Newfoundland / Labrador
Prince Ed. Island
Edition 90, September, 2010
Getting there’s easy!
Staying there’s fun.
Returning, a must!
- Prince Edward County, Ontario
Shop our farm markets or pick-your-own!
When we last visited Prince Edward County in the summer of 2005, we recanted a tale of charming Loyalist architecture, sleepy towns and villages and pristine beaches that stretched along Lake Ontario’s eastern edges.
Today, we visit a very different Prince Edward County – one that has in the past 5 years, morphed into one of the hottest tourist destinations in Eastern Canada. The little piece of heaven we visited 5 years ago, so carefully guarded and treasured by its local and seasonal residents has now been discovered by tourists and adventurers from far and wide. Today’s visitors to Prince Edward County are a new breed of tourist – one that seeks more than the beaches and idyllic tranquility of island life; one that prefers to seek out the more intrinsic assets The County has to offer - history, culture, food and wine.
World class chefs have moved here and delight in using this bounty in their gourmet dishes!
Prince Edward County is Canada's fastest growing wine region?
Driven by its brand new status (2007) as Ontario’s newest wine region, Prince Edward County is now home to over 30 wineries, exquisite restaurants, many of which are owned by some of Canada’s most renowned chefs, charming inns & B&B’s, a vibrant arts community and a resident population that supports its farmers, growers and artisanal food producers in an “Eat Locally Grown” campaign that is the envy of other regions.
Located just 2 ½ hours east of Toronto – a much easier and less stressful drive than the traditional routes north to Muskoka and Haliburton, and 3 hours from Ottawa and Montreal, Prince Edward County is a typical island community. Steeped in a rich United Empire Loyalist heritage and deep agricultural roots, it is now the epicenter of Ontario’s Culinary Tourism movement and a mecca for winemakers, and artisanal food producers.
The beaches are still there, they are still pristine and they are still a major draw for visitors to the region. But a new breed of tourist has taken over the main streets of those sleepy towns and villages, and they are experiencing The County in very different ways.
You won’t find a Holiday Inn or Best Western Hotel in Prince Edward County. But you will find over 95 charming B&Bs and Inns throughout the island, each one unique and welcoming. Throughout the peak tourist season, rooms are filled to capacity. But in the fall, when the crowds head back to school and jobs in the cities, the frantic pace of summer in The County eases and accommodation providers have rooms available.
For those travelers who prefer a quieter pace and fewer crowds, fall is a lovely time of year to visit Prince Edward County. It’s the season of culinary and wine focused festivals and events, of studio and gallery tours, of agricultural fairs and the grape harvest.
A popular season-long feature is Prince Edward County’s award-winning Taste Trail, a self-guided tour route showcasing the finest of The County’s culinary delights. For food and wine centric people this is an event not to be missed. Local food professionals are dedicated to crafting outstanding products to satisfy your every craving — farmers, butchers, market-gardeners, restaurants, wineries, a cidery and craft brewed beer — your choice depends only on your palate.
Road signs help guide the way, but there is also a booklet available that should be considered an essential travel companion. Showcasing 31 participating locations, visitors are invited to wander from place to place, alternating between tastings and tours and dining at some of the County’s best eateries. For more information visit their website at www.tastetrail.ca
Prize winning apple pie from Merrill Inn. Photo by Taste the Country!
Prince Edward County’s official tourism website – www.prince-edward-county.com – welcomes up to 4000 visitors per day who are looking for information on where to stay, great restaurants for family meals or fine dining, hours of operation for all the local restaurants and wineries and exciting things to see and do while visiting The County. According to Anne VanVlack, the award-winning entrepreneur who started the Prince Edward County tourism website in 1994, tourist season used to end on August 15 th. “There’s now a second wave to the tourist season in the County – it starts after Labour Day and runs straight through to mid-November.” VanVlack said. “Our accommodation partners are thrilled to offer fall travelers great deals on getaway packages that are built around some of the best events the County and Eastern Ontario have to offer.”
Prince Edward County’s list of Fall Festivals & Events is impressive; from cookouts on the beaches to rustic picnics amongst the vines, from elegant galleries to funky ironworks studios, there is something here to satisfy even the most discerning traveler.
Summer picnic in the vineyard. Photo by Chadsey's Cairns Winery & Vineyards.
