Travel

The Inspiration Behind Anne of Green Gables

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Anne of Green Gables. The iconic novel is deeply rooted in the natural wonders of Prince Edward Island. I remember hiking the Homestead Trail in Cavendish National Park and thinking it was as if we were walking through the pages of Anne of Green Gables. It was picture postcard perfect.

We hiked 10 miles on the Homestead/Macneill Loop Trails and we found ourselves in awe of the natural wonders that stretched before us. The endless fields of grasses with yellow, white and purple wild flowers gently blowing in the breeze left us searching for the perfect words to describe such beauty. It was a day we will always remember.

To view our video of hiking The Homestead Trail/Macneill Loop, in Cavendish National Park, click over to our Youtube Channel. If you enjoy our videos, please remember to subscribe.

Lucy Maud Montgomery

Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables, was born and raised on Prince Edward Island. She was essentially orphaned when her mother died, Lucy was a toddler, and her father felt inadequate to raise her. He chose to leave her with her maternal grandparents. It wasn’t a particularly pleasant life with her grandparents, but her escapes into the woods were her sanctuary. It was while walking in the woods among the wildflowers and trees, she found peace.

Green Gables Heritage Place

It happened that Lucy’s cousins lived nearby, just a short ramble through the woods. Lucy spent a great deal of her childhood and adolescent years at the Macneill family farmhouse, built in the early 1800’s. She even had her own little bedroom upstairs. It was there she was the most happy among her extended family who called her Aunt Maud, even though she was their cousin.

Anne of Green Gable

Anne of Green Gables is, of course, a work of fiction. However, it can be interpreted as a reflection of Lucy’s childhood and young adult life. It’s Lucy’s joy found in the white farmhouse with green gables, and time spent with her cousins and extended family. The rambles through the woods and fields of wildflowers belonged to Lucy before they belonged to Anne.

The Haunted Wood & Lover’s Lane

It’s not hard to imagine what it was like to walk in Lucy’s shoes as she rambled along through the paths of the Haunted Wood and Lover’s Lane. Just steps from the farmhouse, today’s visitors can walk in the path of Lucy’s childhood days.

A little less than one mile, just beyond the wooded trail, is the cemetery in which Lucy Maud Montgomery rests in peace. Across the road, from the cemetery, visitors can find the little post office (Lucy worked as postmistress), a small memorial park, and the foundation of the Macneill (Lucy’s maternal grandparents) farmhouse. Next to the farmhouse foundation is a charming book shop that houses some of Lucy’s belongings and a vast inventory of her work.

We enjoyed a conversation with the young man working in the book shop (a descendant of the Macneill family) and when asked, he gave his best recommendation for the biography The Gift of Wings by Mary Rubio. I’m very much looking forward to reading all 600+ pages. I find Lucy’s life and story (beyond Anne of Green Gables) fascinating. I liken it to my fascination of Julia Child even though I’ve never cooked a single one of her recipes. It’s the life stories I appreciate, of women who paved the way.

The Cycle of Change

It’s only natural that with the passing of time mother nature changes. The Haunted Wood, I’m certain, is not the same as when Lucy walked through it or when Anne’s imagination got the best of her and she fainted from fright. The cycle of change impacts all living things, such as gardens, fields, trails, houses, barns, etc., The only constant in life is that everything is constantly changing.

There is no doubt, however, that when visiting the Macneill farmhouse, surrounding grounds and trails, one definitely feels the sense of wonder Lucy so dearly cherished.

If You Go
  • Green Gables Heritage Place
  • 8619 Cavendish Road – Cavendish PE
  • Open 9:00 – 5:00 daily May – October
  • Fees average $6.00 – $8.00 for adults, youth – free
  • Accessible services
  • Restroom
  • Parking – Bus/RV parking
  • Gift shop
  • Ice Cream
  • Visitors center
Green Gables Heritage Place – Parks Canada
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