I went to Prince Edward Island last weekend and visited Green Gables for the first time in a few years. I’ve been thinking about L.M. Montgomery’s early years as a writer, because I’ve been reading a new collection of her work called After Many Years: Twenty-One “Long-Lost” Stories, edited by Carolyn Strom Collins and Christy Woster. (Montgomery published hundreds of stories and poems—I hadn’t realized just how high the number was—before Anne of Green Gables appeared in 1908.) And I was thinking of those early years because this week, Melanie J. Fishbane, author of Maud: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery, is visiting Nova Scotia and PEI. Melanie’s novel focuses on Montgomery as a teenager, dreaming of future success as a writer: “Similar to Jo March in Little Women, Maud imagined herself writing sweeping epics and articles for newspapers, or traveling to the great cities of the world, and making something of herself.”
On Tuesday, Melanie and I spent a rainy afternoon touring sites in Halifax that Montgomery was familiar with when she lived here in 1895-96 and 1901-02, including the Old Burying Ground, Dalhousie University, and Point Pleasant Park. Melanie will be reading from Maud in the Halifax Public Gardens on Monday, July 31st, at noon. She’ll also be signing books and reading in Summerside, Park Corner, and Charlottetown, PEI today and tomorrow, and then signing books in Halifax on Sunday—full details about her events in the Maritimes are listed on her website. Next Friday, I’ll share with you a guest post Melanie wrote about Montgomery’s diaries and her “Emily” novels, along with some pictures from our tour of LMM-related sites in Halifax.
For now, here are some of the photos I took last weekend in PEI. Despite the huge crowds of people touring Green Gables and walking on the trails, I managed to get a few pictures without any people in them. It’s amusing to look back at these pictures now, as they make the place seem so quiet and peaceful, when in fact it was quite noisy and busy. I can hear my daughter saying, “Quick, quick! Take the picture now! Oh, no!! There’s another person.”
Here are my photos of the Gardens of Hope and the Clyde River, at the PEI Preserve Company in New Glasgow, where it really was quiet. The restaurant and shop were busy, but at that hour in the evening—the best hour for photography, but perhaps also for eating the Preserve Company’s famous raspberry cream cheese pie—there were only about half a dozen people in the garden.
Sunset at Stanley Bridge:
The kitchen window, “Anne’s room,” the sewing room, the garden, Lovers’ Lane, and the Balsam Hollow Trail at Green Gables Heritage Place, L.M. Montgomery’s Cavendish National Historic Site of Canada: