Author Topic: Road Trip Ideas - P.E.I.  (Read 885 times)

ctuser1

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Road Trip Ideas - P.E.I.
« on: September 07, 2019, 02:26:23 PM »
My bucket list includes trying out PEI mussels at source (i.e. at PEI), and wifey wants to go for a trip to see the northern lights. I am trying to research some frugal trip ideas to do both in a single trip since Prince Edward Islands seem to be a suggested "best place" for the northern lights per this https://www.westjetmagazine.com/story/article/best-places-canada-see-northern-lights.

I have been to other places in Canada, but never been to Prince Edwards Islands.

We live in Connecticut, US. It's a small north eastern state sandwiched between Massachussettes and New York, just in case you Canucks don't know. We plan to drive down.

1. What are the best times for northern lights in PEI?
2. Best time for mussels?
3. I plan to use hotel points if at all possible. Are there any good chain hotels near some prime Northern Lights viewing areas?
4. Any other tips/tricks/must-do's?





 

OtherJen

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Re: Road Trip Ideas - P.E.I.
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2019, 09:10:17 PM »
PTF because PEI has been on my bucket list since I was a 10-year-old obsessed with Anne of Green Gables.

red_pill

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Re: Road Trip Ideas - P.E.I.
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2019, 10:30:14 PM »
Hate to be a killjoy, but I lived around there for a long time and NEVER saw the northern lights.  Plus pei is a dismal place in the winter - way better in the summer.



 

Rdy2Fire

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Re: Road Trip Ideas - P.E.I.
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2019, 07:52:29 AM »
Hate to be a killjoy, but I lived around there for a long time and NEVER saw the northern lights.  Plus pei is a dismal place in the winter - way better in the summer.

Agreed and to have a chance to see them your in the timing now through winter but your best chance to see them won't be from PEI

spartana

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Re: Road Trip Ideas - P.E.I.
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2019, 08:48:25 AM »
Bat signalling @deborah whi I know just did a second trip in that area and went to Greenland, Labrador and Newfoundland as well on a road trip.

As for the northern lights you'll have to usually go pretty far north and be in very cold weather. I lived in Alaska for a few years (and North eastern Ontario about 700 km north of Toronto) and rarely saw them - although they are spectacular!

ETA I would do P.E.I. in summer or early fall if I was you and save northern lights viewing for somewhere else.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2019, 08:56:27 AM by spartana »

ctuser1

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Re: Road Trip Ideas - P.E.I.
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2019, 11:11:44 AM »
Any suggestions where are the best places to view northern lights that are accessible via a road trip from NE US?

Also, is it even feasible to drive our Sienna minivan to extreme cold places? I have never been to the arctic circle and the lowest temperature I remember seeing is -10F.

During our last Canada trip we had extended cold spell with sub-zero or single digit (in Fahrenheit) temperature the whole trip, and the only annoyance was that the windshield fluid froze. It fixed itself right up once the car was parked in an underground hotel garage overnight.

Do I need to do any special weatherization or something if I want to drive to, say, Yellowknife or some city in Nunavut?

spartana

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Re: Road Trip Ideas - P.E.I.
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2019, 06:31:29 PM »
I don't know much about road conditions in Eastern Canada during winter but I imagine all the main roads are very passable in a vehicle that you'd drive in New England in the winter. But I would think going somewhere more remote you'd want a different vehicle and set up.

 While technically you can see the northern lights from most dark areas in the northern US, including Connecticut, even in early fall and late spring,  you'll likely be able to see them further north due to long dark nights and colder clearer weather. But you can probably find areas you can drive to easier or some sort of drive and ferry trip to Novia Scotia, PEI or Newfoundland. You might even be able to see them fairly early in the winter or fall if you can take a night boat trip.  That's a very spectacular way to see them since its so dark and reflective off the water (and ice if in winter).

OtherJen

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Re: Road Trip Ideas - P.E.I.
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2019, 06:47:45 PM »
I've seen the northern lights in Gaylord, MI, which is on the 45th parallel. So you should have a decent chance in any rural area at or north of 45°N, assuming the solar flares cooperate.

Honestly, the solar flares are the major factor. You could go to Yellowknife and see nothing. I've only seen them twice: that time in Gaylord and once from my backyard outside Detroit during an unusually strong flare. I've never seen them when camping in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan because my timing was unlucky.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2019, 06:51:58 PM by OtherJen »

seattlecyclone

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Re: Road Trip Ideas - P.E.I.
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2019, 08:19:05 PM »
The contiguous US and most of the populated areas of Canada aren't far enough north to see the aurora except during an unusually large solar event. The University of Alaska publishes forecasts for auroras. You can see they have maps with a green halo around the Arctic regions. The closer to the darkest part of the halo you are, the better your chances will be.

Fairbanks Alaska is pretty much in the ideal spot for viewing auroras. That's the only place I've ever seen it, and I only saw it once out of three or four trips up there. Not only do you need the solar activity to cooperate, but you also need a clear, dark night. That means summer is mostly out due to the extremely late sunsets up that far north, and cloudy weather could nix it even if the sun has huge flares.

From Connecticut if you wanted to drive somewhere far enough north to get almost as good as Fairbanks for aurora conditions, it looks like Labrador City might be a decent bet. Only a 20 hour drive!

spartana

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Re: Road Trip Ideas - P.E.I.
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2019, 09:29:29 AM »
The contiguous US and most of the populated areas of Canada aren't far enough north to see the aurora except during an unusually large solar event. The University of Alaska publishes forecasts for auroras. You can see they have maps with a green halo around the Arctic regions. The closer to the darkest part of the halo you are, the better your chances will be.

