How To Spend The Best Two Days In Prince Edward County

Nov 10, 2020 | Drinks, Explore, Food, Travel

Lake on the Mountain

Prince Edward County is a short 2-2.5 hour drive from Toronto, and is certainly worth visiting. I recently spend a weekend in The County and am looking forward to visiting again soon. I already have a to-do list ready!

Read on below for an overview on where to stay, where to eat and what to do, as well as my candid views on some popular County spots. Keep scrolling and you’ll find a summary of wineries, breweries and more (which will help you select the spots to visit!) and of course, a sample 2-day itinerary.

overview

Best Things To Do In Prince Edward County
Slake Brewing Prince Edward County

Slake Brewing

Slake Brewing Prince Edward County

Slake Brewing

*click on the above tabs to filter through the information!

Areas to Stay:

Deciding where you stay largely depends on what you want to do, as driving from one end to the other end of Prince Edward County is further than most think (it takes 58 minutes!).

If you’re most interested in:

  • Beaches – stay near Sandbanks (Note that Sandbanks is approximately a 20 minute drive from the closest wineries and Wellington. Alternatively, staying on the west side of Prince Edward County will give you access to North Beach Provincial Park and wineries. The distance between North Beach and some of the closest wineries – like Hillier – is 10 minutes, cutting the drive between beach and wineries in half).
  • Wineries – stay on the west side of PEC, between Consecon and Wellington, as most of the wineries are clustered here.
  • Breweries – stay near or in Picton or Bloomfield (note: the breweries are more scattered than wineries, so if you are interested in a mix of wineries and breweries, then staying near Wellington or Bloomfield will put you in the heart of it all; if you are mostly interested in breweries, then staying in Picton gives you two breweries within walking distance, and a few more an easy drive away).
  • Being walking distance to restaurants – stay in downtown Wellington (in my opinion, Wellington has more and trendier food options than Picton).
  • Escaping to a waterfront oasis – most waterfront rentals will take you a bit further away from the action. If you want to still visit wineries, I suggest trying to keep the drive between the rental and wineries within 35 minutes. Even if you have a little bit of a ways to travel, the drives in Prince Edward County are beautiful.

Tip: Staying near Wellington gives you the best all-round access to wineries, Sandbanks, Bloomfield, and Picton, as they’re all within a reasonable drive.

Places to Stay:

Prince Edward County is filled with cute B&Bs, plenty of short-term rentals, and a handful of stunning boutique hotels. Below are some of the best of each:

Tip: Rentals fill up quickly, so be sure to plan ahead of you want to lock down a great place! We booked last minute for our Thursday – Saturday October trip, and there were only a handful of AirBnBs remaining.

*click on the above tabs to filter through the information!

NOTE: Due to COVID-19, be sure to check the latest restaurant hours & whether they are dine-in or take-out only.

Breakfast:

En-Route Lunch: If you are keen on getting to as many wineries & breweries as possible, there are a few great options to eat on the go. Below are some recommendations:

Sit Down Lunch or Dinner: If you’re looking for a place to eat outside of the winery & brewery scene, try one of these great dining options:

*click on the above tabs to filter through the information!

While wineries are certainly a main attraction, there is much more to The County than just winery-hopping. The list below provides some ideas of what PEC has to offer.

Candid Views

There are a few places & activities that are very popular in PEC. Below, you can find my candid views. Each spot is ranked using the following scale:

  • Would visit again (I thoroughly enjoyed my experience and would be keen to visit again)
  • Worth going to once (Been there, done that)
  • Not worth it (If I had a do-over, I wouldn’t have done this)
Would Visit Again

The Drake Devonshire

I didn’t stay there, so I can’t comment on it’s capacity as a hotel; however, we did stop in for drinks and bites. The space is certainly cool, and the water views are stunning from both inside and outside. With the stunning crashing waves, it feels like you’re beside the ocean. Despite all of the beauty, I found it incredibly expensive. Our bill included: a glass of wine, a beer, 6 oysters, bread with ricotta spread and it was over $70 before tip! Ouch. Would I return? Yes, the water views are worth it – I might just pop in for a drink and hold off on food, opting to check out one of the smaller restaurants in town instead.

Website

Drake Devonshire Waterfront Lunch
Drake Devonshire Lunch Prince Edward County
Worth Visiting Once

Pizza at TerraCello Winery

Was the pizza good? Certainly. Was it the best pizza I’ve ever had? Definitely not. It wouldn’t make my top five…or top ten, but granted, I’ve eaten a lot of pizza and my opinion seems to be an outlier, so by all mean go ahead and try it yourself! The photos online showed chewy bubbly crust, but unfortunately that isn’t what we got (it was more of a cracker crust). Not to mention, the wine here was our least favourite of all wineries we visited, and, while I understand COVID-19 has prompted different measures to be taken, we were served wine in plastic cups which crushed my soul a bit. Finally, the pizza was expensive, as was the wine ($10 for a small 5oz glass that barely filled 1/3 of the way up the tiny plastic cup).

