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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.
An Outdoorsy Weekend in Prince Edward County and Bay of Quinte
This is the first of three itineraries developed in partnership with our friends at the Bay of Quinte Region. Stay tuned for our upcoming Foodie and Wellness itineraries.
Laura Voskamp is a bike shop/cafe owner based out of Belleville (shoutout to The Brake Room), but she grew up in nearby Brighton, making her the perfect ambassador for the Bay of Quinte region. You’ll often find her cycling in BoQ and PEC while brewery hopping, fuelled by coffee, of course. This is her perfect outdoorsy weekend in PEC & BoQ.
Download The Outdoorsy Map illustrated by Kelly Panacci
Day One | An Afternoon in Brighton & Trenton
Lola’s Cafe | BoQ
Stopping for a coffee is the perfect way to start out your long weekend, making sure that you have the energy you need to enjoy every minute. Lola’s Café is located on the west side of Brighton, right on your route if you’re headed in from the Toronto area. This sunny spot will always have a place in my heart: it was one of my favourite haunts as a high school student! I don’t always get the chance to stop in at Lola’s now that I live in Belleville, but when I do, I always (ALWAYS) get a stack of their famous toffee shortbread cookies to take home. I’ve tried recreating these on several occasions, but there is just something magical about the ones they make at the cafe. Hot tip: make sure to bring a thermos to fill up with a warm drink to take to your next destination.
Presqu’ile Provincial Park | BoQ
Heading south out of downtown Brighton towards the lake shore, you’ll instantly feel quieted as you pass by marshes scattered with water fowl. I recommend timing your visit to coincide with golden hour at the park. It’s easy to find parking at Presqu’ile’s beaches during fall and winter afternoons, plus you can plan ahead by securing an Ontario Parks day use permit online. The park’s trails are open for hiking all year, and the 8km bike loop alongside the main road is the perfect length to get you moving on chillier days. The Lighthouse is an ideal place to stop for a spot of hot tea and dig into your stash of Lola’s shortbread cookies.
Presqu’ile is on Lake Ontario, the shoreline of which is known for incredible ice formations in certain conditions. If you hear rumours about ice volcanoes starting to crop up in the depths of winter, be sure to make a plan to visit the park! But please stay off the shore ice as this is known to be unsafe in winter – keep to the beach!
Coming into the area from the east? It’s definitely worth a stop at The Brake Room in Belleville for coffee, some delicious treats, and to pick up some cool bike accessories before your adventurous weekend. Follow that up with a walk at Potter’s Creek Conservation Area before heading to dinner.
Tomasso’s Italian Grille | B0Q
All that fresh air is guaranteed to make you hungry! I love a good, comforting meal after spending time out in the elements, so after your afternoon walk I’d definitely head into Trenton for dinner at Tomasso’s Italian Grille before heading back to cozy up for the night. Tomasso’s is a favourite amongst Trenton locals: it’s been family-owned for generations and you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. Bonus: their dishes lend themselves well to take-out if you prefer to eat back at your accommodations. Keep it classic with one of Jim’s Pizzeria’s loaded pies and a Caesar salad, or try a baked pasta dish if you really want to lean into the comfort food season.
Day Two – A Cross-Border Adventure
Trenton Deli & Bakery | BoQ
Make the most of your daylight hours and be sure to get up early the next morning to start exploring. Head into Trenton, where the Trenton Deli been a mainstay for close to 50 years in downtown. It’s another spot I hold near and dear: the deli was a weekly stop for my family while I was growing up. The authentic European deli moved to a larger location and opened a bakery in 2020: more to love!
It’s easy to kill a bit of time perusing their European treat section, where you’ll find snacks to throw in your bike bag for the day and more to take home and stash for later. After you’ve made your selection, sidle up to the counter for a made-to-order deli sandwich (my pick is the Dutchess!) to take along for your afternoon. You can also grab a fresh croissant for breakfast if you get here early enough! Once you’ve packed up your picnic, it’s time to head out of town for some more of that fresh, rural air.
Lower Trent Conservation & Trails and the Old Bank Cafe | BoQ
Just outside of Trenton is a collection of under-the-radar trails that connect the towns of Batawa, Frankford and Glen Miller. If you’re hiking, try the 1.5km Bleasdell Boulder loop. A bike will get you a bit further: you can start at the trailhead on Lock Road and follow this route up to the Old Bank Cafe in Stirling for a warm up. Pedal back down along the Trent River and stop for your sandwich on the waterfront before you get back down to the parking lot. Try this route I drew up on the Ride with GPS app if you’re unfamiliar with the area.
