Catherine’s 18th birthday, her graduation from high school and successful entrance to Universite de Moncton. We also celebrated Erin purchasing her first car, being elected president of the Student Conseil and recently being accepted into University of Ottawa.

catherine 18

As we close off 2020 Neal, Catherine and Erin and I want to wish each of you a Happy New Year filled with laughter, joy and prosperity. Keep in touch and we hope that we will be able to see you again in Prince Edward Island at our “piece of heaven”

8 Our home in the winter time
10 Snow covered birch trees 2