Capture that Fall Feeling this October in The County 🎃
Sure, October is when we can officially say that summer is behind us, but there are still tons of exciting, seasonal events and activities to enjoy as the air cools and the leaves fall in The County. From Oktoberfests and Pumpkinfest to haunted walks through corn fields and graveyards, there’s plenty to enjoy whether you’re escaping for a romantic weekend or looking for something festive to do with the whole family.
Start with Art
The first weekend of October marks the annual PEC Studio Tour. The Studio Tour features over 50 artists at 36 studio locations throughout The County, making for an epic art-filled weekend. Whether you are looking for art to display, art to wear, or art to use in your home, the Studio Tour is the perfect opportunity to discover new artists, take a peek behind the scenes, and appreciate the work in an intimate manner that is not always afforded in a typical gallery setting.
To plan your Studio Tour route and discover more Studio Tour artists, head to PECStudioTour.com or check out the map below.
For even more art in The County this month check out 2Gallery’s John Visser Exhibit – Days of Light and Shadow – on until October 18th, visit the 6 Artists exhibit and sale from Sept 30 – Oct 2, attend an art workshop at Baxter Arts Centre (this month features sessions on life drawing, weaving, nature journaling, and resin art), or attend a Mixed Media Collage workshop at The County Arts Lab.
You don’t need to attend a special event to experience art in The County either. Galleries in Prince Edward County are open throughout the fall and are a perfect way to spend these chillier and possibly rainy days.
Wholesome Fall Fun
If you’re looking for some wholesome fall activities, we’ve got you covered! The fun kicks off with The Department of Illumination’s annual Scarecrow Festival. A fundraising event for this beloved community arts organization, the Scarecrow Festival invites you to make your very own scarecrow to take home with all supplies provided for $40. With a barn full of clothes and a mountain of straw with which to craft a character, this is a perfect Thanksgiving Weekend activity for the whole family.
We told you about apple picking at Campbell’s Orchards last month, but this classic fall activity continues into October with hot apple cider on tap, caramel apples to enjoy on the weekends, as well as fun wagon rides throughout the farm. You’ll also be entertained by their corn maze, pumpkin patch, and their on-site cidery Apple Falls Cider Co.– a treat for parents too!
If it’s pumpkins you’re after, you don’t want to miss the festive pumpkin and squash displays at Honey Wagon Farms and Langridge’s Fresh Produce. These two farm stands turn Sandy Hook Road just off the Picton roundabout into a festive corridor at this time of year and are truly a sight to be seen if you are inclined to gourds, both decorative and non. While you’re in the area, complete your festive decor by picking up some potted mums at Lockyer’s Country Gardens.
Speaking of pumpkins, you don’t want to miss Pumpkinfest, the annual festival in Wellington which is back this year in full force after two years of modified festivals. The festivities begin at 10:30 with a parade through town, which is followed by music in the park, food truck, and a kids zone where activities like face-painting, a balloon artist, petting zoo, and lawn games will keep kids entertained. The highlight of Pumpkinfest is the giant pumpkin weigh-off, which starts at 12PM at Lehigh Arena. In addition, the Wellington Community Market is back for one more market this season and will be running all morning until 2PM at the Wellington United Church.
Want to take in the changing colours? There are plenty of beautiful ways to do so in The County. Go for a walk through the forested paths of Macaulay Mountain Conservation Area (being sure to check out Birdhouse City while you’re there), cycle along the Millennium Trail and take in the brilliant colours of sumac and goldenrod among other deciduous trees along the route, go for a County drive, or go for an autumn walk on one of the hiking trails at Sandbanks Provincial Park (you can still book your day-use permit in advance here).
Fall is for Foodies
Looking for a delicious getaway? Fall is the perfect time to discover the bounty of The County. In addition to dining out at The County’s many fantastic restaurants, these culinary events and special dinners are sure to satisfy:
- Start the month with Oktoberfest celebrations at Parsons Brewing where you can enjoy a celebration of County beer, Bavarian cuisine and live music from September 30 through October 1. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased on their website.
- Slake Brewing opened their doors in October 2020 and they are excited to celebrate their 2nd anniversary October 1-2 with two special food pop-ups. Join them on Saturday October 1 for a pop-up from Bloomfield institution Flame + Smith and on Sunday October 2 for a pop-up from Waupoos’ Stella’s Eatery. In addition you can enjoy 3 new beers from Slake alongside guest taps from Blood Brothers (Toronto), Burdock (Toronto), Counterpart (Niagara), Dominion City (Ottawa), Sonnen Hill (Caledon) and Willibald (Ayr).
- Also at Slake, Sand & Pearl are putting on a Clam Bake and Oyster Bar pop-up that you won’t want to miss. Featuring PECish Baking Co. baguettes alongside clams, shrimp, Fogo Island crab, sausage, County potatoes, corn and herbs as well as freshly shucked oysters, this is bound to be a memorable feast. Pre-order your clam bake by emailing email@example.com.
- The Waring House has several special food events coming up, including their Thanksgiving Dinner, Thanksgiving Brunch Buffet, a PEC Single Malt Society Dinner, and a PEC Wine Society Dinner.
- On October 23 join Sand and Pearl and Flame + Smith for the first PEC Oyster Fest. The festival will feature fire cooking, an oyster bar and a fierce oyster shucking competition. Entry is $25 per person, and if you are an oyster shucking machine you are invited to register to compete for one of two cash prizes! The competition will be judged by local chefs Charlotte Langley and Jamie Kennedy.
- Waupoos Estates Winery is hosting another Wine After Dark event, this time celebrating the flavours of fall. Enjoy a beautiful evening under the stars at this waterside winery (don’t forget to bring a blanket!).
October, of course, is spooky season, and Prince Edward County is getting into the spirit! The spooky fun begins on Thanksgiving weekend with the Haunted Corn Maze at Sunflower Fields Ice Cream Shoppe, where you can expect to wander the maze in the dark while ghosts and ghouls haunt the path. If you can’t make it on October 8th, the Haunted Corn Maze is also open on October 15.
On October 14th marks the opening of the travelling Creepy Doll Museum, which takes over the Wellington Heritage Museum through October 15th. This is the perfect way to add a spooky flair to your day at Pumpkinfest!
The County Museums continues to bring the Halloween spirit with special, candlelit editions of their popular Graveyard & Gallows tour. Join them on October 14, October 21, and October 28. for a candlelit walk around the graveyard at the former St. Mary Magdalene’s church and the exercise yards, jail cells and gallows of Picton Courthouse. Book your tickets here.
Last year’s popular Terror at Macaulay haunted walk-thru is back for a sequel, ominously called The Summoning. Experience ghosts that walk through the cemetery at night, vampires that feed on unsuspecting villagers, and witches that can be heard casting strange spells in the woods. This year, you can also experience a haunted corn maze and explore inside Macaulay’s House, while avoiding ghosts and ghouls. Get your spook on with Terror at Macaulay 2: The Summoning from October 28 – 31.
Fall for Music & Theatre
Live performances continue into through October with everything from drag performances to live theatre and barn dances. Check out the details below or review our full event listing for more.
- Head to Karlo Estates for Karlo “À La Carte” with Melodi Ryan on October 1st. Also at Karlo Estates, join them for Karaoke in the Wine Lounge on October 14th, Life Drawing on October 21, Jazz Thursdays on October 27 and Bitchin’ Bingo on October 28.
- Enjoy some live comedy with the final Comedy Country performance of the year, Girls Nite Out at The Regent Theatre on October 15. Or settle in for some belly laughs and good beer at Gillingham Brewing’s County Craft Comedy Night on October 21.
- Looking for live theatre? Catch the final performances of Collected Stories at the Mount Tabor playhouse on October 1-2, or enjoy Shatterbox Theatre’s performances of Drowning Girls at Macaulay Heritage Park from October 20-23.
Reconnect with Yourself
In the fall we begin to turn inward, getting cozy and embracing the hygge of it all, and in keeping with that mindset it makes fall a great time to take care of our inner selves too. Popular outdoor yoga classes like Goat Yoga with Mikenze continue through October and you can also learn how to nourish your body with foraged plants during Hawthorn Herbals’ Herb Walk at New Moon Farm. If you’re after a full weekend escape complete with plant-based meals and sound bath meditations on a stunning property in Waupoos, register for a Embodying Self-Compassion Retreat with Jenny Tryansky and Amy Faba at Harmony PEC.
Plan Your Next PEC Getaway
You know what October is also a good time for? Planning your next getaway in PEC! Now is a great time to start putting together all of the pieces for a great November getaway. Here’s some of what you can look forward to next month:
- Countylicious is back this year from November 2-22! Join us for three weeks of prix fixe menus at great prices from local restaurants you know, love, and are dying to try! We’ll be sharing more information soon about this year’s programming, so keep your eyes on our Instagram, Facebook, Newsletter, and here on our blog for more info.
- As a part of Countylicious there will be a series of exclusive accommodations offers available thanks to our friends at StayPEC. This information will be released soon, so stay tuned!
