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Places in Emily's Life


Blair Water

The town of Blair Water takes its name from the body of water nearby. It is a quaint, rural town--backward, some would say. There is a school and a post office, and perhaps a shop of some sort--very few other buildings are mentioned in the books. It is the closest town to New Moon Farm, the Murray clan keep. The Murray pride is a byword here; generally, the community delights in seeing a Murray's nose rubbed in the dirt since the clan tends to look down said noses at most of the populace.

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The Disappointed house

Fred Clifford began building a house for his bride-to-be. When she left him, he simply left it boarded up, never to put another nail in it again. Years later, Emily finds it nestled quietly behind New Moon Farm. She immediately notices how disappointed it looks and dubs it "The Disappointed House". All through the trilogy, she dreams of buying it and fixing it up. Finally, during her engagement to Dean Priest, those dreams come true; Dean buys the house and together they finish and furnish it. It is in the living-room of this house that Emily's most astounding psychic adventure takes place, after which she breaks off her engagement to Dean. The house seems doomed to disappointment--until, when Dean hears of her engagement to Teddy Kent, he sends her the deed for the house and everything in it as a wedding present.

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Hardscrabble Road

Hardscrabble road is a poor place off in the country somewhere near Shrewsbury. It is generally considered one of the least desireable places in the province to live. Ilse and Emily spend the night on a haystack here ("half-finished, Hardscrabble fashion") while canvassing the countryside for subscriptions to the Shrewsbury Times.

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Lofty John's Bush

Lofty John's Bush is a small woods just beyond New Moon which takes its name from its owner, Lofty John Sullivan. Here, Emily can truly believe that faeries and leprechauns exist; it is a place of enchantment. It is also a favoured playground for Emily, Teddy, Perry, and Ilse in their younger years, and later a favourite place for Emily and Teddy to meet. Whenever he especially wants to talk to her, Teddy will whistle--two higher notes and one low--and Emily will know by that signal that she is wanted in the Bush. There are three roads through the Bush: the Yesterday Road, the Today Road, and the Tomorrow Road, so named by Emily and Ilse because the first was once lovely, the second is lovely now, and the third will be lovely soon. At one point, Lofty John nearly cuts the whole thing down in a fit of temper over some supposed blow to his pride. This would be a horrible thing for New Moon as an operating farm, since the Bush shields them from harsh weather, but Emily dissuades Lofty John and the Bush is still standing years later when she buys it with the proceeds from a story.

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Maywood

Emily of New Moon opens in Maywood, a community of indeterminate size in Prince Edward Island. To be more precise, Emily and her father (Douglas Starr) live with a housekeeper (Ellen Greene) and two cats (Mike and Saucy Sal) in a lonely little house in a hollow just outside Maywood. However, Emily's vivid imagination is already apparent, for she doesn't know what it is to be lonely. Here we meet the Wind Woman (the wind), Adam-and-Eve (two trees named for their positions in respect to a small apple tree), the Rooster Pine (named for its shape), and Emily-in-the-Glass (Emily's reflection, of course). Emily often roams the land around the house and, while not always happy, does not find it a lonesome place at all.

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New Moon Farm

New Moon is the ancestral home of the Murray clan. Reportedly, an ancestor came over from the Old World on a ship called the New Moon. His wife never really got her "sea legs" and so when the ship put in at Prince Edward Island, the capitan allowed her to go ashore for a bit. Safely on shore, she declared, "Here I stay," and would not be budged. Her husband reluctantly agreed to stay and established a farm, which he named for the ship that had brought them. When she died, he had her headstone engraved with her infamous statement. This was a discraceful and silly thing to do, and as a reault the clan never carries grudges past the grave.

New Moon is a delightfully old-fashioned place. Elizabeth essentially runs the whole place, with Jimmy (and eventually Perry) doing most of the hard work and household duties split between herself, Emily, and Laura. There are many traditions, one of the most charming of which is that only candles will ever be burned for light. (This rule relaxes somewhat later, as Emily eventually has a coal-oil lamp in her room to write by.) In a world of modern conveniences, things at New Moon are done the old way. There is even an orchard full of apple trees that were never in any seed catalogue and may not even be found anywhere else in the world.

We hear mostly about a handful of rooms in the house itself and the garden. The kitchen, of course, is a place for casual interviews and visitors. The parlor is reserved for more formal things. The spare bedroom is dark and oppressive, and the tradition is that when one of the clan is about to die, they are to be removed to this gloomy room. The garrett is where Laura does her weaving and is one of Emily's favourite haunts in her early days. She even has a secret shelf, concealed behind a couch, where she keeps her letters to her dead father for some time, as well as other secret documents. Emily's room, once her mother's, is the "lookout" room, and a charming little room at that, complete with its own small fireplace. And the garden--Cousin Jimmy's garden, protected by Lofty John's Bush from the most inclement of Canadian weather, flourishes and abounds with plants that will grow nowhere else on P.E.I.

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Shrewsbury

Shrewsbury, home of Aunt Ruth, is a more modern and less rustic town which seems fairly typical of a community of its size in the 1920's. It is home to the Shrewsbury High School, where Emily and Co. spend three delightfully trying years together. It does not seem to be a large city, and yet it is hardly a small town. It lies about seven miles from New Moon. It is surprising that, while it is the setting for most of Emily Climbs, I cannot produce a better description of it.

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Stovepipe Town

Quite frankly, Stovepipe Town is only worth mentioning because it is where Perry comes from. It is a lower-class region which takes its name from the fact that there are no chimneys on the houses--the stovepipes just stick up out of the roofs.

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The Tansy Patch

The Tansy Patch is home to Teddy Kent and his mother, Aileen. Originally, it also houses two cats, Smoke and Buttercup. However, they simply disappear, and later Teddy is given a dog, Leo. The Tansy Patch is a favourite playplace for Emily and Ilse in their younger days--as long as they can be outside, for Mrs. Kent scares them.

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Wyther Grange/Priest Pond

Wyther Grange is the home of Great-Aunt Nancy, located in the town of Priest Pond. The town is so named because of the vast number of Priest clan members in the area. One room in Wyther Grange is rumoured to be haunted by a terrifying ghost that you can, according to Ilse, feel and hear but never see. Also of note is the rumour that Nancy and her housemate Caroline are witches--especially Caroline.

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