Website

TerraCello Winery Pizza
Would Visit Again

Slickers Ice Cream

If you are getting ice cream in Prince Edward County, you must go to Slickers. There is a location in Bloomfield and Picton and they have fun, creative flavours. If they have the cinnamon apple flavour available, definitely get it! Each bite is like a spoonful of delicious apple pie.

Website

Slickers Ice Cream Prince Edward County

Wineries & More

There are plenty of wonderful wineries to choose from in Prince Edward County. You can find anything from small-family owned to large operations. Many of the wineries are clustered together, making it easy to pop by a few for some sampling. If you are looking for more than just wine, there are options for that too! Below, you’ll find some of the best pockets to explore, but it by no means captures all of the options available. It’s worth specifically calling out that the lists below do not include Slake Brewing (which was my favourite visit by far), Parsons Brewing (which was also one of my top visits) or Waupoos Estates Winery and The County Cider Company (which are both worth carving out time to stop by if you drive through Waupoos). Read the itinerary below to see how to fit these spots, plus more, into a two day visit!

Note that some wineries are currently requiring tastings to be booked in advance, so be sure to plan your visit accordingly.

This is also a great resource, as you can filter for specific types of wine or amenities like “dog friendly” or “pizza oven”.

Kinsip House of Fine Spirits

FieldBird Farm and Cider

Huff Estates Winery

TerraCello Winery

Matron Fine Beer

Just north west of Bloomfield, you will find this cluster of places to stop, and it includes more than just wineries! All of these are within an 8 minute drive of each other:

* represents the spots I would select if I were designing my own tour!

Harwood Estate Vineyards

Hillier Creek Estates Winery

Stanners Vineyard

Traynor Family Vineyard

Cold Creek Vineyards

Morandin Wines

Rosehill Run Vineyards

Norman Hardie Winery and Vineyard

Sandbanks Estate Winery

Near Hillier (which is about a 10 minute drive north east of Wellington), you’ll find the following cluster of wineries all within a 5 minute drive of each other:

* represents the spots I would select if I were designing my own tour!

The Old Third Vineyard

Broken Stone Winery

Gravel Hill Vineyards

Closson Chase Vineyards

Lacey Estates Winery

Hinterland Wine Company

Trail Estate Winery

Strange Brew Beer Studio

Loch Mór Cider Company

Domaine Darius

Sugarbush Vineyards & Winery

Gillingham Brewing Company

Hubbs Creek Vineyard

Karlo Estates

Another cluster of great spots to visit sits between the two areas just listed. In this region, there are plenty of pockets to choose from.

The following wineries all sit along the same road (Closson) and are a mere 3 minute drive apart:

If you continue west and then south down Benway Rd to find two more:

Alternatively, if you want some variety, drive 3 minutes south from Closson Chase Vineyards to get to the following, all within 4 minutes of each other:

  • *Strange Brew Beer Studio (highly reviewed for their beers & friendly owners, who also happen to be brothers)
  • *Loch Mór Cider Company (another highly reviewed gem housed in a modern farmhouse)
  • *Karlo Estates (beautifully restored 1805 barn & casual outdoor space; first vegan certified winery in the world)
  • *Hubbs Creek Vineyard (popular Pinot Noir and Rosé – some say it’s the best rosé in PEC)

Finally, another spot with some diversity is along County Road 2. These stops are all within a 3 minute walk from each other:

* represents the spots I would select if I were designing my own tour!

The County Cider Company

The County Cider Company

Karlo Estates Winery Prince Edward County

karlo estates winery

The Perfect 2-Day Fall Itinerary

Note, the below itinerary works well for any season – you just may want to opt for more time at Sandbanks and add in a seasonal farmer’s market! Be sure to check each businesses’ operating hours, especially if travelling during the off-season.

 

Prince Edward County Two Day Itinerary

Day 1

Morning: Sandbanks Provincial Park, The Local Store & Slake Brewery

  • A note on breakfastif you are staying near Sandbanks, I suggest being prepared to eat at your rental (there are no great breakfast spots or coffee shops near Sandbanks). Alternatively, if you are staying in Wellington, I recommend stopping in for a sit down breakfast at The Drake Devonshire, or picking something up to go from GOOD PlacePiccolina & Enid Grace or HelloBonjour. If you are close to Picton, grab a coffee and croissant from Beacon Bike & Brew (trust me – the croissants are delicious!).
  • Sandbanks: There is a reason why people flock to Sandbanks Provincial Park in the summer – the beach is wide, the sand is golden, and the crashing blue waves resemble the ocean. Sandbanks is arguably even more stunning in the fall with colourful trees hugging the shore. You’ll need to pay a park entrance fee at the gate, but you’ll likely be spoiled with the beach largely to yourself (note that many AirBnBs have seasonal passes that you can use during your visit).
    • If you’re traveling in the off-season – check the operating dates here.
  • The Local Store & Slake Brewing: Slake Brewing is a short 12 minute drive from Sandbanks Provincial Park and worth a visit to take in it’s architectural beauty, rare County views and tasty beer. Take a slight detour to stop into The Local Store on the way, and shop products made by local artisans. Slake Brewing opens at 11AM on weekends, so you can stop by for a late morning beer. If you’re feeling peckish, try their delicious focaccia! The building is unlike any you’ll find in PEC and is situated on a cute farm that the co-owner purchased 10 years ago. Even the beer cans live up to the cool-factor that is Slake Brewing – they’re designed by Toronto-based Justin Broadbent.

