Prince Edward County (usually just called the County or PEC) is quickly becoming a popular escape for city dwellers, as it’s only two hours away from Toronto and three hours from Ottawa.
While it may be smaller and less well-known than Ontario’s other wine region in Niagara, I guarantee you’ll fall in love with the authentic, laid-back vibe of the County (my husband and I liked it so much, we got married there!).
Here are 5 reasons why you should put the County on your bucket list:
1. The wine
There are over 40 wineries in PEC to try! I’m a big fan of sparkling wines, so Hinterland Wine Company is definitely a favourite – I love their Ancestral Rosé. I also recommend the Grange Winery which has one of my favourite whites (the Almanac). Book a bike tour to check out more of the great wineries in the area!
2. The beer
The Bay of Quinte region, where PEC is located, is actually Canada’s largest rural craft beer and cider region – home to more than 25 craft breweries! Sip on the Crushable Pilsner Parson’s Brewing, while you try their awesome tacos. If you’re in the Wellington area, try Midtown Brewing! Kinsip is a great option for those who don’t like wine or beer. It’s a craft distillery that makes a variety of spirits (including my favourite, gin!).
3. The activities
Don’t let the laid-back country charm fool you! There are plenty of events and festivals that go on in the County. If you’re a music fan, the Hayloft Dancehall hosts weekly concerts and dance parties in a refurbished barn. PEC also hosts several festivals year-round, including an annual Lavender Festival and even a Fermentation Festival! Check out the list of 25 of the best festivals in the County.
4. The beach
ith its white sand and turquoise waters Sandbanks Provincial Park will make you feel like you’re in the Caribbean. If you’re in the Country on a Saturday in the summer, stop by the Wellington Farmer’s Market to pick up snacks for a picnic on the beach.
5. The food
There is no shortage of good food in PEC! The Drake Devonshire Inn in Wellington, is one of my favourite places to eat. They have a seasonal menu, focused on locally-sourced ingredients. After all the wine touring and beer drinking, nothing is better than a good brunch. Try the Courage Bar in Wellington or the Agrarian Bistro in Bloomfield. Post-beach day, I also love going to the Sand and Pearl for some oysters and craft beer!
Where to stay:
- On a budget: There are a ton of bed & breakfasts and apartment rentals on Airbnb to choose from, most start from around $90 per night. You can also camp at Sandbanks Provincial Parkduring the summer (sites start at $79 per night).
- Mid-range: The trendy June Motel is a recently renovated mid-century motor lodge, bringing Palm Springs vibes to the County. Rooms start at $180 per night.
- Treat yourself: If you want to go all out, definitely stay at the artsy and super-hip Drake Devonshire (I got married here!). Rooms start at around $400 per night.
Emilie Hayes has been a Policy Analyst with CIFB since 2015. Her work focuses mostly on federal issues for small businesses, but also does some work with the City of Ottawa. Outside the office she loves spending time at craft breweries in her neighbourhood, lifting heavy things at the gym, and learning new languages (Italian and Lithuanian!). She lives in Ottawa with her husband and their many cats.
- Travel Tuesday: Why Prince Edward County needs to be on your bucket list!