Lucy’s House

I’m going out on a limb here to suggest that the book Anne of Green Gables, and its author Lucy Maud Montgomery, are Canada’s most recognized literary exports … they are most certainly in the top five.

Even in my youth, I couldn’t see the attraction to this freckled, red-headed, and outspoken girl.  Personally, I thought Anne was obnoxious, but the truth is, this character appears to be well-loved around the world.

Helen and I were out on the Trans-Canada Trail this week when Helen casually mentioned that Lucy’s home, where all of her children had been born, was nearby.  Of course that meant we had to make a special excursion to visit this heritage building.

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In case you were wondering, O.B.E stands for Officer of the Most Excellent Order of British Empire

Our little side trip brought us to a charming house shaded by the large leafy trees in the front yard … and more importantly, what turned out to be lots of doors and doorways.

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The sign in the doorway is an excerpt from Lucy’s diary written during the time she lived here.  In various spots in the house, quotes from Lucy’s diary could be found.

As I approached the front door to take a photo, it suddenly opened and a woman popped out to say hello.  I had thought the house was a small heritage museum, and was now mortified, thinking we were trespassing on the front step of a private home.

Happily, it did turn out to be a museum, and the woman was in the process of conducting a private tour.  However, she invited us inside to look around on our own.

The house was an interesting little rabbit warren of rooms with doors leading off in all directions.

These are my favourite photos from that very brief visit.  Click on any photo to enlarge. Sadly, my photos of the gorgeous old front door were unusable.

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Inside the front door
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In the kitchen.  To the left, the door way leads to the dining room which leads back to the front hall.
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From the dining room looking into the front hall.  I love the vertical slats of this door to the left
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Outside, at the back of the house, a pair of old wooden doors

This hiking trip proved to me that door excursions can happen at any time, including when I least expect it … like when I’m sweaty and wind-swept from the trail.  I can only imagine what this woman thought as she noticed 2 unkempt-looking women poking around the front door!

Thursday Doors is a weekly photo challenge hosted by Norm Frampton at Norm 2.0.

131 comments

  1. What a cozy-looking home Joanne, and your photos capture it well. I love the old stove. But alas, shame on me, I haven’t read Anne of Green Gables. But in my defense, I just finished the first season of the series “Anne with an E,” which is great fun. See it if you haven’t. ~ James

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  2. Yeah! I love doors popping up when I’d least expect them! My favourite photo is the one of the staircase and the door together. I haven’t read the book yet, no matter how often it comes warmly recommended from friends, but when I do I’ll think of this post. Thank you!

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  3. My guess is she was more than delighted to have people so interested in the museum. I mean to break off from one’s hike to have a visit must prove your enthusiasm. Fun to imagine the author in those well preserved rooms writing away. I wonder if she ever imagined at the time of writing what a success she would have?

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  4. This is so great!!! I read L Maude Montgomery’s diaries in which she described her life in this house. She didn’t have an easy life. That is for certain. But what a wonderfully strong and successful woman (and businesswoman) she was!! It is a real treat to get to have a peak at this house. It is precisely as I’d imagined! Thanks!!

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  5. I read a little bit about Lucy’s life. Often that is more interesting than the books they write. I knew she moved to Ontario but I don’t think she was as happy as Anne was with Gilbert. Last year we flew from Australia to New York and then on to Canada where we cruised the St Lawrence Seaway. I think that is why I started reading your blog on A to Z. Anyway I made sure I reread Anne before arriving at PEI and I was thrilled to see the house the book was based on. The book made a big impression on me as a child as the descriptions of PEI sounded wonderful compared to our what I considered our “boring” Australian bush and our plain houses.

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    • I had never heard of Lucy’s diaries until I visited her house. Now I admit I’m quite intrigued and interested in reading them.

      So I’m curious … was PEI as wonderful as you hoped it would be?
      I’ve only been once – a long time ago as a teenager. I remember being fascinated by the red earth, which I encountered again many years later while visiting Uluru!

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      • I only just saw your reply so I’m sorry I didn’t answer before. Maybe PEI wasn’t quite what I expected. I had hoped to go to museum but we shared a taxi with another couple who didn’t have any feeling about “Anne”. I loved seeing the “Anne” house and the tree covered in blossom outside the upstairs window. Had we been on our own I would have gone walking through the woods and maybe visited the house LMG lived in. We did have a beautiful day on the island with perfect weather.

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    • It was, Annie! This was actually the 3rd of 3 unplanned detours, of which 2 of them we were unexpectedly invited in for a long around. Sometimes going where the wind blows you has fun results 🙂

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  6. I visited that site many years ago…but your photos made me feel like I was there yesterday! Thanks for another great Thursday Doors post. I loved the mix of great photos, interesting info, Canadiana….and your ‘unexpected’ mini-tour of the museum!

