When Husband was plotting our literary pilgrimage to Prince Edward Island, he quickly discovered that direct flights to the island were pretty spendy. Flying into Halifax, Nova Scotia, from where we could take the ferry over, would be considerably less costly; and cheaper still were flights out of major hub Logan International in Boston.
When purchasing airfare for five you save wherever you can! While living in Bozeman, where Yellowstone International airport was a quick ten-minute jaunt away, we routinely opted instead to fly out of Billings (a 2 hour one-way drive) or Salt Lake City (a 6 hour one-way drive) for discounted flights, thereby making big family vacations viable.
As none of us had previously spent time in New England, we relished the idea of a bonus road-trip that would simultaneously cut our airline fees in half… So we got a kind of BOGO deal on our vacation, booking our transcontinental flights from Portland to Boston and then meandering north across the border, onto the island, in a rental car. As a result of our roundabout route, we crossed three new states AND three new Canadian provinces off our bucket list, putting a total of 1700+ miles on the minivan we rented.
Our kiddos are pretty good travelers; ‘most any flight pales in comparison to the infamous 14-hour flight home from China that became 18 hours when we sat in line, on the tarmac, unmoving, for 4 hours before liftoff.
In Boston, Massachusetts we gawked out the window of the minivan, enjoying the incredible history of the birthplace of our nation. The architecture was amazing, almost every landmark at least 100 years older than anything found here on the West Coast. Our time in the city was brief, but we managed to tour ol’ Ironsides– the decorated warship, the US Constitution (c. 1797) — and reveled in our seafaring past. We also bopped over to famed Quincy Market to grab lunch, each in our family opting for a new favorite and sharing bites.
Besides obligatory stops at Dunkin Donuts (I don’t understand the east-coast adoration of watery, weak coffee; I just don’t), and a sunset, harborside pub supper of lobstah rolls & chowdah in a listing seven-story building predating our nation in Portsmouth, we mostly sailed through New Hampshire.
We spent a little time in Maine — staying overnight on our way to and from PEI, driving through the heart of Bangor, stopping off at the capitol building and touring an INCREDIBLE museum in Augusta, and dining in the other Portland (ours is definitely weirder).
New Brunswick was a pristine, scenic surprise; it’s city of St. John a quiet, historic oasis where sedate locals seemed to recognize at a glance that we were foreigners. We stopped for lunch and to stretch our legs at a park in the city square.
We just barely crossed over into Nova Scotia, but Husband knew we wanted to add it to our list so he detoured obligingly.
For the rest of our trip, check out our Prince Edward Island photos.
We are so grateful for this grand adventure and checking special landmarks off our loooong wishlist of destinations. We (presumably) only have four more summers with Firstborn at home full-time, with the younger two close behind, so we aim to make the most of our time together, forging memories in big and small ways.