- When you book for two nights this November at Jackson’s Falls Country Inn, you’ll receive 20% off and a complimentary bottle of County wine waiting for them on check in.
- SavourPEC is a “Wine & Culinary Adventure” taking place from November 11-13 with Closson Chase & Rosehall Run. This immersive weekend will allow you to experience The County like never before, with exclusive access to award-winning cellars, vineyard accommodations, and an exceptional private venue for a chef-prepared winemakers dinner. Learn more about this exclusive experience and purchase tickets here.
- The incredibly charming Firelight Lantern Festival is back and bigger than ever for its 10th Anniversary this November 4-5.
- The Maker’s Hand – one of Eastern Ontario’s best fine craft shows – is back at Highline Hall in Wellington November 11-13
- Have a charming holiday photo taken at Andara Gallery and visit their Ode to Joy Art Show and Sale from November 12.
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.
Fall in Love with The County🍂
Written by: George Amaro Updated by Visit The County Staff in August 2022
Autumn in The County, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways. Fall in the County is for lovers. Lovers of everything from art to festivals to wine. Don’t believe us? Read it and love it!
FALL DRIVE Lovers
Fall in The County is hands down its prettiest season. The trees are ablaze in fiery shades of orange, yellow, red, brown and gold. The fields of corn, soy and grapes are lush with their bounty. The air is fresh, clean and crisp. And, autumn’s special light bathes everything in a warm golden hue, making the fall colours, landscapes and people’s moods glow from within.
Grab your camera, pack up the clan in the family vehicle and take it all in while cruising The County’s idyllic country roads. And don’t forget to pit stop at the local farm stands and wineries/breweries/cideries and restaurants for some hearty people fuel!
LESS TOURISTS Lovers
If you’d prefer to experience The County at a slower, roomier pace, fall is the perfect time. The tourists have thinned out, especially during the week, so you’ve basically got the place to yourself … well, almost ; )
Go to the fair! You don’t want to miss the annual Picton Fair, back to its original format after two years of drive-thru fairs. For something on the quainter side, be sure to check out the Ameliasburgh Fall Fair.
The Department of Illumination‘s Scarecrow Festival (October) has become one of The County’s most popular events. For $30, you get all the supplies you need to make your own fun field fiend!
Pumpkinfest (October 19) is a family-fun celebration of, yep, everything pumpkin! Wellington goes full orange on the 19th with a parade and a giant pumpkin weigh-in.
The very unique Firelight Lantern Festival (November 9) starts with lantern-making workshops around The County, and culminates in a glowing, night-time parade and brilliant celebration at the Crystal Palace!
FARM STAND Lovers
A PEC road-side farm stand is a thing of beauty at this time of year … and, there are so many of them! You can’t just stop at one, or two, or three … or twenty! Check out the bounty of The County on our farmstand blog here.
Plus you can PYO (pick-your-own), including fall faves, pumpkins and apples at Campbell’s Orchards. While you’re there, check out their corn maze and hay wagon rides. And for the big kids, try the delicious beverages at Apple Falls Cider Co.
Get your fill of local markets before they close for the season. October 8 is the last Saturday for The Wellington Community Market, the Picton Town Hall Farmer’s Market wraps up October 16, and October 29 is the last Saturday for the Wellington Farmer’s Market at The Eddie. The Local Store is a wonderful one-stop-shop to explore the work of over 120 local artists and over 30 food producers. The two-storey barn finishes up its season with a Christmas Market & Sale in early November. Stay tuned for information!
QUIET BEACH Lovers
The crowds are gone. The sun is high, and the temperatures still conducive to beach relaxing with a good book, wading along the shoreline, or trekking up and down the dunes at Sandbanks Provincial Park.
If you’re a water sports enthusiast, suit up and hit the waves. Water temps may be cool, but the air and wind flow on Sandbank’s Provincial Park’s West Lake is excellent for fall kite-surfing and paddle boarding.
PEC boasts several great conservation parks. Whether they’re inland or by the water, each offers its own signature beauty. Check them out, including Little Bluff Conservation Area, with its evergreen forest and wonderful water-smoothed stone beach.
If you’re a fan of our feathered friends, then this is the time of year for you! The Fall Birding Festival is in full swing at the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory, with daily bird banding – including saw-whet owls starting in October – and guided workshops and walks continuing until the end of October. Stay tuned for updates about this year’s festival.
From painters and glass blowers to metal forgers and fibre artists, The County is home to some great talent. Don’t miss the PEC Studio Tour Weekend.
The County is always hopping with live music at such regular haunts as the Barley Room Pub, The Acoustic Grill and The County Canteen. Check their schedules for who’s playing when.
If you’re a shutterbug, this is a fantastic time to shoot The County. Why? See all of the above!
Revel in The County with the PECelebrates Festival 🌞🌈
Summer celebrations are in full swing in The County with the PECelebrates Festival, a celebration of community, cultures, and Canada in Prince Edward County. Residents and visitors alike are invited to reconnect with community through festive events and activities. The festival will take place from June 24 to July 1, 2022.
The festival consists of a wide array of events and activities taking place throughout the community, with featured events including Revel, the Wellington Street Dance, and Canada Day celebrations at The Picton Fairgrounds. You can learn more about the events that are a part of this week-long festival on The County’s website.
Revel: Celebrating Diversity in PEC
Revel is a celebration put on by The County Museums and will take place on Saturday, June 25 from noon to 9 pm at Macaulay Heritage Park. This free event celebrates Indigenous Peoples Day, Indigenous History Month, and Multiculturalism Day with music, food, art, and community partnerships.
Enjoy music by internationally-acclaimed multi-instrumentalist David R. Maracle, alongside Amanda Jean, Oh Darlin’, Charlie Bird Band and the Sophiasburgh All-Stars. Or engage with community organizations which will be onsite to provide programming for everyone from kids to kids-at-heart. Or learn something new with a series of engaging talks ranging from 2SLGBTQ+ awareness to the history and meaning of Wampum belts. These educational sessions will take place inside Macaulay Church. And because no Revel is complete without food and drink, you can also enjoy food trucks and a beer garden by 555 Brewing Co.
Unable to join in person? The Regent Theatre will be live streaming the concert performances on the 99.3 County FM website so you can participate in the festivities from afar.
Revel is a free event thanks to the financial support of the Government of Canada. For more information about Revel, visit The County Museums on Facebook or Instagram.
Wellington Street Dance
The Wellington Street Dance is a long-standing County tradition, and it returns to Main Street Wellington this year on the evening of June 30. It is coordinated by community volunteers with the support of the Wellington Recreation Committee and The County.
The festivities kick off at 5:30 PM with a children’s concert by Mystic Drums in the Wellington Park and continues into the evening with concerts by Cure the Funk and 3Thirty3 from 6:30 – 10 PM. You’ll also be able to grab a bite to eat from on-site food vendors and stay hydrated in the beer garden put on by Midtown Brewing Company.
Please note that during the Street Dance Main Street will be closed between Maple Street and Wharf Street from 6 – 11 PM.
Canada Day at the Picton Fairgrounds
Spending time in The County over the July 1 long weekend? Enjoy Canada Day festivities at the Picton Fairgrounds from 12-4 PM, which will be brought to live with active play activities for kids, balloon-twisting, airbrush tattooing, inflatable amusements, musical performances and more! There will be plenty of activities on offer from community partners such as The Baxter Arts Centre, Come Alive Outside, 99.3 County FM, and the Picton Recreation Committee.
Stay fed and watered throughout the afternoon with the onsite concession stand which is raising funds for the Picton Branch Library expansion project, and be sure to bring a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated. If you’re one of the first 500 folks on-site, you may also be able to get your hands on free hotdogs and hamburgers, generously provided by the Firefighters Association.
Canada Day at the Picton Fairgrounds is supported by the Picton BIA, the Picton Recreation Committee, the Bloomfield Hallowell Recreation Committee, the Hillier Recreation Committee, the Ameliasburgh Recreation Committee and the South Marysburgh Recreation Committee. Attendees are encouraged to drive or bike to the celebration wherever possible, but if you’re driving please enter the fairgrounds via MacSteven Drive.
Want to cool down? Head to The Regent Theatre on Canada Day and enjoy free popular Canadian films screening all afternoon in the Regent Loft.
In addition to the featured events, PECelebrates includes the following events, exhibits and programming which celebrate some of the best The County has to offer. From arts and music to events supporting local farms and businesses, there’s a little something for everyone. Discover even more on the festival website.
Walk the Picton Sidewalk Sale
Whether you are heading to Canada Day at the Picton Fairgrounds or you are visiting Picton earlier in the week, be sure to plan to take a stroll down Picton Main Street from June 24 to July 1 to explore the sidewalk sale and festive window displays.
Discover Art in The County
The 29th Annual Art in the County Juried Exhibition and Sale is back and in person for the first time since 2019. The event runs from June 17 to July 4 from 10AM – 6PM and will take place in The Bunker at The Armoury in Picton, ON. Admission is just $3 for adults and it’s free for children under 12.
