Last year when Conde Nast called Prince Edward County Canada’s coolest island hideaway, they weren’t wrong. But the quaint and quiet area had been a favourite getaway long before the world renown publication gave it mention. There is no denying, however, that over time the destination has fallen onto more radars, giving it cult-like vacation status.
Thanks to new businesses and positive word-of-mouth, the once-sleepy town has been given an injection of fresh life, attracting new and long-time visitors alike. From wine and brewery tours to local cheese tastings, to sandy beaches and hayloft dance parties, Prince Edward County has so much to offer if you’re looking for an idyllic city escape.
If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve rounded up the best of Prince Edward County to help you get the most of your vacation.
Where to stay
In the past few years, Prince Edward County has seen an influx of quaint bed and breakfasts, hotels and motels, so it’s safe to say, you’ve got options.
One magical spot that we suggest is The Edward, a big yellow house on 75 acres of land, just a short drive from Lake on the Mountain. The space is simple, yet lovely, with three guest bedrooms; one with a cozy king sized bed and the others with queens. The living room is open to guests for lounging, and come breakfast time, mornings are made better with a parfait bar, fresh cooked eggs and coffee. Best part yet, The Edward is family friendly, meaning there’s room for all of your loved ones.
What to do
Prince Edward County is exploding with options, but the traditional route is one that follows wine. The area is home to a number of wineries, and while you could simply drive to each one — where’s the fun in that? The County Wine Tours offers winery tours by bike, and will take you through gravel paths and winding roads to popular sipping spots like Grange Winery, Trail Estate Wine, and Closson Chase Vineyards, to name a few. And if wine’s not your thing, fret not. The County Wine Tours recently added breweries to their roster.
Once you’ve got your fill of wine, a stop to Sandbanks Provincial Park is a must. Pack a picnic and grab a spot on the sand before you take a dip in the blue waters, or hike through the dunes for a breath of fresh air.
If shopping is what you’re after, you’ll definitely want to check out Picton’s secondhand shops. Sort through racks of Picton’s past at Second Time Around, where you’ll find amazing deals like $4 shoes and $2 belts — just be sure to bring some cash, as this shop doesn’t accept debit or credit. For designer deals, visit City Revival and shop gently-loved brands like Gucci, Alexander McQueen and more.
Where to Eat and Drink
The great thing about the County is the strength in the community. In each pocket, you’ll find restaurants and cafes working with local growers and vendors to create the freshest of dishes.
Start your day with breakfast at The Vic Cafe, which serves morning goodness everyday until 11am. Here you’ll find classics plates like eggs and toast, as well as healthier options like rice and chia bowls. If you’re looking to splurge on brunch or lunch, Drake Devonshire is always a good idea, offering hearty meals with a lake view. For dinner, we suggest The County Canteen, which has an extensive roster of craft brews on tap, live music, and portions bigger than your head. Just make sure to leave room for the dessert that changes daily, and to make a reservation on weekend nights.
For the cheese connoisseur, Fifth Town offers the best in artisan cheese. The small shop has plenty of goat and buffalo milk cheeses to try before you buy, and a beautiful outdoor pavilion where you can linger over cheese and charcuterie boards, BBQ and ice cream.
In terms of nightlife, there aren’t a ton of late night spots, but The Hayloft Dancehall is where to go if you’re looking to boogie. Every weekend features live music or DJs inside an actual barn. And because you should never drink and drive, the Hayloft Dancehall offers multiple shuttle pick-up and drop-off spots across the County.
Did we miss any of the best spots in Prince Edward County? Let us know in the comment section or tweet us at @ViewtheVibe.