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Welcome to Trails of Hats’n Hospitalitea
Hello!! My name is Cynthia Cousineau and my friends all call me Cindy and you may call me that too. Today I am the Innkeeper of the Trailside Bed and Breakfast living in Canada’s beautiful Prince Edward Island. In 2000 I married my French Gardener and together we entertain the idea of Tea in Grandma’s Tea Room. We have three adult children, 2 who live on the Island with us and our oldest lives in North Carolina with her young family. Life has had it’s ups and downs but when I look into the eyes of one of my 7 grandchildren I forget the tribulations. With 6 girl grand-babies, Logan #7 and a boy, has been a pot potato.
I’m half way to 100 and decided I should spend more time thinking about growing up. I was raised before the days of standardized testing in schools and only knew if you wanted to go somewhere, you had to work hard to get there. I grew up poor, but I didn’t know it at the time and just figured every household that had furniture from the early sixties was just as well off as we were. My emotional life was surrounded by my Grand Mum and Grand Dad and Aunt living only doors apart. My Grand Dad was a Carpenter by trade and a story teller for me. Grand Mum – she was my everything and today is the cornerstone of my inspiration (I miss her dearly). I was born in the province of Quebec, and lived in Deschenes at the railway track where “Lucky” our family pet never returned from.
I left Ottawa in 2001 and settled in a farm house in Prince Edward Island and opened it as a Bed and Breakfast to offset the cost of heating my big old farm house. Ottawa was home to me in the small town of Westboro, I went to school, raised my family, studied ethics, human relations and business and received a diploma to show for it. My Dad encouraged my artistic endeavours and I found making things was a way for me to express who I am. I decided to start scrapbooking about 11 years ago because a lot of my fond memories were starting to fade. Opening a small gift shop allowed me to share my scrapbooking artistic side.
My career choice was with the elderly, my goal was helping them communicate after a stroke so it lessened the confusion around them. Scrapbooking was it: they could put a name with a face and a photo. When I moved to Greenvale PEI, I worked in Hunter River at a retirement home and as well the bakery, baking bread for the community. Both my children in those days worked at the New Glasgow Lobster Suppers, I was juggling between the retirement home, the bakery and our Bed and Breakfast. I loved what I was doing, but in the end it was important for me to find myself and focus on me. I gave a lot, until it hurt sometimes: my time, myself, life experiences, and emotional support
In 2003 Guy was able to relocate from Ottawa his 30 years of service as a public servant and we were together again, just like the song. He joined me in my endeavours at the Bed and Breakfast, meeting and greeting people, giving vacation advice and perfecting my web site project challenges. Guy is my “French Gardener” he’s my weed pulling, bug squashing, Mr. Fix-it kind of guy who works hard keeping me on track and grounded. I love Guy very much and look forward to growing old in a rocking chair side by side. He believes in good service and expects hard work and attention to detail will put the quality back into customer service.
Today we still operate a Bed and Breakfast but moved from one old farm house to another. We named the new house “The Trailside B&B” and opened the door to tourists in July of 2008. A new business and a fresh start with lots of room for Grandma’s Tea Room and a rather large area in the front for the Island Made Scrapbooking Gift Shop. It all sounds so complicated with a lot of oars in the fire but its not. The Tea Room serving traditional tea room fare with the help of myself and the French Gardener from Wed to Sat from 12 noon until 4pm in season and by reservation. The Island Made Shop has hours also that work around our Bed and Breakfast morning routine. It comes together very nicely. In 2011 we have a new venture partnered with tourism called “Authentic PEI Experience” and it accents the beautiful gardens that surround the Bed and Breakfast with a garden tour, followed by a little tea room fun, ending with a scrapbooking event.
From my back studio, I concentrate on unique handmade scrapbooking products that will accent your vacation photos of Prince Edward Island. My interests sparked when I couldn’t find well-produced PEI scrapbooking product on an early vacation to the Island in 1996. I love paper and I’ll use it to craft almost anything.
I have a “Bucket List” and one of the ideals I checked off in 2004 was to start a Tea Room by using the tea cups I had collected from friends and family. So I don’t forget who’s cup belongs in my collection I’ve put the person’s name on the bottom. I’m sooo glad I opened the tearoom because it has put the fun back into work from: watching you at the tea sniffing bar pondering over a choice of tea, or the dress-up hats you put on and wear just for fun while having your afternoon tea.
I started a blog on the first day of April 2010 and after only 3 days of it, I wonder why I waited so long to get started, I wanted to get it right! I don’t’ know why as all the thoughts and mind blogging I have done over the past has slipped away. “Note to self”… deadlines have a way of making things happen. My blog is going to be a personal clipboard where I will eventually have an FAQ for visitors to the Island, personal thoughts so people from away can stay in touch after they visit, story telling dedicated for memories, picture taking for inspiration, gardening with my French Gardener, a few shared recipes, scrapbook ideas. It’s about the Hats’n Hospitalitea.
I have to run now and put the final touches on your tea cakes but return to my blog where there may be more about me.