Last Updated: 21 December 2021
Have a Delicious Spring in Prince Edward County with Countylicious
Spring is almost here, which means Countylicious is back again for another three weeks of delicious prix fixe dining! With 16 participating restaurants and eateries, there are so many opportunities to get out and dine local in Prince Edward County this season. From April 12 – May 1, come on out to experience the best of The County’s early season produce and inventive, seasonally-inspired dishes from County restaurants you know, love, and have been dying to try. Read on to discover all participating restaurants and to access reservation links to guarantee a table for this culinary experience. Check back later this month to view the spring Countylicious menus for all participating restaurants, which will be posted both here and on countylicious.ca.
Want to maximise your Countylicious experience? Come and stay a while! Head to StayPEC.com to discover a whole host of accommodation options, including Countylicious participants The Royal Hotel, The Waring House, Jackson’s Falls Country Inn, and the Drake Devonshire. For even more accommodation options, head to visitthecounty.com/stay
The Royal Hotel
The Royal Hotel will be serving up at $60 dinner menu once again for Countylicious. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience dishes from the mind of Chef Albert Ponzo in their stunning dining room.
Jackson’s Falls Country Inn
Jackson’s Falls Country Inn opened their dining room for weekend brunch this winter, and that tradition will continue through Countylicious. Book ahead to experience their $20 prix fixe menu every weekend from 9am – 2pm.
7 Numbers has prepared a $20 Lunch and a $45 Dinner prix fixe menus again this Countylicious. Call to make a reservation to experience their southern Italian-style cuisine.
Head to Hartleys Tavern for a decadent $60 prix fixe menu during spring Countylicious, featuring local goodness from Honey Wagon Farms, Elmbrook Farms, and more.
There’s nothing like a trip to Parsons to make it feel like the warmer weather’s almost here, so start your spring by experiencing their $30 prix fixe lunch menu.
Dining at the Merrill House is always a memorable experience thanks to the genius of Chef Michael Sullivan, and it’s even more memorable during Countylicious wth their affordable $30 and $60 prix fixe lunch and dinner menus.
This Countylicious, head to the shores of Lake Ontario in Wellington to experience the Drake Devonshire’s $60 prix fixe menu. Featuring local products like Prinzen Poultry and Nyman’s Maple Syrup, you won’t want to miss this menu from Chef Amanda Ray.
Matron Fine Beer
Chef Neale Aziz will be serving up another delicious $20 lunch menu at Matron Fine Beer this spring. Reservations aren’t necessary at Matron, so feel free to swing by (by car or by bike!) for a hearty bite.
Chef Martin Brzozowski’s intimate spot in Picton will be serving up $20 lunch and $45 dinner prix fixe menus this spring, celebrating the very best of homemade Italian cuisine, including handmade pasta, locally made burrata, and homemade focaccia.
Waupoos Estates Restaurant
Head down to Waupoos for an unforgettable lunch or dinner experience at Waupoos Estates Restaurant. Featuring product grown on their own farms, their $30 & $60 lunch and dinner prix fixe menus are sure to delight.
555 Brewing Co.
If you love 555 Brewing Co. for their pizza and beer, you’ll also love them for their $20 lunch and $45 dinner prix fixe menus during Countylicious this spring. Reservations aren’t necessary at 555 (also lovingly known as “the fives”), so just stroll on up their rainbow walk to experience pizza bliss!
Also in Waupoos, Stella’s Eatery will be serving up another $45 prix fixe dinner menu created by Chef Leah Hannon. Be sure to reserve in advance to make sure you get to taste what they’re cooking up this spring with goodness from Fiddlehead Farms, Lighthall Vineyards, and more.
Named one of Ontario’s most beloved restaurants by OpenTable in 2022, we’re thrilled to have Bocado Restaurant as part of Countylicious again this year. Be sure to reserve now (via OpenTable) to experience their inventive $60 prix fixe dinner menu by Chef Stuart Cameron.
Bloomfield Public House
This popular County spot is back to full capacity as a restaurant after serving the community as a market during the pandemic and we could not be more thrilled. Make your reservations now to experience the $45 prix fixe dinner menu from Chef Elliot Reynolds.
Flame + Smith
Flame + Smith is once again serving up a $60 prix fixe dinner menu during Countylicious this Spring. Reserve your table today to experience Chef Hidde Zomer’s flame and smoke-infused cooking at this great price.
Follow us on Instagram for chances to win $100 gift cards to each of these participating restaurants as we count down to spring Countylicious 2023, taking place from April 12 – May 1, 2023
Experience Maple and More in Prince Edward County this March
Emerge from winter with us this March in Prince Edward County. From maple harvest celebrations to a new Winter Wine Festival, there is plenty to enjoy with the whole family. Read on to get all the details and plan your March getaway today!
PEC Maple Madness
PEC Maple Madness is back again to help celebrate the sweetest time of year in The County. Visit a sugarbush, taste delicious maple delights, and stay over in some sweet accommodations to make for a maple-y getaway every weekend in March. With more than 60 participating businesses, there will be opportunities to experience maple at every turn!
Participating sugarbushes include Waupoos Estates Winery, Walt’s Sugar Shack, Three Dog Winery, County Shores Farms, Sugarbush Vineyards, Justin’s Maple Syrup, Campbell’s Orchards, and Nyman Farms. In addition to learning about the maple harvest and sampling straight from the source, you can expect pancake breakfasts every Saturday and Sunday at Waupoos Estates, pancake and sausage breakfasts at Walt’s Sugar Shack, self-guided tours through the woods at Justin’s Maple Syrup (hiking boots or rain boots recommended), educational Maple Walk & Talks through Murray’s sugarbush at Campbell’s Orchards, and more!
After visiting a sugar bush, taste the Maple Syrup in action at local establishments. Why not start with a maple-y wine tour at Three Dog Winery, Sandbanks Estate Winery, Lacey Estates Winery, Rosehall Run, Huff Estates, Norman Hardie Winery, Karlo Estates, The Grange, Closson Chase Winery, Broken Stone Winery, Harwood Estate Vineyards, Trail Estate Winery, Hillier Creek Estates Winery, Redtail Vineyards, or Stanners Vineyards. These participating wineries have lots of maple deliciousness on offer to pair with their wines, like maple shortbread and maple cheese from Black River Cheese at Sandbanks Winery, all-you-can-eat vegan pancake brunches at Karlo Estates, and maple salmon gravlax with maple-infused wine cocktails at Rosehall Run.