Millennium Trail & Bloomfield Public House Market| PEC
If you want to squeeze in another few hours outdoors, the Millennium Trail is a perfect way to take in the County. The Trail connects with the main County artery, Loyalist Parkway, both north and east of Consecon as well as in Wellington and Bloomfield. The Trail is great for folks planning to bring fat bikes to the County, but as long as the snow isn’t too deep, most bikes with tires over 35mm will be totally comfortable riding on it.
Park in Wellington and head East toward Bloomfield on the multi-use trail. It’s fairly flat and very well-packed, so even though your round trip will be 20 kilometres, it’s a relatively easy ride and you won’t have to worry about any car traffic – though be sure to keep an ear out for snowmobiles in winter and leave room for them to safely pass. Plan your trip to stop in Bloomfield at Bloomfield Public House Market for a warm drink and a snack (check their open hours and be sure to factor in riding time) and then hop back on the trail to head back to the car.
If craft beer is what you’re craving mid-ride, you can also stop at Matron Fine Beer which is located just off the trail in Bloomfield. Grab a floofy pour and warm up next to their fire pits before hopping back on the Trail. Don’t forget to grab some cans to take home!
Midtown Brewing Company | PEC
A winter visit to Midtown Brewing Company is a standard for PEC + BoQ locals. Once your cheeks are rosy from a winter trail ride, you’ll know it’s time for an order of Midtown’s famous fries + a pint of oatmeal stout (my favourites) followed by whatever seasonal features the kitchen crew has going for the night.
Day Three – An Easy Sunday
Picton Explore + Macaulay Mountain Hike | PEC
You’re guaranteed to sleep well after all that time outside yesterday, so take your time in the morning. I suggest calling ahead while you’re getting ready to order your breakfast from The Vic Drive-In in Picton: the breakfast sandwich isn’t messy, so it’s perfect for enjoying in Benson Park tucked just behind Main Street or as you walk down the street for some window-shopping. If you have the time though, the Vic is the most fun place to enjoy a dine-in experience!
Once you’ve scoped out all the windows and finished your sandwich, pop into the shops that strike your fancy. Head into Books & Company where you’ll find a great selection of field guides to amp up your outdoor education. And don’t miss Beacon Bike + Brew, where you can pick up some well-curated pieces to add to your cycling kit and grab another cozy drink before driving to the edge of town for a hike. Park at the bottom of Macaulay Mountain and head up! The trails wind their way up the hill (find the different trail ratings on AllTrails) and in the winter months you’ll be able to see even more of Picton from each vantage point.
Fina Vista Farms Visit | BoQ
When you’re ready to wind your way back out of the County, point yourself north west: destination, Fina Vista Farms. My 🔥 Hot Take 🔥 is that winter is the best season for so many outdoor activities, and horseback riding is one of them. You won’t have to deal with any of the annoying parts of summer trail rides, (read: bugs and humidity!) just dress in your warmest layers and cross your fingers for a light dusting of snow while you ride!
And there you have it! The perfect outdoorsy weekend in PEC & BoQ is complete!
Looking for more inspiration for exploring the region? Read more of our blog and check out the regional itineraries over at bayofquinte.ca. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the next itinerary in this joint initiative with the Bay of Quinte.
Thanks to our friends at Bay of Quinte Regional Marketing Board and RTO9 for making these joint itineraries possible. Also thank you to local artist Kelly Panacci for providing her talent for the illustrations on this project.
What to get up to this February in The County ❄🍷
After a long January, restrictions are gradually easing and The County is reopening, ready for plenty of winter fun. If you have a visit planned this month, if you live in the area and are looking for a fun weekend activity, or if you just want to experience the joys of February in The County second hand, read on.
This information is accurate as of February 1st, 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.
Reminder: as of January 4th 2022, enhanced vaccine passports with a scannable QR code are required for indoor dining and locations such as recreational facilities. Further to that, some businesses are going above and beyond to keep the community safe, so we ask that individual requirements are respected at all times.
