Kick Start Your Fall in Prince Edward County this September 🌾🍎
September is one of our favourite months in Prince Edward County: the weather’s still wonderful enough for days spent on the vineyard patios or at the beach, but there’s a lovely chill that bookends the day and reminds us of the cozier months to come. This “best of both worlds” month brings with it plenty of exciting activities for everyone, from the family looking for a perfect fall weekend to art lovers looking to discover what a summer of inspiration has produced. Read on for a round-up of must-experience events and activities to kick-start fall this September in PEC.
Labour Day Weekend
Spending the last long weekend of summer in The County? Here’s how to squeeze the most of this sweet season before getting back into the swing of things:
- Dance your way into the weekend with a Barn Dance at Karlo Estates Winery. Reserve your spot in advance here (cover goes toward your first glass of wine). Or on Saturday night, take in
- Catch a flick at The Mustang Drive-In on their final weekend of the season. They’re showing Minions: The Rise of Gru, Top Gun: Maverick, The Invitation and Fall. Get your tickets on their website.
- Catch some laughs at the We’re Funny That Way Queer Cabaret Comedy Festival at Base31. With performances by Heather Bambrick & Diane Leah, Brandon Ash-Mohammed & Alec Mapa, Karen Williams, James Tison & Martha Chaves, David Benjamin Tomlinson, and The B-Girlz, you’re guaranteed a belly-laugh or fifteen.
- Start your Saturday in the right headspace with the final Alpaca Yoga session of summer at The SHED at Chetwyn Farms.
- Have a WILD forage to table experience with Chef Chris and Hawthorne Herbals on September 2 & September 3. Be sure to contact Chef Chris in advance to be a part of this plant-based feast.
- Bring home the best of the summer’s harvest from a farmer’s market. The Wellington Farmers’ Market, the Wellington Community Market and the Picton Town Hall Farmers Market are all on this Labour Day weekend and will continue through October.
- Enjoy the final Festival Players performances of the season with Beyond The Sea.
- Enjoy the final weekend of Music in the Aviator’s Garden at Base31.
- Take in some PEC history with the final weekend of weekly historical walking tours. There are four to choose from: Graveyard & Gallows, the Base31 Site Walking Tour, the Picton Heritage Conservation District Walking Tour, the Glenwood Cemetery Walking Tour.
- Experience the magic of Canada’s only travelling theatre on wheels with The Roamin’ Roulant’s performance of The Boxcar Cowboy at Huff Estates.
- Attend a drag show at The Hayloft Dance Hall and follow it up with an epic Barn Party.
- Looking for live music? Find it with performances by Tony Forbes at Karlo Estates, Canadian rock icons Lowest of the Low at The Hayloft featuring local openers Norris & Jones, and a Sunday night barn party also at The Hayloft featuring The Lonely Hearts. Additionally, Grammy and Juno nominee Geordie Johnson from Big Sugar takes the stage in the Red Barn at The Eddie this weekend for two shows – don’t miss it!
Like many communities in rural Ontario, September in The County is a time for celebrating all things agricultural. Here’s how to partake in the festivities:
The Picton Fair is one of Ontario’s oldest agricultural fairs, presented by the Prince Edward Agricultural Society (established 1831) and held annually at the Picton Fairgrounds. At this year’s 185th annual fair, September 9 – 11, 2022, come by to enjoy classic fair faire, first class exhibits of everything from arts & crafts to livestock, midway rides and more. Some highlights include the Baby Show (Friday, September 9 at 12PM), the Arm Wrestling Competition (Saturday, September 10 at 1PM), the Dog Show (Saturday, September 10 at 12PM) and the Skate Competition (Saturday, September 10 at 3PM). All weekend long be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the County’s own Isabella Hoops and her Hula Hoop show.
Another highlight is The County Bake Off and Sale in support of the Prince Edward Memorial Hospital Foundation in which local paramedics and firefighters go head-to-head to be voted the best bakers in The County (and to raise the most money, of course!). This event takes place on Saturday, September 10 at 9AM.
There’s also a plenty of live music to be had at the fair, with performances by The Reasons on Friday night, a Bob Seger tribute band on Saturday, and a Gospel Review on Sunday morning.
For a full list of programming, be sure to check out this year’s fair book.
Ameliasburgh Fall Fair
For all the fun of an agricultural fair but with a small village vibe, be sure to check out the Ameliasburgh Fall Fair on September 24, 2022. The Ameliasburgh Fall Fair kicks off with a parade through the village and includes a full day of craft shows and bake sales, exhibits, horse & cattle shows, food vendors, and entertainment for all ages. Entry to the fair is just $5 per adult (kids under 12 are free), which includes entry to Ameliasburgh Heritage Village.
There’s no fruit more emblematic of this time of year. Typically associated with the start of the school year, the apple is one of the first sure signs of fall, and we’re thrilled to say that pick-your-own season has started at Campbell’s Orchards and will continue into early October. At Campbell’s it’s just $25 for a 10lb bag of apples, which includes admission for up to 4 people. Have a larger group? It’s just $5 for each individual member of your party. Campbell’s is open 7 days a week from 10AM – 4PM, and you can either drop by for a day of apple harvest fun or pre-book to save time.
Related Blog: The Apple of our Eye
Don’t want to pick-your-own? In addition to Campbell’s you can also get your Prince Edward County apples from Maw’s Lakeview Orchard or Creasy’s Apple Dabble Farm, both located in Waupoos. While you’re in the area be sure to sample the cider at The County Cider Company and Cape Vineyards.
Farm Stands Galore
While it’s also apple season, it’s also peak harvest season at the local farm stands. Be sure to add a stop or two (or five!) to your itinerary and bring home the best of The County. From tomatoes, peppers and corn to the first of the season’s squash harvest, you are sure to find some beautiful produce to stock your fridge and pantry.
Related Blog: Feast Your Way Through the Best Farm Stands
Arts & Culture
Tour Local Studios
In its 29th year, the PEC Studio Tour features over 50 talented artists who open their studio doors to welcome you. Whether you’re in the market or just want to tour around to appreciate some great art, the Studio Tour welcomes you to join their completely free tour. Check out the map of participating studios and plan your route!
Take in an Exhibition or Fair
The County is always a great spot for art, but there are a handful of exciting exhibits happening this month that you’ll want to check out. First up is Tapering Perspectives: Scenes from Canadian by Edd Battista at 2Gallery. This exhibition runs through September 12th and explores the Canadian landscape when explored through the shape of a pennant.
Just across the street in The Royal Hotel’s Annex space you’ll find a pop-up exhibition by Oeno Gallery. Running from September 3 – 26, Neon Bouquet features new work by Heidi Conrod, Chung Im Kim, Susan Collett & StackLab.
On September 10, take a stroll through the gardens at Macaulay Heritage Park while discovering the works of local and regional handcrafting creatives. Tickets for Artisans at the Museum are $5 and include entry to the museum.
The monthly County Craft Market is back on Saturday, September 17 for their final market of the season. Taking place at the Elks Hall in Wellington, this craft market is the perfect opportunity to support local creatives.
6 Artists is an outdoor exhibition and fair taking place September 30 – October 2 featuring three painters, one woodworker, one quilter, and one woodland artist.
Experience a Memorable Performance
Comedy on the River is back for their second and final event of the summer season. Hop in a kayak or canoe and enjoy a guided paddle to a water-access-only live comedy show at a secret location on the shores of the Black River. Get your tickets now: you don’t want to miss this distinctly County experience!
Prefer your comedy on dry land? The folks who brought you Comedy on the River invite you to a special Comedy Picnic at Jackson’s Falls. Pull up your picnic blanket on September 24th and enjoy a comedy show on the lawn at this newly restored inn in Milford.
