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Lobsters, Laughter – And Life Lessons

By Cynthia Hogg March 07, 2024 Travel

I had a dream trip planned for August of 2020, but we all know what happened that year. COVID put an end to everyone’s travel plans.

The Silver Lining

That summer, I had planned to take my oldest granddaughter to Prince Edward Island to celebrate her 12th birthday. Sometimes a dream deferred brings a silver lining, and that is precisely what happened in this case. Whereas I had originally planned on taking just the one granddaughter, three years later I now had four granddaughters old enough to take the trip. I realized, “I have eight granddaughters. I am not going to take eight trips to Prince Edward Island.”

It made more sense to take them four at a time so in July of 2023, I headed out with the four girls, ages 8, 10, 11, and 15.

The Journey Is As Much Fun as the Destination

In case you are not familiar with the geography of it, it is a LONG way from west Michigan to Prince Edward Island (or “PEI”) off the eastern coast of Canada. Especially when you’re pushing 70. And you’re traveling with four kids. I swapped out some of the driving for the fascination and expediency of train travel by leaving my car in Pittsburgh (after picking up the second set of sisters) and choo-chooing from there to Providence, Rhode Island. I love train travel and the girls did too. For me, it proved the maxim about the journey being as much fun as the destination.

We took in all the beloved Anne of Green Gables sites. The girls heard the story of how their grandma (me) was responsible for having the book Anne of Green Gables translated into Hungarian through a visiting professor I met at my son’s school.

We had an outstanding sunset cruise and lobster dinner with the lobsters hauled on board right before our eyes. (We’ll never eat fresher!)

We also went on a buggy ride, spotted whales and seals, slept in an old school house, and collected sea glass. For two of the girls, it was their first time swimming in an ocean.

Bonding Is Important

As much as I would have enjoyed bonding with just my oldest granddaughter, the bonding that happened between the cousins was a joy to behold. It’s something I expect will yield benefits for years to come.

Did they get silly sometimes, especially the three crammed in the backseat? Yes. Was there some squabbling? That happened too. (God bless Jeanne Birdsall, author of the Penderwick series, whose audio books helped some of the more tedious miles fly by.) But the group experience – the laughs and stories and memories – combined to create a huge win overall.

What About the Life Lessons?

In June of 2023, Agnes Callard wrote an article for The New Yorker entitled, “The Case Against Travel.” To that, I simply respond, “Pooh, pooh!” I don’t have the space to debate her case here, although I would love to, but I observed so many important life lessons learned by my granddaughters as we traveled along. Things like flexibility and responsibility and teamwork, in addition to learning about history, cultural differences, and trying new foods.

But perhaps the most important thing we all learned was to persevere, to not let fear or discouragement or liabilities – real or imagined – keep us from seeing our plans through.

Three days before we left on our trip, I took a peek at the long-range forecast. Rain. I mean all day, every day, wherever we went. Up the whole coast of Maine, across all the Maritime provinces, back down the coast of Maine. I felt sick because I had planned and saved for this trip for so long, and it was a trip that needed to be enjoyed outdoors.

With a heavy heart I googled, “What can you do with kids on a rainy day on PEI?” and the number one thing that popped up was visiting a potato museum. I was so discouraged; I almost didn’t feel like going.

Working Together Is a Blessing

You may have noticed an “injured traveler” in some of the previous pictures. Two days before the trip, my 10-year-old granddaughter fell off her family’s back deck, fracturing both wrists and receiving a mild concussion. With one arm in an inflatable cast and the other in a sling, she still came along. We did everything for her: carried all her luggage, buckled and unbuckled her seatbelt at every stop, dressed and undressed her, and even brushed her teeth.

With us all working together as her support team, she did just fine, and we had a marvelous time.

Oh, and we had zero rain until the very last day!

Let’s Have a Conversation:

How many grandchildren have you taken on a trip? What was it like? Have you done a repeat? Where did you go and what life lessons did you learn?

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We took three grands to Cancun Mexico. 10 family members in total for their Christmas present. It was perfect. We just purchased a used motor home for the purpose of spending time with our now eight grands. It will be a blessing.


I’m originally from PEI and although I moved away in 1979 to Alberta, all of my family and childhood friends still reside on the Island. So, I’ve made many trips home over the years, at least once a year and sometimes more than once. My only granddaughter is just 18 months old now, I’m hoping I’ll be blessed with the health to take her back to my original home once she’s old enough to remember all the things I want to show her about my Island! PS love your pics!

Cynthia Hogg

How lucky you are to be from PEI! I have visited there 3 times already – and can’t wait to go back with my next-oldest granddaughter!


What fun !! My family and I drove to P.E.I. when I was in middle school. I’ve always enjoyed the wonderful memories of that trip. Does Amtrak run all the way up the Maine coast into Canada to Prince Edward Island ? I’d love to take the train and go back, especially for the lobster ! ❤️

Carol Aleksiuk

That is so special taking your grandchildren on that trip.
I decided years ago to do 1 trip with each of my 4. One picked NYC. One chose Italy. One chose 5 countries in Europe and we did that trip last June.

Have not gone anywhere yet with the youngest.

I wait until they are later teens though so they can handle the traveling well although did other activities with them when younger. Am very happy to have them living nearby and still see them often.

Loved your photos of your trip.
Such special memories.

The Author

Cynthia Hogg is a freelance writer in western Michigan who contributes regularly to Sixty and Me and Senior Perspectives magazine. She loves to travel and spend time with her grandchildren, especially combining the two. She is the editor of the newly updated blog

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