A Vintner Winter
The vines may be resting under a comfortable blanket of snow and earth, but many wineries will be serving up pours in their tasting rooms this February. Be sure to download the PEC Wine Explorer App before you visit to plan your trip and explore Prince Edward County Wineries (and Cideries!) by region, style and more. As always, check in with wineries before visiting via the app or Instagram to confirm operations and open hours, and be sure to make a reservation where necessary. You can also start your planning right here on VisitPEC.ca by checking out the wine section of our website for inspiration.
Hit the Trail
If you’re looking to get outside while you’re here, there are plenty of ways you can do so. Fancy giving snowshoeing a try? Head to Sugarbush Vineyards where you can rent snowshoes for $20, which includes a wine tasting and hot chocolate (weekends only). Or you can participate in a guided 3km snowshoeing walk at Three Dog Winery on weekends throughout February, which includes snowshoes and a glass of wine. Also keep an eye out for foodie pop-ups at Three Dog to complete your experience.
Snowshoeing not your thing? There are plenty of other ways to get outdoors. Why not bring your cross country skis and plan a trip down the Millennium Trail? Or how about pack your best snow boots and go for a winter hike at Macaulay Mountain Conservation Area or at the Sandbanks Dunes Trail (the parking lot at Dunes is now maintained in the winter). If you plan to head out in winter, though, be sure to plan your route ahead of time, make sure your phone is charged, dress warmly and ensure you head out with plenty of daylight left – it’s easy to get turned around on trails, especially after fresh snowfall.
Related: What to do in Winter in Prince Edward County
Plan an Escape
Escape Camp Picton is reopening for the 2022 season with a special Family Day Weekend event! Join them for an escape between February 11 and 14 and enjoy an extra special post-game celebration with a hot chocolate buffet and a make-your-own puzzle kit to take home with you.
Want to escape Camp Picton from the comfort of home? They also have a handcrafted at-home puzzle box available for purchase – perfect for cozy snow day weekends or evenings spent back at your accommodations.
Hit the Ice
If you haven’t heard, Parsons Brewing Company‘s covered ice rink is open daily for the season and it’s more epic than ever! Whether you want to play some shinny or you just want to skate, this family-friendly activity makes for a perfect winter outing, especially when paired with their rink-side snacks – we’re talking emanadas, grilled cheese and roast tomato soup, served alongside their wide selection of beers and coffee (with Bailey’s!) if you’re feeling the chill. They even have hot chocolate and s’mores kits for the kids (and big kids) who want to have some fun by the fire pit after a good skate. Be sure to follow them on Instagram for daily updates on rink conditions as well as for rink rules.
Speaking of ice, if you are visiting a beach during winter be sure to stay off the shore ice as this is known to be dangerous, even in the coldest weather. Also, unless you are with a guide or familiar with ice conditions in the area, any lake ice should be considered unsafe. Stick to shore and stay safe.
If skating’s not your thing but you’re still chasing classic “apres” vibes and craft beer, there’s plenty of options for you! Gillingham Brewing has a fabulous winter patio setup (complete with Oysters!), Prince Eddy’s will be serving up pours both in and outdoors, Matron Fine Beer has a sweet sheltered back patio, and Slake comes complete with many fire pits to share the warmth alongside their gorgeous views – but don’t worry, their indoor seating is also open if you want the views without the windchill.
Go Back in Time
It’s Flashback February at The County Museums, which means we have plenty opportunities to engage with the history and heritage of Prince Edward County through talks, performances and more. The 2022 event (February 19-27) will include a combination of in-person and virtual offerings including a historic barn tour at Karlo Estates Winery (multiple in-person dates), a Photos and Follies exhibit at North Marysburgh Town Hall, an exhibit on the “social media” of early Prince Edward County, a virtual historic cooking presentation, and more. Check out the Flashback February website for more details.
Related: 10 Places to Get a Taste of County History
Indoor dining is back, and your favourite County restaurants are ready to welcome you (at limited capacity for now). Not only are the all-season restaurants open again, but so are the restaurants that typically close in January like La Condesa, Flame + Smith and The Marans Dinebar. (note: some restaurants operate seasonally and will open again in the spring, so we still recommend confirming operations before setting your heart on a particular spot!) If you’re planning a foodie trip be sure to make a reservation where possible or plan in advance to potentially wait a for a table (though wait times in February are typically much less than in summer, reduced capacity make affect wait times). Looking for a unique Friday night dining experience? Book a Fondue Friday at The Eddie. Wanting to experience the newest of the new? be sure to book a spot for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner at The Royal Hotel, the reimagined historical gem of Picton Main Street.
