For a wee bit o’ Scotland head to the rolling hills of New Glasgow and there you will find, perched above the River Clyde, the Prince Edward Island Preserve Company. Locals and even folks from “away” flock here for the stunning scenery, fine tea and preserves, and all ‘round good craic!
My husband Terry and I first came to the Preserve Company last year to celebrate our second wedding anniversary. We enjoyed our day so much, strolling around the manicured Gardens of Hope, serenaded by butterflies at the shed, and even the fresh artisan served food, that we left hungry for more.
In the weeks that followed, we came back with our visiting family from the Isle of Man, Southern Ontario, and even South Africa – and they too as fans. We revisited this week to savour those treasured memories of family and good food.
Built in 1913, the factory for many years churned out butter. Until husband and wife duo, Bruce and Shirley MacNaughton purchased the old building in 1987. They refurbished it to include an artisan specialty food production kitchen, restaurant and gift shop. And in the fall of 2004, their foundation started the serenity Gardens of Hope for everyone to enjoy, on a 12-acre plot.
Around every corner in the Gardens of Hope, you are greeted by kaleidoscopes of flowers, shrubs, and vistas of the peaceful River Clyde – rippled only by a baby breathe of wind. This escapist and romantic surrounding lures many a couple to say, “I do” under a canopy of trees. But some folk just come for the peace and relaxation.
Our day commenced with breakfast at the restaurant. Terry and I waited for the audible, “Mmmm” as we listened to other families admiring their plates. And right on cue it followed.
Placed in front of Terry – a cinnamon egg-dipped baguette, topped with fresh fruit and a side of syrup – a meal that was presented like a form of art. I, on the other hand, had the “traditional breakfast” that consisted of blueberry pancakes, scrambled eggs with cheese and chives, bacon and potatoes. And yes, it was delicious and also affordable.
After breakfast, we leisurely weaved our way around the gardens and discovered an enchanting meadow with grazing white ponies. Behind the meadow, a gentle sloped hill carried us to a magical forest. Inside the forest are hanging picture frames, mirrors, winding paths, scurrying chipmunks and sculptures.
After exploring the grounds we worked our way back to the restaurant and gift shop. The Preserve Company specialises in selling an assortment of jams and curds, which are incorporated with the meals on the menu. There is also the opportunity to sample a few of these selected preserves, with crackers, in the gift shop.
A must-try is the raspberry pie with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. A good dessert is the ultimate luxury, something so tempting you find yourself ordering it in a restaurant at every possible opportunity. And the raspberry pie is just that: irresistible. So before Terry and I said our “Goodbyes,” we treated ourselves to a heavenly slice.