Afternoon: Lunch & Winery Hop

We found the tours to be pricey so we drove ourselves, paired down our visits and limited our consumption at each stop. You’ll find many clusters of wineries, making hopping between spots an easy endeavour! You can also choose to visit by bike, depending on where you are staying, or opt for an organized wine tour. [See the “What To Do” section above for wine tours and bike rentals]. 

Not sure which wineries to pick? Read the “Wineries and More” section above for suggested regions to visit. Expect to spend at least 30 minutes at each winery to truly enjoy it. Don’t be worried about selecting “the best ones” – just pick a few, enjoy the wine and relax. You can always return later to visit more!

As for lunch, if you are keen on visiting as many spots as possible, I recommend eating on the go – either at a winery (suggest pizza at TerraCello, Huff Estates or Norman Hardie Wineries), brewery (suggest Matron’s Fine Beer in Bloomfield) or picking up a sandwich from Flossie’s Sandwich Parlor. If you prefer to sit down, scroll up to the “Where to Eat” section for a list of restaurants.

Depending on where your wine tour takes you, break up your afternoon by wandering through downtown Wellington or Bloomfield, or popping by one of the farms or speciality shops listed in the “What To Do” section above.

Then, head back to wherever you’re staying to freshen up before dinner.

Dinner: Wellington or Bloomfield

Prince Edward County is home to some really great eateries. Below are my top dinner recommendations (see the “Where To Eat” section above for more!):

  • La Condesa in Wellington for Mexican food
  • Flame+Smith in nearby Bloomfield for rustic wood fired dishes
Sandbanks Provincial Park in the fall

Sandbanks in the fall

Sandbanks Provincial Park in the fall

sandbanks in the fall

Huff Estates Winery Prince Edward County

Huff Estates Winery

Karlo Winery

Karlo Winery

Prince Edward County Two Day Itinerary

Day 2

Morning: Picton

Begin your morning by heading into Picton for breakfast. Pick up a croissant and coffee from Beacon Bike & Brew, or sit down at the colourful Vic Drive-In.

After breakfast, wander down Main Street and pop into some of the local shops including: Luna Boutique (women’s clothing), Coriander Girl PEC (local flowers, succulents and handmade vases), Field Made Goods (four artisans opened this shop in the summer of 2020 to sell their beautifully & locally crafted goods), and Love of Lavender (all things lavender, grown in the County). Be sure to stop into Slickers County Ice Cream before you head out of Picton – if they have a caramel apple flavour and if you love apple pie, I urge you to get it!

Afternoon: Parsons Brewing Co. & Country Drive

Drive 4 minutes past Picton, around the left side of the lake, to Parsons Brewing Company. The brewery is comprised of three restored barns from the 1800s and has plenty of indoor and outdoor space, perfect for sipping on a cold one. Parsons has fire pits and an ice rink in the winter – providing even more of a reason to head to PEC in the off-season. Their carefully curated food menu is available Friday – Sunday.

When you’re ready to hit the road again, take a drive back through Picton and around the other side of the lake to Lake on the Mountain. Pull into the parking lot and go for a short walk, for spectacular views of Lake Ontario and Lake on the Mountain. From there, continue driving around Waupoos to Fifth Town for artisanal cheese. Then, loop back to The County Cider Company and/or Waupoos Estates Winery & Restaurant. If you didn’t eat at Parsons, the latter is a great spot to stop for lunch as it has a broader menu and stunning lake views.

Late Afternoon: Food To Go

Depending on your timing and if you are anticipating being hungry on your drive home, be sure to pick up something for the ride home. Possible options include: Flossie’s Sandwich Parlor (open until 4PM Friday – Sunday – north of Wellington), Big Mike’s BBQ (open until 5PM on Saturday & Sunday – near Bloomfield), The Bean Counter Café (sandwiches, open until 8PM Saturdays & 4PM Sundays – Picton), La Condesa (Mexican, pickup until 6PM – Wellington), or Idle Wild (Asian food, generally open until 7PM – Wellington).

Be sure to confirm opening hours directly with the businesses, as hours may change.

I’d love to hear about your favourite spots in PEC – feel free to follow @mdlofsomewhere and comment on this post to share your favourites!

Field Made Goods Picton

field made goods, picton

Coriander Girl Picton

Coriander Girl, Picton

Parsons Brewing Company Bonfire

parsons brewing company

Lake on the Mountain Prince Edward County

lake on the mountain

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