Not able to attend in person? You can also view the exhibition online at artinthecounty.com
Craving more? Be sure to check out the Art in the County Jurors’ Show featuring the works of Gordon Shadrach, Felicity Somerset, and Debra Vincent -this year’s AITC jurors – at 2gallery. Happening now through July 4.
Engage in Programming at The County of Prince Edward Public Libraries
Head to the PECelebrates website to explore educational programming for all ages happening throughout the festival (and beyond!). Whether you want to celebrate pride and explore STEAM activities by making a rainbow wind chime, or you want to brush up on your French language skills, there’s a programme for you.
Check out an Exhibit at The County Museums
Learn something new about The County during PECelebrates. Discover permanent exhibits such as The Indigenous History of Prince Edward County at Macaulay Heritage Park and The de Vries Natural Heritage Collection at Ameliasburgh Heritage Village. Or check out a temporary exhibit like A Royal Exhibit or The Garden County of Canada.
Enjoy Music in the Park
Enjoy free music in Wellington Park on Tuesday June 28, presented by the PEC Lions Club. From 6:30-8:30 you can enjoy music by the Lenni Stewart Jazz Trio alongside a BBQ hot dog and drink. This is a free event open to all, but donations are accepted.
You can enjoy Music in the Park courtesy of PEC Lions on Tuesdays weekly throughout the summer until September 6, with special Sunday events on July 31 and September 11. Find information about all these events on our Events page.
Attend a Community Picnic at Slake Brewing
Join BIPOC-led non-profit organization All Welcome Here for a community picnic at Slake Brewing and enjoy outdoor games, sunset campfires, and a global hot dog bar with special toppings from local businesses.
Support Local at a Farmers’ Market
Spend your weekend on June 25 – 26 browsing locally made and grown products and produce at one of The County’s three farmer’s markets: the Wellington Farmers’ Market @ The Eddie, the Wellington Community Market @ Wellington United Church, and the Picton Town Hall Farmers Market. Not here on the 25-26? These markets run every weekend through October, so be sure to add this to your summer weekend itinerary.
Laugh with Festival Players
Check out the Haymaker Comedy Festival as part of Festival Players‘ 2022 season and laugh the night away. With shows from June 29 – July 2 featuring a wide range of comedians, you’ll have a memorable evening at The Eddie Hotel & Farm inside their Red Barn.
Do it All at Karlo Estates
Throughout the PECelebrates Festival week, Karlo estates has tons of events on to keep you entertained. From Yoga in the (Vine)Yard, to Jazz Thursday, and their “Dinner and a Show” tasting series, you’ll find the perfect event for you, made even more perfect when paired with quality, vegan wines.
Discover even more festival events on the PECelebrates website and join us as we revel in the amazing community that is Prince Edward County.
Planning a trip for a different time of year? Be sure to check out our events listing to discover what’s on when you’re visiting, consult our Visitor Checklist, and consider planning a trip in Fall or Winter for a magical County experience.
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.
11+ Activities to Experience this Holiday Season in The County 🎅🎁
November’s here and that means it’s time to start planning your holiday experiences and shopping excursions. Luckily The County has plenty to offer to help you get ready for the holidays.
Holiday Photo in the Barn & Art Sale
Stop by ANDARA Gallery to take a festive family holiday photo in their barn and while you’re there take in their ODE to JOY Art Show & Sale. On now through December 23, 2021.
For more information and to learn how to book your seating in advance go here.
Main Street Magic
Explore the Main Streets of Picton, Wellington and Bloomfield and discover the many independent, local shops that make our Main Streets so vibrant.
Check out our shops listing and plan your gift giving adventure today.
Experience Christmas Past
Step back in time with Ol’ Tyme Christmas in the Cabin at Ameliasburg Heritage Village every Friday through December 10, and come out for one final day of merriment on December 20th. Santa will be on site for free family photos when you bring a donation to the Storehouse Food Bank.
Click here for more information.
Go on a Christmas Crawl
The annual Closson Road Christmas Crawl takes place from from November 26-28. Discover artisan gifts and enjoy local wine, beer and cider while doing your holiday shopping on one of The County’s most hopping wine country roads.
Christmas at The Eddie
Stop by The Eddie for their first Christmas Market. Here you’ll find artisan vendors, a glühwein lounge and more in their heated barn from November 26 – 28. Or from December 10-12 join Festival Players for a weekend of holiday concerts featuring The Bookends & Seventh Town.
Get details about the Christmas Market here and book tickets for Celtic Yuletide here.
Join Midtown Brewing in Wellington to check our their 5th annual Christmas Market on November 27 from 11-3. Here you’ll find 12 amazing local vendors with everything from sweets to homewares and art – and of course great beer!
For more details click here.
Busy Hands is Back
Busy Hands is back and in person! This year they’ll be set up at The Armoury on Picton Main Street on December 4 and 5. Their annual craft fair is the perfect place to pick up handmade gifts like honey, mustard, preserves and maple syrup as well as woodwork, pottery, jewelry, textiles and more.
For more details click here.
Give the Gift of Art
This holiday season you are invited to LOVE ART, LOVE LOCAL AND LOVE GIVING with the Prince Edward County Arts Trail. Plan your visit or shop online and give the gift of County art this holiday season.
For more information click here.
Christmas in Wellington
Celebrate Christmas in Wellington with a 2-day gift giving pop-up at Wellington Heritage Museum.
Learn more here.
Family Fun at Macaulay House
Celebrate the holiday season at Macaulay House with the whole family on December 11th and 12th. Enjoy a festive tour, caroling on the lawn, holiday readings for kids presented by Shatterbox Theatre, hot chocolate, apple cider and more.
Find out more here.
Give a Little Bit: Holiday Group Show
Melt Studio + Gallery will be celebrating the holiday season this year with Give a Little Bit, a group show in our Main Gallery from November 26 to December 26. Give a Little Bit will showcase the talent of local artists and artisans while offering one-of-a-kind gifts for the holidays. The show will feature small works of art, perfect for gift giving, from various disciplines ranging from handcrafted tables and 3D paper-dioramas, to landscape photography and encaustic paintings. In the spirit of gift giving, Melt Studio + Gallery will be hosting a raffle for one of Susan Wallis’s encaustic paintings, with all the proceeds being donated to Kenhte:ke Seed Sanctuary and Learning Centre in Tyendinaga.
Experience Christmas at the Harbour
Come by Picton Harbour to experience a 2-day Christmas Festival along the boardwalk. Complete with lights, music, art installations, games and Santa visits, this is a magical festive event you won’t want to miss.
Learn more here.
Add Art to your Christmas List
On December 11-12, visit The Waring House for a special Christmas show featuring 12 local artists. Shop for paintings, jewelry, pottery, wire creations, wood work, painted silks, art cards, Christmas decor & more.
Learn more here.
Get in the Holiday Spirit
Head to Karlo Estates for a bit of Christmas cheer in the form of Carolling Karaoke. And if you pluck up the courage to take the mic to sing at least two carols and earn yourself a wee nip of their VanAlstine White port-style fortified wine.
Learn more about their December 10th event here and their December 17th event here.
Visit a Winter Wanderland
Bundle up in your coziest knits and mittens and head to Wander the Resort at their first-ever Winter Wanderland Market – a dreamy outdoor market featuring a curated selection of products from County artisans and Wander partners.
Learn more here.
Pop-up and Shop
Head to Main Street Picton on December 17th to celebrate the season with a series of craft pop-ups. For one day only local craft vendors and shops are joining forces to bring you the ultimate Christmas shopping experience. You’ll even have a chance to win by completing a Main Street Christmas Craft Crawl passport by visiting each vendor and collecting stamps on your passport for your chance to win a grand prize filled with items from each vendor and shop!
Learn more here.
Experience a Christmas Classic
Head to the The Regent Theatre to experience acclaimed Canadian actor RH Thompson in a solo touring rendition of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
Learn more here.
Check out our Dine Here campaign and discover 50+ County restaurants, cafes and eateries and plan a culinary adventure in the lead up to the holidays. Many spots have special offers, seasonal menus and festive experiences on the docket, so be sure not to miss out on dining in The County this season.
Learn more here.
20+ Things to do with Kids in Prince Edward County in the Fall & Winter 🎃⛄
The County is kid paradise – even in the fall and winter. From apple picking to snowshoeing, there’s plenty here to keep the kiddos entertained on a cooler-weather getaway.
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.
1. Hit the trail and go for a nature walk in Macaulay Mountain Conservation Area. The walking trails are suitable for bigger kids and it’s a great place to squeeze some forest bathing into your day. Sometimes it can be a little muddy though, so bring your wellies! While there be sure to check out Birdhouse City to see some of The County’s most iconic buildings and attractions in miniature.
2. Beach season may be over but Sandbanks remains open until October 31st and their Dunes Trail is just as fun to explore in Fall. Be sure to book a day use permit up to 5 days in advance to guarantee entry to the park.