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    • Thanks Donna. Don’t you just love it when something unplanned turns out better than expected?!!
      I appreciate the encouragement, especially since I’ve struggled throughout the summer with inspiration.

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    • I knew it was very popular, but I was quite surprised by exactly how widely loved the Anne story is.

      It’s quite a bit off the beaten track. What brought you so far … was it specifically to visit LMM’s house?

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      • It is only 3 hours from my house to PEI and the Island it really not very big. I went twice this summer. once for the July 1st celebrations, I wanted to finish my by story in Honour of Canada’s 150th, and a week later to Cavendish.my sister and niece were camping out for the country music festival. that was when we all went to see it

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  7. I knew “Lucy” was going to be L M Montgomery when I saw your title! I absolutely loved the Anne of Green Gables books and have read them many times including in adulthood. They were my mother’s books, printed on thick inferior paper due to the war. I’ve also watched the Megan Follows miniseries so many times I can quote the dialogue along with the characters.

    Oh. There were doors? I was too busy squeeing over Lucy’s house. 😉

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    • Wow. I’m impressed. Only a true fan would have such a first name familiarity!

      Then I would have to guess that if/when you ever come to Canada, a side trip to PEI would be a hard requirement. Making a note of it now 😉

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  8. I am feeling like I was a real youthful slacker because somehow, although I was certainly aware of this renowned author, I don’t believe I ever read her books. What a wonderful opportunity to see this lovely home and be reminded of the history. I love the assortment of doors and colors, and I’ve never seen one built like the one that looks like slats. Good one. 🙂

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  9. I love Anne of Green Gables books but I think it was due to continuing to read through her “bratty” stage into her more mature years. Sometime soon, I should post a photo of the series of books and hopefully I still have it in my gallery on my phone. Verizon keeps asking me to purchase a cloud. Shoot, 49 pictures may be taken away, they say. . . Ruthlessly, I delete pictures then. 😀
    The colors of her home seem to reflect a pretty sense of nature and cheerfulness. (How annoying to say, right?! 😉 )
    Anyway, the doors do appear like they belong in a rabbit warren of tunnels. I liked the green one and the vertical paneled narrow door and the double light oak or maple doors one with an arched door and opening.
    It reminds me of how I may have appeared running into the woods last night past college football game spectators to capture the full thunder moon. They were strolling and I was rushing. Work clothes still on from dirty warehouse.

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    • Wasn’t the moon gorgeous?! This one seemed particularly bright for some reason.

      thanks for the comment. Personally, I prefer to live in a house that’s open rather than a mishmash of small rooms. Sadly, I don’t, but this one was fun to visit even if we were in there for only about 10 minutes. I would happily trade my house for this one 😉

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      • It has charm and brightness like a crazy quilt patterned house. I found my Anne of Green Gables photo and someday when things slow down (ha!) I’ll post about my feelings of her growth and changes. Having girls may have slanted my perspective a bit, while being raised with brothers~ Call of the Wild and all things Jack London appealed to me. . . (Later, 007 was my hero, but I’m sure it was due to his rugged nature and not his handsome, debonair spy character!) 😉

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        • Interesting observation! Growing up, I was greatly influenced by my older brothers, especially the one closest in age to me (he is 5 years older)
          Then, of course I had 2 sons and no daughters. By default, I seemed to be reading books and watching movies that appealed to the adventurous side of boys.

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  10. OMG! I had all my response typed out…then He-Man came in to ask me to check the Lobster Tails he’s grilling for dinner to see if they’re the right color, and when I got back to my computer I hit backspace thinking I had hit the send button to your post. GRRRR! I did not! Face palm!!

    So, let me try again!

    I love the green trim, the house, and that stove! I wouldn’t want to use it but it’s gorgeous! I had a friend who had a wood burning stove when I was a teenager. I loved it, but in the summer it was horribly hot in there.

    Anne of Green Gables. I’m huge fan of that series. When I was 19 and living on my own sans television I read anything I could get my hands on for entertainment after work and going and coming from work via the bus. The Library has always been my friend. I happened upon Lucy Maud’s Anne of Green Gables one evening and checked it out. I loved Anne! Her spirit, determination, and agonized with her over how much her stubbornness could cost her. Being stubborn myself I can totally relate. I loved her romantic side, and could have slapped up side the head so many times for failing to see how much Gilbert loved her, and she him.

    I had all the books, but after trying to get Baby Girl to read them…she read the jacket and proclaimed, “They aren’t for me!”. I gave them away. I really liked the PBS series. I thought they held true to the books which is really something!