Here for Valentine’s Day? Many spots are offering special pre-fixe menus for your romantic celebrations. So be sure to check out the restaurants on your wish list on social media to see what feasts they have dreamed up for the day of love.
Winter with Lakeside
If you’re looking for a family and pet-friendly winter outing, why not head to The Lakeside Motel in Wellington? They have a few epic weekends planned on their property. Swing by to enjoy live music, their new food truck and their cozy heated enclosure alongside their epic lake views. Check out our event listings for more information.
Visit a Gallery
February is a great time to visit a Prince Edward County art gallery. Most galleries and studios are open weekends or by appointment, so we highly recommend discovering local artists through the County Arts Council and the Arts Trail before you visit. Once you’ve built your wish list, be sure to check in directly to confirm hours of operation or book an appointment before visiting.
If you want to take your appreciation of art outdoors, be sure to check out the sculpture garden at Oeno Gallery (yes, it’s open in winter, and yes it is magical – see the video from last year below!) or take a stroll just off Picton Main Street to Benson Park to enjoy fun installations by The Department of Illumination.
Take in a Concert
We’re excited for February to bring a return to in-person performance. If you’re a fan of Jazz, Big Lake Concerts has just the think for you. Be sure to get tickets to one of two seatings of SOA and Friends at The CAPE on February 24th. SOA covers a wide stylistic terrain from jazz, consistently enveloped by the warm and soulful voice of Chrystelle Maechler. Thompson Egbo-Egbo joins her on the piano and together they will deliver a rich evening of musical sounds and stories. Rooted in jazz, SOA features a mix of originals and fresh interpretations of outside material, in French, English, and sometimes German. “SOA” means “precious” in the language of Madagascar.
Plan Your 2022 Visit
If you don’t have a February visit planned but are feeling a little bit envious after reading about all of these amazing happenings in The County this month, let the inspiration strike! Now is the perfect time to start planning your 2022 visit. Take advantage of the Ontario Staycation Tax Credit and book somewhere to stay, discover more things to do, taste and experience and start building the a picture perfect PEC itinerary. Looking for more inspiration? Be sure to check out our blog.
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.
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Enjoy a Midday Meal in The County 🥪🍔
Whether at a restaurant or a kitchen at a local brewery, you’ll find brunches, lunches & snacks to crave even after you go home.
Bantam on Picton Main Street (right next to the Regent Theatre) offers a unique, fresh, and farm-forward lunch menu. With dine in and take out options, Bantam is a perfect spot for a delicious lunch when out and about in Picton. Whether you’re after a classic sandwich (be sure to try The County Reuben) or something a bit different (try their Chilled Tofu Noodle Bowl), Bantam has something to satisfy every craving.
The Lighthouse Restaurant at Picton Harbour Inn serves up homestyle cooking for breakfast and lunch. Their breakfast is widely regarded as one of The County’s best, and their classic diner menu is sure to satisfy, whatever you’re craving.
Located in the exterior retail spaces of The Armoury building in Picton, Crêpe Escape makes savoury and sweet crêpe to order using locally-sourced ingredients. With Vegan and Vegetarian options available, this is a great spot for breakfast, lunch or a snack for the whole family.
The Vic Drive-In
For a modern diner experience, there’s none better than The Vic Drive-In. Receive full in-car service or dine in on their magical tater tots, epic breakfasts, burgers, and bowls. If you have any allergies or special dietary needs, The Vic should definitely be on your list.
Located at Carson’s Garden Market on Wilson Road, Flossie’s Sandwiches is your go-to for decadent, crave-able, locally-sourced goodness. Flossie’s has just launched their Fall/Winter menu now they have moved inside the Carson’s greenhouse, but their offerings are just as mouth-watering. With options like the Flossie’s Cubano and the PigMuffin, as well as sandwich specials and 2 soups to warm the soul each week, it will keep you coming back for more.
Also on Wilson road, Gillingham Brewing serves up a small batch beers alongside a small snacking menu (you can also bring your Flossie’s here to enjoy). However, it’s worth checking out their warm pretzels and seasonal menu courtesy of Bantam. Weather permitting you can also enjoy Oyster Sundays with Rodney from White Horse Oyster Co.