Distilleries, breweries, and cideries are getting in on the fun as well, with Clafeld Cider House, Barley Days Brewery, Kinsip Distillery, Midtown Brewing Company, Prince Eddy’s Brewing, Matron Fine Beer, Gillingham Brewery, Parsons Brewery, 555 Brewery, All My Friends Beer Co., and Loch Mor Cider serving up tasty maple beverages and accompaniments. Head to Kinsip for Maple Whisky and Whisky Barrel-Aged Maple Syrup, to Loch Mor for limited edition Maple-infused Pommeau (aka apple port), or stop at Matron Fine Beer for delectable maple cinnamon buns.
Finally, stop for a bite to eat at participating Maple Madness restaurants and food producers, which include The County Canteen, 7 Numbers Picton, The Waring House, Fifth Town Cheese, The Drake Devonshire, J&W Farms, Stella’s Eatery, Sand & Pearl, Cressy Mustard Co., PECish Baking, The County Chocolatier, The Village Bake Shoppe, and Sprigglen Meat Market. Enjoy maple-y menu items like Polenta Arancini with Maple Cheddar & Prosciutto at 7 Numbers, French Toast served with a caramelized apple + cranberry compote, Perth bacon, Chantilly cream, and hearty dose of Nyman Farms Maple Syrup at Drake Devonshire, or a Maple Salmon BLT on PECish Bread from Sand & Pearl, which you can find at Gillingham Brewing on March 4&5, PECish Baking Co. on March 11, 18 and 25, and Slake Brewing on March 12, 19, and 26.
With so much to experience during Maple Madness in March, make a weekend of it and stay with us here in PEC. Maple Madness is serving up some sweet accommodation offers including The Waring House, Places in PEC, Eliken House (PEC STA License # ST-2019-0256), Everly Inn, Sandbanks Vacations, Indergaard Farm Stay (PEC STA License #: ST-2021-0001.), Twin Birch Suites & Cottages, Pleasant Stays Guest House (PEC STA License #: 2022-0089), The Lakeside Motel, Pettit House, County Charm Vacation Home (PEC STA License #: ST-2022-0132), Picton Bay Hideaway (PEC STA License #: ST – 2021-0168), Lock 6 Lodge, and The Owens House (PEC STA License #: STA-2021-0115).
🛌 Discover Sweet Accommodations Offers for Maple Madness 🛌
Be sure to follow PEC Maple Madness on Instagram and Facebook to learn about all the offerings from participating businesses throughout March and visit their website to plan for your perfect maple getaway in The County.
Elévage: PEC Winter Wine Festival
Raise a glass to winter in wine country with Élevage: PEC Winter Wine Festival from March 11-12, 2023. What is Élevage? Derived from the french meaning “raise up,” Élevage refers to the time in winemaking between fermentation and bottling – typically in winter – when wines begin their maturing process and make their way to being ready to enjoy. This makes it the perfect name for a Winter Wine Festival in PEC, and this is one you won’t want to miss, with more than 21 local producers of wine and cider coming together to create a memorable weekend of wine and culinary experiences.
Élevage will take place at seven local wineries and cideries, each playing host to 2-3 other wineries and one chef who will be cooking up delicious bites inspired by our long history of fermentation and preservation. Tickets are $64 for general admission, which includes 12 drink samples and 3 food samples, with additional sample tickets available for purchase on-site. They also have a zero-proof admission option for $40 which includes 3 food tickets. Get your tickets here.
Spend the weekend working your way through the host locations and tasting food from local chefs, more than half of whom are of Indigenous descent, including 4 Mohawk Chefs from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. These locations include:
- Casa Dea Estates Winery, with Hillier Creek Estates and Three Dog Winery, alongside Chef Rachel Bies
- Closson Chase Vineyards, with Broken Stone Winery and Hubbs Creek Vineyard, alongside Chef Nicole Maracle
- Grange of Prince Edward, with Hinterland Wine Company and Lacey Estates Winery, with Chefs Nathan Thomas and Matt Demille
- Huff Estates Winery, with Lighthall Vineyards and The County Cider Company with Chefs Leah Hannon (Stella’s Eatery) and Lee Arden Lewis
- Karlo Estates Winery, with Keint-he Winery and Vineyards and Gravel Hill Vineyards, featuring food pairing by Karlo Estates Winery
- Loch Mór Cider Company, with Sugarbush Vineyards and Trail Estate Winery, featuring Chef Rebecca Hunt (Picnic PEC)
- Rosehall Run, with Morandin Wines, Sandbanks Winery, and Stanners Vineyard, with Chef Chavis Maracle
Looking for somewhere to stay during Élevage? Drake Devonshire is the official accommodations partner for the festival. Just call 613-399-3338 for bookings and mention Élevage – ticket holders will receive a complimentary bottle of PEC sparkling wine at check-in!
Get your tickets to Élevage today!
Maple in The County
Maple in The County is back and in person for the first time since 2019! Come out for this family-friendly festival and wrap up a month of maple festivities by experiencing the maple harvest at 5 beloved County sugar bushes over the weekend of March 25-26, 2023. Participating sugar bushes include:
- Hubbs Sugarbush/Sweetwater Cabin will be serving up their 45th annual pancake breakfast featuring fresh maple syrup. Lumberjack shows are back this year, and you’ll have a chance to purchase their small-batch, hand-made maple products like stirred sugar, maple butter, soft sugar candy, and more.
- Fosterholm Farms invites you to visit their 7500 tap sugarbush, which has been in operation since 1924! Come see how maple syrup is made and take a walk through the woods and tuck in to a delicious pancake and sausage breakfast with unlimited maple syrup. Meals are just $15 and take place inside their sap house beside the woodfire. There will also be plenty of maple goodies available for you to purchase at their wheelchair accessible facility.
