Didn’t get to stay long at the Park as the day was getting late, but we certainly want to go back and walk the wooden boardwalk that protects the dunes and the park is known for its miles of sandy beach fronting the Northumberland Strait.
As with all dunes they are fragile, but this area is unique for the abundance of Eastern White Cedar that grows in the depressions of the dunes where the wetter conditions support the growing of the cedar which helps keep the dunes protected. Other ridges of the dunes support the growing of the grey-green lichen which also covers the dunes.
The park hosts a life guard and a 2-way RV park with most sites on the water. (We didn’t stay) Down the road is the community of West Point which we would also like to return and visit. The West Point Lighthouse is a functioning lighthouse operated by a non-profit organization West Point Development Corporation. In 1982 this group of enterprising volunteers restored the lighthouse and the lighthouse keeper’s quarters. This is now an inn with 14 bedrooms available including 2 in the functioning lighthouse itself, a rare experience for those who think to book “the tower room” a year in advance. Trails behind the lighthouse are maintained with a chance to walk among the Eastern White Cedars and stories about the fairy dell and hidden treasure.
Built in 1875 it is the tallest lighthouse on PEI standing at 69 feet and is called a “second generation” lighthouse built with square tapered towers which became common for lighthouses built after confederation. Distinguished by its black and white stripes it stands stately above the dunes, its electronic beacon flashing. There were only 2 lighthouse keepers in the history of the lighthouse being manned, one serving 50 years (1875-1925 who lit the first light and other serving 1925-1963 who retired when the lighthouse began to run electronically
For a very reasonable fee the lighthouse is also a museum and we climbed the 72 steps on 5 staircases, each staircase becoming narrower as we climbed to the tower for a fantastic view of the beacon light and the beaches and boardwalks of Cedar Dunes Provincial Park. On each floor was information on the history and artifacts of the lighthouse keepers, technology of the lights and a listing of all the lighthouses on PEI.
One of the interesting facts of his lighthouse as opposed to the many lighthouses which were isolated, West Point Lighthouse was a hub of the community to the point that the lighthouse keeper kept a spare bedroom for visitors and after several shipwrecks, it was the lighthouse keeper’s responsibility to care for the saved passengers
If you find yourself on the North Cape Coastal Drive take some time to visit this area. I know we will be returning soon to spend some more time in this beautiful peaceful area.