Matron Fine Beer
Tucked down a side road just off the Millennium Trail in Bloomfield is Matron Fine Beer. In addition to brewing up crushable beers using Ontario ingredients. Their brewery kitchen has a rotating menu inspired by the changing seasons, but you can expect delectable snack boards, sandwiches and more. Be sure to keep an eye out for pop-ups by following them on Instagram.
If you’re looking for a classic family diner experience, Gus’s Restaurant is just the spot. A Picton Main Street staple, this spot serves up greasy spoon breakfasts, diner favourites like hot turkey sandwiches, and greek specialties.
Where to Grab a Casual Bite in The County this Fall 🍔🍕 | Dine Here
Whether you’re looking for a family meal, a casual night out or a place to enjoy a drink with friends, these spots should be on your list.
The Acoustic Grill
Deep fried pickles, wings, poutine, burgers and more – if it’s pub food you’re craving The Acoustic Grill should be your first stop. With a menu filled with local wines, beers and ciders (as well as some big name faves), you’re bound to have a great time at this County classic.
Typically the Grill is a hotspot for live music and they hope to have their live performances return soon, so be sure to stay glued to their social media for updates about when live music may return, and to learn more about upcoming industry nights and mouthwatering specials.
Parsons Brewing Company
So much more than a brewery – though cerevisaphiles will surely enjoy their broad selection of fine beers – Parsons Brewing Company is cooking up some delicious bites this November. Come by on a chilly day to tuck in to their Tonkatsu Ramen alongside other main menu favourites (guac & chips, emapanadas, fried chicken, we could go on…) or attend one of their special Brewmaster’s Dinner Series suppers. These special events are a celebration of all things County through a delicious 5-course meal paired with special brews from their cellar.
Check out our event listings to discover all of their dinner series dates and reserve your spot today!
My Pies is a small pie shop and resto/bar in Wellington that serves up homemade comfort food in their cozy location. They serve up sweet and savoury pies as well as nachos and donair in their Snug bar (or for take-out – please order ahead!), in addition to made-to-order pies perfect for any special occasion.
Throughout November and December My Pies will be cooking up their delicious Tourtiere for the holiday season in addition to their amazing holiday tarts in nostalgic flavours such as Maple Butter Tart, Sour Cherry and Bakewell Tarts. Be sure to order yours today!
The County Canteen
A Picton Main Street staple. The County Canteen serves up locally inspired, elevated pub fare and comfort classics alongside a wide selection of craft beer from The County and throughout Ontario. Don’t miss their Crispy Avocado Tacos for a vegetarian option even meat lovers will crave, or tuck in to some classic British pub fare with their bangers and mash.
Want a little entertainment with your meal, be sure to come by on Tuesdays when – starting November 30th – their karaoke night will return after a long hiatus and live music will return December 4th with Chris Bonham-Carter.
While not a typical stop on the foodie tour of Prince Edward County, this winter The Eddie is getting their hygge on with Fondue Fridays at Ruby’s Clubhouse (the lower level of their iconic barn).
Reservations are required for these intimate suppers. Book in advance here.
The Blue Sail Seafood Company
If you’re craving seafood there’s no better place than The Blue Sail Seafood Company for succulent meal out in The County. The Blue Sail is now open for dinner on Thursdays, and both lunch and dinner on Saturdays and Sundays. Reservations are definitely recommended, so be sure to email email@example.com to book your table in advance.
This week The Blue Sail is launching their new fall menu, and you can look forward to the revival of their Sunday Suppers later this month. Additionally, veterans or active service members will receive a complimentary bowl of chowder on November 11th. Want to get your hands on quality seafood to cook at home? The Blue Sail is also a seafood market open Thursday to Saturday 11am to 5:30pm and Sunday 12 to 4pm.
Brining tropical island vibes to our little island, Bermuda PEC has lit up Bloomfield with it’s Instagram-worthy, flavour-bomb creations since 2020 (yes, they opened in a pandemic). They’ve rocked it from their patio for two seasons, but now they are finally open indoors and serving up their epic chicken sandos, green chili cheese fries and more.
Please note Bermuda will be closed from November 24th but will be back at it December 4th, serving up all your faves.
You know Karlo Estates for their certified vegan wine, their stone bridge, their summer music series and their cozy wine lounge, but did you know they also have an exciting Dinner and Show series running this fall? Every Saturday until November 27th join vintner Sherry Karlo, a guest chef and a musician for a night of wine, vegan food and live music. Be sure to register in advance here and check out our event listings to learn more about what each night has to offer.
