“Look at that sea, girls–all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen. We couldn’t enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds.”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
That quote has always made me think of how blessed we are to be able to soak in the beauty of the sea and how fortunate we are to live in a country as breathtaking as Canada.
Growing up, I wanted to be Anne of Green Gables. I fell in love with L.M. Montgomery’s feisty red-headed heroine and spent many Summer days pretending to be Anne. I read the books over and over. I even wanted to marry Gilbert Blythe.
A true fan of L.M. Montgomery’s timeless stories and truly memorable and endearing characters, I made it my mission to one day visit the place where all the Anne of Green Gables and Road to Avonlea magic was created — Prince Edward Island.
Of course, a stay at Dalvay by the Sea is a must! If you are an Anne of Green Gables fan, you will know that Dalvay by the Sea was featured as the White Sands Hotel.
The sound of the waves crashing against the shore and the stunning vista are reminiscent of that scene where Anne’s papers are swept by the wind and fly all over the beach and the dunes, with the White Sands Hotel in the background. Being an Anne of Green Gables fan, I had to visit the place where White Sands Hotel was filmed.
Anne of Green Gables references aside, Dalvay is a must visit on your PEI trip because of its beauty, history and atmosphere. Dining at Dalvay is first rate too.
A little bit of Dalvay history
Not just treasured for its beauty or connection with Anne of Green Gables, Dalvay by the Sea holds historical significance.
The stately home was originally built in 1895 by Alexander MacDonald, a successful businessman and former president of Standard Oil Company with John D. Rockefeller.
When we stayed at Dalvay, we poured over literature about MacDonald and the history of Dalvay. I didn’t realize that MacDonald left his native home of Scotland to seek his fortune abroad.
According to what we were told by the front desk person at Dalvay, Alexander and married Laura Palmer in 1862 and after losing their first child, they took a vacation and decided to visit Prince Edward Island.
It was no surprise to me that MacDonald fell in love with Prince Edward Island and decided to purchase land and build a Summer home there. What surprised me though, was the grandeur of their Summer home! Interesting to note is that Dalvay-by-the-Sea was named after Alexander MacDonald’s childhood home in Scotland.
If you close your eyes, you can almost envision what Dalvay must have been like back when the MacDonald family spent their Summers there. I imagine how busy the place must have been with butlers, servants, cooks, caretakers and housemaids.
We also learned that Alexander MacDonald’s last visit to the family’s Summer home was in 1909 and that he died in 1910. In the 1950s, Dalvay became a historic property when MacDonald’s family handed over the rights to PEI Parks Canada.
There’s a certain charm in staying at an establishment that was once lived in by a family. I thought of all the visitors that stayed at Dalvay throughout the many years. I kept wondering what stories those walls could tell.
The hotel has 25 guest rooms. The rooms have lots of character and charm, and are furnished with period antiques. There are also eight 3-bedroom cottages for guests to stay in.
We lazed around the beautifully manicured property and lounged on garden chairs, reading books. We went for strolls along the property and by the lake. We even sat in the library as we waited to be seated for dinner. The beautifully decorated room was so welcoming with its visually appealing furniture and lots of natural light.
Our entire stay was so relaxing. What made our stay even more peaceful was the fact that there are no TVs or telephones in the guest rooms in the Main Inn. I was very appreciative of being able to go unplugged and just be able to soak in every moment of our stay at Dalvay. I hadn’t been able to decompress like that and it was certainly refreshing.
There is Wi-Fi at Dalvay by the Sea, and it came in handy for work. This said, I tried to shut down my electronic devices while at Dalvay so I could just enjoy every moment of my experience.
Of course, my love of fine dining does not compete with my love of travel. The two go hand in hand.
One of the first things I do when researching places to visit before I go on vacation is to look into places worth dining at. Of course, the MacMillan Dining Room at Dalvay came highly recommended.
Since we were on the East Coast, we made a point of ensuring that we get in our seafood fix. Yes, I even had seafood at breakfast! If I recall correctly, my exact words were, “If we’re on Prince Edward Island, I’m going to make sure I have lobster at least once a day!”
I kept true to my word. I did have lobster at least once a day on our seven day trip!
One of my favourite breakfasts – Dalvay Eggs Benedict with lobster and smoked salmon. For some, seafood early in the morning may not be their “thing”, but having grown up in Montreal where Montreal bagels and lox were a staple, this was my kind of Eggs Benedict!
Though our trip to PEI was in the Fall, I’m only now getting around to posting. The menu has been updated. To view Dalvay’s breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, dessert, lounge menus and their wine list, visit Dining at Dalvay online.
If you must have one more reason to visit Dalvay by the Sea, I highly recommend the Sticky Date Pudding! I had been tweeting with several people from PEI weeks prior in preparation for our trip. Everyone told us that we had to try the Sticky Date Pudding! Dalvay’s famously sweet and rich date pudding is smothered in their in house warm toffee sauce with a scoop of sumptuous vanilla bean ice cream. It’s a delight for the senses. You won’t be disappointed!
To view more of the inside of the stately inn or to learn more, visit Dalvay by the Sea’s website. Definitely worth staying at when visiting Prince Edward Island.
Thank you, Dalvay for a wonderful and memorable stay.