Visiting Lucy Maud Montgomery's Birthplace on Prince Edward Island
Historic Birthplace of World-Renowned Author
Where it All Began
Once upon a time, not too very long ago, a little girl was born in a rustic house, tucked away in a quiet corner of the world, on Prince Edward Island, Canada. While the child's family was not rich in material goods, she discovered a richness beyond compare in her island home, in the sparkling waters that could be glimpsed nearby, seen in the red roads, in the gently rolling fields and forested paths, all bordered round with velvety sand stretching for miles, washed by the tides. From humble beginnings, that island child would go on to become a world famous author, who would attract millions of visitors to her beloved island.
The birthplace of L. M. Montgomery is situated in the picturesque village of New London, a fishing and farming community in Queen's County, PEI, Canada. The house is located halfway between Kensington and Cavendish and not too far away is Green Gables.
Lovers of nostalgia will feel right at home because a visit to Montgomery's birthplace home is truly like stepping back in time. This historic property gives visitors a up-close-and-personal glimpse into the life and times of the author of the Anne books.
Lucy Maud was born in an upstairs bedroom of this quaint house on November 30th, 1874. Her mother's death a short time later and her father's move out West, necessitated Lucy aud staying in Cavendish with her maternal grandparents, the Macneills. This would change the course of history. As most fans know, her growing up years were spent on the Island, which left an indelible mark on Montgomery's soul, one that was to play out in her writings and put Prince Edward Island on the map.
Many years later, the author commented on this decision: The incidents and environment of my childhood... had a marked influence on my literary gift... Were it not for those Cavendish years, I do not think that Anne of Green Gables would ever have been written." Spirit of Place Lucy Maud Montgomery and Prince Edward Island
Her descriptions and almost magical portrayal of special island places and her deep love for them captured the imaginations of readers the world over, who also fell in love, so much so that they crossed continents and oceans to travel to the Land of Anne, to seek out and discover the nooks and crannies that so inspired the author.
While the Anne books would have been entertaining stories on their own, the natural settings, so interwoven throughout the books, have added their own peculiar charm.
For few things am I more thankful than for the fact that I was born and bred beside that blue Saint Lawrence Gulf.— L. M. Montgomery
Rustic Charm in Bedroom Where Lucy Maud Was Born
The home is close to Cavendish Beach and the farm that would inspire the writing of Anne of Green Gables. It also isn't far from Park Corner ("Silver Bush"), the location where Montgomery was later married.
- New London was Originally known as Graham's Corner and Clifton.
- It was first settled by Robert Clark. He arrived in 1773 and planned to build a settlement rivaling his native London.
- The area, bordered by the New London Harbor, is "Clifton" to fans of the author's novels.
The sea whose murmur was never out of my ears--all were radiant with 'the glory and the dream.'— L. M. Montgomery
New London, PEI
Away to to the westward, across to the harbor, the view was bounded by the New London Cape...— L. M. Montgomery
How to Get There From Green Gables
If you've visited Green Gables or you know where it is, it is easy to find Montgomery's birthplace. Take Cavendish Road, #6 and follow it to Stanley Bridge, then continue on to New London. Turn right on #20 and the house is just down the road a short distance.
Google Maps Streetview Player offers continuous drive functionality, if you prefer a visual.
Many newcomers to the island are delighted to discover that Montgomery's (and Anne's) favorite haunts are within close proximity, so it makes sense to visit more than one location if you are visiting the island.
Period Furniture Lends Old-World Charm to "Clifton"
The Lucy Maud Montgomery home has been remarkably preserved, with the original flooring intact and the rooms as they were when the author was an infant.
A Step Back in Time
You'll see the Franklin stove in the kitchen (the kind Anne used to warm herself) and a blue willow platter resides in the bookcase, a pattern that was used at the time and mentioned in Anne of Avonlea.
Nearby, and the organ belonging to Montgomery's relatives, displays a copy of Island Hymn, written in 1908 by Lucy Maud who was asked to compose the words by the Women's Institute.
Visitors can view samples of the author's early poetry and her letters. Scrapbooks chronicle Montgomery's early years as a student at Prince of Wales College and her later career as a teacher and a writer. Montgomery carefully preserved events from her life along with treasured keepsakes, which fill numerous scrapbooks, that are on display.
The rooms in the house are tiny and yet somehow, the home seems very cozy and charming.
Author's Scrapbooks Chronicle Her Life for Posterity
A replica of the author's wedding dress is on display, along with her wedding shoes and the slippers she wore on her honeymoon.
The home contains many items both for display and for purchase. Anne fans are sure to come away with something to suit their tastes.
Collectibles go well beyond the popular Anne doll for children, and many fine items are available for adult fans, as well.
L. M. Montgomery Memorabilia
- Imagining Anne--a compilation of L.M. Montgomery's Island scrapbooks
- 5 journals--the author's diaries
- Books written by L.M. Montgomery
- An L.M. Montgomery book of poetry
- Anne dolls
- Licensed giftware--approved by Montgomery's heirs
- Assorted Anne memorabilia
'Old Prince Edward Island' is a good place in which to be born--a good place in which to spend a childhood... For lands have personalities just as well as human beings; and to know that personality you must live in the land and companion it and draw sustenance of body and spirit from it...— L. M. Montgomery
A wonderful compilation quotes and insights from L.M. Montgomery, taken from the Alpine Path, her diaries, and in letters Lucy penned to George Boyd MacMillan, Penzie Macneill, and Ephraim Webber, set to wonderful photographs of the island places Montgomery knew and loved so deeply.
Exciting Events Mark 100th Anniversary Since Publication of "Anne."
2008 marked the 100th anniversary of publication of Anne of Green Gables.
As part of the Lucy Maud Montgomery Festival Days, Lucy Maude's Birthplace featured historians, guest speakers, and storytellers on-site to share their knowledge and passion for Montgomery's work.
When Visiting the Island
Make sure to try some raspberry cordial or stop in and have a plumb puff at any of the spots that offer these on the island.
The Clock Turns Back to Yesteryear
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Peace! You never know what peace is until you walk on the shores or in the fields or along the winding red roads of Abegweit on a summer twilight when the dew is falling and the old, old stars are peeping out and the sea keeps its nightly tryst with the little land it loves. You find your soul then... You will say, 'Why... I have come home!'— L. M. Montgomery
Visit and "Go Home" to a Simpler Time
Visitors are sure to come away with the feeling that they've somehow "gone home." Just as the stories and the movies sparked nostalgia from a worldwide audience that could appreciate a time when a person's word was their bond, when life moved at a slower pace, and where hearth and home pulled at the heartstrings, so too, a visit to Maud's birthplace evokes those same feelings.
© 2014 Athlyn Green
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