Want some beer with your comedy? Gillingham Brewing’s monthly County Comedy Series continues on September 16th with a performance by PEC local and touring Yuk Yuk headliner Jeff Elliott.
Fancy an evening of theatre? County Roads Theatre Company presents Collected Stories, a play that explores the power dynamics between teacher and student through the lens of a graduate student and aspiring writer. This show featuring County residents Joan McBride and Melissa Paulson, directed by Fred Robinson is on from September 22 through October 2 at the Mount Tabor Playhouse in Milford.
Immerse Yourself in History & Heritage
Come & see one of the County’s most important historic sites in person – the legendary A-Frame cabin of the poet Al Purdy! The Al Purdy A-Frame Association (registered charity) is hosting a one-day open house on Saturday, September 24 and you are invited to pack a lunch and enjoy it by the lake, take pictures in Al’s writing shed, and browse a collection of books and other items available for purchase (proceeds benefit the host association).
Want to learn more about indigenous history and culture? The County Museums are host to an educational session with Jamie Maracle of Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory on the topic of Wampum belts, traditional teaching tools that record Rotinonshon:ni history and knowledge. Register for this session by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Catch some Live Music
There’s no shortage of live music in The County! Check out one of these performances to enhance your County experience:
- The Prince Edward County Chamber Music Festival takes place from September 9 – 18 and features 7 performances from world-class chamber music musicians: Music of the Americas, Basta Parlare, Mozart Rearranged, Myriade Quartet, Karina Gauvin and Michael McMahon, Piano for Four Hands, and In the End it all Comes Down to Dvořák.
- Check out the final night of Music in the Park in Wellington featuring a performance by The Reasons.
- The Sandbanks Music Festival is back in person this year at Sandbanks Provincial Park. This live-music, family, and food event takes place on Saturday, September 17 from 2-8 pm featuring headliner Born Ruffians with performances by Laurence-Anne, Matt Barber, CATL, Craig Foster and Huaraches. Get your tickets here. Please note that attendees must also secure a Daily Vehicle Permit to enter the park up to 5 days in advance of the festival. That permit can be purchased here.
- Canadian indie rock and reggae royalty Bedouin Soundclash take to the Drill Hall stage at Base31 on September 17. Get your tickets here.
- Canadian songwriter and folk musician Jaeda Kelly hits the The Red Barn stage at The Eddie on September 23. Get your tickets here.
- Join Base31 on September 23 for an incredible and meaningful night in honour of Tsi Tyónnheht Onkwawén:na tyonkwehtáhkwen Mohawk Language and Culture Centre, and a celebration of Indigenous artists. Featuring headliner and JUNO award-winning husband and wife duo, Digging Roots and supported by David R. Maracle and friends, this is sure to be a memorable concert experience. Tickets are just $25 and can be purchased here.
- Looking for some jazz in The County? Join Karlo Estates for Jazz Thursdays with the Howard Rees Duo on September 29. Check out our full event listings for even more regular live music events from Karlo Estates.
- Join The Regent Theatre for an incredible night of life music and celebration of Indigenous culture with their 2nd Annual Truth and Reconciliation Concert. This year’s concert features multi-award wining artist, iskwē who will grace the Regent stage with her incredible presence and artistry, accompanied by a string quartet in what promises to be a stunning night. Get your tickets here.
This September there are several can’t-miss pairing dinners happening in The County. First up on September 9th is a Beer Pairing Dinner at Slake Brewing with Chef Shawn Adler of The Flying Chestnut Kitchen in Eugenia as well as Pow Wow Cafe in Kensington market in downtown Toronto. A member of Lac des Milles Lac First Nation,Shawn focuses on promoting contemporary Indigenous cuisine. This 5-course meal in the spectacular setting that is Slake Brewing is $100 including beer pairings and tickets can be purchased here.
On September 14 you can enjoy a Whiskey of the World Tasting Dinner at The Waring House. This three-course dinner is paired perfectly with three 1oz whiskey pours, guided by a whiskey expert.
Also at The Waring House, on September 28 you can enjoy four-course meal alongside a wine tasting of Volcanic Wines sourced by Sommelier Astrid Young. To book tickets to this PEC Wine Society Dinner and the Whiskey of the World tasting dinner call (613) 476-7492 ext 1 or email email@example.com
Finally, on September 30 head to Karlo Estates for a plant-based Fall Harvest Dinner with Chef Chris Byrne. This 5-course feast is expertly paired with Karlo Estates wines by Vintner, Sherry Karlo. Reserve your spot here.
For even more County events be sure to check out our complete event listing.
How to Keep it in The County this January during Ontario’s Return to Step Two
We didn’t expect this to be our first blog post of 2022, but here we are. Ontario has temporarily returned to a modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen, and we’re sharing some of the ways you can continue to support your favourite County spots amidst the latest restrictions.
This information is accurate as of January 10th, 2022. As always, we recommend checking in directly with operators as this information is subject to change. Visit our COVID-19 page for more information.
Another great way to support County businesses at this time is to shop locally from your favourite main street and back road shops. Luckily, retail stores are allowed to remain open at 50% capacity for whatever you need (or want) to bring a little County into your lockdown experience. Most stores are remaining open, however, we recommend that you check in with them on Instagram or their website for details about their operations at this time, as some businesses have chosen to remain open for online shopping, curbside pickup, or delivery only.
Art at Home
While some local galleries in The County operate seasonally, some remain open year-round. Those galleries have also had to close as part of the return to Step Two. If you want to show support for local artists and galleries, be sure to check out the Arts Trail and Prince Edward County Arts Council websites to discover local artists, galleries, and their online collections.
Take out to Dine In (at home)
Indoor dining is closed again, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still support some of your favourite County eateries during this time. While some have chosen to take this time off to recuperate after a challenging 2021, many are offering their menu for take-out or are cooking up lockdown specials to help spice up your at-home meals. Need something delivered? Contact County Carry Out here.
The newly reopened The Royal Hotel is now open to guests, but everyone can enjoy their selection of breads, pastries, sandwiches, salad bowls and coffee from their Counter Bar. Also, starting January 7th they’ll be offering a limited menu for takeout.
Picnic‘s Picton cafe is closed, but Picnic’s catering arm is offering special weekend menus for pre-order that can be picked up from their Wellington kitchen.
Local chef Matthew Demille is offering up his popular winter feasts for pre-order and delivery in The County and surrounding area.
Lily’s Cafe next to Books & Company is open for takeout only.
Flame + Smith in Bloomfield is closed until January 21st for Winter break. Be sure to stay tuned to Instagram for information about operations after that date.
Also in Bloomfield, Bermuda is open for takeout from Friday – Sunday with a limited menu of new items and old favourites. Limited time slots are available so call ahead to book.
The Vic Drive-In is open for takeout (walk-in, call ahead, or order online) with a smaller menu full of diner favourites, as well as daily dinner specials like Wacky Wednesday.
Don’t worry, you can still get your Acoustic Grill fix! They’ll be open for takeout Thursday – Monday.
555 Brewing is holding down the fort and will be open daily for retail beer sales, takeaway pizza, and outdoor dining on their covered and heated patio. They also have a 2 for $25 pizza offer from Sunday – Thursday every week.
The Bean Counter is temporarily closed for maintenance until mid-January. They’ll be open for takeout once that’s complete.
Over in Wellington, Midtown Brewing is offering takeout only, 7 days a week. You can order their full menu alongside delicious craft beer. They also have make-your-own pizza kits, great for a fun meal with the kids.
Piccolina Mercato is open Wednesday – Sunday for takeout and retail, serving up fresh pastry and bread, prepared meals to reheat at home.
Idle Wild is open Thursday – Sunday 4-7 PM for takeout. Visit their Instagram to see their Main and Vegan menus and order ahead for pick-up.
