Saturday, July 31, 2010

House #2 - near Montague, PEI

The second house we looked at was definitely at the top of my list. It was within walking distance of Panmure Island which has a beautiful beach - though a lot of jellyfish in the water the day we were there.

The landscaping at this house was really well done, and there was an old barn and a shed which while picturesque had no electricity. The house had character (a plus for me), nice wooden beams and hardwood floors but was much smaller than it appeared on the net. The kitchen was so small that the fridge was in the living area as shown by the photo above. That was NOT to my liking at all.

Other problems with this home - the basement was only accessible from outside and the first step was a doozy, about 3 feet down. With the electrical box in the basement, and using fuses rather than breakers, I really couldn't see myself managing that trip down into the depths very often. There was one bathroom on the main floor (needed some work) and two bedrooms upstairs, a master and one other that you got to by walking through the master. And what I thought was a wood stove turned out to be an oil stove connected to an outside oil tank. Wanting to heat only with wood this was a problem. Oh, and no closet space to speak of.

Also the property was arranged in a strange way - the field tiles for the septic system were on a neighbouring lot so we would have to buy both lots and wouldn't be able to build on the second lot or sever it unless we wanted to dig up the septic and change its location, nah - too much work and expense.

So while we loved the location of this home, its ample and beautiful property, the quaint barn and shed and the wood floors and beams in the house that just wasn't enough to compensate for the other issues.

We DID really like the town of Montague and ate dinner and surfed the net at an old converted bank building called Sir Isaac's Restaurant and Mr. Gabe's Pub. I had the fishcakes and they were incredibly tasty. And when we stopped at a garage about a weird noise our car was making they looked after us quickly and with NO CHARGE! Try getting that deal around here - not!

So to sum things up - we would definitely visit this side of the island again we wouldn't be putting an offer on this our second home.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Straw Bale and Stucco Yurt Type Home

So this was the first house we looked at in PEI. It was situated in the "middle of nowhere", which is a phrase people use loosely but in this case it really applied. You would never have known it was there from the road except for the "For Sale" sign and the slightest of indications that there had been a car or two driven over the long grass once or twice in the last twenty years. But once we got in off the road a ways it suddenly appeared, like a little hobbit house in the woods.

It had a storybook appeal and I liked that. Surrounding the little house were 25 acres of woods, orchard, springs and a couple of outbuildings. One building was meant to be a guest house and the other a garden shed. A tiny part of the forest had been cleared, the rest was impassable. The fact that power was provided by solar and wind power (totally off the grid) was also appealing (read economical:).

I have pictures of the inside but unfortunately I am at the trailer with a weak wireless link and it took 3 tries just to get the above picture loaded. So, another time. Let's just say that it was cozy inside and I mean that in a nice way, not a real estate ad way. Perfect for one person but two people might find it a little tight especially in such an isolated location. I could see myself committing Redrum after a winter or two spent literally on top of my partner.

You know, its always good to go and have a look. What seems quaint, even romantic on the internet doesn't always translate to real life. The "guest house" was full of years of accumulated stuff and no guest had stayed there for a very long time, if ever. The toilet was a composting toilet which seems really eco-friendly from a distance of 1600km but up close and personal I'd just as soon flush thank you very much.

And the idea of having an orchard and a spring and living off the land is really great when you're sitting in your nice spacious living room at home, but when you're actually there and you can't see the apple trees because for years and years the undergrowth has been left to grow wild and anyway you're too busy smacking your forehead because of the whining sound of horse-sized mosquitoes it kinda loses its earth-friendly appeal.

So, needless to say I scratched #1 off my short list of 5 homes to view in PEI. Onwards and upwards!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I Smile at Strangers

Well...not all of them, just the friendly looking ones! Not that's not true either, I pretty much smile at everyone - I want them to know I am harmless, that I'm friendly. Not that I want to strike up a conversation with everyone that passes by but that, if approached, I'm not going to bite anyone's head off. And I hope no one bites mine off either.

Michael put this T-shirt on before we left the Quality Inn in Edmunston, New Brunswick around 7am enroute to PEI. He approached a couple of people outside the hotel but they took one look at him and scurried off in the opposite direction casting suspicious glances over their shoulders. No, people at the Quality Inn do NOT smile at strangers, they just quickly get about their business and their look implies that you should be getting on your way too and never mind such nonsense.

(Digression: I have quite sincere doubts about Edmunston, N.B. after eating a recommended breakfast of runny eggs and tepid hashbrown potatoes that had recently seen the inside of a plastic bag.)

