GPS Heritage Quest

We recently had the opportunity to develop a customized GPS Heritage Quest for Linda Schurman and her family from Chicago, Illinois.  Linda is a descendent of the United Empire Loyalist William Schurman who brought a group of Loyalists to the Bedeque area in the late 1700’s.  William had 11 sons and daughters and Linda is descended from his son Isaac.  While she knew a fair amount of her genealogy, she had never been to Prince Edward Island nore met any of her Island relatives (worldwide there are over 15,000 descendents of William.)

When Linda decided to come to the Island to connect with her roots, she contacted Experience PEI regarding our GPS Adventure Quests asking whether any of them included any Loyalist history.  While we do have one route that includes a stop at the Loyalist monument in Bedeque we suggested developing a customized Schurman Heritage Quest that focused specifically on her family history.  She love loved the idea and asked us to go ahead.

So we set about researching the William Schurman family history which turned out to be quite easy since a two volume set had been published in the 1970’s that traced most of the more than 15 thousand descendants of William and his 11 children.  Linda Schurman is descended from William’s son Isaac so it was his line we were most interested in seeing if we could find locations…houses, graveyards, etc related to him. 

William Schurman house

The first thing we went looking for was the site of William Schurman’s original log cabin.  According to the Descendants book it was located on the Dunk River in Bedeque.  With a little digging we learned it was on the farm now owned by Sydney Green so I went to visit Sydney who took me down as close as he could to where he said the log cabin had been located.  I had to struggle through waist high weeds growing between a canola field and the trees lining the bank of the river.   It was a very hot July day and I was wearing shorts….not a good decision because I got my legs all scratched and bloody from the rose briars.  Of course the blood just sent the mosquitoes into a feeding frenzy.  I got the where Sydney said the log cabin had been located….There’s nothing there now although Sydney said at one time when he was clearing land he found some old charred timbers which he figured belonged to the cabin after it burned down.  (The picture on the right is a drawing of the house William built after the fire destroyed the cabin. It was built about a kilometre up river.  It’s also gone now)

 It was obvious I was not going to be able to bring Linda and her family back to the log cabin site this way.  Then I came up with what I thought was a great idea.  What if we came in by water….just the way William would have.  I called my neighbour, Brian Lewis who is an oyster fisher and asked him if he would take me up the Dunk to see if we could get to the site of the log cabin.  I had the GPS coordinates so we would just use them to lead us to the location.

Linda Schurman-arriving at log cabin location

When Brian and I went to scout out the location to make sure we could find it, we discovered a little channel just wide enough for our dory to go through that led in from the river right to where the log cabin had been built.  Brian figured it was probably a lot wider 200 years ago which is likely why William built the cabin there…he could get his boat right up to the site.  We both kind of got goosebumps thinking we were actually following a route used more than two centuries ago.

When we took Linda and her family in the channel, they were clearly excited to be so close to where their ancestor had once lived…where he started his live on Prince Edward Island as a United Empire Loyalist.  The fact there was no longer any signs they had been there….except perhaps the remnants of the apple orchard they probably planted didn’t seem to make a difference.  Their imaginations filled in the blanks.

The next stop was the location of William’s second house….just a ways up the river….only a grove of trees marks where the house once stood.  Then we returned them to their car so they could resume their Quest for Schurman heritage.  I had found the house Linda’s great, great, great, great grandfather Isaac Schurman had built further up the Dunk River.  It is still lived in and retains some of the original character of the early 1800’s.

Epitaph on William Schurman's gravestone-North Bedeque Cemetery

We were unable to find where Isaac or his wife Jane (Lefurgey) were buried.  None of the provincial cemetery records contain any listings of their grave sites.  However William and his second wife Elizabeth are buried in the North Bedeque cemetary.  The photo at the top of this post shows Linda next to William’s gravestone.  And the graphic on the right, shows the epitaph etched on William’s grave marker.  Even though Elizabeth died in 1843, there was no gravestone marking her burial plot (next to William’s) until 2010 when a number of Schurman descendents decided it was time she was recognized and erected one.

From here Linda and her family followed the GPS route over to what today is called Marchbank’s Pond.  This was the site of William’s saw milll where he cut all the lumber for his shipbuilding company as well as for most of the houses built in the community.  Over the years, the mill became known as Clark’s Mill and then finally Marchbank’s Mill.  It produced lumber well into the mid-1900’s.  Today the mill is long gone but the dam that was built to hold back the water is still there as is the mill race.

We arranged for them to have lunch at the Lefurgey Cultural Centre in Summerside where Marlene Campbell and her staff prepared a wonderful meal of seafood chowder and homemade biscuits….and treated them to stories of the Lefurgey family. (Isaac Schurman’s second wife Jane was a Lefurgey and it was her uncle John who was the famous shipbuilder John Lefurgey)

Then after lunch they made their own ice cream….the old fashioned way.

Schurman's holding cane of Peter Schurman

Following lunch we had arranged for them to go next door to the MacNaught Heritage Centre to spend some time with archivist Fred Horne who showed them a number of documents pertaining to the Schurman family.