7 Numbers Picton is open after January 6th for takeout and delivery of their regular menu, weekly specials, $60 “Dinner for Two” menu, and Winter Market items (fresh/frozen take-home trays, and fresh foccacia with 24hr notice).
Over in Consecon, Strato’s Pizzeria will be open after January 6th for takeout after completing some maintenance.
Blue Sail Seafood Company‘s seafood market will be open from Thursday – Sunday, and they are also offering DIY Seafood Dinner Starter Kits that you can order online from their website. They won’t be offering takeout right away, but keep checking their Instagram for updates.
GOOD Place in Wellington is open daily for grocery or takeout.
Stella’s Wine Bar will be serving up takeout for pick-up Friday through Tuesday from 5-8 PM.
Consecon’s Adega Wine Bar is closed, but keep an eye out on their Instagram for at-home wine club offerings.
Bocado will be offering up a different prix fixe takeout menu each weekend from Thursday through Sunday. Check their Instagram for the current menu.
The Lunch Box is open for take-out during their regular hours from January 10th.
Bantam will be closed until January 19th but will reopen with a takeout menu and modified hours. Check Instagram for details in the coming weeks.
Suejo Korean Restaurant, Beacon Bike + Brew, and Angry Birdz are all open for takeout with their regular menu.
Butter Dream Cakes is closed until February 11th except for custom order pick-up or deliveries. Check out their new online shop complete with new cake trays, cake tasting boxes, and cookie boxes.
The Marans is closed for holiday until January 12th – be sure to follow them on Instagram for news about operations after that date.
Stella’s Eatery in Waupoos is temporarily closed, but they’re serving takeout at Stella’s Wine Bar in Picton.
The County Canteen‘s full menu is available for takeout, or you can brave the weather on their heated and covered outdoor patio. Also be sure to check out their Sunday Family Dinner Series in which they serve up a different themed feast for four each Sunday.
Bloomfield Public House Market, Merrill House, East & Main Bistro, Koenji Whisky, Hello Bonjour, and La Condesa are closed for holiday throughout January.
The Waring House and Drake Devonshire are open for room bookings, but their restaurants are closed except for providing take-out to guests.
Lighthouse Restaurant is temporarily closed, but be sure to keep an eye out on their social media for details about reopening.
Blumen Garden Bistro is closed for the season and looks forward to welcoming you back in the Spring.
Saigon Restuarant is closed until late January before resuming takeout.
Flossie’s Sandwiches is closed for the season and is due to reopen at Carson’s Garden Market in April.
Bring the Source to You
If you’re looking to enjoy some County libations during your lockdown, most of the region’s craft beverage makers offer online shopping options or curbside pickup. Some are safely offering distanced outdoor tastings with a limited capacity if you are up braving the weather.
Rosehall Run is closed until January 28th but they are open online 24/7.
Huff Estates is closed for tastings, but their bottle shop is open for retail and they are open online 24/7.
The tasting room and bottle shop at The Grange of Prince Edward is closed, but they are open online 24/7.
At Trail Estate you can visit their retail shop after January 19th, but they are open online 24/7 in the meantime.
Casa Dea‘s tasting room and bottle shop are temporarily closed, but you can shop online 24/7
Sandbanks Estates Winery‘s retail store open is open at 50% capacity for shopping or curbside pickup, or you can shop online. As with other wineries they are not offering tastings at this time.
Broken Stone Winery’s tasting room and bottle shop is closed until spring, but they are open online for delivery or curbside pickup.
Traynor Family Vineyard’s bottle shop is open at 50% capacity and you can safely enjoy a pour on their heated patio. You can also shop online for contactless curbside pickup or delivery.
Outdoor tastings at Three Dog Winery are closed until February, but they are online open for curbside pickup or delivery (free shipping when you order 6 bottles or more).
Harwood Estate Vineyard is closed, but you can shop online 24/7, along with Stanners Vineyards, Cape Vineyards, and Terra Estate Winery.
Lighthall Vineyards is closed for tastings, but their retail store is open for wine and cheese purchases. You can also shop online for delivery or call for curbside pickup
Waupoos Estates Winery‘s tasting room and restaurant are temporarily closed, but they are open online for curbside pickup or delivery.
Hinterland Wine Company, Karlo Estates, Lacey Estates, Hillier Creek, and Gravel Hill Vineyard have all closed their tasting rooms, but you can shop their selection online.
At Redtail Vineyards you can visit their bottle shop and enjoy a pour safely outdoors on their covered patio. Contactless pickup is available for online orders, as well as delivery.
Exultet Estates is closed for tastings until April, but their Bottle shop is open by chance or appointment, or you can online for delivery.
Del-Gatto Estates is closed for winter, but they are open online for delivery.
Sugarbush Vineyards is closed until February but open online for delivery or curbside pickup.
The Old Third is closed for Winter.
Closson Chase is closed for the season, reopening for tastings on February 5, 2022
Parsons Brewing’s bottle shop is open daily and from January 14th onward their skating rink is open daily for your enjoyment on a pay-what-you-can basis. Check out the “Rink” highlight on their Instagram for more details. You can also order online 24/7 for brewery pickup or delivery.
At Prince Eddy’s Brewing, you can visit their bottle shop in person and enjoy their outdoor patio (the après vibes are strong), but they are also open online for curbside pickup or contactless delivery.
You can cozy up at the outdoor fire pits and visit the retail shop at Slake Brewing when they reopen after the holidays on January 8th. With the freezing rain lately, be sure to check their Instagram for updates about brewery road safety!
Gillingham Brewing‘s bottle shop and covered, the heated beer garden is open for pours, lunch, and weekend oysters. Follow them on Instagram for updates about kitchen collaborations with other local faves.
Matron Fine Beer‘s bottle shop, outdoor patio is open for floofy pours and tasty bites from their kitchen. They also have General Assembly pizzas available for purchase along other great take-home snacks.
Mead & Spirits
Kinsip is not offering tastings at this time, but they are open online for local pickup or delivery.
Millefleurs is closed for tastings in January & February, but you can shop their mead as well as their honey and lavender products in their online shop.
Honey Pie Hives & Herbals is closed for the season until May 1, but you can shop their mead, honey and herbal products on their website.
Loch Mor‘s tasting room is closed but you can order online for delivery or local pickup.
Clafeld Cider‘s market and tasting room are closed, but you can order online for pickup (pickup across the road at Waupoos Estates Winery) or delivery.
Stock & Row is open Saturdays for pick-up or online 24/7 for delivery.
Crimson Cider‘s bottle shop is open or you can shop online 24/7 for curbside pickup or delivery.
The County Cider Company is closed until March, but you can order their cider online for delivery.
See something missing or need something updated? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Plan Your Fall 2021 Visit to Prince Edward County 🍁🍂🎃🍎🍻🚲
Prince Edward County may be known for its summers, but Fall in The County has so much to offer travelers of all kinds. Whether you want to get outdoors, reap the benefits of harvest season or simply get into the spirit of the Fall season, we’ve got something for you.
As with every trip to The County, your experience will benefit from a little bit of forward planning. While the Fall is definitely quieter, after a busy summer Prince Edward County businesses change up their hours of operation, so as always we recommend calling ahead or checking social media for the most up to date information.
Please note that public health travel advisories and orders are changing frequently during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Please consult our COVID-19 Essential Info page for the latest updates.
Book Your Accommodation
While there is more availability to plan a last-minute trip in the Fall, we still recommend booking in advance to avoid disappointment. Explore some of The County’s rental accommodations or if you prefer to camp when it’s quieter (and free of mosquitos!) Sandbanks Provincial Park is open for camping through to the end of October. Whatever you decide, book now so you have the perfect home base for your Fall adventure. Want to visit Sandbanks for a Fall walk? Day-use Vehicle Permit pre-booking continues until the end of the season, so be sure to book up to five days in advance of your planned visit here.