- Vader’s Maple Syrup is exicited for you to visit their 2500 tap maple production – a family tradition since 1910. Tour the Sap House, observe our 3’x14′ evaporator in action, take a scenic walk overlooking East Lake, and learn from informative maple displays, and photos. Maple syrup, hand crafted maple butter, maple sugar and whisky barrel aged maple syrup available for purchase. You can also enjoy freshly made maple taffy on a stick and maple kettle corn!
- Head to Loha Farms for an all-day indoor pancake breakfast, after which you can enjoy a walk in the sugar bush, visit the animals in the barnyard, and watch how maple syrup is made in our sugar shack. A portion of their proceeds will be donated to Picton Memorial Hospital. Be sure to bring your rain boots!
- Come stop by our sap house at Roblin’s Maple Syrup and take in the picturesque views of Long Reach. Observe how they transform raw sap into pure maple syrup with their reverse osmosis and energy efficient combination wood/wood pellet fired evaporator, sample a flight of different maple syrup grades, enjoy maple butter on an english muffin, maple pulled pork on a bun, along with many other mouth-watering maple treats and products for sale.
For more information about Maple in The County, check out the website or follow the festival on Facebook.
Experience arts and culture in PEC this March with some exciting events and exhibits. Swing by Oeno Gallery for their “Conversations” Exhibition, which explores artsworks that “speak to each other,” through multiple panels or pieces. Featuring artists Milly Ristvedt, Shayne Dark, Aron Hill, Benny Katz, Paula Murray, John Paul Robinson, Alice Teichert, Julia Reimer, Derya Ozparlak, Kevin Robb and Peter Hoffer, you won’t want to miss this one! Meanwhile, on Picton Main Street, Arts on Main Gallery opens their Awakening Art Show on March 3, which will feature new works from local artists in celebration of spring.
If you want to try your hand at art, there are a few opportunities coming up this month you’ll want to register for. Every Tuesday night give life drawing a go with Salon Life Drawing at Karlo Estates, or you can sign up for the County Arts Lab’s Art for Equity event on International Women’s Day. Finally, if you want to bring home some handmade maple memorabilia along with some delicious wine, sign up for the Maple Leaf Mosaic Workshop at Broken Stone Winery.
Want to go beyond maple with your culinary adventures in The County? We’ve got you covered. In addition to the regular menus at our numerous restaurant offerings, you also don’t want to miss these special foodie events. Here mid-week? Wednesday Wing Night at Jackson’s Falls featuring Big Mike’s BBQ’s delicious smoked wings is a must try experience. Also at Jackson’s Falls you can enjoy brunch from Chef Chris Wylie every weekend – be sure to call in advance to book a table!
Here for the cheese? Plan to come in early on Friday throughout March to experience Fondue Fridays at The Eddie. This unique experience allows you to nosh on warming cheese and chocolate fondue in the quaint setting of a beautiful barn. If you haven’t gotten enough of molten cheese, be sure to head to Lighthall Vineyards on Sunday March 12 and Sunday March 19 to taste their homemade raclette alonside their stellar wines.
Coming up in April
Planning ahead for a visit in April? Here’s some of what you can look forward to next month:
Countylicious returns for its spring edition from April 12 – May 1! Enjoy 3 weeks of spring-inspired, three-course prix fixe menus at great prices from restaurants you know, love, and have been dying to try! Check out Countylicious.ca for more information in the coming weeks!
Easter at The Eddie
Get in the festive spirit at The Eddie with their annual Easter Egg Hunt and Sunday Brunch on April 9! Book your tickets now!
A Bucket List for Winter in Prince Edward County ❄️☃️
We’re going to let you in on one of our best-kept secrets: winter in Prince Edward County. Sure, it’s colder and quieter, but for us those are just added benefits that make for some unforgettable experiences. For the uninitiated that may need some convincing, so keep reading to discover our bucket list for an incredible winter experience in The County.
Note: this bucket list might not be accomplished in a single weekend getaway, but maybe that calls for making a PEC winter getaway a tradition. Or better yet, book a longer stay to enjoy a whole week of winter fun in The County. Discover unique and luxurious accommodations our website here.
1. Snowshoe at a Winery
There are so many reasons to love The County in winter, and one of them is the opportunity to get outside and enjoy the crisp and refreshing air before tucking into a cozy wine tasting around the fire. This is made possible at Sugarbush Vineyards and Three Dog Winery, where their private trails allow for you to experience a part of PEC not typically open to the public.
At Sugarbush Vineyards, you’ll find a 2.5 km snowshoe trail though their sugarbush and vineyard. You can rent or bring your own snowshoes, and your fee includes a wine tasting, hot chocolate and cookies by the fire. They trails are open most weekends during the winter, but be sure to check in advance before arriving.
At Three Dog Winery they offer a guided hike through their snowshoe trails most weekends throughout the winter. For $30 you will get a snowshoe rental for your guided tour, two glasses of wine, and a light snack. Spots are limited so be sure to book in advance on their website.
As with all winter experiences, snowshoeing is subject to the weather, so keep your fingers crossed for lots of snow! 🤞
2. Hit the Ice at Parsons
One of the great things about Prince Edward County in wintertime is that there is plenty of fun to be had for the whole family, and one of these hubs for winter family fun is Parsons Brewing, where kiddos and kids at heart can take to the covered rink, sip hot chocolate and make s’mores by the fire. Stick around for their delicious Argentinian-inspired food menu (or come early for Sunday brunch!) and of course their extensive list of handcrafted beers.
To have this winter experience, be sure to follow Parsons Brewing on Instagram for updates about the opening of their winter rink. As with snowshoeing, this experience is subject to good winter weather, so hope the cold weather sticks around so we have as many weekends of skating fun as possible.