3. Go for a family-friendly cycle on The Millennium Trail. We love the stretch between Talbot Street and County Road 49 near Picton for a family ride. When you hit the end of the trail at County Road 49 you’ll come out right across the road from kid-friendly Parsons Brewing. Can you think of a better weekend activity?
4. Speaking of Parsons, if visiting in winter be sure to check if their skating rink is open and operational. You usually need to book a slot in advance, but when you do you’ll also get to visit their brewery, enjoy their fire pits and have some s’mores, making for a perfect winter day.
5. Enjoying the open road while you plan your next stop? Keep the kiddos busy with our very own local BINGO card to see what they can spy in PEC.
RELATED: Reserve Now, Relax Later
Experience Life on the Farm
6. Campbell’s Orchards is the go-to in The County for pick-your-own family fun on a farm. Whether you’re after apples or pumpkins (or a variety of other produce and baked goods at their farm stand, it’s the perfect destination for an idyllic fall day complete with wagon rides and a corn maze. Their farm shop is open through the winter as well
7. While many farms close their doors in the late fall and through the winter, some allow appointments for groups if the weather allows. For instance, The Bloomin’ Welly Alpaca Trekk experience at Noble Beast Farms is a fantastic experience for kids which will allow them to meet and walk with alpacas and learn directly from farmers about these incredible creatures.
RELATED: Plan Your Fall 2021 Visit to Prince Edward County
Catch a flick
8. When you need a break from sun and surf, try the historic Regent Theatre for blockbusters, art films and documentaries.
Build Art Appreciation
9. The Department of Illumination hosts a number of magical public art events throughout the fall and winter that are perfect for the whole family. Celebrate the harvest season with their annual Scarecrow Festival fundraiser, bring light to darker nights with the Firelight Lantern Festival in November, and discover a winter wonderland of art, music, dancing and more with Ice Box. Please note that events are subject to change depending on COVID-19 restrictions at the time of the event.
10. The Sculpture Garden at Oeno Gallery is a great way for kids to experience art in the great outdoors, and it’s open year-round for your enjoyment. Contemporary and abstract sculptures of vibrant colours and head-scratching construction pair beautifully with the perennials around them and are stunning in winter in contrast with the serene backdrop of the landscape covered in snow.
RELATED: Fall for Arts & Culture in The County
For Bigger Kids
11. The state-of-the-art skate park, also on the Picton fairgrounds, caters to beginner and intermediate skaters, and features bowls, hips, spines, a clam shell, flat banks, rails, hubbas, manual pads, ledges, curbs and gaps. (If you know what any of that means, then you know where to go!) The skate park is open year-round but best enjoyed before the snow settles in.
12. Escape Camp Picton takes inspiration from its location at a decommissioned WWII air base – blending heritage, history and an unforgettable game experience. Indoor escape rooms are open again (proof of vaccination required for kids-at-heart over 12) through the end of October and from November through February sessions can be booked on demand (with 48 hours notice).
13. Spend a day riding horses at Diamond J Ranch, offers scenic rides for families, with ponies for kids through the end of October. Please contact outfitters directly for availability.
14. Outside Bloomfield, Rapidfire Paintball & Airsoft offers junior paintball for kids as young as eight: junior paintball uses low-powered guns that are lighter and easier to hold, as well as smaller paintballs that leave no bruises. During fall & winter sessions are by reservation only – great for a birthday party!
Do a Little Shopping
15. There are a number of shops in The County that have fun gifts and toys for kids of all ages. Be sure to check out Books & Company in Picton for an excellent selection of books, toys and games that will keep kiddos entertained back at your accommodations or in the back seat. You don’t want to miss Little Kokito in Bloomfield for a curated selection of gorgeous baby and kids products, and across the street at Green Gables Gifts & Greetings you will find a huge kids section that will keep them entertained while you browse the rest of this fun gift shop.
16. If hunger strikes on the road be sure to stop by Sunnydale Farms for locally made – and grown – popcorn as well as some of The County’s best butter tarts, visit Hagerman Farms‘ Bakery for a sweet treat or treat your kiddos to a caramel apple at Campbell’s Orchards.
17. In the cooler months it’s no secret that kids love hot chocolate. Luckily you can find the goods throughout PEC. Try Beacon Bike + Brew, Bean Counter Café & Bakery or Lily’s Café in Picton, Bloomfield Public House Market in Bloomfield and Good Place PEC in Wellington for the perfect cool weather pick-me up.
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18. For lunch and dinner there are a ton of kid-friendly options. Try The County Canteen and The Vic Drive-in, Bermuda in Bloomfield and Saigon Restaurant in Wellington.
19. It is a truth universally acknowledged that kids love pizza. It is also a truth universally acknowledged that you can find delicious pizza almost anywhere in The County. For pizza available year round be sure to check out 555 Brewing Co. in Picton and Midtown Brewing Company in Wellington. Here in October (or the summer months)? You can also find pizza at many wineries throughout the region such as Black Prince Winery, TerraCello Winery, Huff Estates Winery and Hillier Creek Estates Winery.
But what about wine?
20. It is a family holiday, so there’s got to be some activities for the grown-ups too, right? And yes, it is possible to taste the terroir with little ones in tow.
- Sandbanks Winery helps kids feel like VIPs, with popcorn and juice boxes on offer. (Speaking from experience, the steampunk moose sculpture at the winery’s entrance is surprisingly entertaining – the village at its feet has roofs that move and my nephews spent a good deal of time moving fallen pine cones from one to the other.)
- The Grange has an absolutely gorgeous setting and board games for kids and kids-at-heart. In cooler months, their grand fire place makes an excellent place for a fam-jam huddle.
- Hinterland has bubbles for the grown-ups and lots of toys and outdoor games for the kids – plus a fleet of those iconic orange and yellow tiny cars that will take just about anyone who can squeeze in.
- Sugarbush Vineyards has an outdoor space and a 2-km loop around its vines, which becomes a snowshoe path in the winter, perfect for kids who need to let off a little steam.
21. Parsons Brewing is just north of Picton and has an excellent selection of beers, a gorgeous patio, big fire pit, great South American food and a huge playground for the kiddos. Socially distant circles help mark the perfect picnic spot.
22. Sweet and alcoholic cider are part of The County scene too. Loch Mor Cider Company has a kids’ corner, complete with pint-sized kitchen, while Apple Falls Cider Co. at Campbell’s Orchards has a pretty awesome playground, hilariously large Muskoka chair you can climb into for pictures, a network of walking trails and usually some sort of festival or special programming on the weekends. Add their ‘all you can carry‘ pumpkin patch event to your fall calendar.
23. Kinsip distills spirits – and hand sanitizer! – in an ancient barn and oast house (where they used to dry hops) and it’s got a venue that is Insta-worthy, with a tree swing and friendly chickens strutting about the farm, both sure to entertain curious kids. Their over-sized jenga and appropriately necessary jenga-hammer also keep the adults entertained while you sip your cocktails.
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
Summer at The County Museums
by Jessica Chase, Assistant Curator, County Museums
The museums are hard at work planning a summer season that promotes The County’s unique heritage – and is a ton o’ fun! Although we have been faced with a fair amount of uncertainty while working through the pandemic (no surprise there, right?), we are doing our best to generate content and develop engaging experiences for all of our patrons!
This year we will be bringing back our Graveyard and Gallows tour, starting on a virtual platform and moving to in-person when it is safe to do so. Tours will start on June 4th and run every other Friday until the end of August. Alongside an experienced guide, visitors will meet some of the ‘residents’ of the cemetery at Macaulay Heritage Park, before walking to the nearby Courthouse to learn more about an infamous murder trial and Picton’s first and only double hanging.
We have also been developing a “PEC, Past to Present” series of walking tours that will debut this summer! This series will cover villages and areas across Prince Edward County, providing stories from The County’s past, and discussing how we got to where we are today. Some of the areas that will be featured in this series include Wellington, Waupoos, Demorestville and more! This series will run twice per month, with guaranteed dates of June 12th, June 27th, July 10th, July 25th, and August 7th.
In the same ‘Past to Present’ vein, herbalist Tamara Segal will lead a walking tour focused on this area’s natural heritage at Macaulay Heritage Park on August 2nd. The tour will touch on the various plant species that can be found in our own backyards, and what they have been used for by generations of County residents.
We are also going to be bringing you more virtual content whenever possible! Every Wednesday at 1pm you can count on a live presentation on our facebook page that dives into an interesting topic related to our museums, county heritage or the community at large. These will run for the entirety of June, July and August!
Looking for something a bit more hands-on? Take-home activity kits for kids will be available all summer long! There will be at least two new kits available each month to help keep kids busy and engaged.
Although our plans for larger events remain on hold while navigating COVID-19 restrictions, rest assured we have plenty of good ideas in the works (outdoor movie night, anyone?). No matter what the situation, this will be a great summer to get in touch with the museums and to learn more about the County’s history!