Experience Arts and Culture
Craving a little culture? The County has it in droves. Take a tour of the Arts Trail, a self-guided driving tour and signature experience of professional year-round artist studios and galleries. If you love a peek behind the scenes the annual PEC Studio Tour is on from September 24 – 26 this year, which will take you into the studios of more than 40 artists in the region. Also, Ontario Culture Days Creatives in Residence Alchemy – a Hillier-based artists’ residency – will be taking guests on guided tours of their Table Settings installations and community initiative. Check out the event listing on the Culture Days website for more information and to register for this free event.
Fall is also a great time to immerse yourself in the storied history of The County and there’s no better way to do that than at our museums and historically significant sites. Step back in time with a visit to Macaulay Heritage Park, take in the pioneer village at Ameliasburgh Heritage Village, or go for an autumnal stroll through the beautiful Glenwood Cemetery – your options are endless!
RELATED: History Takes Flight: A Walking Tour of Macaulay Mountain Heritage Park & Birdhouse City
Savour Fall Flavours
Fall is harvest time, and there’s no better time to sample locally grown flavours at Prince Edward County’s local restaurants and farm stands. Be sure to plan a visit to a farm or two before heading home to take home a County bounty to enjoy, store or preserve. Want a farm-to-table dining experience where the distanced travelled is–quite literally–nil? Book a harvest supper at a local farm, like this harvest tasting experience at Quinta Do Conde or the Harvest Dinner Under the Stars at Vicki’s Veggies.
It’s the thick of harvest season at local wineries, but you can still visit their tasting rooms and bottle shops. Be sure to book your wine tours in advance to avoid disappointment. While you will have to wait a while to sample this year’s grape harvest, expect to see some breweries like featuring beers using this summer’s local hop harvest. Not that into hops? Cozy up with a dark beer in front of a fire pit at one of the region’s many breweries. Parsons Brewing Company is even bringing their own take on Oktoberfest to The County on October 2nd, with specialty brews available for the occasion. If the taste of Fall you crave is more apple-forward, go on a self-guided cider tour or hit up Campbell’s Orchards for some pick-your-own fun.
Hit the Trail
While cycling is an activity enjoyed all year round in The County, the Fall offers the perfect conditions for experienced and recreational cyclists alike. With the roads being quieter than they are at the height of summer and the temperatures cooler, it’s the perfect time to hop on your bike and explore.
The Millennium Trail is one of the best ways to get across The County by bike. Connecting Picton, Bloomfield, Wellington, Hiller and Consecon, this 46 km, mostly flat trail can get you pretty much anywhere you want to go with just some minor diversions on County roads. Check out this helpful Google Map complete with trailhead and intersection information, and a blog with all of the insider details to help you plan your journey.
RELATED: How to do a Prince Edward County Wine Tour Without Driving
Take in the Views
Want to take in the Fall colours on your trip? Be sure to add Slake Brewing to your itinerary. With their hilltop location, sprawling outdoor space and many fire pits – not to mention their great beer – it’s one of the best places in The County to take in the view.
Another great way to take in The County’s Fall colours is to go for a drive (or a cycle!) down some quieter County roads. The “back forty” of many rural and agricultural areas are forested with maple trees and the roads are lined in Staghorn Sumac, whose leaves turns a brilliant red in early Fall, giving you stunning autumnal colours throughout the season that are a feast for the eyes when on a scenic drive. We’ve mapped out a few popular scenic routes here.
Prepare for the Chill
As we all know, Fall is sweater weather. But when preparing for a tour around The County we recommend that you bring more than just a sweater. While indoor dining will be possible with your Proof of Vaccination, many establishments will be keeping their patios open throughout the Fall for those who prefer to dine outside to enjoy the weather and to maximize capacity for diners and visitors to craft beverage establishments. Come prepared with extra layers and maybe even a blanket or two so you can stay comfortable outside as the weather gets cooler.
So what are you waiting for? Book your Fall trip today and discover the joys and gems of Fall in The County.
See something missing? Have ideas for our blog writers? Contact us at email@example.com
What’s new for Summer 2021 in PEC 🍜 🍺 🎨
Looking for something new to do in Prince Edward County? New ventures and the optimism they embody are always cause for celebration – never more so than now, in these unpredictable times. So a heartfelt and hearty huzzah to this latest crop of openings, expansions and reimaginings in Prince Edward County. May these offerings fill your belly and lift your spirit.
Please note that public health travel advisories and orders are changing frequently during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Please consult our COVID-19 Essential Info page for the latest updates.
A must-visit for your Sunday morning is the Picton Town Hall Farmers’ Market. A wide variety of Prince Edward County vendors are offering locally grown and made goods; do your grocery shopping, grab a snack or enjoy some lunch in the nearby shady Benson Park.
The Grist Mill is a wedding and event venue located in Consecon at the old Cascades Pub and Grill. Four days a week, The Grist Mill operates as a public space where guests can gather to share a drink, while enjoying live music, drag events and food from pop-up caterers. Food is served on Friday night and Sunday Brunch. Fridays, find PJ’s Jerk. Saturdays Matty Boy BBQ is there with his Texas Style BBQ.
All those good smells coming from Milford lately? They’re coming from the new PECish Baking Co. Matti Matyasfalvi, baker and self-described breadhead, is turning out bread, croissants, cookies & more every week – made preservative and additive free with local wheats, honey, and butter. Take note – these fresh-from-the-oven treasures sell like, well, hotcakes – so order ahead for best selection. Long-term plans include a café and general store.
RELATED: Insider’s Tips for a County Summer Getaway
Lighthall Vineyards has a new food offering from the owners of Sand and Pearl. FirebirdPEC serves wood-fired rotisserie chicken and fresh crisp salads al fresco. Winemaker Glenn Symon has expanded his cheese offerings, and this year, the crew will be working out of a new tasting room. Assistant wine maker Chris Thompson has his own wine on the go, introducing Legal Smile Wine Co.
At Closson Chase, the new Au Verre by The Marans replaces the Swinery, offering full service dining plus grab and go options. Sip wine by the glass and eat outside by the iconic purple barn.
Well-known Wellington Farmer’s Market manager Naz Karsan will be popping up his latest venture called TikkaChaat. Naz will offer fresh and frozen cuisine inspired by his family’s roots along the coast of east Africa, most notably Zanzibar. Follow his Instagram for locations.
Sarah Rogers has opened the eponymously named Sarah’NDipity Eats & Treats on Gilead Road. She makes healthy meals and delightful sweets for you to order ahead and take home to enjoy. Let her do the kitchen work for you!
RELATED: Visitor Checklist
Taste of Country occupies the corner previously home to Schroedter’s Farm Market at the intersection of Hwy #62 and Cty. Rd. 1. They carry a wide selection of frozen foods, baked goods, gift items and other specialty goods, and are partnering with a chef for prepared foods to go. They’re also an LCBO outlet and carry local brews and Kinsip spirits.
While Waupoos has always been known as The County’s blueberry spot, there is a new kid on the isle – meet Laura’s Organic Blueberries, located just down the road from Sandbanks. Picking starts in late July into August.
Adega Wine Bar has all the chops to be a full service wine appreciation spot in Consecon, at least when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Located at the Grist Mill in the centre of town, Adega is part wine bar, part wine retailer and serves as home base for owner Thierry Alcantera-Stewart’s wine consulting, tours and tastings.
Built into a limestone hill, Slake Brewing offers stunning panoramic views of The County from its taproom and patio. They currently produce clean, balanced, easy drinking ales and lagers but will soon be introducing mixed-fermentation beers. All Slake’s beer is proudly brewed with 100% Ontario malt.