HOWEVER, I can happily report that once in PEI, Charlottetown to be exact, responses to Michael's T-shirt were beyond expectation! First we went into the local LCBO (I need my red wine - for my health, you understand) and the cashier enquired about it. She was a sweet little old lady, pink permed hair, you know the type. She didn't think the LCBO would allow her to have her picture taken with Michael but she pointed Michael out to her boss and several other people and thought it was quite a good idea.

Later as we strolled by the park where Regis and Kelly had taped their show earlier in the day Michael had no problem whatsoever finding people who were willing to be smiled at (I mean, Michael has a smile that lights up the world so really, who could take offense??) The two couples, pictured above with Michael, thought it was a great idea and readily agreed to pose for a snapshot.

And thus we were welcomed to Prince Edward Island....

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Welcome to P.E.I. - Crossing the "Fixed Link"

Wow, it took so long to upload this photo I can't remember what I was going to write about. That's one downfall of blogging at the trailer - the wireless connection is tenuous at the best of times, non-existant at the worst.

Here's Michael and I heading toward Confederation Bridge (or the Fixed Link as the Islanders not so fondly refer to it) - that amazing feat of engineering that connects PEI to New Brunswick. "There's no turning back now" I can actually hear myself saying that thanks to Michael's need to record absolutely everything:) Thanks dear!

I can also hear myself saying how glad I was that I couldn't see over the concrete barriers on each side of the bridge, built no doubt to inspire confidence in those of us who are deathly afraid of bridges.

If you can't see the sheer drop down into the Northumberland Straits then you can't be afraid of I do remember wondering to myself if struck by a speeding car would those concrete barriers be strong enough to keep the car ON the bridge?? I'm pretty sure I didn't say anything out loud though. Well maybe OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG!!

We did make it safely across however, and the thrill of the crossing outweighed my anxiety. You see, I've crossed the Mackinac Bridge three times and each time I thought I was going to die. Seriously. You have to tune into a radio station to find out the conditions on the bridge and the news is NEVER good. The first time it was foggy and raining and a car and trailer were smashed up against the side at a 45 degree angle causing a bit of a backup. The second and third time it was icy and we crept across so slowly I thought my heart was going to explode from my chest.

Then there was the time I crossed a bridge over Chaleur Bay into Campbellton, New Brunswick; it was being repaired as we crossed over. It took at least half an hour to cross due to frequent stoppages as the workers put boards in place to cover the gaping holes through which I could see water far below. No fingernails left after that crossing! Took the LOOOOOOOONNNNNG way back.

So, even though Confederation Bridge is 13km long and takes about 10 minutes to cross it was almost an enjoyable experience and I wasn't too afraid to cross it again on our way home - though I wished I were driving, not Michael, because he likes to put his head out of the window and look around while he's driving - kinda nerve wracking to say the least. So I had to stare straight ahead in case I needed to grab the steering wheel while he stretched his arm up high out of the window to try to get shots of the water over the top of the barrier.

Man - I feel the need to take a valium and go lie down for awhile....until tomorrow!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Crofters Lane

This is the million dollar view of Cascumpec Bay from my new home-to-be on Prince Edward Island. I think this is looking east so the sun will rise up each morning over the bay. Cascumpec Bay connects to the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The view doesn't quite belong to me yet. Seventeen more days to go til closing day, though only thirteen days til I can "camp" in my master bedroom and only twelve days until Michael and I get back on the highway and drive out to PEI once again.

But who's counting:)

"The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. "


Michael gave me this inspirational quote when we got back from PEI after commiting to purchasing our new summer/retirement home. Events unfolded favorably from the moment I scribbled "this is it!" on my notepad and showed it to Michael as we strolled around the outside of the house with the owners Leigh and Carmen.

More about this in upcoming posts. I just hope our good luck continues until the closing day - August 12th. If I put any faith in Goethe's words then I should believe all will go well.

Yes, on August 12th my dream house will become my home.

Monday, July 12, 2010

On the Road Again

Michael snapped this photo out of the back window of our car as I was driving down Hwy 185 to New Brunswick a couple of hours ago. We are headed to Prince Edward Island to see what we can see!
Yes indeedy. The five year plan has become the four year plan. I am checking out real estate in PEI where land can still be had - plentifully- and for an affordable price.
We are now comfortably lodged in the Quality Inn in Edmunston N.B. I guess it is real "quality" because there are FOUR pillows on each bed! Wowser! I am in the big leagues now baby! And free continental breakfast, free newspaper, free shampoo and lotion all for the low low price of $101.99 plus applicable taxes. Can you say HST???
Anyhoo, its late, we lost an hour along the way somewhere so after polishing off a bottle of Little Penguin Merlot (very smooth I might add), I will read a few pages of "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" (yes I am on the 3rd book - been saving it until I couldn't stand it any longer and caved in!) and off the lullaby land.
Until tomorrow - adieu!!