3. Get Cozy on an Outdoor Patio
Sure, it’s great snuggling up indoors next to a fire, but there’s something equally as great about embracing the chill, bundling up and enjoying some locally-crafted beverages by the fire pit. Gillingham Brewing in particular has a fantastic outdoor patio with fire tables and heaters to ease some of the chill, that goes perfectly with their handcrafted beers, wine from neighbouring Domaine Darius, and frequent oyster pop-ups. But whether at Gillingham or many of Prince Edward County’s wineries, breweries and cideries, this is an essential part of the winter experience in The County. Bonus: it’s family and pup-friendly, with space for kids to enjoy the snow and the ability for pups to join you on your County outings.
🐶 Related: Pet-friendly PEC 🐶
4. Enjoy a Main Street Stroll
Whatever the weather, a stroll along one of The County’s main streets should be on your list. With delightful shops, delicious restaurants and plenty of quaint cafés to satisfy whatever craving you have. Looking for some ideas?
- In Picton, discover contemporary homewares at Kala Home, stop in for a quick lunch at The Royal Hotel‘s Counter Bar (don’t forget to grab a cannoli for dessert), and pick out the perfect winter read for you or the kids at Books & Company.
- In Bloomfield, add a little Scandi to your skincare regime at Scandiskin, discover contemporary Canadian art at Guildworks, and warm up with lunch off the vegan menu at Bermuda.
- Meanwhile, over in Wellington design your own vintage-inspired jewellery piece at Anice Jewellery, stock up on green-living essentials at GOOD Place, and grab a pint and a bite at Midtown Brewing.
5. Take a Coffee (or Cocoa) Break
When you’re spending so much time out in the cold, it’s always a treat to head inside for a bit of a winter warmer. Luckily, The County has lots of options for you and your kiddos to get warm with a coffee or hot chocolate. Speaking of kids, if you have them you definitely want to head to Beacon Bike+Brew in Picton where their kid-friendly play area is perfect to keep them entertained while you relax with a brew. Also in Picton you’ll find Lily’s Café (connected to Books & Company), the Bean Counter Café, and Luso Bites, where you’ll find a whole host of delicious Portugese delights (including pastel de nata!) alongside a large coffee menu. If tea is more your speed, don’t miss Savon Du Bois, whose apothercary is sure to provide the perfect remedy to a chilly day. Other coffee spots include Bloomfield Public House as well as Bloomfield Beauty Co., GOOD Place, Piccolina Mercato and Consecon Honey House Café.
☕ Related: Coffee, Coffee, Coffee☕
6. Visit a Winery
If you want to learn more about winemaking in Prince Edward County straight from the source, a winter visit to some local wineries should definitely be on your list. Not only are the cozy vibes inside the tasting room unmatched, but it’s also a perfect opportunity to chat with tasting room staff – and in many cases the winemakers themselves – about making wine in The County and the terroir that makes it so special. Who knows, you may even get a taste of a new release! For more information about our local wineries be sure to explore the wine section of our website, or check out PEC Wine’s newly updated website and app to help plan your perfect tour.
7. Enjoy a Leisurely Brunch
When you have a day of wintery outdoor adventures planned, there’s no better way to start your day than with hearty brunch. Luckily, winter in Prince Edward County is brunch season, with many spots offering seasonal brunch menus in addition to our already popular brunch offerings. Here are some delicious brunch experiences you will want to have this winter:
- Creekside Café won our hearts with their stunning brunch menu when they opened last summer, and the good news is that they’re still at it this winter, and with new menu items to boot. Brunch starts up again this Saturday, so don’t miss it!
- Come for the weekend and stay for the brunch starting January 15 at Jackson’s Falls Country Inn. Not staying at the inn? That’s okay – you’re invited too! Just be sure to make a reservation in advance.
- Head to Karlo Estates for their bubble brunch every Sunday – all-you-can-eat vegan pancakes, handcrafted sparkling wine, and a cozy barn setting – what more could you want?
- Run to Parsons Brewing to experience their seasonal brunch menu before enjoying a wintery pint by the fire and a skate on their outdoor rink (weather permitting).
- Check out the new breakfast menu at The County Canteen featuring deliciousness such as an epic breakfast burrito and an indulgent breakfast poutine.
- They’re available all year round, but we’d be remiss not to mention the decadent brunches at the Drake Devonshire, The Royal Hotel, and Picton Harbour Inn.
8. Hit the Trails
There’s nothing like a walk in the forest after a snowfall. Luckily, Prince Edward County has lots of options to get you breathing that winter air between brunch, wine tasting, and your next indulgent County meal. Here’s just a few:
- Macaulay Mountain Conservation Area is a great stop for a walk after spending the morning in Picton. With access from Macaulay Heritage Park, this Quinte Conservation area has a large trail network that allows for you to customize your routes. Be sure to download a map and wear appropriate footwear as the path can be wet in places in mild weather, though with a fresh cover of snow it’s a dream! If you’re looking for an easier stroll or if you just want to take a look at one of The County’s loveliest community arts projects, be sure to check out Birdhouse City, which is located on the edge of the conservation area.
- Sandbanks Provincial Park really shows off in winter with six trails to choose from of varying lengths and difficulty. From snow on the beach on Dunes Trail to quiet, riverside moments on Cedar Sands, you’re bound to stumble upon countless magical “are we in Narnia?” moments for your memory bank. Head to the Ontario Parks website to learn more about accessing Sandbanks in Winter, and don’t forget these crucial safety tips:
- Stay off the lake. Shore ice can be very precarious and it’s not worth the risk.
- Start your walk with plenty of time before dark to help ensure you get back to your car safely.
- Dress appropriately. Winter boots. Layers. Gloves and hats. This is no place for sneakers!
- The Millennium Trail runs the length of The County and is just as much a major artery through the area in winter as it is in the warmer months. Cross country skiing, fat biking, walking, and snowmobiling are just a few ways you can enjoy this public linear park.
For even more travel inspiration, be sure to follow us on Instagram and use #PrinceEdwardCounty to share your PEC winter experiences with us!
An Outdoorsy Weekend in Prince Edward County and Bay of Quinte
This is the first of three itineraries developed in partnership with our friends at the Bay of Quinte Region. Stay tuned for our upcoming Foodie and Wellness itineraries.
