Enchanting Victoria By-The-Sea
Tucked away on the south shore of Prince Edward Island, halfway between Charlottetown and Summerside, is 'pretty as a postcard' Victoria-By-The-Sea. It is the kind of place that Hallmark movies are featured in. Picturesque, friendly and alluring, Victoria called my name several years ago and I have been coming back ever since.
Candlemaker Ben Smith, was featured on the cover of the Prince Edward Island's Tourism Guide back in 2006. I convinced my husband we just had to stop in this historic seafaring village to find his shop and explore this place Ben was so enamoured with. The article piqued my interest and led me to what has become my favourite hidden gem on the island. You could fall in love with this older gentleman. He is passionate about life in Victoria and he has a few stories to tell. Ask him about that special chair in his shop. It has magical powers. Ben will fill you in.
The blue candle featured in my photos above was created just for me. Ben made a similar one for me the first time I visited his shop. His daughter, whom has mastered the candle making art herself now, works alongside of Ben and together they make these one-of-a-kind candles. Hot wax is fused with red sand from the nearby Victoria shore, then a pattern is hand-carved into the sides. I love the waves motif, but there are plenty of other popular designs to chose from, and as I shared, each one is an original. Many couples order personalized wedding or anniversary candles with their names (or initials) & their special date carved in. Ben ships his candles all over the world. I enjoyed watching Ben add his finishing touches to the top. It's not nearly complete without this, he told me. Each one is absolutely unique and a treasured memory of the island. 💙
One of the Oldest Lighthouses on PEI
Across from Ben's sweet candle shop is the Victoria Seaport Lighthouse, built in 1879. It is the 2nd oldest lighthouse on Prince Edward Island. Steeped in history, Victoria was once one of PEI's busiest seaports with schooners & steamboats making regular visits. Discover more of Victoria's history in the Seaport Museum located inside this operating lighthouse. Ben advised me to walk the entrance ramp slowly to let the aroma of the nearby wild roses welcome me. I did & it was delightful.
Coach House Antiques
Another one of my favourite shops in Victoria is Coach House Antiques. I never leave without a goodie (or two or three). If you love antiques, do stop in. This is an amazing one. They carry a fine collection of antique and vintage items including china, crystal, quality furniture, Persian rugs, paintings and lovely old books that will have you swept up in poetry by the masters or rereading pages from an old copy of Anne of Green Gables, by the island's own Lucy Maud Montgomery. I love my found treasures from the Coach House.
Be sure to hug PEI's biggest tree in shop's front yard too. Winner of the Great Big Tree Challenge, this massive elm tree measured in at 108 feet tall with a nearly 21 foot circumference and a 129 foot canopy. It is a jaw-dropping vision.
PEI's Longest Running Little Theatre
Holding the honour of PEI's longest running little theatre, the Victoria Playhouse Theatre is a favourite among local Islanders & visitors alike. The annual summer Theatre Festival, features comedy, drama, musical concerts & storytelling events. Don't miss a chance to take in a show.
No Need to Pray For Unique Accommodations
I just had to walk up to the Grand Victorian, built in 1877, to get a closer look. This restored Gothic Revival church is now a boutique wedding & special events venue. You can also stay in the luxury suite at the top. I happened upon it online and stopped for a tour to consider it for a future stay. What a heavenly place for a special anniversary or a 'blessed' honeymoon night for newlyweds.
Tread Lightly & Carry a Camera
Walk slow and do have a camera at the ready. Vignettes are present everywhere. Note to Village Council: you might need to add some more benches for significant others to sit a spell while their photographer partners get swept up in all the beauty Victoria By-the-Sea has to offer. I found it hard to take more than a few steps before I wanted to stop and take another photo of a beautiful scene. Victoria is a photographer's dream.
The Lobster Barn
The Lobster Barn Pub & Eatery, located on the village wharf, serves a Mango Lobster Salad with a sweet lime vinaigrette that is 'to die for'. However, it has some competition with their lobster roll plate. My husband and I believe, it's the best on the island. The strawberry feta salad on the side is very yummy too! You will not be disappointed eating here. It is tops with us!
Much more than a cafe, the Landmark is conveniently located across from the Victoria Playhouse Theatre, making it the perfect spot for a pre-show dinner and we had lots of company. The place was packed, but service was excellent and the food was divine. I had the garlic, chilies and dill-flavoured scallops with a blend of savoury mixed rice & a Caesar salad. It was delicious!
Inspired by Asian, Cajun & Middle Eastern cooking, Landmark Cafe specializes in seafood, meat and vegetarian dishes including lots of salad options too. Give it a try!
The Studio Gallery
The Studio Gallery is a must stop gallery for art lovers. It is the studio of artist-in-residence Doreen Foster, whom is happy to share with you the process of how etchings are created. There is a wide variety of Island artists paintings and printmaking artworks. I love my miniature 'Tree of Life' etching purchased here.
The Bittersweet Rose of Victoria By-The-Sea
The Bittersweet Rose is a sweet arts & crafts shop featuring Maritime artists and artisans alike. You are sure to find a trinket or treasure here. I found a lovely pottery mug that brings me back to Victoria By-The-Sea every time I use it.
Oh my yum! Chocolate lovers be forewarned ~ you are going to love this place! Stop into Island Chocolates for some handmade chocolates or enjoy a locally roasted coffee or specialty tea and dessert on the deck. There is also a small gift selection in the store.
Beachcombers On the Wharf
Beachcombers is located at the end of the wharf with the best view in the village. It prides itself on being a family friendly restaurant offering a variety of appetizers, seafood, sandwiches and desserts. Enjoy the incredible view and why not indulge in an ice cream from the dairy bar.
The historic Orient Hotel (c 1900) now a summer Bed & Breakfast is a charmer. I figure, with this warm of welcome just on it's front porch, it must be a great place to stay.
This is a special place. Walk around; there are cafes & pubs, antique shops & art galleries, a great wharf, live theatre, a lighthouse & museum, a beach and some of the nicest people around. Hug a tree ~ the biggest one in Prince Edward Island & stay awhile ~ there is so much to see & do with wonderful places to stay. Don't forget to stop & see Ben to find out about that chair with magical powers and perhaps have him make you a special candle made with PEI sand. You will treasure it, and your time spent & memories made in enchanting Victoria By-The-Sea.