A Bucket List for Winter in Prince Edward County ❄️☃️
We’re going to let you in on one of our best-kept secrets: winter in Prince Edward County. Sure, it’s colder and quieter, but for us those are just added benefits that make for some unforgettable experiences. For the uninitiated that may need some convincing, so keep reading to discover our bucket list for an incredible winter experience in The County.
Note: this bucket list might not be accomplished in a single weekend getaway, but maybe that calls for making a PEC winter getaway a tradition. Or better yet, book a longer stay to enjoy a whole week of winter fun in The County. Discover unique and luxurious accommodations our website here.
1. Snowshoe at a Winery
There are so many reasons to love The County in winter, and one of them is the opportunity to get outside and enjoy the crisp and refreshing air before tucking into a cozy wine tasting around the fire. This is made possible at Sugarbush Vineyards and Three Dog Winery, where their private trails allow for you to experience a part of PEC not typically open to the public.
At Sugarbush Vineyards, you’ll find a 2.5 km snowshoe trail though their sugarbush and vineyard. You can rent or bring your own snowshoes, and your fee includes a wine tasting, hot chocolate and cookies by the fire. They trails are open most weekends during the winter, but be sure to check in advance before arriving.
At Three Dog Winery they offer a guided hike through their snowshoe trails most weekends throughout the winter. For $30 you will get a snowshoe rental for your guided tour, two glasses of wine, and a light snack. Spots are limited so be sure to book in advance on their website.
As with all winter experiences, snowshoeing is subject to the weather, so keep your fingers crossed for lots of snow! 🤞
2. Hit the Ice at Parsons
One of the great things about Prince Edward County in wintertime is that there is plenty of fun to be had for the whole family, and one of these hubs for winter family fun is Parsons Brewing, where kiddos and kids at heart can take to the covered rink, sip hot chocolate and make s’mores by the fire. Stick around for their delicious Argentinian-inspired food menu (or come early for Sunday brunch!) and of course their extensive list of handcrafted beers.
To have this winter experience, be sure to follow Parsons Brewing on Instagram for updates about the opening of their winter rink. As with snowshoeing, this experience is subject to good winter weather, so hope the cold weather sticks around so we have as many weekends of skating fun as possible.
3. Get Cozy on an Outdoor Patio
Sure, it’s great snuggling up indoors next to a fire, but there’s something equally as great about embracing the chill, bundling up and enjoying some locally-crafted beverages by the fire pit. Gillingham Brewing in particular has a fantastic outdoor patio with fire tables and heaters to ease some of the chill, that goes perfectly with their handcrafted beers, wine from neighbouring Domaine Darius, and frequent oyster pop-ups. But whether at Gillingham or many of Prince Edward County’s wineries, breweries and cideries, this is an essential part of the winter experience in The County. Bonus: it’s family and pup-friendly, with space for kids to enjoy the snow and the ability for pups to join you on your County outings.
4. Enjoy a Main Street Stroll
Whatever the weather, a stroll along one of The County’s main streets should be on your list. With delightful shops, delicious restaurants and plenty of quaint cafés to satisfy whatever craving you have. Looking for some ideas?
- In Picton, discover contemporary homewares at Kala Home, stop in for a quick lunch at The Royal Hotel‘s Counter Bar (don’t forget to grab a cannoli for dessert), and pick out the perfect winter read for you or the kids at Books & Company.
- In Bloomfield, add a little Scandi to your skincare regime at Scandiskin, discover contemporary Canadian art at Guildworks, and warm up with lunch off the vegan menu at Bermuda.
- Meanwhile, over in Wellington design your own vintage-inspired jewellery piece at Anice Jewellery, stock up on green-living essentials at GOOD Place, and grab a pint and a bite at Midtown Brewing.
