A JOURNEY ACROSS HISTORY: THE ROAD TO “TOP OF THE HILL” AND BEYOND
To find “Top of the Hill’, you depart from Kensington and proceed along Route 101 (Irishtown Road) for approximately 8 kms. About half-way to your destination, you will pass the “Black Horse Corner”, an important crossroads of the 19th century. A statue and plaque now mark the location of an historic inn which was used by many early travellers on their journey from Malpeque to Charlottetown.
As you proceed from Black Horse Corner around the curve in the road, you will see your temporary home prominently located at the top of the hill in the distance. Another kilometre further, you will come to a fork in the road: continuing along the left fork of the road toward the “Top of the Hill”, you will pass on your left a pond that was once the site of a thriving mill and come to the County Line Road separating Prince County which you are now leaving from Queen’s County.
Continuing further along the Irishtown Road, you will come to the centre of Irishtown with an Anglican Church and cemetery on the right, and Irishtown community hall on the left. If you turn right at the Church, you will be on the Millman Road: designated by the Prince Edward government as an historic road, this one-lane red clay road with beautiful shade trees on each side is unchanged from nearly two centuries ago when it was first used to connect the farm district of Irishtown to the main local transportation route at the time, the Southwest River.
Proceeding another 1 km. further along the Irishtown Road, you will come to the Top of the Hill, your new home for a week.
As you proceed another 3 km. to the end of the Irishtown Road, you will turn right on Highway 20 and pass through the seaside community of Park Corner. A dirt road on your left will take you to the beautiful beaches of Cousins Shore. Continuing another 2 kms. along Highway 20, you will see on your right, Silver Bush, where Lucy Maud Montgomery was married in 1911, and on your left, the Lake of Shining Waters. To your left is a museum that was once the home of Senator Hugh Montgomery, the author’s grandfather.
You will then come to the much-photographed fishing village of French River, and continuing to the community of Spring Brook, you will pass on your right one of the oldest churches on P.E.I., the Geddie Memorial Presbyterian Church. From the grounds of Geddie Memorial, you will look over the waters and sand dunes of New London Bay. As you continue along Highway 20, you will come to Clifton Corner at New London, the site of the little house where Lucy Maud Montgomery was born.
Turning left at New London onto Highway 6, a short drive will take you to the Anne of Green Gables homestead, and the entrance to the Prince Edward Island National Park at Cavendish Beach.
And so ends our journey across a small part of Prince Edward Island.
WHAT L. M. MONTGOMERY SAID OF THE SETTING
The Irishtown Road was the route often taken by Lucy Maud Montgomery when travelling from the train station in Kensington to the home of her uncle and cousins in Park Corner where she spent much of her childhood and where she was married in 1911.
It would have been of the setting for Top of the Hill that Lucy Maud Montgomery wrote the following words which she recorded in her diary upon her return to P.E.I. in the summer of 1913:
July 9, 1913: “Again at Park Corner. We came up to Kensington yesterday evening and drove down here. It was a beautiful evening and our drive was delightful. Besides, for me it had the charm of old scenes revisited. And when we came over the Irishtown hills and saw the beautiful gulf again and heard its low distant murmur, I thought of another evening long ago – over twenty years ago – when I came home from my western exile over that very road. I recalled the rapture and the ecstasy that filled my heart when from the same hill the same glimpse of the purple evening sea flashed on my eyes. That same view always brings a resurrection of that old thrill and rapture.”
Again, on another journey back to Park Corner, on July 6, 1924, Lucy Maud Montgomery wrote the following words:
“Life met me at Kensington last night and we came down the old beautiful road, fragrant with the wild fern scent of a warm summer evening.”
Extracts from Dubio & Waterston, The Selected Journals of L. M. Montgomery.
By making the Top of the Hill, Irishtown, P.E.I., your home for a week, you have an unparalleled opportunity to share in the rapture and the ecstasy that L. M. Montgomery felt upon coming to this location 100 years ago.