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    • I think your reaction to Anne is more typical than mine (or your daughter’s)
      I had trouble relating to her in-your-face approach. I’m certainly strong-willed, but I suspect it’s more in a subversive kind of way 😉

      … and have you ever noticed that in typical romance stories, everyone else can see the love sparks except the two affected!?

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  11. Great pictures and don’t you just love it when you come across a piece of history like this that you are able to photograph and also share some of the past with others. Loved the tour. Thanks

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  12. Cute house; I love the rocking chair with quilt. It was great that you were able to have a look round. I’ve never read the Anne stories and to be honest, wouldn’t have known they were written by a Canadian author. Cultural imperialism I suppose, to assume “everything” is either British or American.

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    • hahaha!! That’s fair. Canada to outsiders is an odd blend of English and American.

      Getting to look around inside is interesting because of the details – like the rocking chair and quilt. Yes, I noticed them too. Our visit was very brief and I would have liked to spend more time looking around (and browsing behind some of the doors 😉 )

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      • Ah! Behind the doors in a museum are always the best places.
        I know what you mean about the blend — we’re a bit the same, with an assumed overlay of Australian. When I was an undergrad the uni library had a section on “international” literature, so for relief from text books I read my way through novels from places like Nigeria and Malta and Malaysia. Apart from finding some really beautiful books, it was a wake-up call to the power of cultural imperialism!

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  13. Is this where I confess that I have never read ‘Anne of Green Gables’? Have to say that the inside of this house looks very English, even down to the floral wallpaper and patterned carpet.

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    • Maybe one of these days I should try to reread the book and see if I can like it the second time around. Somehow I doubt it since I couldn’t watch the inevitable TV series either.
      So I guess I’m saying, you’re not missing much 😉

      I’m not surprised it looks very English. At that time, Canada would have been under a significant English/Scottish influence.

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  14. Loved this post Joanne. It’s great that you met with such hospitality. The inside was a delight to see and as much as there were some lovely doors to admire, the thing I loved most is that stove.
    I’m with you on Anne. I read it when I was fairly young and found her…annoying. As I got older I realized how popular she was globally and that softened my view a bit. Then when we were in PEI a number of years ago and saw busloads of Japanese tourists going bonkers over the house, I kinda thought that I should give Anne another read. Still haven’t yet, but I will eventually.

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    • Our numbers are likely very small, but it’s nice to know that I’m not alone.

      Last year I attend the Anne of Green Gables play performed by a local theatre group. I would never have attended it if one of my friends wasn’t in the performance. I actually really enjoyed it … so maybe aging is softening my attitude as well … but not enough to be motivated to reread the book 😉

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  15. Anne – obnoxious? *Faints*

    I confess to an Anne pilgrimage to PEI a few years ago when we visited the house Green Gables was based on. John indulged me with tickets to Anne – The Musical, which even I had doubts about, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I reread all the books after that and I will go so far as to say that she grows up quite pious and sanctimonious, but I found the child Anne a delight. Ah well, it takes all sorts!

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    • I suspected I was going to be in the minority on this one 🙂
      I admit that I did attend a play performed by a local theatre group recently because a friend was participating in the play. I did enjoy it a lot. The young girl who played Anne was absolutely amazing.
      … but I don’t think I’m going to rush out to reread the book any time soon 🙂

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  16. I noticed that too about the windows. They have a slight rounding to the tops which make them look a bit unusual.

    I’ve actually been out a great deal … the challenge has been to find the time and inspiration to write about these excursions. I’ve come to the conclusion I need to force myself to write – whether or not I’m inspired. Sooner or later I’m hoping it won’t feel like pulling teeth 🙂

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  17. Although I am certainly familiar with Anne of Green Gables, I’m not sure I ever read it. I was much more fascinated with fantasy and science fiction novels (I’m pretty sure I never read books like Little Women or Little House on the Prairie either). It’s interesting to see into how people lived “way back when” through their homes. Makes me so happy for our contemporary homes that are more opened up and (to me, anyway) much more welcoming.

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    • I agree with you on both counts. I wasn’t particularly interested in what I think of as ‘period stories’, but liked mysteries and action – Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys kind of stories.
      … and yes, give me the open spaces of contemporary styling. All these little rooms in old houses seem to me to have distinct personalities of their own – separate and *unconnected*.

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    • I might very well be the only person who didn’t like Anne of Green Gables. I did however see a community theatre version of the play a couple of years ago. The only reason why I went was because I knew someone in the play … and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

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  18. Great to see this author’s house. Anne Green Gables was the hero of one of my girls in early childhood. She couldn’t get enough of her books and the movies! I always thought of Anne that she refused to give up on her dreams!