Fairbanks Alaska is pretty much in the ideal spot for viewing auroras. That's the only place I've ever seen it, and I only saw it once out of three or four trips up there. Not only do you need the solar activity to cooperate, but you also need a clear, dark night. That means summer is mostly out due to the extremely late sunsets up that far north, and cloudy weather could nix it even if the sun has huge flares.

From Connecticut if you wanted to drive somewhere far enough north to get almost as good as Fairbanks for aurora conditions, it looks like Labrador City might be a decent bet. Only a 20 hour drive!
I saw them in downtown Anchorage once whilevwatching the ceremonial start of the Ididirod sometime in the early 1990s. It was pretty magical with all the dogs howling like banshees and pulling sleds up the main drag. About 30 below and super clear too. That was the only time in the 4 years I lived there that I saw them that far south as its usually too cloudy in Anchorage. Saw them a few times when I was up in the arctic (on a coast guard ship) and I think in the interior around Fairbanks they're more common but in many of the populated places in Alaska you just can't see them because conditions aren't right.

 Personally I think if that's on the OPs bucket list they'd be better off doing a tour of some sort whether to Alaska, Canada or someplace like Iceland or a Scandinavian country. I saw them once in Norway about 100 miles above the Arctic Circle in a small town. But again I think that's rare due to cloudy weather. I have a trip planned for north Europe this year and hoping I can get far enough north to see them again.

Éowynd

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Re: Road Trip Ideas - P.E.I.
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2019, 12:20:32 PM »
Any suggestions where are the best places to view northern lights that are accessible via a road trip from NE US?

Also, is it even feasible to drive our Sienna minivan to extreme cold places? I have never been to the arctic circle and the lowest temperature I remember seeing is -10F.

During our last Canada trip we had extended cold spell with sub-zero or single digit (in Fahrenheit) temperature the whole trip, and the only annoyance was that the windshield fluid froze. It fixed itself right up once the car was parked in an underground hotel garage overnight.

Do I need to do any special weatherization or something if I want to drive to, say, Yellowknife or some city in Nunavut?

How far are you willing to drive on this road trip?  I know that you can see the lights in Northern Michigan because one of my co-workers was up near Cheboygan over Labor Day weekend and came back with some incredibly amazing photos.  Also, Michigan is gorgeous in the fall; its definitely the best time to visit this state.

seattlecyclone

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Re: Road Trip Ideas - P.E.I.
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2019, 03:27:40 PM »
Any suggestions where are the best places to view northern lights that are accessible via a road trip from NE US?

Also, is it even feasible to drive our Sienna minivan to extreme cold places? I have never been to the arctic circle and the lowest temperature I remember seeing is -10F.

During our last Canada trip we had extended cold spell with sub-zero or single digit (in Fahrenheit) temperature the whole trip, and the only annoyance was that the windshield fluid froze. It fixed itself right up once the car was parked in an underground hotel garage overnight.

Do I need to do any special weatherization or something if I want to drive to, say, Yellowknife or some city in Nunavut?

How far are you willing to drive on this road trip?  I know that you can see the lights in Northern Michigan because one of my co-workers was up near Cheboygan over Labor Day weekend and came back with some incredibly amazing photos.  Also, Michigan is gorgeous in the fall; its definitely the best time to visit this state.

Labor Day weekend had some unusually large aurora activity. The odds of seeing it in Michigan most of the time is pretty much nil.

Éowynd

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Re: Road Trip Ideas - P.E.I.
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2019, 07:22:25 AM »
Labor Day weekend had some unusually large aurora activity. The odds of seeing it in Michigan most of the time is pretty much nil.

Aha, good to know.  I'm not too familiar with the northern lights; I just hear about them from my co-worker from time to time.

Dogastrophe

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Re: Road Trip Ideas - P.E.I.
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2019, 08:48:22 AM »
My bucket list includes trying out PEI mussels at source (i.e. at PEI), and wifey wants to go for a trip to see the northern lights. I am trying to research some frugal trip ideas to do both in a single trip since Prince Edward Islands seem to be a suggested "best place" for the northern lights per this https://www.westjetmagazine.com/story/article/best-places-canada-see-northern-lights.

I have been to other places in Canada, but never been to Prince Edwards Islands.

We live in Connecticut, US. It's a small north eastern state sandwiched between Massachussettes and New York, just in case you Canucks don't know. We plan to drive down.

1. What are the best times for northern lights in PEI?
2. Best time for mussels?
3. I plan to use hotel points if at all possible. Are there any good chain hotels near some prime Northern Lights viewing areas?
4. Any other tips/tricks/must-do's?

I lived on PEI for several years ... not once did I see (or hear anyone discussing) the Northern Lights.  If you are intent on seeing them whilst in PEI, you will be disappointed.   

For me, I prefer PEI in the Spring and Fall, too many tourists in the Summer, however, Summer is when the playhouse is in full swing, weather is generally nicer.  Hotel prices are much higher in the summer.

Fresh PEI mussels are generally available year round

You won't drive "down" to PEI from Conn, rather you will be driving "up"

Indio

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Re: Road Trip Ideas - P.E.I.
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2019, 06:55:15 PM »
We did a fabulous roadtrip from east coast to PEI -- twice. It's a long drive so we stayed overnight in ME. Went camping on the north shore of PEI in Canadian national park. Didn't see northern lights but saw lots of bonfires and met nice people. The campgrounds are $25 a night. Made for an incredibly affordable vacay.
Another trip we camped in Bay of Fundy on Manan island, visited the Unesco sites in Nova Scotia, and camped on the Cabot Trail. Got rained on a few times, but the scenery was worth it.
If you didn't know it, PEI is also known for their potatoes.