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The Inns on Great George Charlottetown PEIOld world charm in PEI
Charlottetown doesn't close down once the summer crowds have come and gone.
Autumn is a perfect time of year to visit the Island.

The perfect time to visit Charlottetown, PEI

Fall in Prince Edward Island is one of the best times to visit. The weather is still enjoyable and the lifestyle on the island slows down even more than in the summer, if that is possible. Fields are the colour of gold, trees blaze in shades that match the deep red soil and the sky seems a little deeper blue. Like Halifax, Charlottetown doesn't close down as soon as summer has ended. Oh sure, the hoards of tourists have long left Cavendish to the locals, but the capital city of Prince Edward Island is still alive. In fact, the smallness of the city makes it very unique and probably the perfect walking city.

Within just a couple of blocks in the downtown area visitors may enjoy an array of pubs, cafes, restaurants, boutiques and shops as well as historic reminders of Canada's heritage. We have discovered an inviting inn full of character and charm situated just behind Province House. Actually, it is a collection of historic buildings clustered under one name: The Inns on Great George. The brainchild of Michael Cassidy and Kevin Murphy, the inn was created over a number of years by restoring the heritage buildings facing Great George Street and lining one side of a city block.

This interesting approach to constructing an inn allows each building to offer its own special qualities and facilities. With a range from individual rooms to complete flats, there are units that appeal to individuals, couples and families. We were pleasantly surprised to find ourselves in a very spacious room on the fourth floor of The Pavilion. With a view of St. Dunstan's Basilica from our dormer window, the room featured a king sized pine bed, a comfortable sitting area decorated in fresh shades of avocado green and yellow. A refurbished claw-foot tub graced an alcove although the large bathroom also housed a modern shower.

There are few things that are as relaxing as laying back in a cast iron tub filled to the brim with warm bubbly water while sipping a crisp chilled white wine and listening to soft romantic music. Exploring Charlottetown is easy so we left our car in the parking lot and set out on foot.

The tourist centre at the nearby Confederation Birthplace Commemorative Park provided plenty of printed material and advise. We checked out the quaint shops lining the waterfront at Peake's Wharf and followed the painted line that guides visitors along a scenic trail through the downtown area. We even ventured farther afield by walking over to Victoria Park and strolling along the boardwalk that edges the harbour. It is so relaxing and enjoyable to just take the time to let your senses absorb the atmosphere of a place while exploring on foot. There is no better way to get a sense of what a city is really all about.

As we hadn't made any dinner reservations, we opted instead to find something by chance. As we walked about the downtown area we saw a storefront that advertised an eatery oddly named A Piece of Cake. Checking the posted menu we saw that it wasn't just a spot to have coffee and dessert but had an interesting selection of dishes, many sounding very exotic. We couldn't resist and walked upstairs to a very pleasant room with large windows, open beams, bright colours, an open kitchen and featuring good wines.

We were pleased with our selections as we enjoyed a quiet meal together. Although shopping is not one of our most desired activities, we did take a few minutes to peek into the indoor mall that is cleverly hidden inside the middle of a city block while completing the "Dizzy Block" route (Queen, Kent, Grafton and University Avenue). To tell the truth, we also had stopped at the little mall with a number of factory outlet shops on the way into the city. The next morning we headed downstairs to the lobby area of The Pavilion.

All the guests of the inn are welcome to start off their day of activity in the sprawling lobby with a complimentary breakfast. Energized, we headed for Wood Islands and the ferry to return back to Nova Scotia. What better way to end a couple of days on "the island" than with a mini cruise across the Northumberland Strait.

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