Want to stay up-to-date with everything we’re up to, and catch all our virtual content? Make sure to follow us on Facebook (@museumspec) and Instagram (@thecountymuseums), or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can’t wait to welcome you back!
History Takes Flight: A walking tour of Macaulay Heritage Park and Birdhouse City
Part cultural history lesson, part architecture primer and part outdoor fun, this walking tour offers education and entertainment that can be enjoyed outside, anytime, at no cost.
Note: The tour can be started either from Macaulay Heritage Park or from Macaulay Mountain Conservation Area/Birdhouse City. The two sites are joined by Whattam’s Memorial Walkway, a wide unpaved walking path. This tour is intended to be family-friendly but includes information about graves and the on-site cemetery. Discretion with young children advised.
Macaulay Heritage Park
Located on the southern edge of Picton, Macaulay Heritage Park consists of land and buildings built by Reverend William Macaulay, whose vision and leadership helped shape the development of Prince Edward County.
William Macaulay was the son of Robert Macaulay whose family originally came from Scotland. They moved to Ireland, where Robert was born, and then to New York in 1764. He landed in Cataraqui (Kingston) as a United Empire Loyalist around 1784, having supported the British Crown during the American Revolution. In 1791, Robert married Ann Kirby, who came from the Crown Point area in Upper New York State and had been born in Yorkshire.
Robert died in 1800 when his son William was just six years old. William inherited 400 acres of land (including this property) that his father and Thomas Markland had purchased from Lieutenant Moore Hoverton at a Sheriff’s sale in 1790 for the sum of 300 pounds.
William went to school in Cornwall and Kingston before going to Oxford to take his ministry. His teacher and mentor was the renowned Bishop John Strachan. After being ordained in 1818 Macaulay claimed this inherited land. Macaulay had it laid out as a village, naming it Picton after General Sir Thomas Picton who had been killed in the Battle of Waterloo. Street names (Portland, York and Pitt) were all heroes of the day. His land was used to build the neighbourhood’s first school, Picton’s first Roman Catholic Church and the County Courthouse. In 1837, the adjacent village of Hallowell on the north side of the Bay was amalgamated with Picton.
Old St. Mary Magdalene Church and Graveyard
Stop #1: Front of Church
Welcome to Picton’s “old” Church of St. Mary Magdalene (sometimes known as the English Church), the first Anglican church in Prince Edward County. In 1823-25, Macaulay used his own money to build it and was appointed its first rector upon completion.
This building is very likely the first one in the area that had been made of brick and it is also one of the oldest surviving institutional buildings in Prince Edward County. Over its long history, many additions and renovations have been made to the church. The portion with yellow brick walls, visible from both the interior and exterior, indicates the original structure. The limestone sections were added in the 1870’s. The notable large Black Locust trees on the property were said to have been planted in Macaulay’s time, around the 1850s.
The “new” Church of St. Mary Magdalene was constructed on Main Street in 1912, and while this old church was maintained, it was used only rarely and virtually sat vacant for the next fifty years.
In 1967, the church building was declared unsafe and was turned over to the County for use as a museum. It reopened six years later after extensive renovation and repairs. In 1974, the municipality purchased Macaulay House, and the grounds were combined with the church to form Macaulay Heritage Park.
The most recent of many renovations to this building was completed in 2011 to enhance the church’s function as a museum and to preserve heritage features. It also addressed many of the structural issues that had plagued the church’s earlier days. The building now serves as office and work space for museum staff, in addition to providing exhibition and programming space for the visiting public.
Stop #2 – Graveyard surrounding the Church
The first known burial in this cemetery predates the church, taking place in 1819. The first 20 or so burials were marked by wooden crosses, though those have now been lost to time. There are more than 300 burials in total now, with roughly half of that number still marked with gravestones.
Most of the gravestones are of mottled grey and white marble. The marble may have originated in the Renfrew, Madoc and Napanee areas. Limestone, though used here only rarely as a headstone, is the typical base into which the marble stones were slotted. The limestone is of the Black River type, from Kingston. Despite cracking, sinking, sun, acid rain, erosion, moss, vandalism, moisture, gravity, frost and faulty repairs, the remaining gravestones are in “fair” shape considering their age.
Carvers from Port Hope, Belleville, Cobourg and Kingston as well as Picton itself have work represented here. Carvers were typically illiterate, and simply copied the minister’s information as to what the stone was to say.
Stop #3 – A Most Prominent Family: Grave of Samuel Merrill (along the left side of the Church, midway)
Samuel Merrill was Picton’s first lawyer, practicing here for over 50 years beginning in the mid-1820s. As two lawyers practicing in the same region, Merrill developed a friendship with Sir John A. MacDonald. He became registrar of the Surrogate Court in Prince Edward as well as Master-in-Chancery. He and his wife, Mary Edwards Hall, had 11 children, including Edwards Merrill.
Edwards was born in 1842 and became a lawyer and later a County Court Judge and Mayor of Picton. Merrill was a progressive and freethinker – a movement that held that ideas and opinions should be based on science and reason, not authority, tradition or religion. This influential movement, which lasted from the mid-1800s to early 1900s, supported women’s voting rights, and advocated for the abolishment of slavery and reforms to the medical and justice systems. Merrill was an outspoken opponent of capital punishment and helped bring about improvements to the treatment of juvenile delinquents in Canada.
Edwards Merrill and the Lazier Murder Trial Edwards Merrill was also one of over 400 local residents who took a keen interest in the fate of two men convicted of murder in the 1880s in Prince Edward County. During a botched robbery, a farm implement salesman named Peter Lazier was murdered, and Joseph Thomset and George Lowder were sentenced to hang for the crime. During their trial the only evidence brought against them was circumstantial, and Merrill, who was Mayor of Picton at the time, signed a petition requesting that their death sentence be commuted. He also wrote to Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald on behalf of the prisoners, but the Prime Minister was unmoved and the execution went ahead as scheduled on June 10, 1884. They were the only hangings ever to take place in Prince Edward County. It has long been argued that at least one of the two was wrongfully convicted.
Stop #4 Macaulay Family Plot (to right of the church, close to the back)
Reverend Macaulay is buried here with his first wife, Ann Geddes, his second wife, Charlotte Sarah Le Vesconte, and one of his daughters, Mary Rose, who died as an infant. The family rests in one of four fenced plots in the cemetery, indicating their elevated status in the community. Macaulay’s first wife, Ann, suffered from ill health for many years, well documented in family letters. She died in 1849, and Reverend Macaulay purchased a piece of expensive Italian marble for her headstone. Its quality cannot be denied as her stone, while one of the oldest in the cemetery, has stood the test of time better than the stones made of local marble. The amount of text on her stone also alludes to how beloved she was, as the more carving required, the more expensive the finished stone would be. This is why most gravestones from the 19th century included only basic inscriptions.
Stop #5 – Tragedy on Smith’s Bay: Graves of the Pierce Children (to right of the Church, midway)
These three small stones are all marked with the same death date, suggesting a truly tragic story. On July 8, 1866, the five Pierce children, William, Patience, George, David and Robert, and friends were in a canoe on Smith’s Bay (near Waupoos) with their mother Lydia and a cousin. Legend says that one of the children lost a hat over the side, and when they reached to grab it the canoe capsized. The five Pierce children perished, though their mother Lydia survived. Their father, Samuel Pierce, was a blacksmith and his grave can be seen nearby. This moving poem, written shortly after the tragedy, can be found in the book Canvas and Steam on Quinte Waters by Willis Metcalfe.
Smith's Bay Drowning Tragedy (These verses were composed by Miss M. Shannon, on the drowning of the Pierce Children in Smith's Bay, Marysburgh Twp., July 8, 1866.) Ashes to ashes, dust to dust Is man's unchanging doom; For every living being must Lie in the silent tomb. Dear friend depart, though loved so well No human power can save; How oft the solemn tolling bell Reminds us of the grave. 'Twas in the year of sixty-six, The eighth day of July, Nine started for a pleasure trip No danger seeming nigh, Upon Smith's Bay they sailed along, Until a hat was lost, Which by their efforts to regain This sad event was caused. For suddenly the boat capsized, All overboard were cast; In vain they tried to save their lives But seven of them were lost, And sad it is the think that five Belonged to Mrs. Pierce; Who shared their danger, heard their cries, But could not give relief. Upon the drifting boat she clung For three long hours or more, Supporting Michael Harrington Until they reached the shore. Their friends and neighbours gathered round When they the tidings hear; And soon their bodies all were found And claimed by parents dear. Alas, it was a painful sight To see them brought ashore, So sadly changed, so cold and white, Where all was life before. Their parents clasped them in their arms And kissed them o'er again, And long embraced their lifeless forms - None from tears refrain. George Brown, whose age was twenty-one Lay calmly sleeping there; John Harrington, about fifteen, Freed from all earthly care, Of Pierce's family Patience Ann, The mother's joy and pride, William and Robert, David, John And George lay side by side. Who can describe the mother's woe, Her anguish and despair, She almost wished she was laid low Beside her darlings there, All earthly happiness seemed gone, Her heart of hope bereft Of all their children only one Sweet little girl is left. Then soon their bodies were prepared Within the tomb to dwell; And many friends assembled there To take a last farewell. And solemnly they were conveyed From earthly home away, And in the silent dust were laid Until the Judgement day. But in a home beyond the sky When this frail life is o'er, Friends meet again in endless joy And parting is no more. Oh! let us them be warned in time; And each for death prepare, That we gain that happy clime And meet our loved ones there.