Laura Voskamp is a bike shop/cafe owner based out of Belleville (shoutout to The Brake Room), but she grew up in nearby Brighton, making her the perfect ambassador for the Bay of Quinte region. You’ll often find her cycling in BoQ and PEC while brewery hopping, fuelled by coffee, of course. This is her perfect outdoorsy weekend in PEC & BoQ.
Download The Outdoorsy Map illustrated by Kelly Panacci
Day One | An Afternoon in Brighton & Trenton
Lola’s Cafe | BoQ
Stopping for a coffee is the perfect way to start out your long weekend, making sure that you have the energy you need to enjoy every minute. Lola’s Café is located on the west side of Brighton, right on your route if you’re headed in from the Toronto area. This sunny spot will always have a place in my heart: it was one of my favourite haunts as a high school student! I don’t always get the chance to stop in at Lola’s now that I live in Belleville, but when I do, I always (ALWAYS) get a stack of their famous toffee shortbread cookies to take home. I’ve tried recreating these on several occasions, but there is just something magical about the ones they make at the cafe. Hot tip: make sure to bring a thermos to fill up with a warm drink to take to your next destination.
Presqu’ile Provincial Park | BoQ
Heading south out of downtown Brighton towards the lake shore, you’ll instantly feel quieted as you pass by marshes scattered with water fowl. I recommend timing your visit to coincide with golden hour at the park. It’s easy to find parking at Presqu’ile’s beaches during fall and winter afternoons, plus you can plan ahead by securing an Ontario Parks day use permit online. The park’s trails are open for hiking all year, and the 8km bike loop alongside the main road is the perfect length to get you moving on chillier days. The Lighthouse is an ideal place to stop for a spot of hot tea and dig into your stash of Lola’s shortbread cookies.
Presqu’ile is on Lake Ontario, the shoreline of which is known for incredible ice formations in certain conditions. If you hear rumours about ice volcanoes starting to crop up in the depths of winter, be sure to make a plan to visit the park! But please stay off the shore ice as this is known to be unsafe in winter – keep to the beach!
Coming into the area from the east? It’s definitely worth a stop at The Brake Room in Belleville for coffee, some delicious treats, and to pick up some cool bike accessories before your adventurous weekend. Follow that up with a walk at Potter’s Creek Conservation Area before heading to dinner.
Tomasso’s Italian Grille | B0Q
All that fresh air is guaranteed to make you hungry! I love a good, comforting meal after spending time out in the elements, so after your afternoon walk I’d definitely head into Trenton for dinner at Tomasso’s Italian Grille before heading back to cozy up for the night. Tomasso’s is a favourite amongst Trenton locals: it’s been family-owned for generations and you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. Bonus: their dishes lend themselves well to take-out if you prefer to eat back at your accommodations. Keep it classic with one of Jim’s Pizzeria’s loaded pies and a Caesar salad, or try a baked pasta dish if you really want to lean into the comfort food season.
Day Two – A Cross-Border Adventure
Trenton Deli & Bakery | BoQ
Make the most of your daylight hours and be sure to get up early the next morning to start exploring. Head into Trenton, where the Trenton Deli been a mainstay for close to 50 years in downtown. It’s another spot I hold near and dear: the deli was a weekly stop for my family while I was growing up. The authentic European deli moved to a larger location and opened a bakery in 2020: more to love!
It’s easy to kill a bit of time perusing their European treat section, where you’ll find snacks to throw in your bike bag for the day and more to take home and stash for later. After you’ve made your selection, sidle up to the counter for a made-to-order deli sandwich (my pick is the Dutchess!) to take along for your afternoon. You can also grab a fresh croissant for breakfast if you get here early enough! Once you’ve packed up your picnic, it’s time to head out of town for some more of that fresh, rural air.
Lower Trent Conservation & Trails and the Old Bank Cafe | BoQ
Just outside of Trenton is a collection of under-the-radar trails that connect the towns of Batawa, Frankford and Glen Miller. If you’re hiking, try the 1.5km Bleasdell Boulder loop. A bike will get you a bit further: you can start at the trailhead on Lock Road and follow this route up to the Old Bank Cafe in Stirling for a warm up. Pedal back down along the Trent River and stop for your sandwich on the waterfront before you get back down to the parking lot. Try this route I drew up on the Ride with GPS app if you’re unfamiliar with the area.
Millennium Trail & Bloomfield Public House Market| PEC
If you want to squeeze in another few hours outdoors, the Millennium Trail is a perfect way to take in the County. The Trail connects with the main County artery, Loyalist Parkway, both north and east of Consecon as well as in Wellington and Bloomfield. The Trail is great for folks planning to bring fat bikes to the County, but as long as the snow isn’t too deep, most bikes with tires over 35mm will be totally comfortable riding on it.
Park in Wellington and head East toward Bloomfield on the multi-use trail. It’s fairly flat and very well-packed, so even though your round trip will be 20 kilometres, it’s a relatively easy ride and you won’t have to worry about any car traffic – though be sure to keep an ear out for snowmobiles in winter and leave room for them to safely pass. Plan your trip to stop in Bloomfield at Bloomfield Public House Market for a warm drink and a snack (check their open hours and be sure to factor in riding time) and then hop back on the trail to head back to the car.
If craft beer is what you’re craving mid-ride, you can also stop at Matron Fine Beer which is located just off the trail in Bloomfield. Grab a floofy pour and warm up next to their fire pits before hopping back on the Trail. Don’t forget to grab some cans to take home!
Midtown Brewing Company | PEC
A winter visit to Midtown Brewing Company is a standard for PEC + BoQ locals. Once your cheeks are rosy from a winter trail ride, you’ll know it’s time for an order of Midtown’s famous fries + a pint of oatmeal stout (my favourites) followed by whatever seasonal features the kitchen crew has going for the night.
Day Three – An Easy Sunday
Picton Explore + Macaulay Mountain Hike | PEC
You’re guaranteed to sleep well after all that time outside yesterday, so take your time in the morning. I suggest calling ahead while you’re getting ready to order your breakfast from The Vic Drive-In in Picton: the breakfast sandwich isn’t messy, so it’s perfect for enjoying in Benson Park tucked just behind Main Street or as you walk down the street for some window-shopping. If you have the time though, the Vic is the most fun place to enjoy a dine-in experience!