Looking to take a deep dive into the ins and outs of Caesar making? The Weekend Social, tucked behind the Bean Counter Cafe, is opening its doors to small groups this summer, for workshops, experiences and its new Caesar bar. Keep an eye on their social for upcoming dates and events.
PEC Wine Explorer app is a one-stop shop for all your wine touring needs, including detailed profiles for all local wineries, tourism businesses and retailers, as well as lists of unique wine activities. Discover which wineries host elevated tastings, which ones will welcome your dog, or which sell the wines that match your preferences. New activities are always being added, so download today, find a wine you love, and plan your perfect trip to PEC wine country. Not in The County? Most of the PEC wineries are only too happy to ship bottles to you and the app can help make the challenge of selecting the perfect bottle easy by matching your individual taste preferences to a database of all PEC wines.
Wondering what that glass glass building going up near Terra Cello and Huff Estates is? Stillus is a new craft distillery hoping to put Canadian vodka and spirits on the map. They’re aiming to be open for summer, but COVID construction delays mean we’ll have to keep watch on their social channels for exact timing.
Encaustic artist Susan Wallis has moved Melt Studio Gallery into the space formerly occupied by Maison DePoivre Gallery in Barrack 3 at Camp Picton (Loch Sloy). Susan is introducing an experience this summer that invites guests to Pause. Partnering with Tamara Segal of Hawthorn Herbals and Bay Woodward of Honeypie Hives & Herbals, guests will begin with a walk in the forest, getting grounded in plants and their uses, and foraging for mementos to be used in their art. Then at the studio they’ll work with Susan to create an encaustic piece – encaustic art being an ancient technique involving layering pigments, fibres and more in beeswax.
Get up close and personal with the herd at Noble Beast Farms in Bloomfield. Shepherds Paul and Nadia will show and tell about their 80 quirky alpacas, Thunder the famous donkey, and other rescued animals. The farm’s signature summer offering is Alpacas No Zoom Zoom, a half-day event with a light farm meal that will allow you to truly unwind and reconnect with nature. Disconnect from zoom and reconnect with nature through the eyes of the alpacas on the farm. They also have a shorter trek for those who prefer a one-hour visit called The Bloomin’ Welly Little Trek. These will sell out fast!
Don’t ride the teachers at Mayrose Farm! Patti Stacey is a second-generation PEC farmer whose pack of mini-horses are equine therapy animals. This summer she’s launching a new experience giving families and groups a chance to snuggle up to the miniatures, lead them through an obstacle course, and take home an equine themed treat bag. Horse hugs are welcomed.
Beekeeper Elis Ziegler has expanded their experience this year, offering a Bees & Blooms experience and a Bees & Brunch option. Deepen your connection with nature, pollinators and the food we eat with a unique and immersive adventure. Use all of your senses at Elis’ off-grid homestead while you learn about bees, make a balm, taste seasonal honey, spend time in the People’s Garden and have a locally made snack.
Lovers of the Nordic vibe can rejoice in the opening of SCANDISKIN, a skincare and lifestyle shop inspired by the wellness rituals and rugged landscapes of Scandinavia. At its core, SCANDISKIN is an indie brand of small-batched skincare inspired by the fresh-faced, clean Scandinavian aesthetic. There are also books, candles, tea, art, towels and home spa goods made of natural materials such as wood, wool, hemp, jute, paper, cotton, aluminum, with minimal packaging to help you embrace and celebrate timeless Scandinavian lifestyle concepts.
Bloomfield’s Main Street fixture Garb has a new sister shop. Owner Shyrl Nussey has retired her Brag store brand and launched a boutique called Swan Song in that space. The new shop features clothing, jewelry, and body and skin care products.
Spark Box Studio is popping up in Bloomfield for the summer at Handworks on Main Street. They’ve curated an art gallery that can be viewed from the outside of the tiny building made of entirely of windows!
Susan Jaehn-Kreibaum, owner of The Empty Nest Bed & Breakfast has a new online shop: emptynestshop.ca. The site features granola, body lotion and lovely hand-painted cards by Kate Jaehn-Kreibaum, a watercolour artist based in the County. This is also the place to learn more about and book their workshops on journaling, as well as art and one-on-one guided watercolour classes by a local artist, with plant-based diet workshops coming soon.
The former Fields on West Lake has new owners and a new name—The Eddie Hotel and Farm. Mike and Alex are eager to create spaces for residents and visitors alike. This summer they’re partnering with Festival Players to present the open-air Six Feet Festival. Savour a glass of wine, sit back, and enjoy a socially distanced evening with some of Canada’s most extraordinary artists. The Eddie also plans to bring in concerts.
Also on site, the former Blooms on West Lake is now Nellie’s Shoppe and Flower Market. More than just flowers, the shop carries hostess gifts, candles, thank you notes and more to help with your next party, bouquet, or apology to your spouse.
The Hayloft Dance Hall has new owners with big plans to expand the venue’s offerings to include comedy, burlesque, drag, cabaret and more! Events will be more intimate, hosting 50 seated guests. They’ll also be open daytime on weekends, with Big Mike’s BBQ serving food and drinks on their patio.
by Sue Hierlihy
10 Ways to Enjoy The County – from home
If absence makes the heart grow fonder, it should be a lovefest-extraordinaire when things get back to normal in Prince Edward County!
In the meantime, there are plenty of ways to show PEC some love by having The County’s bounty shipped right to the socially distant safety of your front door.
Here are but a few …
Practise (isolation) hydration: Order PEC beverages.
If you’re craving some isolation companions, most of The County’s wineries, breweries, cideries and lone distillery will deliver the goods – and quench your thirst. Check their social media channels and websites for available products, details, order minimums and to confirm shipping locations and fees. Many are offering free shipping or personal delivery.
The new PEC Wine Explorer app can help you find the perfect bottle by matching your individual taste preferences to a database of all PEC wines, resulting in an easy to navigate, personalized wine list with matching accuracy over 90%. With over 35 wineries and cideries and 200+wines and ciders in the system, there is something for everyone.
Book some time (alone): Order PEC books.
Now is a great time to catch up on your reading, whether it’s dusting off that mystery you’ve always wanted to dive into, or perhaps brushing up on some County history. Books & Company has a good selection of books about and from PEC.
You can order books about The County from The County Magazine, including some favourites from local author Steve Campbell: Prince Edward County, An Illustrated History, and The County Handbook, a “wicked and witty primer to life in Prince Edward County, enjoyed equally by County newcomers and oldtimers.”
Email your local indie bookshop to ask about County authors, including Janet Kellough, Vicky Delaney, Ryan Aldred or Shani Mootoo.
You can also find books that feature The County at Invisible Publishing, a local, small producer of contemporary Canadian fiction, creative non-fiction, and poetry. The Picton-based, not-for-profit publisher’s cool lineup includes Don’t Honk Twice, an anthology of County short stories.
Slip into something a little more County
The County T-shirts 2020 collection shows some love for Carrying Place, County diving (we have shipwrecks; it’s a thing!) and the usual favourites featuring Bike PEC and Agri + Culture. PEC T-shirt Company has also added a COVID-19 “flatten the curve” T-shirt, with $5 from every sale going to “support vulnerable people impacted by the virus.” Of course, while you’re on the website, check out all the other awesome PEC-centric gear.
Shed Chetwyn Farms also has a gorgeous selection of distinctive, high-quality alpaca fleece and yarn. Shed has everything from stuffed toys and booties for the wee ones to pillows and throws for the home to nesting fleece for the birds!
Or click into The Local Store’s new online boutique, featuring dozens of County-made products, including glassware, jewelry, photography, pottery, and more.
You’re so sweet!
There’s definitely no social distancing in a bee hive, and that’s great news for lovers of PEC honey. You can order your sweetness from local producers such as Prince Edward County Honey Company and Honey Pie Hives & Herbals.
