Today we visit friends who have a summer home here on PEI…
But first, we join other caravanners in visiting a Windchime maker:
For the last 20 years, Peter Baker has been making wind chimes at his studio situated atop the hills of South Granville – one of the windiest locations on Prince Edward Island.
Peter developed a taste for rural life while working in Vermont. A holiday visit to PEI with his family, in 1971, convinced him to live the rural life Island-style. In the early 1980s he began producing wind chimes with his brother. At the time, people were not familiar with them, but they soon became very popular.
Today, Baker operates his business from a converted barn not far from the old farmhouse he bought when he came to the Island, and where he still lives. In the first year of production, Baker turned out 1,000 wind chimes.
What is unique about these chimes is that they are musically tuned, in several different keys, in major and minor tones, plus the pentatonic scale. Each chime is hand built using quality components to ensure consistency in excellence of sound, durability, and appearance. They use a galvanized stainless steel alloy, resistant to rust, with high tonal quality. The length and diameter of each tube determines the pitch and timbre of each note; the longer and wider the bell is, the lower the note. Each bell was tuned using a silver flute to find the perfect pitch.
My favorite was the chimes with the pentatonic scale. There are, of course, 5 notes – what equates to the black notes on the piano. These five notes are familiar to most of us in one of two ways: It is the scale used in most Negro Spirituals – think “Amazing Grace”… These five notes are also the only notes used in the tunes produced by slot machines in casinos – this is done so that, while the tune of each machine is different, when played together they don’t clash, but make a semi-musical cacophony…
Anyhow, the last thing we need is more stuff, so we passed on buying any chimes, although many of the caravanners did. It was quite a profitable day for the wind chime store.
We left Island Winds as it began to rain. We arrived at Bob and Cathy Adams’ cottage about noon:
Bob and Cathy are Airstream friends from San Clemente, CA. Cathy was born here on PEI, and she and Bob own this cottage, on the shores of the Northumberland Strait. New Brunswick is across the water…
Bob and Cathy travel from San Clemente to PEI every year to visit their cottage and to repair damages that have been done over the past winter…
It is a lovely cottage; Bob and Cathy had the fireplace roaring, and it was cozy, or “forty”, inside as we caught up on news from our mutual friends.
After a lovely lunch of lobster rolls and PEI potato salad, we relaxed, drank some wine, and relaxed some more. About 4:00 we headed out, bound for Charlottetown.
Charlottetown is a great little city – very walk-able streets and diagonal parking on most blocks. We parked and found a little Italian bistro for dinner, then we joined the rest of the caravanners, along with about 2,000 other folks, to see, “Anne of Green Gables – The Musical”.
Anne of Green Gables is an entirely fictional creation, but her legend has been milked as assiduously as the plump cows that decorate the island’s fields. Lucy Maud Montgomery’s semi-autobiographical novel fuels an entire industry, and Anne’s curly-ginger-haired visage is adored by thousands of young women.
This is a live show; it has been running for 53 years in Charlottetown. Just about all the creators of the show, and everyone connected with the inception of the show, are dead, but the show goes on. Not being a fan of annoying, self-absorbed girls, Anne of Green Gables was never a big favorite of mine. But the show was well done, the singing was good, the sets were creative and interesting, and an enjoyable time was had by all.
PS: When the Confederation Bridge from PEI to New Brunswick was built (1996 – 1997) it was yet un-named. After seeing that the steel reinforcing bars being used in the construction were encased in a green-coloured coating, locals dubbed the bridge, the “Span of Green Cables”…