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  19. Beautiful images Joanne 😀 If the trim on the gables is period correct then the home really had Green Gables. My favorite image is of the stove. Could you imagine how hot it was in that house in the summer. I thought your comment about an interesting little rabbit warren of rooms leading in all directions was funny because our neighbor who lives on the next street (towards the back of our house) never stops hammering. Its been going on for years now. My wife and I call it the Winchester House because it seems like he’s never done with construction, LOL. Great find and post.

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    • That’s a really good catch, Joe, because I hadn’t noticed that the trim was green. If I had to guess, I would think it was period correct only because restorations like this usually try to remain true.

      I can only imagine what your neighbour is up to with all the hammering. Probably less ominous than digging 😳

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  20. Anne of Green Gables — my daughter’s favorite books when she was a teenager. She had a complete collection, I believe, and we watched many movies if not all (I enjoyed every one of them). This brings back a lot of good memories. Thanks.
    Have a wonderful day.

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    • Even though I wasn’t a fan, I just couldn’t resist the opportunity to check out a local landmark and the former home of a widely popular author.

      It was actually the 2nd time that day we had been offered the opportunity to go inside and look around when it was noticed I was taking photos. Eventually I’ll get around to writing about that one too.

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  21. I loved Anne of Green Gables. My mother and I watched it on PBS and read the books and made mention of it in casual conversation. I really like that you got to see this house and that you’re sharing it here on your blog. Anne with an E might have bugged you growing up, but she delighted me to no end. Thanks for this post.

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    • I think most people would agree with you and not me. Anne is so popular and is responsible for such a major part of the tourist industry in Prince Edward Island. I was rather surprised when I discovered Lucy Maud Montgomery had actually lived in Ontario for so long.

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    • I’m sure I looked like a deer caught in the headlights. I’m surprised she didn’t start laughing at my expression of horror.

      If she hadn’t opened the door, I would have just taken a photo or two outside and then we would have left. I thought it was very kind of her to let us in and look around, but we didn’t join her tour, which at this point was upstairs. They had paid to have that tour, and it would have been very inappropriate for us to hang on the edge of it.

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  22. How nice that you got a chance to explore the interior. I always wonder what is behind the beautiful door. I love that storm door! the various styles of the wooden doors on the inside are interesting and they all show their history as working doors. I can just imagine the activity in that kitchen.

    Thanks for diverting off your path for this, Joanne and for bringing us along.

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    • I’m always curious too, and it was a real treat to be invited inside.

      Behind that storm door was a wonderful door and I wish I had managed to get a usable photo. The inside of that door was full of embellishments. It would have been a dog to paint, but it was so interesting.

      I so loved the white ‘pearl’ doorknobs on all the doors – especially the one with the vertical slats. That knob seemed longer and thinner than the others and really caught my eye.

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  23. I could live in a house like this. I’m convinced I did, in a past life. Gorgeous, and I’m delighted that it is open to the public.

    I notice that the white structure that appears to be hanging over the interior front door is the underside of the stairs leading up to the second floor. I’ve never seen anything like that before.

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    • Maggie, around here older farm houses had that underside of the stairs thing going on. I don’t know what kind of architecture that is, but I saw it frequently when I was a kid visiting older relatives in older houses. As kids, we’d try to see who could jump the highest to touch the slant-y ceiling.

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    • I love old houses like this too. I’m not such a big fan of all the small, chunked off rooms, and if it was mine, I’d open in into larger, more spacious rooms. I know – the horror – toying with the original architecture.
      What I love the most about these kinds of houses are the small servant’s staircases to the maid’s room upstair. Oddly, in this house, it opened into the dining room and not the kitchen.

      I noticed that under part of the staircase too. I thought the overall structure of the house was a bit awkward and this was just one part of it.

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  24. Joanne–I had to laugh at you being ‘mortified.’ You have the most fun excursions! This house looks precious but your phrase “little rabbit wren of rooms” keeps running through my head. Claustrophobic yet?

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    • Let’s just say there was a moment of awkward silence on that front porch when she opened the door. It didn’t help that I was so acutely aware of how ‘unpolished’ we looked. Oh well, sometimes those awkward moments make for the best stories.

      I REALLY had to resist the urge to open all those doors everywhere. Now of course I’m kicking myself. Curious minds need to know.

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    • I remember rooms full of wallpaper too. Every room looked different – just like in this house.

      In the home of one of my niece’s, all the trim was done in black. It is so striking and I love it … but I can just imagine how much work – and paint – it will eventually take to change it back to white.

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    • I noticed that too about the windows. They have a slight rounding to the tops which make them look a bit unusual.

      I’ve actually been out a great deal … the challenge has been to find the time and inspiration to write about these excursions. I’ve come to the conclusion I need to force myself to write – whether or not I’m inspired. Sooner or later I’m hoping it won’t feel like pulling teeth 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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