Stop #6 – Believe It or Not: Grave of William Pierce (to right of the Church, midway)
Another Pierce grave nearby is quite noteworthy. William Pierce was the son of United Empire Loyalist Patrick Pierce who fought with the 84th Regiment and came to this area in 1784. This tombstone was featured on an episode of “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” in the 1960’s for its odd and impossible death date of February 31st. The most likely reason for this mix-up is that the stonemason who carved the stone was illiterate and merely copied a typo in his instructions from the minister. However, if William actually died on the 13th, it’s possible that his family were superstitious and decided to reverse the numbers to avoid incurring any bad luck. This outdoor stone is a replica of the original, which resides just inside the entrance to the church.
Stop #7 – Grave of Philip Low
Picton was established in 1837 after the smaller villages of Picton and Hallowell Bridge amalgamated. Philip Low was the new town’s first Mayor, though that role was not created on the town’s inception. Low, a lawyer, was partnered with the Honourable Justice Christopher Salmon Patterson, who later became a judge on the Supreme Court of Canada and who also presided over the murder trial of Joseph Thomset and George Lowder. Low has two streets named in his honour nearby, and owned Picton’s impressive “Castle Villeneuve” on Bridge Street, which was demolished in 1986 after a propane explosion.
Stop #8 – The Woolworth Connection: Graves of James and Eleanor Creighton
During the Irish Potato Famine in the mid-19th century, hundreds of thousands of Irish immigrants arrived in British North America in search of a better life. A number of Irish families settled in Prince Edward County, including the Creighton family in North Marysburgh. Eliza Jane Creighton (or Jennie) was born and raised in Waupoos, but left the County as a teenager to learn dressmaking in Watertown, New York. While there, she met a young stock boy named Frank Winfield Woolworth, and in 1876 they were married. With a loan from Jennie’s cousin, Miss Margaret Morrison, they were able to open their first successful 5 and 10 cent store in Lancaster, PA. Frank would go on to establish the most successful department store chain of the 20th century. Frank died in 1919 and Jennie in 1924. They are buried in the Bronx Cemetery. James and Eleanor Creighton are relatives of Jennie’s. Jennie’s cousin Miss Morrison, who Frank Woolworth called the “Mother of the Five and Ten cent Business”, was a great supporter of this church.
Graves of James and Eleanor Creighton, relatives of Jennie Creighton Woolworth | Courtesy of Macaulay Museum.
Please proceed to the lawn in front of Macaulay House.
Macaulay House and Gardens
Stop #9 – Front of Macaulay House
Macaulay House was constructed for Reverend William Macaulay and his first wife Ann Geddes. They married in 1829 in Kingston, and lived in a cottage at the corner of Church and Old Church Streets until the present house was completed in 1830.
We know from family letters that Ann was beloved by her husband and was described as sweet, generous and very pious. Ann died from pneumonia in 1849. She and Reverend Macaulay did not have any children.
Four years later, in 1853, Reverend Macaulay married a second time, to Charlotte Le Vesconte. Charlotte was born in England, but had immigrated to Canada with her family as a teenager. Her family lived in Seymour Township where her father, a former British naval officer had received a land grant of 1000 acres, although Charlotte had been living in Belleville before her marriage. One of her brothers, Henry Le Vesconte, stayed behind in Englad to serve in the Royal Navy. He became a Lieutenant on the HMS Erebus and was part of the doomed Franklin Expedition.
As the wife of a reverend, Charlotte, like Ann before her, was responsible to the church and congregation to conduct missionary work, charity work, and prayer meetings. She would also have been responsible for managing the female help, planning meals, planting, and errands within the household.
Between marriages, William received money from the estates of his mother and uncle. His new wife also had a dowry. This influx of money made possible some alterations to the house, including the summer kitchen to the rear, adding a side porch off the dining room, and adding marble mantles to the fireplaces in both the parlour and dining room.
Charlotte and William had two daughters during their marriage. One, Mary Rose, died before her second birthday. The other girl was Annie. She lived to adulthood and married James Kirkpatrick of Kingston who was a lawyer. Their two girls were named Grace and Jessie. During the First World War they were nurses, and after the war they lived in a cottage called “Picton” in East Grinstead, Sussex, England.
We do know that while Reverend Macaulay appeared to be well-liked by his staff, there were periods of time where he was unable to pay them due to his financial woes. Prior to his second marriage, Reverend Macaulay was not particularly savvy when it came to his finances. As his first wife Ann was often ill and unable to manage the ‘books’, Rev. Macaulay tended to run up debts in town – not for anything scandalous, mind you – and would depend on his brother John to pick up the tab. He also neglected to regularly collect rent from the numerous tenants living on his property, which meant he was almost always cash-strapped. However, his second wife Charlotte not only brought a large dowry with her, but also the energy to oversee his spending and collect rent from their tenants.
After Reverend Macaulay’s death in 1874, the property passed to his wife Charlotte, and following her death, it was passed to their daughter. As she lived in England, it was held in trust on her behalf before being sold in the early 1900s. The property changed hands at least five times over the next 30 years before being purchased by the Bond family in 1935. The Bonds would live here until 1973, when the County purchased the house, and 4 acres of surrounding parkland for $50,000.
Please proceed to the garden area on the left side of Macaulay House.
Stop #10 – The Kitchen Garden and Apple Orchard
There was an operational farm on this property in the mid-19th century, and this apple orchard in addition to the family’s kitchen garden, would have provided all the fruits and vegetables they needed. The farm and the gardens would have been managed by hired help.
From this vantage point, it is easy to see where the ‘new’ summer kitchen extends backward from the original structure. Cooking would have been done in this space during the hot summer months, which helped keep the main house cool. However, the farm manager’s quarters were located directly above the summer kitchen, so he would have been uncomfortably warm in the summer and freezing cold in the winter.
Lives of the Macaulay House Serving Staff The compliment of female help would have been a cook, hired girls, and seamstresses. Their routines would have centered on cooking, housekeeping, and lamp maintenance. Other duties included taking down and cleaning the stove pipe, beating carpets, emptying chamber pots, washing and ironing, food storage (homemade preserves), keeping the inside of the house clean, and serving. The compliment of male help would have been a farm manager, itinerant farmers, and tenant farmers. Seasonally, the farm work would have included planting, harvesting, animal care, candle making, and preserving salted meats and vegetables.
Stop #11 – The Carriage House
This reconstructed Carriage House rests on the site of a former outbuilding from the Macaulay farm, and was relocated to this site from Bath, Ontario in 1998. It bridges the gap between Macaulay Heritage Park and Macaulay Mountain. You’ll notice the bat box on the east side of the building, alluding to the wildlife that call the Conservation Area home.
The tour continues at Birdhouse City which is located nearby at Macaulay Conservation Area. You can access this site on foot by taking Whattam’s Walkway. You’ll find the entrance to the walkway on the far side of the Carriage House. The walkway ends at Macaulay Conservation Area. Proceed past the brown building on your left and you will find Birdhouse City on your left.
First opened in 1980, Birdhouse City has become a purposeful and whimsical miniature community that hosts over 100 birdhouses that are actually native bird nesting boxes. Most of the birdhouses replicate local buildings and speak to the unique character, culture, and history of Prince Edward County, but there are a few “international’ houses that have inserted themselves over the years.
Birdhouse City is maintained and managed by volunteers with the support of the community and in partnership with Quinte Conservation. In the fall of 2020, an extensive inventory was conducted to assess the state of the birdhouses and their posts, and assign birdhouses to volunteers. The task is ambitious as years of rain, snow, wind, and over-use have taken their toll and and birdhouse needs to be taken down to be cleaned up, rebuilt or refinished, and painted. This work is taking place in the garages, back yards, and sheds of these ‘Birdhouse City Builders’ across the County. But with the use of more durable materials, a plan to maintain the City on a regular basis, and brand new signs for the birdhouses, the future looks chirpy and bright. Follow the City and its team of dedicated volunteers on Facebook and Instagram.
Stop #12 Where It All Began: The Massassauga Park Hotel
Birdhouse City began with just one birdhouse– the Massassauga Park Hotel, built by Doug Harns, then superintendent of the conservation area. He wanted to build a bird house so large that it would go into the Guinness Book of Records (which sadly did not happen). He chose the historic Massassauga Park Hotel as his subject – a large hotel that once graced the shore of Massassauga Point, on land that is now part of Massassauga Point Conservation Area, in the northwest corner of Prince Edward County. The large, elegant hotel and adjacent dance pavilion was located beside a busy port and attracted summer vacationers from the mid 1800s to the early 1900s, before being demolished in 1934.
