Prince Edward Island will satisfy your appetite — for both food and golf
Imagine a golf destination that offers stunning coastal views, 25 golf facilities, restaurants to fit any taste and the ability to get almost anywhere in just a few hours. That, in short, is Prince Edward Island, or PEI.
For those who might not be familiar, PEI is an island province off the East Coast of Canada — near New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
The province is renowned for many things: its hospitality, seafood, potatoes, red sand beaches and, of course, its golf. With the help of Golf PEI, I recently traveled there with my wife for a whirlwind experience to see it all. This is how we spent our 48 hours.
My golf partner
Before we start, I’d like to introduce you to my wife, Dana.
She’s an avid golfer and one of my favorite people to play golf with. Of course, buddies’ trips are great, but they can be chaotic to plan and organize. This is why, as a couple with two young kids, we like to make golf and food a big part of our trips together.
Let’s get started
Our trip started in Toronto, and after a two-hour flight we arrived just before lunch in PEI’s capital city, Charlottetown. The city’s population is just more than 40,000, meaning airport and city traffic feel nonexistent. From there, it was a 10-minute drive into the heart of the downtown to grab a coffee and begin the pursuit of our first restaurant.
We stumbled upon the patio at Merchantman Seafood & Oyster Bar and sat down for lunch, and it didn’t take long for the first of many historical horse-drawn carriage tours to clop through town in front of us. We filled our stomachs quickly but were sure to leave plenty of room, because it wouldn’t be long before we trekked down the road to the Inn at Bay Fortune for what we’d been promised was The Main Event: The Fireworks Feast.
The Fireworks Feast is the brainchild of Chef Michael Smith, and for those who aren’t looking to wait out a table at The French Laundry, this is a pretty darn good alternative.
The feast kicks off each evening between 5 pm or 6 pm (depending on the season) with a full tour of the property’s on-site farm, where almost the entirety of the ingredients that will be served later that night are sourced.
From there, the 80 guests at each night’s meal are taken to the oyster hour, an all-you-can-eat food journey with numerous stations serving everything from tacos to smoked salmon. The prized dish during oyster hour is — you guessed it — the oysters, which are harvested each morning from either the bay in front of the Inn or from other spots around the island.
Then it’s time to begin really eating. A multi-course tasting menu — filled with delicacies plucked from the farm and garden — follows, which is equal parts delicious feast and artistic expression.
As food experiences go, the Fireworks Feast is a marvel well worth the $235+ per person cost. Our night ended with marshmallows roasted by fire, the perfect cap to this culinary adventure.
After a made-to-order breakfast at the Inn, we packed our bags and headed to the Brudenell River Golf Course less than 30 minutes away for our first round of the day.
Brudenell River — part of the Rodd Brudenell Resort — features a steady mix of tree-lined corridors, expansive vistas and riverside holes. The standouts are the 5th and the 10th, a pair of par-3s that offer a challenge from the back tees and playability from the forwards.
Brudenell River is quirky — equally divided with six par-3s, par-4s and par-5s. The pace of play is managed strictly here — we came in at just around four hours — a glorious (and literal) change of pace from so many other courses.
Our speediness also gave us enough time to grab a quick bite at the restaurant before heading to our final nine holes of the day on the front nine at the adjoining 18-hole Dundarave course. The resort features two 18-hole golf courses, an indoor pool, rental cottages for larger groups or families, canoe and kayak rentals, tennis courts and even horseback riding. Something for everyone.
In contrast to Brudenell River, Dundarave has a more open layout with fairways bordered by red sand bunkers and fescue. Off the tee, it’s visually more inviting and has more elevation change through the property.
The greens roll gently, and thanks to the elevation changes there is no shortage of views and vistas to take in during your round. Refreshingly, the peak season rate for 18 holes is only $100.
As the sun began to set we made our way to the Wheelhouse In Georgetown for dinner and drinks on the water and to settle in for the night down the street at the accompanying cozy cottage-style inn.
Sunday morning was an early wake-up call as we made our way from Georgetown to what many consider to be the crown jewel of PEI golf — The Links at Crowbush Cove in Morell just under 30 minutes away.
We teed off early and the pace of play was as brisk as the wind sweeping in from the Gulf of St Lawrence. The course starts with four inland holes that provide views back toward the water before turning around toward the clubhouse and one of the most exciting stretches of the course from the 6th to the 8th hole.
My favorite hole on the course is the par-4 16th, which has a forced-carry drive between sand dunes to an elevated green that once again gifts you with views of the expansive beach.
At the conclusion of our round at The Links at Crowbush Cove, we headed to our final dining destination, Fin Folk Food, in York, which sits on Tracadie Bay near enormous sand dunes that stretch for miles. The restaurant is bright, casual and dog-friendly. The menu is seafood-focused and offers classics like fish and chips and lobster rolls to more modern fish tacos. I went the modern route.
After lunch and before we had to catch our late afternoon flight back to Toronto, we enjoyed a 20-minute walk from the restaurant out past Tracadie Bay to the ocean for one final dip. Much like the side mirror on your car, objects appear closer than actually are on the coast thanks to the long unobstructed views and the grand scale of the sand dunes.
Dana and I had been to PEI almost a decade ago, but it was only for a single-night stay as part of a larger trip. Now, having explored much more of what PEI has to offer, we’ve discovered this beautiful island province has so much to offer, especially for golfers and foodies. For couples, buddy groups or even just a single adventurous golfer looking for the ideal golf-and-food getaway, PEI should be on your short list.