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Murray River & Murray Harbour

It's not too hard to guess the name of the family that originally settled this area -- it seems that "Murray" is appended to practically every landmark of note. These two small and tidy villages offer little in the way of drama but lots of repose: the sounds of crickets, wind in the trees, and water; the soothing sights of red cliffs of sand, little boats returning to harbor, and seals.

As you drive, watch for the tight lines of buoys in the coastal waterways: The island's famous blue mussels are cultivated in the rivers here in mesh bags suspended underwater from ropes attached to those buoys, then shipped out to fine kitchens worldwide when they've grown to proper eating size.

Montague

Montague may be the Kings County region's main commercial hub, but it's a hub in pretty low gear: compact and attractive, with a handsome business district on a pair of flanking hills sloping down to a bridge across the Montague River. (In fact, a century and a half ago, the town was called Montague Bridge.) Shipbuilding was the economic mainstay in the 19th century; today, though, dairy and (surprise) tobacco farming are the main local endeavors.

Souris & Northeast Prince Edward Island

Some 40km (25 miles) northeast of Montague -- take Route 4 north out of town, merge with Route 2, and keep going east -- is the little town of Souris, an active fishing town attractively set on a gentle hill overlooking its harbor. Yet things weren't always so great here. Souris (pronounced soo-ree) is actually French for "mice" -- not too flattering, is it? And, in fact, the town owes its name to its frustrated early settlers, who were beset by waves of voracious field mice that repeatedly destroyed their food crops. Finally they named the place "Mouse-town" and concentrated on the fishing, which worked out rather better. But "Mouse-town" it remains today, though the mice are (mostly) gone.

In addition to its own little charms, this town is the launching base for ferry boats to the Magdalen Islands.

It also makes a good central base for exploring northeastern PEI, which is considered by Charlottetown types to be the island's version of the Outback or Maine's North Woods -- a place that's remote, barely populated, and (in this case) more greenly forested than the rest of PEI, which has mostly mortgaged its trees for plowed fields. Since a spur of the Confederation Trail ends in Souris, this is a good spot from which to launch a bike excursion of the area. You can ride to the main trunk trail, then turn northeast and continue to land's end at the East Point Lighthouse.

St. Peters Bay & Environs

The easternmost sector of Kings County attracts few tourists -- other than those speeding through en route to East Point with the goal of a tip-to-tip car crossing of the island.

Yet it's worth slowing down to see this region -- the pastoral landscapes are sublime, and the best vistas are found off the paved roads. It's also an area blessed with a number of appealing bike routes and what might be the island's top golf course. While it has few prominent natural landmarks, St. Peters Bay, a narrow and attractive inlet that twists eastward from the coast, is a worthy exception -- one of my favorite little bodies of water on the island, for some reason. This is also the real PEI: full-service filling stations that look like they could be straight out of the Midwestern U.S. in the 1950s; farmers cycling and fishing from bridges; bold purple lupines far outnumbering cows, cars, and people.

Restless travelers with attention-deficit disorder might not enjoy this region as much as I do, but for the rest of us, a bit of rambling around here isn't a bad way at all to spend a day.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.