Stop #13 The Crystal Palace
Many of The County’s most notable architectural structures are replicated in Birdhouse City, including The Crystal Palace. Built in 1890 by F. T. Wright based on a plan by Andrew Irving, the building still stands on the Picton Fairgrounds on Main Street East. Picton’s Crystal Palace was inspired by the original Crystal Palace created by Sir Joseph Paxton in 1851 for the Great Exhibition in London England. Paxton’s design of expansive glass was inspired by his work with greenhouses. Following the Great Exhibition, “Crystal Palaces” sprang up throughout the world including New York City and locally in Napanee and Kingston. Sadly many have been demolished and ours is now one of the few original Crystal Palaces remaining in the world.
Stop #14 The Merrill Inn
This birdhouse replicates The Merrill House, built in 1878 in the Gothic Revival style for Edward Merrill (see stop at the grave of Samuel Merrill). The House, which stands at 343 Main Street in Picton, is now a boutique hotel. Merrill and his wife Carolyn later commissioned a smaller version of Merrill House nearby on Hill Street, overlooking the harbour. In 1905, suffering from a terminal disease, Judge Merrill hanged himself from the balcony of this Hill Street home.
Stop #15 The Octagonal House
There are two octagonal houses in Picton. The earliest one, The Roblin House, at 16 Main Street was built in 1858 for John Roblin, then the County registrar of crown lands agent and collector of customs. This house shape and “grout construction” – where a mixture of sand, gravel and mortar is poured into forms – were from a method recommended by phrenologist Orsen Squire Fowler. Fowler promoted the octagonal shape as the perfect building form. The second house, known as Fralick House, is a brick structure on the corner of King and Elizabeth Streets.
This concludes our tour. Feel free to wander and enjoy the birdhouses, and explore Macaulay Conservation Area and its trail network.
Birding Festival Migrates Online
For ten years, the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory and community partners have celebrated spring migration with the Spring Birding Festival (SBF) each May. This year, the Festival is going virtual with a month-long webinar series and family-friendly activities sure to capture the magic of spring in the County.
- As a highlight, on May 19 at 7 PM, the Festival presents keynote speaker Julia Zarankin, best-selling author of Field Notes from an Unintentional Birder. A modest registration fee gives exclusive access to her presentation.
All other webinars are free and include:
- On May 5 at 7pm, Terry Sprague, “Keep it Natural and They Will Come” suggests how to build a garden to attract birds and butterflies.
- On May 8, at noon, Cheryl Chapman spotlights PEPtBO’s work in “All about the Bird Observatory”.
- On May 20 at 10am, Julie White, organic apiarist, explains “What Goes on in the Beehive”.
- On May 25 at 7pm, Kari Gunson, in partnership with Prince Edward County Field Naturalists, shows “How to use iNaturalist”.
For the little chicks and family
PEPtBO’s Get Out! Kids’ Club will offer hands-on family fun with nature-centered activities. As part of the Festival, on May 15, the Prince Edward County Library will hold a virtual Bird Adventure Storytime at 10:30am.
Two, unique family projects are also available to download : Bird Behaviour Scavenger Hunt and The Top Five Nature Challenge. In addition, families can register to receive a kit by mail containing birding activities, Junior Birder Journals, maps, sketch books – everything needed to take the family on outdoor family adventures this spring.
Details and registration information for all the events can be found at peptbo.ca/sbf .
About the Observatory
PEPtBO is a registered charity with the mandate to monitor, report on and promote analysis of bird migration and to act as official caretaker of the Prince Edward County South Shore Important Bird and Biodiversity Area.
When Birdhouses Aren’t Just for the Birds
When can a walk in the woods not only bring us closer to nature but also reveal the past and character of The County? When it’s a trip to Birdhouse City, where The County’s natural beauty is showcased and its history remembered.
This whimsical park located at Macaulay Mountain Conservation Area offers an amusing and unique opportunity to learn more about Prince Edward County. Almost 100 birdhouses perch in their ‘City’ to provide safe nesting places for wrens, bluebirds, chickadees, tree swallows and purple martins, while delighting human visitors with their ‘takes’ on what makes up The County.
Some birdhouses represent wonderful places and structures from the past which no longer exist, others depict localities that you might see on a drive around The County, and some are just inspired by experience and imagination.
The anchor of the City is the show stopping, massive birdhouse that started it all – the Massassauga Park Hotel – 21 square feet of floor space with more than 80 apartments and 3,000 miniature shingles.
Other Birdhouse City homes include the beautiful Christ Church, a modest RCAF Home, an Octagonal House, the charming West Lake Boarding School, a sturdy Picton Armoury, the sweet Gilead Schoolhouse #10, a fine-looking Merrill Inn, the beckoning Salmon Point Lighthouse, a stunning Longhouse, and the remarkable Crystal Palace. And the City is not without services and comforts – schools, restaurants, banks, inns and bed & breakfasts, and even a country store! Beyond the obvious, many of these birdhouses represent something special from someone’s past – maybe travel, a favourite place they liked to dine at, a family home, a cottage they summered at, or their childhood school.
But the best part is what isn’t seen, but heartfelt. The connection between the founders – the people in the past who came together to build Birdhouse City in the late 1970s, and the people today who donate their time and talent to keep this magical place open for all to enjoy. The City has existed for more than 40 years through the love and support of the residents of Prince Edward County.
Located in the Macaulay Mountain Conservation Area, the City is maintained and managed by volunteers with the generous support of the community and in partnership with Quinte Conservation.
Consider exploring Birdhouse City by through the free History Takes Flight walking tour and scavenger hunt!
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)
10+ Things To Do when it Rains
Into every life, a little rain must fall. Even – gasp! – during a Prince Edward County getaway. If it’s raining in The County, here are some suggestions for where to find the silver lining in those unwelcome grey clouds.
Indoor space is at a premium due to physical distancing protocols – be sure to call ahead, check websites and socials and make a reservation wherever possible to be sure there is space! 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.
1. Take a trip around the horn
Most visitors stop in Hillier, Picton or Sandbanks, but many don’t make it all the way around to The County’s more isolated areas, including the South Shore, Sophiasburgh, Ameliasburgh, Waupoos and Cressy. Check out Road Trippin’ Off the Beaten Path for ideas for routes and stops.
Stop for blueberries, wine, cider and more in Waupoos, or travel out along the horn to Cressy, where you’ll find cheese, mustard and some rather grand summer homes. (And since Lake Ontario can also produce wild swings in the weather, you may find yourself leaving rain and finding sunshine.)
RELATED: Reserve Now, Relax Later
2. Step back in time
Visit one of the three The County’s Museums scheduled to open on set days for summer 2021. Macaulay Heritage Park in Picton features Macaulay House, restored to the mid 1850s; the historic former Church of St. Mary Magdalene, now a museum; the old parish cemetery; heritage gardens and the carriage house. Wellington Heritage Museum, located in the heart of the village of Wellington, was built in 1885 as a Quaker Meeting House and now features exhibits on local history. Ameliasburgh Heritage Museum has grown from one building, in 1968, to a full pioneer village. The main structure was built in 1868 as a Wesleyan Methodist Church. Over the years, several additional buildings have been added to the site, including a log cabin, display barns, an operational blacksmith shop, a sap shanty, dairy and bee-keeping buildings, and a large stone building housing the Goldie Corliss 18 foot flywheel.
RELATED: Insider Tips for a Summer County Holiday
3. Craft your own barn quilt tour
Stay warm and dry in the car while playing a little barn quilt bingo. Keep an eye out for one of more than 100 blocks adorning County barns and buildings. These eight-foot square (and smaller) painted replicas of quilt blocks are painted on wooden boards, then mounted on a barn or other building. Barn quilts draw attention to Ontario’s disappearing rural landscapes, timber frame barns, and the family farm.
4. Play a game
Escape rooms meet history at Escape Camp Picton. Visit the iconic WW2 air force training base and test your wits in an escape room game or order their Arrow’s Secret puzzle box for play-at-home fun. If jigsaw puzzles are more your jive, Books & Company and Bonkers and Green Gables have great selections, plus other games to boot.
RELATED: Summer 2021 Visitor Checklist
5. Visit an artist
Part of what gives The County its unique vibe is its rich vein of creativity. Check out the Arts Trail online, a PEC Studio Tour guide and explore galleries and artists’ studios, home to painters, potters, glassblowers, fibre artists, photographers, jewellery makers and more. Looking for a one-stop-shop on local art? On a day when its raining in The County you can easily spend the afternoon wandering around SideStreet Gallery, Melt Studio and Gallery, Mad Dog Gallery or The Local Store, which opens for the season in May, finding all sorts of County gems.
6. Taste the terroir
The County’s bedrock of calcareous limestone is what gives the soil the minerality needed to produce world-class wines. From citrusy chardonnay grapes to full-bodied malbec, winemakers here are bottling up a bit of sunshine every season. Book a tour – whether in cars, carriages or bicycles – or plan your own trip with thePrince Edward County Wine Growers Association map or their new PEC Wine Explorer App.
