Pay to cross

Expert advice on getting to Prince Edward Island, checking out the Santa Fe Trail and boning up on the Baltics.

Published May 11, 2000 4:00PM (EDT)

May 11, 2000

What are some sources for planning a vacation on Prince Edward Island, and how much does it cost to cross the new bridge from New Brunswick?

The bridge opened in 1997 -- this will be the fourth summer that getting to Prince Edward Island will not require a three-hour ferry ride for motorists coming from New Brunswick. The drive on the two-lane bridge takes about 12 minutes.

The span is called the Confederation Bridge, and it stretches about nine miles from Cape Jourimain, New Brunswick, to Borden-Carleton, Prince Edward Island. You don't pay a toll on the way in, but leaving the island there's a round-trip toll of $36.25 Canadian -- about U.S.$24.28. Credit cards are accepted.

While the bridge is good news for the road-weary, the jury is still out on whether easier access is affecting the island's atmosphere. Part of the island's charm, of course, was its isolation, and critics of the bridge fear that in time some of that charm will be lost as the bridge increases tourism and commerce.

The ferry from New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island was discontinued after the bridge opened, but another ferry route still operates between Caribou, Nova Scotia, and Wood Island on Prince Edward Island.

For a PEI tourism booklet, check out the Prince Edward Island site or call (888) 734-7529.

Prince Edward Island is included in the guidebook "The Maritime Provinces," by Trudy Fong, part of the "Off the Beaten Path" series published by the Globe Pequot Press (1999). PEI also is included in the "Adventure Guide to Canada's Atlantic Provinces," by Barbara Radcliffe Rogers and Stillman Rogers (Hunter Publishing, 1999).

For a drive in the West this summer, where can I get information on the old Santa Fe Trail and what towns it passed through, as well as any events that are scheduled?

The Santa Fe Trail began in Franklin, Mo., 110 miles east of what is now Kansas City, Mo., and ran for 900 miles to Santa Fe, N.M. More than half of the trail is in Kansas, and many signs of the trail remain, including wagon ruts, battle locations, burial sites and remnants of trading posts, campgrounds and forts.
You can find the latest on trail matters at the Santa Fe Trail Homepage, including a link to the Santa Fe Trail Association.

A good printed source for planning is a book called "The Santa Fe Trail Revisited," by Gregory M. Franzwa (Patrice Press, 1989), though it's reportedly out of print and you may have to excavate it from a library or used book store. It describes how to locate the trail and what to see along it, as well as offering practical advice on when to go, what to wear and other reference sources. Franzwa was a member of the National Park Service team that surveyed the trail early in 1988.

The National Frontier Trails Center in Independence, Mo., is an interpretive center with archives for the Santa Fe, Oregon and California trails. Phone (816) 325-7575.

I'll be taking a cruise of the Baltic region this fall and would like to get some perspective on the region and its citizens. Do you have any reading suggestions?

For an insightful look at recent Baltic history, check out "The Baltic Revolution: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Path to Independence" by Anatol Lieven (Yale University Press, 1994).

Among others:

  • Estonian writer Jaan Kross' best-known works are historical novels, "Professor Marten's Departure" (New Press, 1995) and "The Czar's Madman."

  • "'Come into My Time': Lithuania in Prose Fiction, 1970-90," edited by Violeta Kelertas (University of Illinois, 1992).

  • Check out the Baltic Reading List, at the Lonely Planet site.

    You may also want to stop by the Baltic Media Centre, which has links to many Baltic media outlets, universities and other resources.

  • By Donald D. Groff

    Donald D. Groff has been dispensing travel advice for a decade for such publications as the Philadelphia Inquirer, Newsday, the Boston Globe and the Kansas City Star.

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