Want that sweet taste without leaving home? Several County producers sell their syrup online, including Justin’s, Roblin’s and Vader’s Maple Syrup. Visit individual websites linked to Maple in the County for information.
Holy cow, goat and water buffalo, these cheeses are good! You can pretty much order any of Fifth Town’s award-winning fromages individually, including Truffalo, Buffalina, Cape Vessy and Lemon Fetish, or get all of the aforementioned quartet in their cheese-care package, which also includes local salami and raw Fifth Town estate honey.
Wash your hands (again)
Everywhere you turn these days, somebody is telling you, advising you, begging you, ordering you to wash your hands! Again. And again. And again!
Luckily, The County has a number of amazing makers of quality soaps that will not only wash away those pesky germs, but leave your hands smelling fresh and clean. Check out the great soap products at Prince Edward County Lavender Farm, Millefleurs Lavender & Honey Farm, and Honey Pie Hives & Herbals. Gentle, hand-made soaps can also be ordered from Savon du Bois. And while you’re on their sites, add some of their other fantastic products into your cart – they’ll appreciate the support.
And remember that our favourite County distiller, Kinsip House of Fine Spirits, continues to crank out hand sanitizer, which they’re selling in their online shop. (Don’t worry – they’ve still got plenty of booze in their online store too!)
Face(book) the music: Stream your fave County artists.
Live music is such an integral part of The County vibe, but you don’t have to miss out just because you can’t physically be here right now. Many of the artists you’re used to seeing are streaming impromptu live shows on social media, including Instant Rivalry, Benni Vander, Miss Emily and many more.
The Waring House is showcasing several crowd favourites on its Facebook site, such as Greg Wyard, Mark Despault and Robert Keyes. They’ve even launched online trivia.
Check the artist’s individual Facebook, Instagram and web pages for upcoming streaming shows, or to see past performances.
Show someone some (safe) love
While it seems like COVID-19 has put the world on pause, nature and time are still doing their thing. Animals are blissfully unaware, happily grazing on all the fresh greens that spring brings. Birthdays and anniversaries happen daily. Babies are being born. So, to maintain some sense of normalcy, we must still celebrate all those special occasions – virtually, of course.
Make someone’s special day by sending them a gift certificate from one of the County businesses on SupportLocalPEC.ca, or have one of the aforementioned products shipped directly to their door. We guarantee it will put a huge smile on their face!
And when the time is right to visit The County, they’ll use that gift certificate and thank you all over again.
Reminisce about (viral-free) days gone by
Ever wonder why we call it the Loyalist Parkway? What the barley days were? Or, how that lake really got up on the mountain?
Brush up on your County history by following The County Museums on Facebook and Instagram – be sure to catch their daily ‘museum mind bender’ for insightful trivia and fun facts. (Did you know The County has had two exotic animal establishments?)
Prefer to binge-watch your history lessons? Grab the popcorn, settle in and get ready to be schooled by Peter Lockyer and his History Lives Here videos. The History Moments series packs nuggets of local information into 2-5 minute videos on topics ranging from local geography, industry, families, buildings and Indigenous People.
Enjoy our home (from your home): Keep tabs on what’s going on in PEC.
The County is like a swan on the water… everything seems calm up above, but down below, it’s paddling like crazy.
So, while businesses are finding new ways to work, there’s still plenty going on. Farmers are farming, brewers are brewing, winemakers are wine-ing, and just about everyone is planning for life after COVID-19.
We can’t wait to see you – hopefully soon. Until then, like the song from The Police says: “Don’t stand so close to me.”
Be safe. And don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @visitthecounty and Facebook at VisitTheCounty.
by George Amaro (updated April 2021 by Anne Munro)
The Apple of Our Eye
If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, what will an apple smoothie protect you from? Or a whole, fresh baked apple pie? Or a cider or two?
Although harvest season lands in September, many of our apple-growers and cider-makers are open year round. We’ve peeled, sliced, diced, chopped, chomped, baked, cooked, juiced and brewed our way through the versatile fruit to get to the, ahem, core of everything apples in The County.
We hope you like them apples!
Article by George Amaro & Karen Orme
Updated August 2022 by Visit The County Staff
While grapes are the current apple of The County’s eye, orchards have been here since the early settlers. The apples provided the settlers with fresh fruit in the fall, and they used them in many different ways including in cider. During the 20th Century – particularly during the County’s canning heyday – apples were also processed into pie filling, cider vinegar, and plain juice.
Today, you can find apples in every way, shape and form in The County. You can pick your own or can buy them at farm stands or grocery stores. Or taste their deliciousness in yummy desserts or try them in soups and salads at restaurants. You can sip them in smoothies, slushies, and of course, fresh, local cider.
The region is home to eight cideries. An official cider trail, PEC Cider Route, is launching soon. Follow it on Instagram @pecciderroute, hashtag #pecciderroute.
Apple Falls Cider Co.
Apple Falls Cider Company creates ciders from apples grown and hand-picked at Campbell’s Orchards, including Honeycrisps, Northern Spys, and Golden Russets to name a few.
Premier is their signature beverage: a “very simple, traditional, clean and easy drinking cider … with green apple tartness and notes of lemon.”
Clafeld Fruit Winery & Cider House Market
Clafeld’s cider maker, Amy Baldwin, creates naturally infused ciders with dried flowers and herbs. Their flagship product is a “straight-up” cider called Smashed Apple. A few other favourites are Elderflower (made with dried elderflowers), Hey Lady, a rose cider run over Baco Noir grape skins, and Oh Beehave, which features local honey.
The award-winning cidery uses apples only from their orchards – or their neighbours’ – with some of the trees dating to 1975. They grow 14 different varieties, which are harvested by hand and pressed and processed on site.
Cold Creek Vineyards
The new kid on the cider block opened its doors in early July 2020 with its 2019 Cuvée Madeleine Cider, and promptly sold out by August!
But fret not, because you can drop by and sample, or purchase their latest release, Éirinn go Brách Cider. The 2019 vintage is described as a “traditional, semi-dry sparkling cider.” It is created with pressed Northern Spy apples, fermented in French Oak Barrels until dry, and then bottle conditioned with no fining or filtration.
County Cider Company
The late Grant Howes, known as the “grandfather of cider in Ontario,” founded the County Cider Company over 25 years ago. Today, it’s one of The County’s most popular tourist stops. They offer distinctively delicious ciders, as well as wood-fired pizza and a stunning location. The cider house sits high above a vineyard, overlooking Lake Ontario.
The company’s signature creation is its Waupoos Premium Cider, made from cider-specific apples cultivated in their orchards. These varieties include Binet Rouge, Brown Snout, Kingston Black, Yarlinton Mill, Michelin, Dabinett and others.
Crimson Cider Company
As the weather cools and other businesses head indoors, Crimson Cider Company is heading in the opposite direction. They’re embracing the outdoors and expanding their patio to offer guests the pleasure of sipping hot, mulled cider around a fire pit. Watch for it in late September/October.
The relatively new cidery is located in the original stone house that dates back to the 1850s, which fits in perfectly with their keeping-it-real-County philosophy. All of their small batch, craft ciders feature pure, local ingredients as much as possible.
While the eponymously named Crimson Cider is their flagship beverage, they offer seasonal favourites such as Mint to Be, a cucumber and mint-infused variation. Others include Bee Mine, featuring local honey, and Oh So Sappy, made with Roblin’s maple syrup.
Using apples and pears harvested in their farm orchard, Fieldbird Cider offers both still and sparkling ciders, all of which rest in oak at some point in the fermentation process. Among its repertoire: Buzzing Chatter, a blend of Ambrosia and Northern Spy apples, is a Riesling-like sipper, and Sing-Song Cider, made in the traditional method of sparkling wines. The cider master and owner Ryan Monkman pens the poetically written tasting notes on the bottle labels.
