If you’re looking for a perfect, and affordable, weekend getaway this summer, look no further than the charming island community of Prince Edward County. This Southern Ontario gem just two hours east of Toronto offers up a flurry of to-dos that will excite any personality. With the trendy Toronto Drake Hotel recently opening an outpost in the charming town of Wellington, there are LOTS of reasons why you too should experience what The County has to offer.
Here are 10 things you must do when visiting Prince Edward County:
Visit a Farmers’ Market
(Photo by CEBImagery via Flickr Creative Commons)
Once labelled the Garden Capital of Canada, Prince Edward County used to provide 1/3 of Canada’s canned food. Enjoy the locally produced goods at the Wellington Farmer’s Market, open every Saturday from the May long-weekend to the October long-weekend. Meet local farmers and take in the live music!
Explore by cycle
(Photo by ActiveSteve via Flickr Creative Commons)
There’s a two-wheeled tour for everyone. Visit the Bloomfield Bicycle Co. in the neighbouring town of Bloomfield to rent a bicycle. They offer fully-customizable tour packages for those interested in wine, yoga or a little adventure. Staff are friendly and very accommodating.
Taste Wine from the Vine
(Photo by Ychocky via Flickr Creative Commons)
Prince Edward County is the fastest growing wine region in Ontario. Visit over 35 winemakers and taste what the region has to offer. Learn about their unique techniques and hear about the latest in sustainable farming. Be sure to include the Norman Hardie Winery. They offer visitors delicious pizza straight from wood-fired oven to accompany their wine.
Stay in a Quaint Bed & Breakfast
(Photo by Howard Bouk via Flickr Creative Commons)
Prince Edward County and the surrounding area are peppered with picturesque B&Bs. Beyond cozy accommodations, it’s always a pleasure enjoying a warm breakfast to start the day. B&B owners also offer up a wealth of local knowledge for curious visitors. Most offer coupons for wine tasting and other attractions too.
Hit the dunes at Sandbanks Provincial Park
(Photo by Ron Bulovs via Flickr Creative Commons)
A short drive from Prince Edward County near Picton will give you the option of three sandy beaches that are among Canada’s best! Located on Lake Ontario, Sandbanks Provincial Park is known for its picturesque dunes. The park has several hiking trails and camp grounds to facilitate an overnight stay.
The Drake Devonshire
For those of you who are quickly homesick for a taste of the city, the Drake Devonshire has technically been open for business since last fall but just had its official grand opening on the shores of Lake Ontario over the weekend. Previously a foundry, and then an inn, the heritage building has been refurbished but maintains its original structure. Grab a meal or drinks on their beautiful deck and check out the eclectic collection of Canadiana decor.
(Photo by Jonathan Choe via Flickr Creative Commons)
Discover the unique treasures Prince Edward County has to offer. From a 150 year old barn full of collectibles to a showroom spanning over 6,000 feet, the finds are just as good as the experience. Visit Dead People’s Stuff in Bloomfield for county pine furniture, vintage tools and other oddities.
Eat your way through the county
(Photo by Bay of Quinte Tourism)
Cycle or drive your way through the back country roads and tantalize your taste buds with local food and drink along the way. The self-guided Taste Trail tour is made up of sustainable farms, wineries, cafes and restaurants. Consider gathering items for a delicious picnic and make Slickers County Ice Cream a mandatory stop.
Get in touch with your artsy side
(Photo by Maurizio Laudisa via Flickr Creative Commons)
Experience over 19 galleries and studios to get in touch with your creative side on the Arts Trail. Throughout your journey, take in amazing handcrafted sculptures, paintings, glass and textile art. Support a local artists and consider taking home a piece of the County.
Tune into local musicians
(Photo by Kmeron via Flickr Creative Commons)
A bevy of bars and restaurants showcase live music on the daily. Introduce your ears to the sound of true rural talent at The Acoustic Grill, a local watering hole that hosts local talent and touring professionals alike. The Speakeasy at Agrarian promises the best in live music and craft beers every Saturday night.
(Main photo: Owner’s Suite at Drake Devonshire)