Prince Edward County is the jewel of Ontario — not only is it one of the most beautiful places in this part of the country. It’s also been named the gastronomic capital of the province, filled with quaint accommodations, fresh and delicious food, spectacular vineyards and sandy beaches.
The county is a day trip from Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal — that’s definitely worth the drive. Here are the recommendations for making the most of a day or weekend in PEC.
PEC’s mainstays are always good choices for accommodations. The Drake Devonshire Inn is definitely one of the most popular in the County — the Wellington-based hotel has been dubbed the “ultra-hip country sister” of Toronto’s Drake Hotel. It’s a 13-room boutique hotel that overlooks the lake — perfect for that getaway feeling. Newly opened this summer, the Drake Motor Inn is a fuss-free motel down the street from the Devonshire and has that super-nostalgic feeling of roadside motels from decades past. Angeline’s Inn in Bloomfield is quirky and pretty and the family who runs it have been in business for more than 30 years. Its 17 rooms are beautifully appointed and close to boutiques and the Sandbanks. If you’re the Airbnb type, you can’t go wrong booking the Sanctuary in the County — an 1800’s church-turned-bed-and-breakfast that’s been restored by a local photographer. It has a mid-century-modern feel, it’s flooded with natural light and the plush bed sits on the alter. Or try Waterfront Glamping at its best in Milford — it’s got a safari tent, bunkhouse, outdoor kitchen and shower and it’s perfect for that off-the-beaten-path girls’ getaway.
Eat and drink everything. That’s truly the best advice we can give you. The coffee at The General in Wellington is probably the best cup you’ll ever drink. Grab a “brunchwich” or one of their homemade baked goods (jumbo pretzel chocolate chip sea salt cookie, anyone?) and you’re good to go. East & Main Bistro down the street serves up a spectacular lunch — order the house-made paté (made with Baco Noir jelly from Sandbanks Winery) and East & Main salad (with shaved vegetables, parmesan and apple vinaigrette). You also can’t go wrong grabbing a craft beer and a bite at Wellington’s Midtown Brewing Company (the MBC Burger with Big Mac sauce is lick-your-fingers good), or if you’re spending time out at the wineries, head to Closson Chase (a fan favourite) in Hillier and get a pulled pork sandwich from The Swinery. Sit on the patio overlooking the vineyard. Flame + Smith in Bloomfield for dinner is a given — the chicken liver mousse and pork crackling is the perfect starter, and we can’t say enough about the split pea falafel and wood-fired flat bread (with ember-roasted eggplant and charred and pickled chili peppers) as an entrée and the s’more ice cream coupe for dessert. It doesn’t matter if you’re full — order it.
It’s all about the wineries. And the boutiques. And, well, the beach. If you’re winery hopping, consider booking with County Wine Tours so you don’t have to worry about driving after tasting. Flights of drinks are available at most vineyards—favourites include Hillier’s Closson Chase and the Grange of Prince Edward Estate, Picton’s Three Dog and Black Prince wineries and Wellington’s Rosehall Run (the rosé is sublime). If you’re more of a spirit connoisseur, Kinsip House of Fine Spirits in Bloomfield has dark and white spirits, and don’t leave without buying Kinsip Whisky Barrel-Aged Maple Syrup. Shoppers will love the antiques and collectibles, as well as the lovely boutique and giftware stores. Beach-goers will want to grab a good book and find a spot on the shores in Sandbanks Provincial Park. The water is clear, the beaches are clean (though busy throughout the hot months) and there are five campground areas for those who want to stay close to the lake.
WORDS LISA VAN DE GEYN