For family friendly, brew-pub vibes be sure to check out Midtown Brewing in the heart of Wellington. Their fall menu is full of cozy meals like sausage ragu, tikka masala poutine, and a spaghetti squash pizza with walnuts and pecorino that you’ll want to devour.
This Fall their 2 for $25 deal is back. Enjoy two of their wood-fired pizzas for $25 when you dine in or take out from Sunday through Thursday.
Angry Bird’s Rotisserie Chicken
A County family favourite, Angry Bird’s Rotisserie Chicken should be your go-to spot for all things chicken at wallet-friendly price point. Whether you want to dine in or take out, or whether you’re after a classic quarter-chicken dinner with your choice of sides or you want to try something new – like Waffles DeClux, a fried chicken thigh served with waffles and maple syrup – you’ll find something here for everyone.
North Docks Kitchen & Drinks
Another Wellington staple, North Docks Kitchen & Drinks is the place for pub fare with a view. Don’t miss their fan-favourite meatloaf if you are looking for a hearty supper, and if you’re looking for something lighter give their beet salad with maple vinaigrette a try.
Rock n Rogers
For classic, family-friendly diner vibes be sure to check out Rock n Rogers in Wellington. From classic diner breakfast fare to build-your-own pizza (for eat in or takeaway), Rock n Rogers is a great spot to have in your repertoire for easy weeknight meals or a fun family outing on a weekend.
555 Brewing Co.
If you want pizza & beer in Picton, there’s no better place to go than 555 Brewing Co. With their covered, heated patio and plant-filled indoor space you’ll find all of the good vibes here, alongside quality, on-site brewed beer and woodfired pizzas in classic and inventive flavours. Be sure to try their dill pickle pizza or their butter chicken pizza for unique flavours you won’t find anywhere else.
Want to try both? Try this offer on for size: dine in or take out Monday – Thursday after 5PM and get any two pizzas for just $25.
Coach’s Pub & Grill House
For classic pub fare and relaxed vibes, be sure to check out Coach’s Pub & Grill house on Picton Main Street. This longstanding establishment has daily lunch and dinner specials (be sure to follow them on Facebook for the latest) alongside an expansive menu that will be sure to satisfy.
This November live music returns to Coach’s starting November 12th with The Walkmen and the Peter Rea Duo returns for their normal Thursday night slot on November 18th. Visit their Facebook for their complete line up.
Discover more culinary delights in The County by visiting our Dine Here page.
Dine Here Giveaway
Head over to our Instagram to view our November 10th Dine Here post for a chance to become 1 of 2 winners of a $100 gift card to a County restaurant of their choosing. Here’s how to enter:
1. Follow @VisitTheCounty on Instagram
2. Like the post featuring the spots mentioned in this blog post.
3. Comment on the giveaway post and @mention a friend. 1 comment with unique @mention = 1 entry. You may comment more than once but only up to 5 entries per person will be considered in the final draw.
Some other notes:
- This giveaway post will close November 13th at 11:59 PM
- Winners for each individual giveaway will be contacted via Instagram DM and announced on stories the day following contest closure.
- Winners can select a gift card from any of the operators listed on this page: https://www.visitthecounty.com/dine-here/
- This giveaway has no affiliation with Instagram whatsoever.
- Winners will only be contacted by @VisitTheCounty. DMs from any other handles should be considered spam.
For complete Terms & Conditions click here. For information about more Dine Here giveaways click here.
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.
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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)
Come On, Get Hoppy!🍻
Check out Prince Edward County’s Hip, Hop & Happening Craft Breweries
Article and photos by George Amaro
If you suffer from cenosillicaphobia, fear not, for Prince Edward County’s flourishing craft beer industry has the pint for what thirsts you.
For those who may not know, cenosillicaphobia is the fear of an empty beer glass. There are probably a great many of you out there that have yet to be diagnosed by this horrific affliction, seeing as how beer is the world’s third most popular drink – after water and tea.
Thankfully, The County now has nine craft breweries – soon to be 10 – to deal with the intense, thirst-inducing malady.
Stouts and IPAs and ESBs, oh my!
We’ve gone to great pains to check out each and every one of the existing nine, so that you wouldn’t have to suffer. Now, there are many, many fine remedies such as lagers and pilsners and ales and stouts and IPAs and ESBs and Belgian-style and American-style and Kolsch-style and so on and on and on. You can get them in cans and tins and bottles and growlers and yes, empty glasses. Needless to say, there’s a cure-all for all.
