Prince Edward Island is chock full of amazing spots from tip-to-tip. One of those spots definitely includes Borden-Carleton where we currently call home at Jellystone PEI. Previous to living here I had definitely not considered Borden-Carleton one of my favourite spots on the Island but I quickly fell in love with it. This was very similar to our month spent in Summerside, a town that I previously didn’t really care for before living there.
Borden-Carleton is a tiny community of just 750 people, but it’s certainly one of the busiest spots on the Island thanks to the Confederation Bridge which connects Prince Edward Island to the mainland in New Brunswick. Prior to the construction of the bridge in 1997, Borden-Carleton was still a very busy spot with a lot of rich history. Nowadays, if you’re coming to Prince Edward Island by land, you’re likely going to be stopping in Borden-Carleton for a bite to eat, a little bit of souvenir shopping or to snap your family photo in front of the Confederation Bridge.
If you’re coming to Price Edward Island or maybe you live on the Island, the following is my simple guide to Borden-Carleton.
Where To Stay
If you’re visiting Prince Edward Island in your RV, whether it be a motorhome, fifth wheel or travel trailer then you should definitely stay at Jellystone PEI. We’ve been staying at this park since May and can’t say enough great things about the park and how it’s run. It’s located about a kilometer from the Confederation Bridge and is pretty centrally located on the Island. If you wish to go to Charlottetown, you’re about 45 minutes away. Summerside is 25 and Cavendish aka Anne Land is about 40 minutes.
Jellystone is perfect especially if you’re travelling with kids and you prefer a quiet, non-partying campground. There are plenty of amenities for you and your kids to enjoy like a salt water pool, a jumping pad, a large bouncy water slide and a lot more.
Even if you’re not travelling by RV, Jellystone has 3 cabins perfect for a comfortable nights sleep.
Reserve your spot by calling: 902-855-3492
Image via Jellystone PEI
What To Do
Visit the Interpretive Center
Located right near the Confederation Bridge is a fantastic little Interpretive Center. In the small room are plenty of descriptive signs that detail the history of Borden-Carleton. You’ll learn all sorts of interesting details about the history of the rail system on Prince Edward Island, the ferry service, and the past use of ice boats to cross the strait. Located in the same building as the Interpretive Center is a small shop that has ice cream and some other treats. In front of the building is a remaining rail line complete with an old caboose.
Behind the Interpretive Center is quite magical. There is a nicely put together monument that is dedicated to all of those who worked in the marine, rail or ferry industry. There is also the Port Borden Back Range Lighthouse and directly behind it is the longest bridge over ice-covered waters at 12.9km – the Confederation Bridge. Driving over the bridge is quite amazing, but being able to get as close to it as you can behind the Interpretive Center makes it look even more impressive. If you want to snap a family photo with the bridge as your background, this is the spot to do it. You can’t really get much closer to the bridge without physically being on it. It’s actually amazing how quiet this area is compared to the rest of Borden-Carleton.
Grab A Piece of Pottery at Island Stoneware
Island Stoneware is a must stop if you’re looking for a unique Prince Edward Island gift. The store features handcrafted pottery that is made for everyday use. You can get mugs, tableware, servingware and more. All of the items are beautifully made and are even safe for the dishwasher and microwave. There is the small shop where you can purchase your unique gift but there is also the studio where you can see some of the items you might purchase actually being made. You can also pick up The Arts and Heritage Trail booklet in this shop. It’s a good guide for you if you’re wanting to visit the variety of artistic studios across Prince Edward Island.
Dress Up As Anne
If you’ve ever dreamed of having long, red locks similar to Anne of Green Gables, this is where your dream comes true. Drop into Shop & Play where for $4 you can dress up in the full Anne of Green Gables outfit and have your picture snapped in front of various backgrounds. The bonus is that your picture is taken with your camera and there is no need to purchase any photos. $4 isn’t that steep of a price to get all dressed up as Anne and have some fun with your family.
Learn About The Confederation Bridge
After you drive over the Confederation Bridge and enter Prince Edward Island, you may be interested in learning more about the Confederation Bridge. I know that I often get asked a bunch of questions about the bridge including questions about its design, how long it took to build, and more. In the Gateway Center, you can grab a seat on a comfy couch and enjoy a film (available in English and French) that will help answer any questions that you may have about the Confederation Bridge. Yes, the film feels a tad dated and like one you would be forced to watch in school but it’s still very interesting if you’re looking for further information on the enormous bridge.
Outside of the Gateway Center is a monument dedicated to the workers who helped to construct the Confederation Bridge. It’s pretty cool because there’s basically a small prototype of one of the pieces of the bridge surrounded by bricks with the names of workers appearing on each individual brick.
Fill Your Face With Candy
Every great trip must include candy, right? If you agree (why wouldn’t you?) then stop by Flavour Mountain – dubbed as PEI’s Largest Candy Store. It definitely is large and is filled with all of the candy that you love and probably some that you have never seen or heard of before. I picked up some delicious fudge here which I quickly devoured.
Shop For That Perfect Souvenir
Whether you’re coming to the Island or leaving it, you can find your typical Island souvenirs in Borden-Carleton at the Gateway Village. There are many stores selling your typical souvenirs like magnets, postcards, t-shirts and more. You can also pick up anything Anne of Green Gables-related whether it’s books, movies or a straw hat featuring a set of dangling red locks. One of the most unique products you’ll find in Borden-Carleton is the PEI Dirt Shirt. A shirt that is dyed reddish brown with PEI dirt.
