I find myself brimming with heavier topics and thoughts these days, but don’t want to fire them out all at once. That would feel a little bit… much. I never want to give the impression that life is one big, long, continual struggle for me, because that would not be accurate. Although there is usually something hard, and I think that’s what I’ve tended to write about, there are always beautiful light little things that carry a significance of their own in my life. Therefore, this fall, my goal is to pepper the heavier things with the lighter things. To acknowledge the presence of both and to allow them to bring balance. This post is one such light thing.
When I was a child, I was introduced to a TV show that I still love to this very day.
Road to Avonlea.
Put together an existing love for Anne of Green Gables and an uncle who would occasionally record episodes of the similarly-styled Road to Avonlea from TV for us, and you had a happy young Shantz family.
At some point, we started getting them from the library. Mom would put the next one on hold for us, and it would eventually arrive- one VHS tape, two episodes at a time.
In recent years, I began re-watching the series with some trepidation in my heart. Would I still love it?
Turns out, I do. (Phew.)
It has become a little bit of a fall tradition for me to order Road to Avonlea from the library, picking up where I left off the previous fall. Fall is an interesting season, because although it is in many ways a season of new beginnings, it is also a season where you crave cozy and familiar things. I guess that to me, Road to Avonlea is one of those cozy and familiar things. Right along with pumpkin loaf, apple pie, and squash soup.
It is always a vulnerable thing to recommend something to someone else, but Road to Avonlea is something that I feel comfortable recommending to you and your children.
Let me tell you a bit more about it.
Road to Avonlea is loosely based on stories from the books The Story Girl and The Golden Road by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Filmed in (or on? I’m never sure which is proper…) the ever-beautiful Prince Edward Island, the show follows the adventures and relationships of the King family and the community of Avonlea around them.
Oh, the mischief!
Oh, the humour!
Oh, the beautiful scenery!
Oh, the grace and forgiveness…
Oh, the uncertainties and decisions…
Oh, the tears…
You get the point. This show covers a lot of ground. I suppose that a lot of shows do cover a lot of ground, but I find that Road to Avonlea does it in an extremely wholesome and realistic way.
The language is clean.
There is some romance, but it is sweet and slow and innocent.
The children get into mischief, but are held accountable for their choices and often learn something from the experience.
The show carries strong, practical themes about family, friendship, work, and living ordinary life wholeheartedly.
There is humour. I find it to be a very true-to-life sort of humour though… not an in-your-face, sarcastic kind of humour with a ton of attitude behind it.
The scenery of PEI is gorgeous. This show captures the Island in all seasons, and it is just a delight to see the activities of the characters adjust to the season of the year they are in.
Road to Avonlea is set in the early 1900s, and gives a great glimpse into the clothing, technology, activities, and community life of that time. Honestly, if I could pick any time and place in history to exist, I think I would want to live in a small town like Avonlea in 1910. I’m serious. (I also secretly want to live at Doon Heritage Village. In case anyone is wondering.)
(And yes, I KNOW- life was probably a lot harder back then in a lot of ways, due to the lack of technology, more limited medical knowledge, etc, etc. But it still appeals to me. Okay? Okay.)
Episodes are usually around forty-five minutes, which I think is the perfect length. Long enough to settle in comfortably with a blanket, but not as long as an entire movie. (One and half or two hours of watching can certainly make a body feel sleepy and lethargic!) The nice thing about Road to Avonlea is that I often am satisfied by just watching one episode, and don’t feel that drive to keep watching…
You see, Road to Avonlea isn’t particularly… fast-moving. (Ahem. Some people call it boring. But it’s not boring! The episodes are perfectly slow and natural.) Although they are not boring, they probably won’t hold the attention of young children. I’m thinking that seven or eight year olds might be the right age to begin catching the humour and the themes.
You can order the DVDs from your library or rent or buy it digitally (for a fee) here: https://gazebotv.com/product-detail/22928. (The first episode can be viewed for free!) There are snippets on Youtube as well, if you want to get a feel for the show.
If you’re looking for a cozy show for your family to enjoy this fall, I think that Road to Avonlea is a good option. It gives a good snapshot of the beauty and pain that we experience as humans.
That’s about all I have to say. Except that the books The Story Girl and The Golden Road are delightful as well, and that you should read them.
Pop some popcorn, grab some apples, and settle in for the show.
Oh, I have so many questions for you.
Have you watched Road to Avonlea?
Was there a show or book that you grew up with that you still love?
What do you do to embrace the autumn cravings for warm and comfortable things?