Loch Mór Cider Company
If you’re looking for a unique tasting experience, then head to Loch Mór Cider Company on Friday evenings or Sunday mornings. That’s when pommelier, Sara Boyd, will take you on an hour-long stroll through the apple orchard – glass in hand, of course!
One of only three pommeliers in Canada, Sara will chat about cider making, the various apple varieties, their history, and how they’re grown. You may even get to sample a few. At this time, tours, which can be booked online, are limited to single social bubbles.
Another unique – and decadent – tasting alternative at Loch Mór are chocolate and cider pairing flights. Various ciders are served with handcrafted, artisan, dark chocolates from the award-winning Angela Roest at Centre & Main in Warkworth. Available Thursday – Sunday. Reserve in advance.
Stock & Row
Stock & Row Farm Cidery is located in Bloomfield, just down the road from Kinsip Fine Spirits. Their tasting room and outdoor seating area overlooks a youthful apple orchard and beautiful vineyard complimented by incredible sunset views.
Their ciders are all made with 100% Ontario apples, low sugar and full flavours in mind. Enjoy our tasting flight which includes their classic dry cider, Slow & Low, their key lime cider, Lime Crush, their black raspberry tea cider, Cold Tea, plus an exclusive rotation of on-site small batch ciders. Know what you want? Pints are available as well.
Cider Sips at Wineries
Hit the cider trail one day, then follow PEC’s wine route the next, where you’ll discover several wineries offering signature cider vintages among their wine offerings. Both beverages begin as fruit juice and share a similar fermenting process. Because apples contain less natural sugar than grapes, cider typically has a lower alcohol content than wine.
The Old Third has a huge fan following for its traditional method sparkling cider produced from local, Golden Russet apples. Hinterland Wine Company, known for its sparkling wines, does a lovely Cherry Cider. Farmhouse Cider from The Grange of Prince Edward Vineyard & Estate Winery, is a Normandy-style cider, still and dry, is made with a blend of nine varieties of apples.
Pick Your Own Apples + Shop
Here are a few more ways to enjoy apples. In addition to many farm stands that sell the fruit from other local growers, there are a few must-visit apple-centric markets.
A visit to Campbell’s Orchards is a must at any time of the year, but especially so as the temperatures drop, and apples – all 23 different varieties of them – ripen for a pick-your-own outing. This season, picking is in small guided groups. On weekends, book a seat on the Campbell Express wagon-ride through the orchards. Bag-your-own-apples is also available at the fruit and vegetable market, along with caramel or candy apples, baked apple fritters and pies, apple butter, cider, and more.
Creasy’s Apple Dabble Farm
From September to the end of October, the bounty of Creasy’s Apple Dabble Farm’s 45-acre orchard fills its picturesque market setting in Waupoos. Over two dozen varieties of apples fill bins, including Honeycrisp, McIntosh, IDA Reds, Gala, and three different kinds of crab apple. Holly Creasy-Tyne, who works at the market, says the secret to storing apples is to keep them in the fridge to slow down the ripening process. Creasy-Tyne’s grandfather began by selling apples on his front lawn. Her father then expanded the business. Empire is among her favourites. “It’s like biting into a memory,” she says, taking her back to a day as a little girl in the orchard with her dad who picked an Empire fresh from the tree for her. “When I bit into it, it was so crisp and juicy, and tasted so good.”
Maw’s Lakeview Orchard
Maw’s Lakeview Orchard has two locations for grabbing pints, or bushels, of apples. Enjoy the scenic drive to its family-owned orchard farm in Cressy, or pop by its Waupoos market stand for a sampling of apples and homemade jams. The farm produces over 500,000 pounds of apples each season.
Learn About Apples
Sign up for a fall farm-to-table workshop at Littlejohn Farm, and you’ll likely find yourself hands-on with apples, whether it be helping to harvest the onsite orchard that produces eight different varieties, or baking them into a pie or a galette. The agri-tourism and sustainability learning centre offers several workshop topics and learning sessions for groups and corporate team building.
Savoury and Sweet Apples
The only thing better than apple pie as a comfort-food dessert, is one baked by Moonlight Kitchen. Chef Suzanne Lafrance and her husband André Giroux, both former restauranteurs, sell their home-baked goodies, from tourtières to fruit pies, at the Wellington Farmer’s Market. Or call in an order for pick-up or local delivery. Lafrance uses a mix of five to seven locally sourced apples in each galette-style apple pie for optimal texture, taste, and cooking. For example, Honeycrisp, Zestar!, and Ginger Gold retain their crispness, while McIntosh and Paula Red “melt” more, releasing their juices. Special orders welcome.
’Tis the season for apples at My Pies, a sweet little shop in Wellington baking up a storm of savoury and sweet pies. Piemaker Jessica and husband Chris Loane launched the bakery in 2020, quickly gaining a loyal following for their use of local, seasonal ingredients packed into mini individual serving and regular size pies. Call ahead to pre-order large quantities of pies.
Apple Pie is one of Slickers County Ice Cream’s top-selling favourites. And justifiably so. Known for its fresh, local ingredients and unique flavours, Slickers’ artisans make and bake fresh, delicious crust pies filled with apples, browned butter and cinnamon, topped with sweet butter and brown-sugar crumble, then smash them into its signature vanilla ice cream. And here’s a scoop … new this fall, Caramel Apple featuring a homemade caramel swirl, and Candied Caramel Apple with candied maple syrup and brown sugar pieces in every lick. Yum!
Canadian Vinegar Cellars pairs two of The County’s claim-to-fame ingredients – wine and local fruit. Its Apple Pie Vinegar is a perennial best seller, blending County-grown Marechal Foch grapes and apples aged six years in wooden casks. Preservative-free, the vinegar is drinkable as an aperitif on ice, made into a tea, used as a sauce or dip, or drizzled on desserts.
Drink This Apple
Given the health benefits of apples, it’s no surprise they’re often a staple superfood ingredient in wellness drinks. Wellington is home to two health-conscious eateries incorporating lots of apple-based nutrition on their menu. The Good Place does a delicious Apple Pie Smoothie that brings together apples, bananas, yogurt, cinnamon and granola. Apples are also part of the café and specialty grocer’s fresh-pressed green juice.
Some fun facts about Ontario’s favourite fruit.
- Apples are believed to have originated in Kazakhstan. They made their way to Canada in the early 17th Century. The first trees were planted in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley around 1633.
- If you ate one of the 7,500 varieties grown around the world every day, it would take you more than 20 years to try them all!
- According to the Ontario Apple Growers, there are 15 main varieties of apples grown across nearly 16,000 acres in the province. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada lists 40 varieties grown across the country.
- The top five varieties in Ontario (based on acreage planted) are McIntosh, Gala, Honeycrisp, Red Delicious, and Empire.
- The McIntosh is the national apple of Canada. It was discovered in Dundas County near Brockville by its namesake, Ontario farmer John McIntosh in 1811.
- In 2017, apples accounted for 41.5 per cent of the total marketed production of Canadian fruit when ranked by weight (over 345,000 tonnes in total).
- Every Canadian eats, on average, 86 apples per year.
- It takes four apples to make a glass of pure apple juice. It takes about 36 apples to make one gallon of apple cider.
- So, do apples really keep the doctor away? Maybe. The average apple has 5% of your recommended daily vitamin C, and 170mg of potassium, which keeps your heart healthy.
- Apples emit ethylene gas that accelerates ripening of other fruit in close proximity. To ripen avocados, tomatoes, etc., faster, just place them in a paper bag with an apple.