We won’t get into the style of the beer, or its fine character, depth, aroma, ABV or IBU – that’s for the true zythologists at each brewery to talk to you about – and for you to discern on your own. We’re just going to touch on the vibe – or the essence– that each brewery offers while you cure yourself of your cenosillicaphobia, winter, spring, summer or fall!
The County comes naturally to beer … from 1860 to 1890, more than a third of The County’s farms grew barley to meet the large demand in the United States. Those 30 years are known locally as the Barley Days. On to the cures …
The Vibe: No Worries, Mate.
Beyond the Beer: Indoor, communal table restaurant-style seating. Wood-fired pizza. Two patios, one that welcomes dogs. Live music Sundays at six. Tours by request or spontaneously. No reservations.
The Dish: Everybody just chill and relax. That’s the main message from 555, which serves up delish pints and wood-fired pizza as their signature food staple. Inside, the vibe is as natural as it gets, with beautiful hanging plants covering the ceiling. There’s even an epic 40-year old jade plant on one of the windows – that’s what you get when the brewer also has a horticultural degree! Outside, there’s not one, but two patios, right on Picton’s Main Street – perfect for people watching. One patio caters specifically to those with furry friends in tow, and the other to everyone – it even has a sandbox in case the wee ones haven’t had their fill of the beach.
(Hot tip: Head over to Macaulay Heritage Park on a Friday or Saturday night for the Graveyard & Gallows tour if you want more info on the story behind “The Fives” name.)
Where: 124 Main Street, Picton
When:Sunday – Thursday: 12 – 9 | Friday – Saturday 12 – 10 | Hours may be altered due to crap weather or private events 🙂
The Vibe: WYSIWYG
Beyond the Beer: Couches, high-boy tables. Large patio. Brewery tours. Food trucks. Stainless-steel tasting bar. Pet friendly. Swag.
The Dish: WYSIWYG …what you see is what you get. That’s the straightforward, no-nonsense approach that launched Barley Days as The County’s first craft brewery back in 2007, and it’s still the same approach today. Beer lovers can enjoy its award-winning brews at the tasting bar, or full pints in the brewery’s cozy lounge and seating area – the humorous tin signs that dominate the main wall are sure to make you LOL! Take your favourite beer outside and you can watch the world zoom by on a patio picnic table. Those interested in learning more can take a guided tour of how beer is made at The County’s original brewery.
Where: 13730 Loyalist Parkway, Picton
When:Sunday – Thursday: 10:30 –
6 | Friday – Saturday 10:30 – 7
The Vibe: Wholesome Goodness.
Beyond the Beer: Order from Flossie’s Sandwiches (across the road) menu and have it delivered. On-site pretzels with mustard. LP record playing. Horseshoe pits and lawn games coming soon. Small group tours.
The Dish: One of The County’s freshest faces on the beer scene has a clean, simple, down-to-earth vibe about it. Maybe it’s all the wood that lines both the inside and outside of the Gillingham facility, or the fresh, quality suds named after family and friends. Perhaps it’s the helpful, knowledgeable owners, and the old-school vinyl LPs that are played the way they should be – one complete side at a time. It could be because of the beautiful patio that overlooks a nearby vineyard, and a fire pit that’s perfect for good friends and good conversation. Or, maybe it’s because of Nigel, the brewery’s ankle-licking Boston Terrier/French Bulldog mix … you’ve been warned! It’s probably all of that and a bit more … you decide.
Where: 1316 Wilson Rd, Hillier
When:Sunday – Monday: 11:30 – 5 | Tuesday – Wednesday: closed | Thursday – Saturday 11 – 6
The Vibe: Chill Ville.
Beyond the Beer: Plenty of indoor seating in two rooms. Granite bar. Chips & dip. Located just off the Millennium Trail.
The Dish: There’s a reason that The County’s newest brewery is located down an out-of-the way, narrow, bumpy and dusty country lane … it’s a reflection of its relaxed, laid-back, unpretentious style. That chill-and-let-chill attitude is also ingrained in Matron’s beer, design and space. The old warehouse has been re-born as a shiny, modern, beer-making facility, with a tasting room that features a relaxed minimalism – and an equally cool, black lab-mix named Rhubarb … or Barb/Barbara as she’s now referred to in her advanced years. And coming next year, an outdoor beer garden.