5. Take a Coffee (or Cocoa) Break
When you’re spending so much time out in the cold, it’s always a treat to head inside for a bit of a winter warmer. Luckily, The County has lots of options for you and your kiddos to get warm with a coffee or hot chocolate. Speaking of kids, if you have them you definitely want to head to Beacon Bike+Brew in Picton where their kid-friendly play area is perfect to keep them entertained while you relax with a brew. Also in Picton you’ll find Lily’s Café (connected to Books & Company), the Bean Counter Café, and Luso Bites, where you’ll find a whole host of delicious Portugese delights (including pastel de nata!) alongside a large coffee menu. If tea is more your speed, don’t miss Savon Du Bois, whose apothercary is sure to provide the perfect remedy to a chilly day. Other coffee spots include Bloomfield Public House as well as Bloomfield Beauty Co., GOOD Place, Piccolina Mercato and Consecon Honey House Café.
6. Visit a Winery
If you want to learn more about winemaking in Prince Edward County straight from the source, a winter visit to some local wineries should definitely be on your list. Not only are the cozy vibes inside the tasting room unmatched, but it’s also a perfect opportunity to chat with tasting room staff – and in many cases the winemakers themselves – about making wine in The County and the terroir that makes it so special. Who knows, you may even get a taste of a new release! For more information about our local wineries be sure to explore the wine section of our website, or check out PEC Wine’s newly updated website and app to help plan your perfect tour.
7. Enjoy a Leisurely Brunch
When you have a day of wintery outdoor adventures planned, there’s no better way to start your day than with hearty brunch. Luckily, winter in Prince Edward County is brunch season, with many spots offering seasonal brunch menus in addition to our already popular brunch offerings. Here are some delicious brunch experiences you will want to have this winter:
- Creekside Café won our hearts with their stunning brunch menu when they opened last summer, and the good news is that they’re still at it this winter, and with new menu items to boot. Brunch starts up again this Saturday, so don’t miss it!
- Come for the weekend and stay for the brunch starting January 15 at Jackson’s Falls Country Inn. Not staying at the inn? That’s okay – you’re invited too! Just be sure to make a reservation in advance.
- Head to Karlo Estates for their bubble brunch every Sunday – all-you-can-eat vegan pancakes, handcrafted sparkling wine, and a cozy barn setting – what more could you want?
- Run to Parsons Brewing to experience their seasonal brunch menu before enjoying a wintery pint by the fire and a skate on their outdoor rink (weather permitting).
- Check out the new breakfast menu at The County Canteen featuring deliciousness such as an epic breakfast burrito and an indulgent breakfast poutine.
- They’re available all year round, but we’d be remiss not to mention the decadent brunches at the Drake Devonshire, The Royal Hotel, and Picton Harbour Inn.
8. Hit the Trails
There’s nothing like a walk in the forest after a snowfall. Luckily, Prince Edward County has lots of options to get you breathing that winter air between brunch, wine tasting, and your next indulgent County meal. Here’s just a few:
- Macaulay Mountain Conservation Area is a great stop for a walk after spending the morning in Picton. With access from Macaulay Heritage Park, this Quinte Conservation area has a large trail network that allows for you to customize your routes. Be sure to download a map and wear appropriate footwear as the path can be wet in places in mild weather, though with a fresh cover of snow it’s a dream! If you’re looking for an easier stroll or if you just want to take a look at one of The County’s loveliest community arts projects, be sure to check out Birdhouse City, which is located on the edge of the conservation area.
- Sandbanks Provincial Park really shows off in winter with six trails to choose from of varying lengths and difficulty. From snow on the beach on Dunes Trail to quiet, riverside moments on Cedar Sands, you’re bound to stumble upon countless magical “are we in Narnia?” moments for your memory bank. Head to the Ontario Parks website to learn more about accessing Sandbanks in Winter, and don’t forget these crucial safety tips:
- Stay off the lake. Shore ice can be very precarious and it’s not worth the risk.
- Start your walk with plenty of time before dark to help ensure you get back to your car safely.
- Dress appropriately. Winter boots. Layers. Gloves and hats. This is no place for sneakers!
- The Millennium Trail runs the length of The County and is just as much a major artery through the area in winter as it is in the warmer months. Cross country skiing, fat biking, walking, and snowmobiling are just a few ways you can enjoy this public linear park.
For even more travel inspiration, be sure to follow us on Instagram and use #PrinceEdwardCounty to share your PEC winter experiences with us!