September 9, 2010
5th Annual Harvestin’ the County Supper
on the Beach at Sandbanks
A spectacular 100% County meal, featuring freshly harvested vegetables and fruits and locally raised beef and pork. Even the bottled water is local. Three seatings are offered to accommodate the more than 1500 people they expect to serve. Tickets are $20 per person, and include admission to the park. More information is available at www.harvestin.ca.
September 17-18-19, 2010
Prince Edward County Studio & Gallery Tour
Explore the many delights of the County as you wind you way through back roads and small towns on a self-guided tour of the galleries, workshops and studios of The County finest artists and artisans. The Studio Tour Information Centre is located at The Waring House Inn, just west of Picton at the junction of County Rd. #1 and Hwy. 33, is open every day during the Tour. There you will find copies of the Studio Tour Artist and Gallery Guide along with examples of artworks from many different locations on the Tour – to help you plan your self-guided tour. Be sure to enter your ballots at each studio and gallery you visit for a chance to win a fabulous art-filled basket. For more information on Studio Tour and local accommodation packages visit www.pecstudiotour.com
September 19, 2010
Sandbanks Fall Getaway Fun Run
A 5 & 10 kilometer run along the scenic shores of Lake Ontario. For more information contact the Sandbanks Provincial Park Visitor Centre at 613-393-3319
September 25, 2010
Sandbanks Estate Winery Harvest Party
Friends of Sandbanks are invited to come out and help with the Baco Noir harvest! There’ll be some toe-tapping music to keep energy high. The event is free, but bring your work gloves and an appetite. For more information visit the website at www.sandbankswinery.com
September 24 - 28, 2010
TASTE! The 9 th Annual Celebration of Regional Cuisine
Billed as eastern Ontario's premier epicurean experience, this week-long celebration does not disappoint. The main event, TASTE, to be held on September 25, is staged each autumn at Picton's historic Crystal Palace. The event showcases the region's finest artisanal foods, wines, beers, ciders and cuisine against a backdrop of live jazz.
This year, food and wine related events will continue for the entire week, including events such as a pig roast, an Octoberfest Foods cooking class, bread-making classes, preserving techniques, a seminar presented by the Culinary Historians of Ontario and readings by local mystery writers in an historic barn. Explore a fabulous opportunity to spend a wine day in the County with Billy Munnelly or Billy’s Best Bottles (www.billysbestbottles.com) – wine writer and County resident. This lighthearted adventure will consist of education, meeting with County wine personalities, tasting a great variety of wines and a leisurely bistro-style lunch. Wine lovers of all levels and ages welcome. For more information on all of these Taste events, and a listing of local accommodation packages visit the website at www.tastecelebration.ca
Taste! a celebration of regional cuisine!
October -3, 2010
7th Annual Prince Edward County Marathon
This is a 42.2k run around The County, featuring a Boston Qualifying Full Marathon, Half Marathon and Team Challenge. The course is flat, and friendly, with full road closures. For more information and a listing of accommodation packages visit the website at www.pecmarathon.ca
October 16, 2010
One of The County’s favourite events, this one day celebration of everything pumpkin is fun for all ages. A pancake breakfast, a parade of giant pumpkins, all day entertainment, contests and children’s games. For more information contact the Wellingston Heritage Museum, 613-968-9678 or 613-476-2148 ext. 426 or visit www.pec.on.ca/pumpkinfest
Wellington Pumpkinfest pumpkin carving contest! Photo by Discover Wellington
November 4 – 29, 2010
If you love fine dining, plan on being spoiled during Countylicious, when twelve of Prince Edward County’s top restaurants take part in the County’s favourite culinary promotion featuring $30 and $35 prix fixe menus. Dinner menus, created by participating chefs exclusively for Countylicious, include a starter, entrée and dessert. www.countylicious.ca
November 5-7, 2010
The Maker’s Hand
A prestigious show and sale of eastern Ontario’s finest artists, held in Picton. Visit their website for further information www.themakershand.com.
This is just a sampling of what’s happening this fall in Prince Edward County. A full list of fall events, accommodation and getaway packages can be found on many of the events websites and at The County’s tourism website, www.prince-edward-county.com.
To stay with a BBCanada.com member, please visit our association page for The Accommodation Association of Prince Edward County (AAPEC).
The ETraveller is provided by the association listed.
BBCanada.com assumes no responsibility for its accuracy or content.
Interested in having your region featured in the next E-Traveller?
Click here for details.