I count myself extremely fortunate in having a daughter who, despite her natural 18-year-old inclination toward increasing sophistication, doesn't hesitate to return to the pleasures of childhood.
I was once such a girl. (Now that I'm middle-aged, it is, of course, much easier to revert to childhood.) Many, many years ago, I was a boarding school girl who did a great many things to which I would be unlikely to admit today. However, that same girl and one of her best friends, walking to their dorm from the library at closing, would brace themselves against the frozen tundra of a Massachusetts night by pretending that they were Laura and Mary of the Little House books, out on the South Dakota prairie during The Long Winter, anticipating that eerie encounter with the wolves. Girls don't want to give up their childhood friends.
It was easy, therefore, to convince the lovely daughter that we should visit Green Gables, the Cavendish house on which Anne Shirley's adoptive home was modeled. The week before we left for our trip, we re-watched the wonderful videos of Anne of Green Gables starring Megan Follows, Collen Dewhurt, and Richard Farnsworth that we had enjoyed many years before. I could hardly believe that we were going to take walks through the same Cavendish dunes across which Anne and her friend, "kindred spirit" Diana Barry, stride in the movie, and see the same skies stretching above the Gulf of St. Lawrence that they watch as they try to sort out the complexities of young womanhood.
It was a short walk from our motel to the Green Gables property with its house, barns, and extensive walking trail through the Haunted Woods. The buildings and gardens are meticulously maintained, causing us to exclaim over the work that must have gone into keeping house and farming 100 years ago. It was easy to imagine the characters of Matthew Cuthbert among the horse paraphernalia and his sister Marilla in the turn-of-the-century kitchen. One of the more interesting facets of Anne-dom: the Japanese are obsessed with her. We saw more tourists of Japanese than any other nationality; the Anne sites are popular locations for Japanese weddings, and there is a direct flight from Tokyo to Halifax to meet the demands of Anne tourists!
We did stop by Lucy Maud Montgomery's own home a couple of days later, although we elected not to pay the admission fee to explore the grounds there. And we did not go to the Anne of Green Gables musical, a summer island staple. It was enough just to roam the house and grounds where the fictional "Anne with an 'E' " had grown up. The magic of fiction ~ it lasts a lifetime.