Imagine a golf destination that offers breathtaking coastal views, more than 30 golf courses, restaurants to suit every taste and the ability to get almost anywhere in just a few hours. In short, this is Prince Edward Island or PEI.
For those who may not know, PEI is an island province off the east coast of Canada – near New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
The province is known for many things: its hospitality, its seafood, its potatoes, its red sand beaches and of course its golf. With the help of Golf PEI, I recently traveled there with my wife for an exciting experience and to see it all. This is how we spent our 48 hours.
My golf partner
Before we begin, I would like to introduce you to my wife, Dana.
She is an avid golfer and one of my favorite golfers. Of course, trips with friends are great, but planning and organizing them can be chaotic. That’s why, as a couple with two young children, we like to make golf and food a big part of our trips together.
Our trip started in Toronto and after a two hour flight we arrived in Charlottetown, the capital of PEI, just before lunch. The city’s population is just over 40,000, which means airport and city traffic are seemingly non-existent. From there it was a 10 minute drive into the heart of downtown to grab a coffee and head out to find our first restaurant.
We stumbled onto the patio of the Merchantman Seafood & Oyster Bar and sat down for lunch, and it wasn’t long before the first of many historic carriage tours of the city passed in front of us. We quickly filled our stomachs, but made sure to leave plenty of room, as it wouldn’t be long before we were marching down the street to the Inn at Bay Fortune, where the promised main event was to take place: The fireworks festival.
Fireworks Feast is the brainchild of Chef Michael Smith, and for those who don’t want to wait for a table at the French Laundry, this is one hell of an alternative.
The festival begins every evening between 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. (depending on the time of year) with a tour of the property’s own farm, where almost all of the ingredients that are served later in the evening come from.
From there, each dinner’s 80 guests are taken to Oyster Hour, an all-you-can-eat food journey with numerous stops serving everything from tacos to smoked salmon. The sought-after dish during oyster hour is – you guessed it – the oysters, which are harvested each morning either from the bay in front of the Inn or from other locations on the island.
Then it’s time to begin Really Eat. What follows is a multi-course tasting menu – filled with farm and garden delicacies – that is equal parts delicious feast and artistic expression.
When it comes to dining experiences, the Fireworks Festival is a wonder that’s worth the cost of over $235 per person. Our evening ended with marshmallows roasting by the fire, the perfect end to this culinary adventure.
After a customized breakfast at the inn, we packed our bags and headed to Brudenell River Golf Course, less than 30 minutes away, for our first round of the day.
Brudenell River – part of the Rodd Brudenell Resort – offers a steady mix of tree-lined corridors, expansive vistas and river holes. Standouts are the 5th and 10th, a pair of par-3s that are challenging from the back tees and playable from the front tees.
Brudenell River is strange – evenly split with six par-3, par-4 and par-5 holes. The pace of the game is tightly controlled here – we got into the game after only about four hours – a wonderful (and literal) change from so many other courses.
Our speed also gave us enough time to grab a quick bite at the restaurant before heading to our final nine holes of the day on the first nine holes of the adjacent 18-hole Dundarave Golf Course. The resort features two 18-hole golf courses, an indoor pool, rental cabins for larger groups or families, canoe and kayak rentals, tennis courts and even horseback riding. Something for everyone.
Unlike Brudenell River, Dundarave has a more open layout with fairways lined with red sand and fescue bunkers. Off the tee it is visually more inviting and has more elevation changes on the property.
The greens roll gently and thanks to the elevation changes, you won’t be short of views and vistas during your round. Refreshingly, the peak season rate is just $100 for 18 holes.
As the sun began to set, we headed to the Wheelhouse in Georgetown to have dinner and drinks on the water and spend the night further down the road in its cozy country-style inn.
Sunday morning was an early wake-up call as we headed from Georgetown to what many consider the crown jewel of PEI golf – The Links at Crowbush Cove in Morell, just under 30 minutes away.
We teeed off early and the pace of play was as brisk as the wind blowing off the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The course begins with four holes inland, offering views back to the water, before veering towards the clubhouse and one of the most exciting sections of the course from the 6th to 8th holes.
My favorite hole on the course is the par-4 16th, which features a forced drive between sand dunes and an elevated green that in turn overlooks the expansive beach.
At the end of our round at The Links at Crowbush Cove, we headed to our final dining destination, Fin Folk Food, in York, located on Tracadie Bay near huge, mile-long sand dunes. The restaurant is bright, casual and dog-friendly. The menu focuses on seafood, offering classics like fish and chips and lobster rolls to more modern fish tacos. I took the modern route.
After lunch and before catching our late afternoon flight back to Toronto, we enjoyed a 20 minute walk from the restaurant past Tracadie Bay to the ocean for a final swim. Much like your car’s side mirror, objects appear closer to the shore than they actually are, thanks to the wide, unobstructed visibility and size of the sand dunes.
Dana and I visited PEI almost a decade ago, but only for a single night as part of a larger trip. Now that we have explored much more of what PEI has to offer, we have discovered that this beautiful island province has so much to offer, especially for golfers and foodies. For couples, groups of friends or even just a single adventurous golfer looking for the ideal golf and dining vacation, PEI should be on your list.
https://golf.com/travel/prince-edward-island-satisfy-appetite-food-golf/ Prince Edward Island will satisfy your appetite – for both food and golf