Laura of Little House on the Prairie and Anne of Anne of Green Gables were my closest literary companions in childhood.
There was something about these girls’ feistiness and spirit that sparked “the scope of my imagination” – a bookwormish preteen girl who spent hour upon hour with her nose stuck in the pages of Laura Ingalls Wilder and L. M. Montgomery.
It was through these ground-breaking authors that I learned how little girls can be brave, mistake-ridden, ridiculous and wonderful. I found authority figures that could sometimes be unfair in their well-meaning attempts at bringing up proper young ladies and, that being heard sometimes meant taking hard-knocks and picking yourself up, then repeating as necessary.
After almost forty (!) years, I reread Anne of Green Gables just prior to visiting the Green Gables National Historic Site. There is something comforting about visiting an old friend; a warm feeling deep in the soul.
However, this time I found myself relating more to the “old” folks in the novel. Now I could see what a handful Anne was to raise, how hard life was for the inhabitants of Prince Edward Island, and I picked up on political aspects that completely eluded me as a child.
I also found that Rachel is still a total B. One of literature’s perfect antagonists.
We spotted this all over the Island
Re-reading the book brought back the vision of Green Gables that I had created in my head, so I was a little hesitant to see another interpretation, but became excited when
I learned that the house that inspired the book is real. The home was owned by cousins of Lucy Maud Montgomery and young Lucy lived nearby.
In 1937, Parks Canada preserved Green Gables by adding it to the National Parks system. Authentic furnishings from the late 1800s have been used to lovingly recreate the rooms as they were described in the novel.
The flora at Avonlea played a significant role in the Anne series, a kind of character in its own right, and this is a prominent feature on the surrounding grounds.
Walking through the Haunted Woods and along Lover’s Lane added dimension to my visit, smelling the smells, hearing the birds.
As part of the educational component to the site, outbuildings have been erected to demonstrate farm life on Prince Edward Island during Victorian times.
L. M. Montgomery was born and is buried within a few miles of the site. After visiting the house we found our way to both sites to pay homage to the remarkable woman who, through a precocious little girl named Anne, brought an island to the world.
And to me.
Delve Deeper into Prince Edward Island:
See our entire adventure on Prince Edward Island
Discover Port-la-Joye / Fort Amherst
Find out about the Acadian, Canadian and Cajun (Louisiana) connection
See our entire adventure in The Canadian Maritimes
YOUR TURN: Were you a fan of the Anne series?