Where To Eat
As much as I love eating subs from Subway, skip the long waits and head to Scapes. I absolutely love this place and tell everyone I know to eat here. Scapes features delicious food that is made up of fresh and local products. The chef is Red Seal certified and it shows. Scapes have amazing sandwiches, lobster rolls, hand pies, desserts and more. This place is impressive. They even have a small frozen section where you can grab something to take with you wherever you may be heading on the Island.
…And The Rest
If for some reason you’re crazy and decide not to eat at Scapes, you can grab a meal at the following spots:
- Bridge Burger N Wings/Your basic burgers and fast food. The burgers are pretty tasty
- Gateway Restaurant and Deli/Sandwiches, soups and more.
- Gateway Lobster Shop/Great if you want seafood as soon as your feet hit Prince Edward Island
- Subway/You know what you get here
Where To Drink
When it comes to having a drink with your friends or family, you’re not really going to accomplish much in Borden-Carleton. However, you can stop by the large PEI Liquor Store in the Gateway Center and pick up some local craft beers from the Gahan House or Upstreet Brewery. If you’re feeling a little more feisty, you can pick up some legal Island Shine from Myriad View Distillery.
Where To Get Ice Cream
Both Kate and I have been on a steady diet of ice cream this summer. Can you blame us? Ice cream is fantastic and because we live so close to Borden-Carleton, we are spoiled with two choices of ice cream.
We were incredibly fortunate to have gone on a Cows Creamery Tour earlier this summer where we were able to sample all of the flavours of ice cream that Cows has to offer. The only problem with the tour was that now every time that we walk into Cows, we have the hardest time picking which of the delicious flavours we want to get. The Cows location in Borden-Carleton features all of the t-shirts and memorabilia that you can also buy in addition to you cone full of amazingness. You can also pick up some chocolates and sweet treats from Anne of Green Gables Chocolates.
Farmers Ice Cream
At Burgers N Wings they serve Farmers Ice Cream which has a wide variety of flavours to choose from including some uniquely Maritimes flavours. Yes, the ice cream is not even close to the greatness of Cows, but if you’re in a hurry or want to save some cash, stop here to get your ice cream.
Where To Beach
Just outside of Borden-Carleton up Route 10 and down Noonan’s Shore Rd is that aptly named – Noonan’s Shore. It’s quite literally one of the most beautiful spots on the Island. We often watch the tide times and head out when the tide is low. When the tide is low there is an insane amount of shore that you can walk. We love it because Bella can roam about in any direction that she wants. When the tide is in the water is a bit deeper allowing you to hop in and cool down.
Another amazing thing about Noonan’s Shore is that when the tide is completely out you can almost walk directly under the Confederation Bridge. Near the bridge is also a large piece of a shipwreck that has sunk into place in the soft and sandy ocean floor.
The final great thing about Noonan’s Shore is that it’s always quiet. It’s a spot that only locals know. Hopefully, they won’t mind me sharing this great spot.
As beautiful as Noonan’s Shore but slightly more popular is Cape Traverse. This time, you’ll head down Route 10 towards Wharf Road where you can park your car. It can get a bit tight if there’s a handful of vehicles down there at one time. At Cape Traverse, you’re a little further away from the Confederation Bridge but it’s a stunning sight to see. When the tide is in, there is definitely better swimming compared to Noonan’s Shore. The water is a little bit deeper in spots allowing you to have a nice swim.
Confederation Bridge Tolls
It doesn’t cost anything to cross the Confederation Bridge to come to Prince Edward Island, however, be prepared to pay when leaving. The following are the toll rates for 2016…
Vehicles/ $46.00 Each Additional Axle/$7.50
Pedestrian Shuttle/$4.25 Cyclist Shuttle: $8.75
All major credit cards plus debit and cash are accepted methods of payment.
If you are travelling to Prince Edward Island with your RV, you’ll have no issue driving into or find a parking spot in Borden-Carleton. The streets are wide and the parking lots are massive with lots of room to park your trailer.
Busy, Busy, Busy
Because Borden-Carleton is the first and the last spot travellers hit when travelling by road, the village can be insanely busy at times. This can be a bit of a pain as it may take a lot longer while waiting to get food or the shops may be a bit more crowded. Typically, we have found that the busiest times during the summer are between 11am and 2pm. After that, it tends to quiet down a bit for the remainder of the day.
If you’re travelling to Prince Edward Island during the off-season (outside of June-August), Borden-Carleton can be very quiet. In fact, it’s so quiet that a lot of the shops aren’t even open or have shortened business hours. This means you may not be able to pick up lunch or that delicious scoop of ice cream. The good thing is that it only takes about 2 minutes to drive through the village to see what’s open.
Ceretti’s Grocery & Hardware
Ceretti’s is a great spot to stock up on supplies as soon as you hit Prince Edward Island. It’s a small grocery store with fair prices. They even have fresh produce and a meat counter including freshly made sausages. There’s also a small hardware store in the back where you can pick up a wide variety of supplies that you might need while on the road. Ceretti’s also serves as an Irving gas station where you can fill up your car or RV.
Have you been to Borden-Carleton before? What would you add to this guide? What was your favourite thing to do/see?
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