Once you’ve scoped out all the windows and finished your sandwich, pop into the shops that strike your fancy. Head into Books & Company where you’ll find a great selection of field guides to amp up your outdoor education. And don’t miss Beacon Bike + Brew, where you can pick up some well-curated pieces to add to your cycling kit and grab another cozy drink before driving to the edge of town for a hike. Park at the bottom of Macaulay Mountain and head up! The trails wind their way up the hill (find the different trail ratings on AllTrails) and in the winter months you’ll be able to see even more of Picton from each vantage point.
Fina Vista Farms Visit | BoQ
When you’re ready to wind your way back out of the County, point yourself north west: destination, Fina Vista Farms. My 🔥 Hot Take 🔥 is that winter is the best season for so many outdoor activities, and horseback riding is one of them. You won’t have to deal with any of the annoying parts of summer trail rides, (read: bugs and humidity!) just dress in your warmest layers and cross your fingers for a light dusting of snow while you ride!
And there you have it! The perfect outdoorsy weekend in PEC & BoQ is complete!
Looking for more inspiration for exploring the region? Read more of our blog and check out the regional itineraries over at bayofquinte.ca. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the next itinerary in this joint initiative with the Bay of Quinte.
Thanks to our friends at Bay of Quinte Regional Marketing Board and RTO9 for making these joint itineraries possible. Also thank you to local artist Kelly Panacci for providing her talent for the illustrations on this project.
What to Do in Winter in Prince Edward County❄️
It’s beautiful any time of year in The County, but when old man winter takes his palette of white and begins to paint in snow, the results are truly magical. Get out here and explore the snow show!
Article by: George Amaro + Karen Orme
Lace ’em up.
Let’s begin with the most iconic of Canadian winter pastimes … skating. And no, we don’t have to say ice skating … we’re Canadian … there’s only one kind.
And like most Canadians, we don’t need a rink to lace ’em up … any frozen piece of water will do, and there’s plenty of that when you’re an island. But if you want something a little more structured, we’ve got that, too.
We’ve got one in Picton and another in Wellington. Both are very active at this time of year with minor hockey, figure skating, shinny and public skating. Check the schedules.
- Prince Edward Community Centre, 375 Picton Main Street.
- Wellington District Community Centre (Lehigh Arena), 111 Belleville Street.
Additionally, Parsons Brewing has an epic covered ice surface that opens in the new year, along with tons of space for running around in the snow and a fire pit to warm up (and have some s’mores) by.
Get out and cheer on our local junior hockey teams! The Wellington Dukes, Junior A Hockey Club. and Picton Pirates, Empire B Junior C Hockey Club.
Hit the trails.
You can snap on the skis and snowshoes at many of The County’s parks and conservation areas, including Sandbanks, which features 10 km of trails, and Macaulay Mountain’s 11 km of paths. The 46-km-long Millennium Trail is a fantastic place to cross country ski, snowshoe or hike – just remember that the trail is part of, and shared by, snowmobilers. Of course, you can just hike any of the trails and beaches as well.
Three Dog Winery offers guided tours of their property on snowshoes. Price includes a wine tasting, too!
Sugarbush Vineyards, a self-proclaimed garagiste winery, has a 2.5 km snowshoe trail though their sugarbush and vineyard. Snowshoe rentals are available, and include a wine tasting, hot chocolate and cookies. They’re open most weekends – check in advance.
Campbell’s Orchards, a 50-year-old County institution, boasts several trails for hiking, skiing or snowshoeing through their orchards. They have a limited number of snowshoes you can borrow (with a piece of ID). Check beforehand to confirm availability and hours of operation.
Slip on a snowsuit, hop on the sled, and over the farm fields we go … and the forests, and the trails, and the pastures. The Prince Edward County Trail Riders groom and maintain about 220 km of snowmobile trails in The County. And, if you don’t already have one, make sure you get your Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) trail permit before you hit the white gold.
Thrill the hill.
Anything with a slight slope will do for tobogganing, really, but if you’re looking for a somewhat more exhilarating ride, try (at your own risk) Macauley Mountain Conservation Area and the “epic” hill at Delhi Park in Picton.
New members are always welcome at the 100+-year-old Prince Edward Curling Club. And don’t worry if you don’t have any experience, aspiring curlers can start their hall-of-fame careers with a six-week Learn to Curl program that is very chill and fun. The club is located at 367 Main Street in the Picton Fairgrounds between the Crystal Palace and the arena.
Grab a cold one.
Walleye is the prize target at Fish Finder Charters, though perch and northern pike are also on the hook. The highly respected company, which will be celebrating their 40th season this year, rents eight insulated huts, so contact them well in advance to book.
At Merland Park Cottages, located on beautiful Picton Bay, you can rent winterized cottages, ice-fishing huts, and even your own, personal, experienced walleye fishing guide. The ice fishing season usually starts mid-January, and the huts are on the water until the end of February depending on weather conditions. Here’s some bedtime reading on what to bring ice fishing, and how to target winning walleye.
Power the powder.
Fat bikes are a unique, and increasingly popular way to snow-trek The County’s beaches, trails, and yes, wineries and breweries. These fun and funky two-wheelers are available from Ideal Bike, and while their Wellington location is closed for the winter, they can set you up from their Belleville store. Just give them a shout and they’ll meet you in Wellington or deliver to where you’re staying in PEC.
Play and stay.
Prince Edward County is home to a diverse and beautiful range of overnight spaces and places. From charming and quaint hotels, motels and inns –– to eclectic and upscale B&Bs, with their ice-melting, hands-on hospitality, each is as unique as a snowflake. And best of all, you can experience them at low, off-peak-season rates, so they’re perfect for that winter wonderland escape! Check out where to stay.
Cozy the toesies.
Sure, fires aren’t exclusive to winter, but they’re probably a wee bit more enjoyable, because of the Cozy-Up-Factor … that’s a scientific term that measures the coziness of a fire in relation to how cold it is outside. (OK, so we made that up).
