Prince Edward County has the largest number of wineries outside of Niagara – and it’s just a short drive from the city. Find anything from the best in sparkling wine, like Hinterland Winery and Huff Estates, to dessert wines and ports at Karlo Estates and Sandbanks Winery. The former used to be old barns before it was turned into a winery. Wine tasting can be done year-round, but if you find yourself in the area in the spring, be sure to head to the Terroir Wine Festival at the Crystal Palace. It takes place in May. Or drink and run during the Terroir Run in June. If you’re into getting more involved, make the trip in the autumn when Norman Hardie vineyards will be doing their crush (harvesting and crushing the grapes), which ends with a pig roast and barbecue. For beer and spirits lovers, there’s Barley Days Brewing Co. and 66 Gilead, known for their vodka and gin.
Whether you’re a pro cyclist or a tourist visiting the county, a cycle ride is always enjoyable (weather depending). There are a few guided tours if you’d like a bit of guidance, or be adventurous and cycle along the backroads or the famous Loyalist Parkway. A cycle is best paired with a tour of the wineries – see the county’s landscape and drink (responsibly).
For the most authentic way to experience Prince Edward County, rent a room at a quaint B&B. Stay in a picturesque home nestled in the county, mix with the locals during breakfast, and get tips on where to eat, drink and things to do from those who know it best.
Known as one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Ontario, Sandbanks Provincial Park is a sight not to be missed. Revel in the captivating shoreline, get a peek at the largest bay-mouth sand dune system in North America, hike a trail or stay overnight at the campgrounds.
A miraculous renovation of an old foundry and inn, The Drake Devonshire is perfect for cocktail hour (especially on the patio during the warmer months), dinner or an overnight stay. Be sure to admire their collection of Canadian art and decor. Stay up to date with what’s going on each weekend at The Drake.
From cheese to farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, the food in Prince Edward is a prized possession to the locals. Head to Norman Hardie Vineyard and Winery for pizza, Black River Cheese Co for cheese, Slickers for house-made ice cream, or Schroedter’s Farm Market for fresh doughnuts. The Hubb Restaurant in Bloomfield is a must for lovers of farm-to-table cuisine. With a chalkboard menu, the specials are always changing – think bay scallop ceviche, cold smoked lamb leg, and spring leek and coconut chowder. If you’re looking for an adventure, follow the Taste Trail: signs along the roads that direct you to a cidery, brewery, winery, artisan shop, produce stand or farm-to-table venue. It’s a fun experience in discovering all this spot has to offer (there’s also a trail map, in case you miss the signs). Don’t miss The Annual Great Canadian Cheese Festival in June or the TASTE! festival at the Crystal Palace, which takes place late September.
Home to painters, potters, artists and poets, Prince Edward has no shortage of artistic flair. The Arts Trail explores the county’s art galleries and studios, taking you on a journey through the artistic talent that makes up this magical area. Be sure to look for the Arts Trail signs on studios and galleries for where to go next, or follow the trail map. Don’t miss Milé Murtanovski’s paintings made with wine at Small Pond Arts or The Red Barns, where you can take a hands-on workshop. If you’re into live art, be sure to catch a show at a winery or barn, put on by The Festival Players theater company. Or, attend the Regent Theatre, which has plays year-round.
As an artists’ enclave, it’s no surprise that live music can be found throughout Prince Edward. Catch live music on Fridays and Saturdays at Agrarian Cheese Market & Speakeasy, a craft brew and cocktail bar; hear up-and-coming musicians at The Acoustic Grill; or, listen to live jazz at Huff Estates Winery on Sundays. For must-visit events, be sure to check out the PEC Jazz Festival during the summer. Alternatively check out Red White & Blues festival, featuring music played directly in the vineyard during September or Prince Edward County Music Festival, a classical music event in September.
Coinciding with the quaint and county vibe, Prince Edward is known for its boutique shops and antique stores. Head to Dead People’s Stuff for those vintage finds, City Revival for recycled designer clothing, or Hillier House, an old general store-turned-antique shop.
The love for organic and fresh produce is apparent in this county: vegetable and fruit stands line the roads, some with such a laid-back vibe that a simple metal tin is left out for consumers to leave money inside. Locals are especially proud of the county’s heirloom tomatoes, which you can find at Vicki’s Veggies; other must-stops include Laundry Farms, Hagerman Farms, Cherryvale Organic Farm, and Highline, the best spot to buy fresh mushrooms. If you happen to be in the county during June, pop into the Lavender Farm when it’s in full bloom – a mesmerizing sight to see.