Friday, August 14, 2015

Visiting Lower Bedeque Schoolhouse

Honestly, this stop was not at all on my radar when we made our trip to Prince Edward Island. I was thinking that most Anne-related and Montgomery sites would take place in the Cavendish area. We moved away from that side of the Island for the second half of our stay because we wanted to see other parts of the Island.

We weren't actually being very choosey in where we planned to stay during the second half but landed at a Bed and Breakfast in Bedeque. The significance of the name didn't even cross my mind until I saw a road sign pointing us to Lucy Maud Montgomery's Lower Bedeque Schoolhouse. Well! I had to see it, of course! After all, we were right there! We followed the signs and sought the school house out.

By way of explanation, this old one room schoolhouse was built in 1886 by local residents. Montgomery taught here during the 1896-97 school year until she was abruptly called back home to Cavendish upon the death of her grandfather Macneill. Although her time at the Lower Bedeque Schoolhouse was short, her life experiences there were quite exciting.

While teaching in this location, Montgomery boarded with the Cornelius Leard family. She fell in love with the Leard's oldest son, Herman. Theirs is rather a tragic love story. She was secretly engaged to another at the time (one Edward Simpson) which she ultimately ended calling off. Herman occupied a great many of her thoughts and emotions for a good bit of time. Ultimately she decided that he was not as educated as she was and rather looked down on his status in life in general and so felt the need to bring their relationship to a close. (You can read more about all of this in Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Gift of Wings. Linked to my review.) Herman died of influenza in 1899 and Montgomery was distraught over this death. Ultimately we know that she ended up marrying Ewan Macdonald. I'm not convinced at all that that was a brilliant match or that she wouldn't have been better off with Herman, but what can be done about that? Choices, choices!

Getting back to the Lower Bedeque Schoolhouse -

It is operated as a museum when it is operated at all. We came to understand from the owners at our Bed and Breakfast that the lady who opened and ran the museum had moved away somewhat recently and that she is currently trying to find someone else to operate the facility. At the current moment, it is a charming and isolated closed schoolhouse, desperately in want of visitors. It was a delight to be able to see it and take a peek in the windows but I wish we could have gone in. Ah well. We were on sight and I did take pictures! That counts for something, right?

Although we were not able to go inside, I was happy to have at least seen it. I ended well satisfied - especially as this was a "bonus stop" along the way and not something I had gone into the trip expecting. We'll call it a "cherry on the top" and enjoy it.

Now, I would be a bit remiss if I didn't tell you about the Bed and Breakfast we stayed at while in this area. If you read this post thoroughly, you'll find something delicious to note about this particular B&B which was also a huge surprise to me and delighted me greatly!

Click here to read our review/thoughts on Briarcliffe Inn in Bedeque, PEI.

Thus brings our Anne tour to an official end, although I might have a few more pictures and links to share next week. Hope you've enjoyed this brief glimpse at the Island!


FancyHorse said...

Oh, I enjoyed this thoroughly! What a charming little schoolhouse! How many students did Lucy Maud Montgomery teach, do you know?

The inn looks wonderful, I read your review on your other blog. I hope to visit P.E.I. someday!

Barbara H. said...

What a pleasant surprise! Glad you got to see it as much as you did - hope they can find a proprietor for it.

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