Where to get fire-side comfort? Luckily, lots of places in The County have either an indoor fireplace to snuggle-up to, an outdoor bonfire to drink hot bevies around – or both. Here are just a few toasty-time treasures: Slake Brewing (both), Drake Devonshire (both), Flame + Smith (both), Gillingham Brewing Company (outdoor) Kinsip House of Fine Spirits (outdoor), Midtown Brewing Company (both), Parsons Brewing Company (outdoor), Matron Fine Beer (outdoor), The Grange of Prince Edward (indoor), Three Dog Winery (outdoor).
Escape to escape.
Escape to PEC has recently taken on a double entendre, thanks to the addition of Escape Camp Picton which operates out of a decommissioned World War II air base part of Base31, and marries history, heritage and fun for a unique experience.
Board games and puzzles are a great way to shorten the long winter nights, and Books & Company is one of the best places to find the latest craze, or old faves. Bloomfield’s Green Gables Gifts & Greetings also has an excellent selection.
Celebrate County style.
There’s always a lot happening in The County. Be sure to check out our event listing for all of the details.
Here are 10 more great ways to do winter in Prince Edward County.
- Find warm comfort in delicious, wholesome food at any of The County’s great restaurants.
- Turn up the heat with some smokin’-hot live music at venues such as the Regent Theatre, Barley Room Pub, Acoustic Grill, and County Canteen to name a few.
- Check out a local gallery, because art knows no season.
- Warm up with a hot beverage … a delicious cocoa at Bean Counter Cafe, fresh-brewed coffee at Beacon Bike + Brew, a pluck tea at Bloomfield Public House, or a mulled bevy at various wineries/cideries.
- Catch up on your reading … lots to choose from at Books & Company, or the local thrift shops.
- Take up a hobby like painting at Baxter Arts Centre, or learn to knit at Rosehaven Yarn Shop – hey, we can all use a funky, new scarf!
- Relax and rejuvenate at Bloomfield Beauty Co. or iFloat in The County.
- Hit the sauna at Wander the Resort, Lakeside Motel or at Wilfrid Boutique Farmhouse.
- Grab a camera and a photo tour with County Outings to immortalize all this winter beauty!
- Build a snowman. Make a snow angel … anywhere you please in PEC.
Last Updated: 24 January, 2023
How to Winter in PEC ⛄
Winter brings a special, quieter vibe to The County and a much different pace than the dog days of summer. Here’s a round-up of outdoor activities to get outside and beat the winter blahs, snow or not.
“Lonely Sandbanks” | Photo Credit: Chris Ireland
Trade in your cooler for a thermos and leave your SPF at home. Check out the icy shores of Wellington Beach, or head to the beloved Dunes Beach at Sandbanks Provincial Park (follow the road signs leading south from Bloomfield and park at the Dunes Trail lot). Bundle up to beat the chill and enjoy the peace and quiet.
Embracing Winter at Three Dog Winery | Photo Credit: Daniel Vaughan
Walks, Snowshoeing and Cross Country Skiing
If you’re in it for the après, head to Three Dog Winery and Sugarbush Vineyards and snowshoe, ski or walk their vineyard trails. Head back to the tasting room for a well-deserved tasting and maybe even a bonfire.
The 49km–Millennium Trail, and the 10 kilometres of trails at Sandbanks Provincial Park are a great way to get your steps in while getting some much needed, fresh winter air. Walk, ski or snowshoe your winter blues away.
Skating under the sky in Sophiasburgh | Photo Credit: Daniel Vaughan
Indoor and Outdoor Skating
Strap on the blades and enjoy outdoor skating at Parsons Brewing in Picton. If the mercury hasn’t dropped quite enough for outdoor skating, try indoor public skating at the municipal arenas in Wellington and Picton.
Off we go! | Photo Credit: Daniel Vaughan
What better way to enjoy winter than by hopping on a piece of plastic and shooting yourself down an icy hill? Tobogganing in Delhi Park in Picton is a winter staple and a must-do for all ages. Bring your furry friend and hit the dog park.
Nice catch! | Photo Courtesy: @shelovestofish
When the ice is good and solid, grab your auger, pole and fishing license and spend some quality time ice fishing on the Bay of Quinte, home to some of the best walleye fishing in the world. The Bay is made up of hundreds of small inlets, tucked away honey holes and tributaries that are perfect for snagging walleye, as well as largemouth and smallmouth bass, salmon, pike and panfish.
Hit the trails | Photo Courtesy: Karlo Estates
Sledding, snowmobiling, skidoo-ing – whatever you call it – when the white gold falls, gear up and be the first to make tracks. The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs maintains a network of trails in The County. Ride responsibly and share the trails with the walkers, snowshoers and skiers.
Everything to warm you up | Photo Courtesy: @grangewinery
Would your rather stay warm and watch winter from afar? Slake Brewing, The Grange of Prince Edward and the Drake Devonshire, have cozy fireplaces. Grab your snuggie, get comfy and forget all about winter.
Stack ’em high | Photo Courtesy: @bloomfieldpublichouse
If you’re planning a winter adventure in The County you’ll need a hearty brunch. Arrive early for a table at Bocado, Stella’s Eatery, the Picton Harbour Inn, The County Canteen, Saylor House Cafe, The Drake Devonshire, or Parsons Brewery. Need brunch on the go? Pick up your order at Piccolina Mercatto, The Good Place, Bloomfield Public House Market or Crepe Escape!
And if winter just isn’t your thing, hibernate indoors with a good book, glass of local wine and wait it out. Before you know it, summer will be upon us and there will be queuing up for a beach day at Sandbanks! Hang in there, friend.
10 Places to Get a Taste of County History 🛶 🥫
The County’s five local museums are the keepers of 225+ years of history, artifacts, heritage gardens, park lands, orchards and outdoor exhibits, but there are plenty of places to explore and experience the influence of Indigenous, British, French, Dutch, German and many others who have at some time called The County home.
Macaulay Heritage Park
Macaulay Heritage Park comprises the house, gardens and church established by Rev. William Macaulay, an Anglican minister whose generous inheritance helped build the town of Picton. Inside the house you’ll find evidence of a comfortable life, albeit one lived in the 1800s: a winter and summer kitchen, three generous bedrooms, a sitting room, a parlour and more.