- Can’t get enough apples? Check out Carol Martin’s book, The Apple: A History of Canada’s Perfect Fruit.
How to Do a Prince Edward County Wine Tour Without Driving 🚗
A wine tour (or beer or cider tour) is an iconic County experience. But being the DD while your friends giggle into their bubbly can be a drag. Here’s how to book a tour and/or a guide who’ll help you discover handcrafted wines, inventively brewed beers, deliciously dry ciders, sweet and surprising mead, not to mention the spirits on offer at the distilleries.
PLEASE NOTE: COVID-19 containment measures are keeping us hopping – new announcements about what’s open are being made every day. Please call ahead to be sure activities are still available. Find essential COVID travel info here.
Let someone else do the driving
Cronkie’s Tours Plus lets you set the route; they provide the vehicle and driver. They can accommodate from one to 15 passengers for a wine tour.
Prince Edward County Wine Tours takes you to four or five wineries on a half-day tour or seven stops for the full day tour. It’s more than just a ride, it’s an insight into the history of the region, the wineries, the grape growing process and what makes the wineries unique.
A wine tour with Sandbanks Vacations & Tours is led by guides who determine your wine preferences, then design a route to suit, taking in some of the The County’s hidden gems.
Or have County vintages come to you. Sommelier Jay Whiteley will arrive at your door with everything needed to take you on a private wine tasting adventure in the comfort of your holiday home. He’ll lead you through a 90-minute tasting of six of The County’s finest wines and share the stories behind the wines and the history of winemaking in The County.
RELATED: Summer 2021 Visitor Checklist
Go for something totally unique and book with Vintage Car Wine Tours. Sam Grosso’s been collecting classic cars for years – he’s got Lincolns and Chevys and Oldsmobiles from the 50s, 60s and 70s in classic and candy colours. Take the backroads in style!
A County Experience focuses on private, bespoke tours, exploring wineries, breweries, farms, artisanal cheese makers and great dining experiences. Guide Chris Pengelly will take guests behind the scenes, or bring the scene to them. He’ll also lead customized tastings in the comfort of your vacation accommodations.
The County Wine Tours takes in more than just wine. Focusing on the features of Closson Road – where you can find The County’s main concentration of wineries – tours include stops at four to five wineries, a minimum of 12 samples and a stop at Prince Edward County Lavender and SHED alpaca farm. They can also do a wine tour by bicycle.
RELATED: Reserve Now, Relax Later
Zac and Luhana Littlejohn run a farm-based workshops focusing on culinary pursuits like the lost art of sourdough fermentation, but they also offer County wine tours that can be customized and come with an optional picnic to complete the day.
Half and full-day tours are offered at Tina’s Wine Tours, which includes visits to award-winning wineries to sample incredible wines and learn the history of wine-making and how grapes are grown here.
Sommelier Ian Nicholls leads County Sips tours, starting in Kingston taking in five County wineries. With a wine expert at the helm, you can expect to learn about The County’s terroir and what goes into produce an award-winning vintage.
Two wheels and a corkscrew
A bicycle tour can be one of the best ways to see The County and if you’re interested in a spin around Hillier‘s wineries, you can see and taste quite a lot without having to pedal too far. Greer and Closson Roads are the epicentre and Closson Road Cycles starts you off in the middle of things. You can do a self-guided tour moving at your own pace, or join a guided tour that will take you to three or four wineries.
County Bike Rentals will bring the bike to you, and collect you when you’re done, taking the guess work out of how to get back to your accommodations. Rentals include a helmet, lock, light, map, water bottle and emergency road service, with folding bikes and mass rentals available for big groups.
RELATED: Insider tips for a Summer County Holiday
Bloomfield Bicycle Co. is a meeting place for cyclists living in and visiting The County, with group rides of varying skills offered throughout the week. Their website also has a wealth of information on cycling routes and they produce the hugely popular cycling map of Prince Edward County. In addition to bike sales, they also offer bike rentals from Bloomfield.
Ideal Bike in Wellington can get you outfitted with all you need for a self-guided cycling tour of The County, and can tune up any problems that might arise with your own set of wheels. They’re also a source for fat bikes, if serious trails or winter riding is your thing.
If the sound of a bicycle appeals, but not the actual pedaling, consider a hybrid electric bike from Pedego Prince Edward County. Pedal as much as you like or twist the throttle to add a bit of extra push and see as little or as much of The County as you like. An e-bike can help you get up the hills or the windy roads of Waupoos. There are 16 bikes available, including a tandem bike, and a lesson to be sure you’re competent/comfortable operating the bike. Their location is conveniently next to the newly refurbished Millennium Trail, which provides an off-road corridor to travel the entirety of The County.
If you’re looking for electric bike rentals closer to Sandbanks, East Lake Electric Bike Rentals and Sales has your back. Theyruns out of the old East Lake Canning Factory on County Rd. 11 just two minutes down from Sandbanks Provincial Park and they sell and rent speciality Daymak electric bikes and mobility scooters. They also offer weekly bike tours on Saturdays.
Just east of Wellington is Westlake EBikes, which rents and sells a variety of E-Bike types. Their rental bikes are designed to be comfy enough to use all day, and capable enough to go anywhere in PEC. The bikes can be booked via their website, and picked up next day or they can deliver them to where ever you would like to start your journey from.
Cyclists share the road with vehicles, other cyclists, pedestrians and even tractors in our neck of the woods. Anyone operating a bicycle should take the same precautions as if they were driving a car when it comes to navigating the roads and alcohol consumption. Always wear a helmet, keep hydrated, obey the rules of the road and call your rental company or a taxi if you need a pick-up.
The County Carriage Co. offers wine tours via horse-drawn carriage, a scenic way to take in the beauty of the vineyards, shorelines and rich history of The County. ‘Nuff said.
Hail a taxi
Taxis can be chartered for a tour in advance – keep in mind that you’re in the country, so there’s really no such thing as “hailing a taxi” but taxi details are worth keeping on hand even if you’re headed for dinner and want a drink or two with your meal.
Cronkie’s Cab Company covers The County, as does Terry’s Taxi and Taxi Guy. They’re all familiar with the various wineries and can help you decide where to go.
Walk to the local watering hole
Staying in town? There are a few spots where you can walk to craft beverage businesses or even the nearby pub that carries County products and go on a virtual tour from the comfort of your table.
In Picton head downtown to The County Canteen or Acoustic Grill for local and seasonal offerings of beer, wine and cider. Hartleys Tavern doesn’t disappoint with its wine list either! If you’re up for the 4km walk you can do a walking tour of Parsons / Prince Eddy’s / 555 Brewing Co. Black Prince Winery is on the western edge of town but worth the trek to nosh on their wood-fired pizza and try samples from Canadian Vinegar Cellars onsite. Off the Sandy Hook exit on our beloved roundabout you can stop in to The Waring House for a ‘County Sampler’ on weekends – reserve your spot! Or keep trekking for Barley Days Brewery. If it’s hot, reward yourself with a brain-numbingly cold cider slushie from Crimson Cider.
Those staying in Bloomfield can duck over to Matron Fine Beer to try what’s on tap or pick up takeout cans. Or get what’s local and on-tap at Flame + Smith or the Bloomfield Public House Market.
Anyone staying in Wellington is spoiled for choice with East & Main, La Condesa and Drake Devonshire each highlighting locally sourced bevies on their menus. Bonus: Midtown Brewing Company is right in the centre of town.
Whether you’re getting to and fro via horse or your own two legs, remember that The County’s wine, beer, spirits and cider are about the terroir – not getting tanked. Refuel with plenty of water throughout the day, indulge in the wide variety of local eateries popping up at almost every winery/brewery, and don’t feel badly about not drinking the whole tasting flight – that’s what the spittoon is for. And never drink and drive.
Content updated May 2021