“Nothing is ever really lost to us so long as we remember it.” – L.M. Montgomery The Story Girl
There is a small cemetery along the path that connects Green Gables house to the MacNeill house site. Despite the fact that L. M. Montgomery left Prince Edward Island after marrying and never lived there again, when she died in 1942 she was buried in Cavendish on the island she loved so thoroughly – all but one of her books was set on Prince Edward Island. An elegant arch over the entrance displays, not the name of the cemetery, but rather that it is the resting place of L. M. Montgomery. A few rows from the graves of her grandparents at the end of a slightly overgrown stone path, the plot Montgomery shares with her minister husband, Ewen MacDonald is carefully marked and maintained. Within the cemetery – which still has a great deal of space – it’s possible to see several generations of the same families from Cavendish.
We did not make it to New London to see the house where Montgomery was born but we did take a ride over to see the Avonlea village where several period structures have been surrounded with recreations from the period to form an interactive homage to the fictional village. Unfortunately, we were just far enough ahead of the season for only a few of the buildings (mostly food shops and restaurants) to be open. We were unable to do more than peek into the windows at the church (built in 1872) and chocolate shop to see the various employees preparing for the official opening of the season a week later. The main gift shop and Red Island Goodness Baked Potato restaurant were open and I can honestly say I’ve never enjoyed a better baked potato than the one I enjoyed that afternoon.
Since our main plans for the afternoon were cut short, we wandered a ways up the road to the Cavendish beach to walk along the dunes that are mentioned in several of Montgomery’s novels and stories. It’s impossible to grasp the vivid colors of Prince Edward Island without seeing them in person; they refuse to be captured accurately on film – the red sandstone along the coast and the red clay of the fields; the lush green of the grass and trees; the surprising carpets of dandelions; the complementary blues of sea and sky bleeding into one another as they approach the horizon. It’s easy to understand Montgomery’s devotion to the island and how she was able to write about the landscape at such length.