The highlight of the visit was the opportunity to see and hold a unique cane owned by their great, great, great, great uncle Peter.  Normally it is kept in a locked display case but Fred allowed them to take it out and actually hold it and the old tintype photo showing Peter with his cane.

It was quite a treat.

The final stop on their Schurman GPS Adventure Quest was a family gathering put together for them by Layton and Marsha Schurman.  Several members of the family were there to meet Linda and her family including David Schurman (who is also a descendent of Isaac.)  He brought an old lustreware plate that had been owned by Jane Lefurgey Schurman and passed down through the generations to David.  The Island Schurman’s did a great job of assembling several tables full of artefacts for Linda to see. 

Schurman family gathering

Schurman gathering-artefacts on display

And then just before everyone left, they posed for a family photo under the Schurman flag.

Schurman family gathering-Schurman flag

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Briarcliffe Inn Gourmet Dinners!

One thing that the Briarcliffe Inn is known for is the delicious breakfasts, lunch, and dinners we serve our guests!  We offer complimentary, home-cooked, gourmet breakfasts to our guests in the mornings like fruit smoothies, scrambled eggs, toast, bacon, and anything else you would like us to cook up for you!

We also offer our guests the option of eating dinner at the Inn for an additional charge.  We offer a delicious barbequed dinner or a traditional Prince Edward Island lobster dinner with fresh Island lobster!  We feed our guests til their full and always ensure our guests leave full and happy!

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Conducting a Facebook Contest

We began our Prince Edward Island Souvenir Giveaway contest  not even a week ago – and the response we’ve gotten is fantastic!  We posted this contest on both of our Facebook pages, multiple contest websites, and on our own websites and we are very pleased with our response so far!  We’ve gotten about 60 new fans since we’ve posted the contest, much more activity on our Facebook walls, and the reach is global!  For more information on our giveaway contest check out this link!!/event.php?eid=142737939086173&ref=mf

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Prince Edward Island Souvenir Giveaway!

Experience PEI & Briarcliffe Inn are holding a Prince Edward Island Souvenir Giveaway Contest for our Facebook fans!  We are choosing 1 lucky fan to win the following:

–  “Point Prim Lighthouse” print by Maurice Bernard.

–  “Anne on the Quilt” print by Dale McNevin.

–  “Moonsnail Soapworks Red Clay & Kelp:  “Lavender Bay essential oils”.

To enter into the contest all you have to do is “like” either our Briarcliffe Inn Facebook page or our Experience PEI Facebook page – to double your chances of winning you can “like” both!

Here is the link to the contest:!/event.php?eid=142737939086173&ref=mf

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Briarcliffe Inn Guests

We recently had a very full house the past weekend at the Briarcliffe Inn!  We had a couple from New Jersey, a couple from Maine, a mother and daughter from Alberta, a couple from Alberta, and another couple from Massachusetts!  We love having guests from different parts of North America because in the evening the guests will come down to the gathering room for complimentary wine and the conversations are amazing!  Check out the pictures of our guests! 

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GPS Adventure Questers!

Check out Beth & Jason Rausch from Kitchener, Ontario as they head out on their GPS Adventure Quest!  They went out and explored the southern shores of Prince Edward Island and found areas they had never even known existed.  Our GPS Adventure Quest experience has really taken off this year in popularity – it’s a great way to spend a day in the natural environment of the beautiful areas of Prince Edward Island.  We partnered up with Parks Canada as well this year so that our explorers can go into the PEI Provincial parks and explore the beaches, parks, and all the other great areas of Prince Edward Island.

GPS Adventure Quest

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Optimyz Magazine Article review on Experience PEI!

Experience PEI recently has some great publicity when Optimyz Magazine wrote an article about what our company offers.  Check out the article below:

Prince Edward Island is rightly known for Green Gables, beaches and lobster suppers. If you’re looking for something off the regular tourism track, check out Experience PEI. “We specialize in experiential adventures that allow you to meet fascinating Islanders, share their lives and participate in hands-on learning activities,” says Mary Kendrick, who along with her husband Bill operates Briarcliffe Inn. “This provides our guests with an opportunity to meet the people who live and work here on the Island, but you don’t have to stay at our Inn in order to take in one of our experiences.” One of their most popular experiences is the “Lobster Lover”. You go out with a lobster fisher, help haul a couple of traps, hold a live lobster, try your hand at driving the boat, and enjoy a lobster diner right out on the water. There are 30 different experiences from clam digging and oyster fishing to chocolate making and sandcastle sculpting. After the “Digging for Dinner” experience, one client sent the following comment: “I promised my daughter we would be coming back next year. She says PEI is better than Disney Land. We brought her to Disney Land for Christmas this past year and she says PEI is better. Imagine a kid saying that!”

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This is our first blog!  We are an experiential tourism company located in Bedeque, Prince Edward Island.  We also own a seaside bed and breakfast called the Briarcliffe Inn.  We are currently working on our social media marketing and we’ve recently set up Facebook accounts, Twitter accounts, YouTube channels, etc.  This year our GPS Adventure Quest has really taken off – this experience offers tourists the chance to explore places on the Island that they normally wouldn’t get to.  They are given a GPS unit and you geocach your way through an area of the beautiful Island!

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