In winter, Macaulay hosts Ice Box PEC, an immersive art exhibition. It’s also host to many events featured in Flashback February, a week-long celebration of the rich cultural heritage of Prince Edward County.
Throughout the summer, Macaulay Heritage Park comes alive with special events, exhibits, day camps and programs meant to connect the community with its past. This is also the starting point of the popular Graveyard & Gallows tour, a guided, summertime walk highlighting the grisly double-hanging of the Lazier murder suspects.
Mariners’ Park Museum
Mariners’ Museum is a budding pirate’s paradise. This kid-friendly gem is filled with marine treasures, from model ships to maps of shipwrecks to details of rum runners’ routes, it also has a fort with a cannon, a swing set and a yard full of ship/boat-related paraphernalia awaiting exploration.
Water has always figured prominently in County life, once providing transportation routes into the interior. Trace the history of steam ships, schooners, speed boats, dugout canoes and fisherman’s skiffs at this South Bay museum.
Wellington Heritage Museum
The County was once known as the Garden County of Canada, owing to its plethora of fruit and vegetable canning factories. The first opened on the corner of Spring and West Mary streets in Picton. It was soon joined by dozens more and in the 1890s and early 1900s it became common to see horses and wagons loaded down with produce, waiting to be weighed and processed. Soon, The County was producing one-third of all canned tomatoes in the country. The industry began to wane after the Second World War, when factories were bought up and closed by competing American companies. Learn more about this industry at the Wellington Heritage Museum and get a closer look at vintage canning labels. It’s possible some were influenced by members of The Group of Seven when they worked in Toronto’s commercial art houses.
Ameliasburgh Heritage Village
Step back to Edwardian times at the Ameliasburgh Heritage Village, a collection of historic buildings nestled near the Harry Smith Conservation Area.
By the 1890s, The County had already seen the Barley Days come and go. It was awash in canning factories, dairies and cheese factories. But at its heart, it was an agricultural community. The Village has a heritage school and church, as well as a general store, log cabin, sugar shack, honey house and blacksmith’s shop. It will also become the permanent home of The deVries Collection, consisting of more than 500 natural history specimens and one of the finest private collections of taxidermy in the province.
Rose House Museum
When upstart Americans began a rebellion against their British founders, the British not only deployed their own troops, they also made use of indentured German soldiers. The Hessians were a fearsome lot: they fought under German flags, with German commanders, and were known for using pikes as weapons. (They were famously wiped out during the Battle of Trenton, a key turning point in the American Revolution, when 1,400 Hessian fighters were killed, wounded or captured during the December 26, 1776 battle.) When the Americans at last declared victory, the British gave their hired fighters a choice: they could either receive passage home, or claim land in Canada. Rose House belonged to the descendants of one of the Hessians, who arrived in The County in one of the first waves of German immigration to Canada.
Marilyn Adams Genealogical Research Centre
Marilyn Adams was a teacher with a keen interest in her family’s history. Today, her estate has become the Marilyn Adams Genealogical Research Centre, a hidden gem of family histories in Ameliasburgh. The centre’s volunteers specialize in sleuthing out nameless photos and deciphering the sometimes difficult-to-read handwriting of years gone by. Resources include a reading and library room, collections of township documents, historical and genealogical documents, a names database, microfilm readers and more. It is also home to one of the world’s most prestigious military collections, the Victoria Cross Archive, which was transferred from Britain in February 2011. They also offer library-level subscriptions to Ancestry.ca at no charge.
Base31 – aka Camp Picton or No. 31 Bombing and Gunnery School – was one of 151 British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) schools established across Canada between 1940-1945. Recruits from allied forces around the globe gathered at Camp Picton for training, including flying sessions out over the lake, where they dropped ‘bombs’ filled with coloured powder in an attempt to hit white canvas targets. Today, Base31 is a business park and community arts space, with many of the base’s original barracks having been painstakingly restored. But part of the charm of the place is seeing the way some of it has been lost to the elements, with Dali-esque buildings slowly swaying their way to the ground. Occasional walking tours visit the museum, the mess hall, the parachute drying building and a few of the hangars.
The Regent Theatre
For more than a century The Regent Theatre has provided entertainment to County residents as the “Monarch of Main Street.” The building was turned into a theatre in 1918 by George Cook, a Greek immigrant who ran the theatre with his wife and daughters. Over the years, it became an important stop on the vaudeville route, before becoming a venue for moving pictures.
Naval Marine Archive: The Canadian Collection
Naval Marine Archive: The Canadian Collection holds a quarter of a million maritime and nautical documents, books, images, charts, magazines, journals and ship plans, plus their databases provide comprehensive marine and nautical research capability. The Naval Marine Archive hosts art exhibits, in addition to their archive and collection of marine books, ship models and displays.
Glenwood Cemetery is an active cemetery located on 62 acres of land in the heart of Picton, and a popular spot for pedestrians looking for a serene walking spot set in rolling hills. Designed as a garden cemetery, it has mature forests, gardens, water features and winding walking paths. Established in 1873, the cemetery is an unrecognized trove of Canadian history and the final resting place of Letitia Youmans, a leader of the Canadian temperance movement.
Point Traverse Lighthouse
At the most eastern edge of The County’s south shore lies the Prince Edward Point National Wildlife Area, home to the Point Traverse Lighthouse. The fixed red light began guiding small vessels safely to shore in 1881, in response to a plea from ship captains. The lighthouse’s lamp and reflectors were replaced by a French lens in 1909. Three years later, the Canadian government terminated the lighthouse, but reinstated its light the following year, due to demand. The light was automated in 1941 and received a heritage designation in 2015. Walking and birding tours of the area are available in the spring and fall.
History Lives Here
Peter Lockyer grew up in The County and has devoted much of his career to documenting the area’s history. He’s also the mastermind behind History Lives Here walking tours of downtown Picton, running May to October, taking visitors along the main and side streets, regaling them with stories of tall ships, rum running, the Barley Days, temperance and canning.
Content updated January 2020