Or take in some of the craft breweries, cideries, the distillery, or a meadery. By your fifth stop, you won’t even notice the rain!
7. Seek retail therapy
Whether you’re a big spender or just a window shopper there are dozens of stores and shops in downtown Picton, Bloomfield, Wellington and Consecon to peruse when its raining in The County. Clothes, books, locally-made arts and food products, body-care, antiques, furniture, knitting goods and even PEC-branded swag – there’s something for everyone.
8. Pick up a book
Perhaps the rain is a sign to slow down. If so, head to Books & Company for a wander amongst the shelves of bestsellers, specialty magazines, local poetry and lore. There’s also a huge selection of kids books, toys and board games. And Pushkin, the store cat, will undoubtedly commiserate about the unfortunate weather. For specialty books, try Zest Kitchen Shop for recipes and culinary tomes, Carbon Life for out-of-the-box books on politics, justice, history and design, and KOKITO for cute books for kids.
All of The County’s six library branches (Picton, Bloomfield, Wellington, Milford, Consecon, and Ameliasburgh) are packed with cozy nooks, books, and often kids programming or activity spaces. Their staff are pretty amazing too for recommendations and local tips. Check their websites for opening hours and services.
9. Set yourself a fancy table
Grab some takeout from one of the County’s many restaurants and find your new favourite bottle of wine. Then set a fancy table with new napkins, plates, place mats, vases or other goodies from one of the County’s many houseware shops like Zest Kitchen Shop, The Ye11ow, KOKITO, Green Gables, Gilbert & Lighthall. Add some flowers from Coriander Girl, Floralora or Flowers by Marvin and make your dine-at-home experience extra special.
10. Embrace the rain
#CountyUp and embrace the weather with a visit to the shoreline. Consider parking on Main Street and heading for a walk at Wellington Beach, where wild winds can churn up some amazing waves, which put on a show as they crash into the iconic beacon. If you’d rather stay dry during your weather watching, grab a table on the covered patios at the Drake Devonshire, The Vic Drive-In, Parsons Brewing or Isaiah Tubbs Resort.
11. Stay warm and dry at the Drive-In
Rainy evenings gotcha down? The Mustang Drive-In has movies rain or shine and it’s a well known Sandbanks camper secret that rather than spend the night in a tent in the rain.. spend it laughing and snuggling in your car!
And remember: rain helps the garden grow, which means better farm-to-table produce at the next meal!
Updated June 2021.
Beyond the Beach: Where to Make Waves in Prince Edward County 🎣 🛶 ⛵
Sandwiched between Lake Ontario and the Bay of Quinte, with many rivers and lakes running through it, Prince Edward County is all about water, with more than 800 km of shoreline and tons of H20-based ways to enjoy it.
Here are a few beyond-the-beach ideas for water-playing your way around The County.
Prince Edward County was once a peninsula, until construction of the Murray Canal swing bridge in Carrying Place severed it from the main land. Sight-seeing by water offers a unique view — and is just as beautiful as from the land. It’s the perfect way to see birds and marine wildlife up close.
Easy Paddler: Cabin Fever Kayak or PEC Kayaks can set you afloat in a kayak, canoe or stand-up paddle board. Cabin Fever Kayak launches on picturesque Black River, with only the sounds and sights of nature as your companion. Wonderfully relaxing, it’s an eco-friendly way to explore coastal marshes and bucolic vistas. Paddle the meandering waterway six kilometres southwest into the nearby town of Milford. Head east into the waters of South Bay for a close-up of McMahon Bluffs, a protected nature reserve.
Bonus: Cabin Fever Kayak’s watercraft are made and sold in The County by Demorestville-based Clearwater Design. So, if you liked the test paddle, check them out, and take one home.
Hoist the Sails
Pull up anchor, raise the sails and catch the breeze. Sailing is a fun, often invigorating way, to enjoy The County by water.
Aye Aye Captain: Departing from Waupoos Marina, Stay and Sail offers private and group cruises (up to eight guests) aboard the Tzarina, a 34-ft. C&C sailboat. Captains Moira and Brent offer several cruising options, from a two-hour sail around the waters of South Bay to half and full-day excursions that include anchoring for swimming, snacks and light refreshments. There’s also a four-hour cruise that covers sailing basics.
Not ready to jump ship? Then spend the night, lulled to sleep by the gentle roll of the water, in one of two sailboats that Stay and Sail rents out as accommodation. Both are docked in the Waupoos Marina.
Wind And Water: Try a different kind of sail with AirTime Kiteboarding. The four-year-old company, based out of a private beach on West Lake near the Sandbanks, helps you harness wind power with kiteboarding lessons and rentals. Catamaran lessons and rentals are also available.
Hook, Line, and Sinker
Cast your line – and your luck – into the waters of Prince Edward County. Not only is Lake Ontario a plentiful fishing ground, but the Bay of Quinte – the Walleye Capital of the World — is an angler’s dream.
For Charter: Fish with the pros who know the waters and where and when and what to catch . Meal On A Reel Charters and Bay of Quinte Charters are just two of several fishing specialists who can help you hook walleye, salmon, lake trout, pickerel, bass and perch. Charter season runs May through to late November. Rods, bait, tackle, beverages and food are provided. All you need to bring is a valid fishing licence. For more charters, fishing and boating advice, see our complete listings.
Gear Up: Whether you arrived in The County rod-less, or just need bait, Wilki’s Tackle Box has every angler’s back, from novice to pro, with everything from rods and reels to minnows and worms. Canadian Tire in Picton is a reliable go-to as well. Not only is the fishing-gear department well stocked, but you can pick up a fishing licence if you don’t have one. There’s also plenty of other equipment to float a fun day on the water, from boats to inflatable toys.
Whether you’re a resident boater without a home dock, or a sail-in, motor-up or haul-your-own-watercraft visitor, The County has “boat parking” and several public launches. Pull up to the following locations:
Marina Moorings: In addition to offering public boat launches, Picton Marina and Harbour, Waupoos Marina and Wellington Harbour provide overnight and seasonal docking with access to hydro and water, fuel, washrooms and showers, and pump-out facilities (Picton and Waupoos only). The Glenora Marina is an excellent stop for fuel, rentals and repairs.
Float Your Boat: There are also eight municipal boat launches conveniently located around The County’s most popular bodies of water. Sites include Big Island, East Lake, Northport, Prinyer’s Cove, Rossmore, Weller’s Bay, and Wellington Beach.
Non-motorized watercraft have launching options, too. Many are located in conservation parks, including Massassauga Point, where parking is $5 for the day. Or municipal boat launches, such as H.J. McFarland or Glendon Green, where parking is $10. For a fee, non-motorized watercraft can also be launched onto the Black River from Cabin Fever Kayak.
Ahoy Sailors: Sail into Prince Edward Yacht Club and dock awhile. Located on picturesque Picton Harbour, downtown Picton’s restaurants, shops and art galleries are within easy strolling distance. Guests from other sailing clubs enjoy reciprocal docking privileges.
Kid-perfect: Sand-and-surfed out, but the water-babies are still clamouring for a good soaking? Try the nautical-themed Picton Splash Pad, located at the Picton Fairgrounds, adjacent to the glorious Crystal Palace. Please note COVID protocols in advance of your visit. You can also picnic there, with bring-your-own grub, or grab takeout from across the street at Angry Birds, PEC’s answer to Swiss-Chalet-St. Hubert.
There are also many ways to appreciate PEC’s marine beauty without dipping toes, rods, paddles, sails or motors into the water. Here are a few land-lubber options:
Marine Museum-hopping: Explore The County’s symbiotic relationship with the waters that surround it at two great museums. Located in South Bay, Mariners Park Museum, with its distinctive lighthouse and recreated circa-War of 1812 fort, is home to many recovered shipwreck treasures and tales of fishing, ship-building, rum-running and more.
The Naval Marine Archive: The Canadian Collection in downtown Picton celebrates marine and naval history. The museum houses an art gallery, ship models and plans, books and nautical papers, charts and more.
On The Menu: A County dining must-try is the local, fresh-water catch-of-the-day, often perch or pickerel. And, of course, all food tastes better enjoyed with a side of waterfront!
Check out these restaurants for their beautiful waterscape panoramas, all unique in their own way: County Cider Company (Lake Ontario), Drake Devonshire Inn (Lake Ontario), The Lighthouse Restaurant (Picton Harbour), The Restaurant at Waupoos Winery (Lake Ontario), The Restaurant on the Knoll at Isaiah Tubbs (West Lake), and The View at Picton Golf and Country Club (Picton Bay).
For classic County-caught fish and chips, try the Blue Sail on Main Street Picton, which has a fish market attached. Or Sand & Pearl, voted one of Canada’s best new restaurants by en Route magazine and a smorgasbord of delights from the sea.
By Karen Orme, owner/operator Runaway Rooster