How to spend a weekend in Prince Edward County
Prince Edward County in Ontario was once considered a sleepy vacation destination for weekenders from out of town.
Rolling hills, historic towns, and white sand beaches drew people from all around the province for quiet escapes in the rustic countryside. While its easy going appeal still rings true, the landscape has steadily been transforming over the past two decades.
Today, PEC's viticulture and gastronomy boom have contributed to its skyrocketing popularity. The relatively new wine region saw 40 wineries emerge in just 20 years.
Chefs and sommeliers are moving from big cities to The County. The art scene is thriving, and the hospitality industry has taken notice, with old buildings being renovated into contemporary hotels.
From vineyard-hopping to sightseeing in provincial parks, gastro-tourism to perusing antique markets, PEC might just have something for everyone.
Here's how to spend a weekend in Prince Edward County.
Creekside Cafe is a newcomer to the small town of Wellington, but is already making waves. Having opened in Spring 2022, this Instagrammable spot serves brunch classics with a twist.
They only take walk-ins and can get busy, but their waffles topped with Chantilly cream are worth the wait.
After breakfast, stroll past the downtown shops to Wellington Rotary Beach. This stony beach has a boardwalk, lighthouse, and picnic tables to rest at while taking in the views of Lake Ontario.
One of the main draws of PEC is its wine region, and what better way to explore it than cycling from winery to winery? Closson Road Cycles provides bike rentals in the heart of wine country, starting at $45 for a standard bike for the day.
They also have tandem and e-bikes for rent, and even a tricycle if you're unsure of your abilities after all the tastings you’ll be doing.
There are countless wineries to visit that are a short pedal away from Closson Road Cycles. Closson Chase Vineyards is across the street, and from there, you can follow a loop through Lacey Estates Winery, Hinterland, Karlo Estates, and Sugarbush Vineyards, to name a few.
Fuel up between tastings with a winery lunch, and see how symbiotic the food and wine culture are in The County. The Old Third has an incredible pasta bar on site, with a rotating menu using seasonal ingredients.
At Grange Winery, the outdoor kitchen's menu was built by top chef and personality Matt DeMille, offering casual eats like brisket barbacoa tacos or tofu banh mi bowls.
With no shortage of trendy accommodations, choosing the perfect place to rest your head in PEC won't be hard.
Head to Glenora and admire the curiosity that is Lake on the Mountain, a lake sitting 62 meters above the Bay of Quinte. This fresh body of water has no apparent source, sparking legends and folklore of its origin. It's fascinating to view the elevated lake on one side of the road, and the Bay of Quinte on the other way down below.
Back in Wellington, East and Main is a great pick for nourishment after a long day of exploring. Their cozy environment and tastefully curated menu justifies the long wait times to get a table.
For a more casual but still-delicious bite, La Condesa's tacos down the road have rave reviews.
Finish your evening off with one last stop at Koenji, a cool Japanese-inspired whisky bar with a range of interesting cocktails such as their Sake Sangria.
The Russ & Co. in Picton also has an impressive list of signature cocktails in an intimate speakeasy-style setting.
Piccolina Mercato almost always has a line-up out the door, for good reason. With fresh pastries made daily, pantry items imported from Italy, and traditional colazione (espresso and dolce), stopping by this small market is a surefire great start to your day.
A trip to The County isn't complete without a visit to the beach, no matter what season it is. Sandbanks Provincial Park is a must, known for its expansive white sand beaches and rolling dunes.
North Beach Provincial Park is less frequented than Sandbanks but just as spectacular, with a ribbon of fine sand stretching over 1km long.
Bloomfield Public House is the place to go if you're craving small gastropub-style plates. They also have a market section with fresh produce, prepared foods, and baked goods. Don't miss their famous fried chicken.
Retro-lovers rejoice, as The County is a treasure-trove for vintage finds. Check out Stowaway Vintage in Cherry Valley and browse everything from upcycled furniture to antique comic books.
Make your way to Waupoos for the afternoon, but before anything else, pull over at the unassuming Waupoos Tarts shed. Inside, you'll find self-serve fridges with some of the best butter tarts around.
Waupoos Estates Winery has one of the most picturesque settings in PEC, sitting lakeside on over 100 acres. Roam around the grounds and sip on a glass of wine by the water before visiting their bottle shop and chocolate store on your way out.
Nearly 50 kilometers in length, the Millenium Trail is a linear park that runs through a good portion of The County from Carrying Place to Picton. Passing wineries, vistas, and natural landscapes, you can access the trail from multiple points and walk or cycle for as long as you like.
For dinner, head over to Flame + Smith in Bloomfield. They specialize in wood-fired dishes created with local and sustainable ingredients.
Try to save room for dessert; the hardest decision is choosing between their peach cobbler or burnt basque cheesecake.
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