Prince Edward County: Take Off To The County

Prince Edward County: Take Off To The County

Just a two-hour drive from Toronto (and about four from Montreal) sits Prince Edward County, a now bustling rural region loaded with wineries and vineyards and an abundance of top notch places to eat. Perfect for a romantic weekend with your partner (or for a bachelor party for crews with more refined tastes), the towns in “the County” as it’s affectionately called offer an easy escape from the urban jungle without having to compromise your love of design and gourmet food and drink.

prince edward county - where to stay
Above (l-r): The Ferg and The June Motel

Where to stay
If you prefer the feeling of living like a local by staying in homey accommodations, look no further than The Ferg, a charming home in Picton with three spaces available to rent. The two-storey Loft has a beach-house chic appeal, and is steps away from the main street should you want to step out to get your morning joe at the Vic Cafe versus brewing your own in the full kitchen. If you and your pals need several rooms for your wine-fueled weekend, The June Motel may be more your style. This former motor lodge has recently been renovated by two millenials (think spacious comfortable rooms with lots of pink, trendy neon signs and leafy accents), and there’s a campfire in the evenings outside of the lobby bar.

Prince Edward County - what to eat
Above: The fried chicken sandwich at Agrarian Bistro

Where to eat
For a casual meal and fantastic service, grab a table at Agrarian Bistro. Most of the menu is fairly classic, but prepared very well and with a modern twist; a fried chicken sandwich has a spicy kick of kimchi mayo, for example, and steak frites comes with some foie gras. Those with adventurous palates will enjoy The Courage, where dishes include “Uncommon Octopus” (served with grapefruit gel, corn bisque, sriracha potato and popped corn–which sounds like an odd combo, but it works) and a hearty County Cassoulet (which you may appreciate filling your belly after a day of visiting wineries). And for a sweet snack or for dessert, Slickers Ice Cream serves up some superb homemade scoops, including their beloved Campfire (a magically smokey, marshmallow-y flavour).

Where to drink
This being wine country, the options for where to drink are plentiful. At the Old Third, enjoy a tasting of their pinot noir and cabernet franc, or for those more into cider, this winery also produces cider out of golden russet apples sourced from a nearby orchard. For bubbly, Hinterland Wine Company is a bustling winery, where you can pick up your sparkling and at the same time, enjoy a beer or two at their farmhouse brewery, County Road Beer, next door. Hard liquor fans will want to visit Kinsip House of Find Spirits, a farm-based craft distillery, where you’ll find the tasting room in the farm’s homestead, built in the Second Empire style. Here you’ll find gin, vodka, rye and more, along with bitters and maple syrup.

Prince Edward County - what to do
Above: Prince Edward County Lavender and the alpacas at Chetwyn Farms

What to do
You may at a certain point want to work up a sweat after an imbibing-heavy itinerary. At Sandbanks Provincial Park, hike or ride a bike to explore the pretty grounds, or strip down to your trunks and cool off in the lake at the beach. Alternatively, if your main mission is to impress your girl, if she’s about all of the flowers, surprise her with a visit to Prince Edward County Lavender, where she will swoon over the fragrant fields (peak flowering season runs from late June through July). If you’re both animal lovers, a pitstop at Shed at Chetwyn Farms is in order to say what’s up to the goofily cute alpacas and to shop the soft knits in the shop.

Where to drink
With a plethora of wineries and vineyards to choose from, wine fans will find themselves on cloud nine when visiting the County. Sparkling fans should make their way to Hinterland Wine Company to get some bubbly, while cheese lovers will be happy campers at Lighthall Vineyards, where they also produce a few types of cheese, which you can have a nibble of when doing a wine tasting there. More of a cider drinker than wine? The family-run County Cider Company has won many awards and is produced with apples from their orchards, which date back to 1850.

Karen Kwan

Karen Kwan

Karen Kwan is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her work has appeared in Flare, Elle Canada and ElleCanada.com, Glow, Metro, Huffington Post Canada, Travelife and Travel + Escape. She also runs her blog, HealthandSwellness.com, where she writes about health, beauty, fitness and lifestyle.

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