Where: 65 Barkers Lane, Bloomfield (Turn at the Hatch Gallery)
When:Sunday: 11 – 5 | Monday: 12 – 6 | Tuesday – Wednesday: closed | Thursday – Saturday 12 – 6
The Vibe: Hip & Happening.
Beyond the Beer: Plenty of indoor, restaurant-style seating in two rooms. Long bar. Open-air-garage-style doors. Full kitchen (no reservations). Open early for breakfast. Open late. Large-screen TVs to watch the big game. Wednesday darts. Patio. Outdoor ice rink, skateboarding non-winter. Beer-it-forward board. Soft-serve ice cream. Swag.
The Dish: This is the cool place to gather with friends and watch the big game, or just hang out with some great, traditionally-made beer and delish food … I’m talking to you, garlic aioli and parmesan fries! The former Midtown Meats warehouse features soaring ceilings, making for a large, yet inviting and intimate space for anyone and everyone – from 416 hipsters to local families. Midtown is open late – or as late as it gets in The County (11 p.m. on weekends) – and starts early with breakfast at 9 a.m.
Where: 266 Main Street, Wellington
When:Sunday – Thursday: 11 – 10
| Friday – Saturday 11 – 11
The Vibe: Best Family Picnic Ever.
Beyond the Beer: Indoor and bar seating. Large outdoor space with picnic and high-boy tables. Outdoor kitchen and smoker. Fire pit. Live music on Saturdays and sometimes Sundays. Children’s playground. Outdoor games including ping pong, horseshoes, bocce ball, tether ball. Pet friendly (off patio). Retail shop. Located at the north-east end of the Millennium Trail.
When you walk into Parsons, it’s like stepping into a picnic with your favourite friends and family. There are people sitting at picnic tables everywhere, chatting, laughing and enjoying the fine beer and food. Others are frolicking with their kids on the playground, or throwing horseshoes, or playing ping pong. Some are gathered by the fire pit, or around the outdoor bar, or watching the “asado” slow cook. And that’s just outside! Inside are more tables and a wooden bar with 18 taps – all housed in 150-year old heritage lumber buildings.
Where: 876 County Road 49, Picton
When:Sunday – Thursday: 11 – 6 | Friday – Saturday 11 – 7
The Vibe: Surf’s Up!
Beyond the Beer: Indoor seating area and bar. Large patio. Outdoor kitchen (Thursday – Sunday) and rotating food vendors. Live music Saturday and Tuesday nights. Beach volleyball (Thursday league). Yoga Sundays. Ping pong. Pet friendly. Ad hoc tours by request. Swag.
Surfing culture and a stoked tropical vibe dominate the scene at Prince Eddy’s. It’s a very laid-back space to enjoy a frosty one with all your fave dudes and dudettes. Chill on their bitchin’ patio and listen to live music (Saturday and Tuesday nights), or amp it up on the epic beach volley court! Step inside into a spacious, bright white interior splashed with palm frond décor … think tropical beach bar – County-style! A cool, second-floor event space overlooks the brewery and all the beer-making action.
Where: 13 Macsteven Drive, Picton
When:Sunday – Thursday: 11-6 | Friday – Saturday: 11-7
The Vibe: Backyard Bohemian.
Beyond the Beer: Brown, faux-leather 1970s-style basement bar. Outdoor patio table seating area. Tee-pee. Bar snacks. Pet friendly. Impromptu tours.
The County’s smallest brewery is also its most eclectic. Think basement beer-making – with an upscale, wine-influenced twist. Strange Brewing’s small tasting room, which is actually part of the brewer’s home, is non-descript and unassuming – but that in itself is part of its charm. Beer fans can sample the suds at a retro, faux-brown-leather bar – the kind you might’ve found in your parents’ basement in the 1970s – while the brewery’s 14-year old black cat watches with indifference nearby. Outdoors is just as, well, strange, with a large glass patio table and mismatched mix of chairs, an ivy-covered outdoor storage building, and a very cool tee-pee.
Where: 371 Chase Road, Hillier
When:Friday: 12 – 6 | Saturday – Sunday: 11 – 6 | Monday – Thursday: closed
Land & Bog Smokehouse, Brewery & Cabins
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Land & Bog, but their brewery isn’t quite up and running yet. You can catch their smoker and BBQ grill, however, at lots of local events.
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