Bernadeta Milewski dreamed of Prince Edward Island ever since she was a child.
Now she is staying in her dream province and her dream house.
As a young girl growing up in Poland, she read Anne of Green Gables and longed to visit the homeland of the red-headed heroine.
Decades later, in 2006, Milewski’s dream finally came true when she made the trip to P.E.I.
“I remember we took our first steps out at Green Gables, we stayed at Anne’s Windy Poplars. I remember I was so excited I could not sleep. At 6 a.m. I was ready, so ready to go and visit all these places,” she said.
Milewski’s stay on the Island lasted five days. She never expected she would ever come back.
“I thought that was it. My dream had come true. I never expected it would be back.”
In 2012, a friend of Milewski’s, appropriately named Anne (or Ania in Polish), asked to see some pictures from her trip to P.E.I. It was seeing these photos that sparked Milewski’s desire to visit the Island once more.
“I remember making ‘Prince Edward Island’ in Polish out of the red stones on the beach. Seeing that (photo) I needed to go there again. It took us five days to arrange everything and we were here.”
During her second trip to the Island, Milewski came across what she calls her “dream house” while driving through Springbrook with her husband and four-year-old daughter.
When Milewski returned from P.E.I. a second time to her home in Connecticut, she spent the better part of a year searching for the owner of the house of her dreams. She would write about the house in her Polish blog that chronicled her adventures in the land of Anne.
Her search led her to some photos taken by P.E.I. photographer Stephen Desroches, who she contacted asking if he knew anything about the property. He put Milewski in contact with John Sylvester, another P.E.I.-based photographer who had taken pictures of Milewski’s “dream house”.
Sylvester identified the property as the Black farm and was able to provide Milewski with a phone number for someone who might own her dream home.
Too excited to call the number herself, Milewski got her husband to make the call.
“I was so excited. He was calling from the basement and I couldn’t be in the kitchen on the first floor because I would be able to hear something. So with my daughter and I went upstairs and I would make her check to see if the receiver was still up.”
Ten minutes later, Milewski’s husband came upstairs. The man he had been talking to on the phone was Andy Black, one of the owners of the property.
“He said we can go and visit. We came a week later and he was nice enough to show us around the property.”
The property, which consists of five separate buildings, including a cook house that provided food for the tall ships when they would dock at the Island in the 1800s, was purchased by Black’s family in 1968 for $12,500. It features a long laneway with trees and fields lining both sides and private beach access at the back. In the field grows vibrant, yellow canola at certain times of year.
Black said the call from Milewski’s husband was probably the politest way anyone has ever asked to see the place where he lives.
“It’s really common that cars are lined up three and four at a time to take pictures pretty much the whole time,” he said. “Occasionally people drive down the lane because they are looking to pick clams or they are curious. But to hear this story I was like, ‘Oh, wow, a lot of effort went in to this’.”
Milewski now has an open invitation to stay in Black’s guest house — an invitation she is enjoying.