Guest blog post by Shannon Courtney, who stayed at one of our PEI Dream Cottages in June 2018. This is part 2 of a 3 part series, with each part showcasing a different region of the North Shore.
North Rustico – Salty Air, Fresh Seafood
While there’s no shortage of fishing villages dotting the North Shore, North Rustico is the creme de la creme in my humble opinion. A popular destination for visitors and Islanders alike during the summer, this small, picturesque village continues to retain its charming, peaceful character and unique culture. I like to think it’s a testament to the tightly-knit community that includes a healthy number of local entrepreneurs and artists, as well as plenty of multi-generational families filled with fishers and musicians.
Luke and I visited North Rustico, just east of Cavendish, twice during our staycation and could have gone back several more times – it’s a small village, packed with plenty to see and do. It’s so wonderful, you may just want to make North Rustico your home base. I had a chance to tour the Salty Sea House, owned by Tracey and Kenny of Cavendish Bosom Buddies, and immediately fell in love with its beachy vibes and prime location across from the working wharf, where lobster boats slip in and out of the harbour daily.
Luke and I made the most of our visit to North Rustico, visiting the Old Village Bakery (the butter tarts are a MUST!), stopping to check out an old-school VW Bug convertible that was for sale, and taking some time to soak up the day’s rays at the North Rustico beach. I love this beach for its easy accessibility – you can park in the village and walk to it – and because it tends to be less busy than some of the other beaches in the area. It’s definitely a beloved destination of locals and you’ll quickly understand why.
The highlight of our visit to North Rustico was, without a doubt, our late lunch at Blue Mussel Cafe. There’s a reason they are filled to the gills every single day of the summer – they know the secret to an exceptional meal is using the freshest ingredients and infusing them with love and a whole lotta culinary skills in the kitchen. Add in swoon-worthy harbourside views and friendly, easy-going service and you can be sure word-of-mouth will be enough to keep your restaurant full for the season.
Also, the seafood chowder and seafood bubbly bake are pretty much heaven on earth.
For those crunched for time, I would be so bold as to suggest you arrive a few minutes before 1130 am (their opening time) to be assured of avoiding a wait. Alternatively, a late lunch at around 3pm is likely to be less busy. You see, the Blue Mussel Cafe doesn’t take reservations (unless you’re Mike Doyle), so there’s a good chance you’ll have to wait if you arrive during peak lunch or dinner hours. Fortunately, the good folks at Blue Mussel have a system set up that allows you to wander around the village while you wait – you’ll get a text to your phone when you’re table is ready – how great is that?
While in the area, we also paid a visit to my friends, Gabriel and Deirdre Mercier, of Isle St. Jean Ferme, a family-run farm located at 128 Line Rd. This young couple with two small children chose to move to PEI a few years ago and forge a livelihood making sheep’s milk products, namely cheese and yogurt. They have a sweet little shop on the farm, which is looked after by extended family members. Even the signage at the farm was created by family. Also, did I mention they give you cheese samples?!
We loved our visits to North Rustico during our staycation, but we barely scratched the surface of what you can get up to in this tiny village. A few other ‘musts’ while you’re visiting include: sea kayaking with Outside Expeditions, enjoying a lobster dinner at Fisherman’s Wharf, checking out the unique items at Knit Pickers, attending a play at the Watermark Theatre and visiting the historic Farmers’ Bank of Rustico. And if you’re in search of fresh seafood to take back to the cottage and cook yourself, Doiron’s at the North Rustico Wharf is an absolute must!!!
This is part 2 of a 3 part series, with each part showcasing a different region of the North Shore.