Back in the fall we visited beautiful Prince Edward County. It’s one of our favourite places to travel and it was the perfect little getaway during the pandemic where we could easily spend time outdoors and distanced from people. This was our fourth time in PEC (you can see my other posts here!). You can also read my PEC Travel Guide and Winery Guide updated for 2021 with full details on the best places to visit. But here’s a rundown of our lovely weekend in Prince Edward County (better late than never!)
We decided to stay at The Edward B&B’s new Skyward Cabin during our visit. It was really the perfect place to stay since we were so secluded (perfect during a pandemic) and we got to enjoy the beautiful weekend outside. You can read my full review and our experience of the Skyward Cabin here!
We returned to many of our favourite places this trip and made a point to try a few wineries we’d never been to. Some of the places we returned to were The County Cider Company, which has become our first stop in PEC since it’s super convenient for lunch if you take the ferry over to PEC from Adolphustown. We also made a quick stop at Long Dog Vineyard & Winery and went for a wine and cheese tasting at Lighthall Vineyards, which has become one of our go-to places to stock up in PEC, especially sparkling wine. To do a tasting at Lighthall Vineyards you have to reserve in advance, since they are small it’s the only way they can manage guests during the pandemic.
After the wineries we drove over to Picton to check into our cabin and on the way we stopped at Crimson Cider Co., a new cidery in Picton. I personally wasn’t a fan, I found all the ciders to be a bit too sweet but they have outdoor seating and do flights so it is a nice stop. If you’re looking for cider in PEC I recommend either County Cider or Fieldbird Cider. I haven’t actually visited Fieldbird Cider yet but I’ve ordered their cider online and it’s become my new favourite! They were doing tasting prior to the pandemic and maybe by reservation since but they do have a bottle shop open on weekends.
After checking into our beautiful cabin and being shown around by the owner we headed into Picton to pop into some of the shops on Main Street and have dinner. Field Made Goods, Zest Kitchen Shop, and Keep are great little shops. For dinner we went to Stella’s Eatery which is the best! The food is always amazing with a menu that changes up and a great wine list. They opened a small patio and we managed to get a seat since we arrived right when they opened for dinner. Even pre-pandemic you had to arrive fairly early since the indoor space is also small and fills up.
I recommend starting any day in Prince Edward County at Piccolina in Wellington. This cute Italian cafe has the most amazing pastries. They also have non-pastry food that looks delicious but we’ve yet to try it. Be prepared for a line, especially since there is a limit to how many people can be in the store due to pandemic restrictions but it is well worth the wait. We tend to go overboard on the pastries and get a whole box but then we have leftovers to snack during the day or dessert in the evening. If you’re there on Saturdays in the summer be sure to stop by the Wellington Farmers’ Market too.
From Wellington you’re perfectly situated to spend the day visiting wineries in the Hillier region. We always visit Hinterland Wine Co. and it’s usually our first stop since they get busy. They have great wines, really well priced sparkling wines and the winery is just lovely to relax at and have a glass. With the pandemic many wineries have had to modify how they do things. Most still offer some kind of modified version of tastings or you can reserve a tasting, while others are only doing things by the glass to limit contact with customers. A lot of places have also switched to plastic cups for tastings out of convenience. And of course everything is outside so it can be weather dependant at times. We also returned to Trail Estates Winery to have a glass in their beautiful field. They have some of the most interesting wines in PEC and we’ve purchased a lot of wine from them online since the beginning of the pandemic. We were there on a long weekend and it ended up being very busy so I’d recommend visiting early in the day or avoid Saturdays.
Although we didn’t have any wine at The Old Third we did go for a delicious lunch. Many of the wineries either serve food or were hosting pop-ups through the summer and fall of 2020 and I suspect they will continue to in 2021. When we visited earlier in the summer Grange of Prince Edward Winery were also serving up food outside with Old Salt Cocktails.
As I mentioned, we made a point to try a few new wineries, or rather new to us this visit. The first new one we tried that really ended up being a highlight was Traynor Vineyard. Everything about it from the service, atmosphere and wines was excellent. We were able to have a tasting on the patio but when we arrived they were full so we were able to explore the vineyard and have a look at the grapes. One of the winemakers explained to us some of the varieties of grapes and we even tasted the grapes right off the vine. The wines we tasted were so interesting and delicious. They also make two vermouths with plants and herbs grown on the property. The winemaker who was serving us went and picked some of the herbs for us to sniff while tasting and it was amazing how you could really taste the different plants. Suffice to stay we got quiet a few bottles here.
We wanted to try a few more wineries but ran out of steam so we drove over to Matron Fine Beer in Bloomfield, which is another one of our favourite places and they also have delicious food. We had an early dinner there on the Saturday of our visit. During the summer they switched up their food offerings every few months. When we were there they had delicious grilled chicken burgers and regular burgers. One of the breweries we didn’t get to try that is on our list for next time is Slake Brewing, just outside of Picton. We also stopped by Parsons Brewery, also in Picton to grab a few beers to drink around the fire at our cabin.
On the Sunday of our visit we started by grabbing some breakfast in Picton at Beacon Bike + Brew before heading off to some wineries. Our first stop was Cape Vineyards which we hadn’t planned on visiting it since we actually couldn’t find much online about them but when we were driving over to Fifth Town Cheese we went right by so we stopped in and were pleasantly surprised. The wines were great and we had a delicious lunch too. Cape Vineyards had done a wine collaboration with Stella’s Eatery in Picton, which is our favourite place to eat in PEC. They made this amazing funky orange wine which I highly recommend. They also had a bunch of farm animals that were really cute.
We also stopped at Three Dog Winery on our way home since it’s basically on the way out of PEC if you’re heading toward the 401. Although we thought the wines and food were just okay the big patio area was really nice and they had live music which was really fun. We ended up jut buying a few bottles for cooking wine since they were super cheap. It was also dog friendly (duh) so there were lots of dog are which was really cute.
We had a great weekend in Prince Edward County despite the pandemic. Everyone was really good about following public heath guidelines and all the places had good restrictions in place to make it safe. Even though it was a bit of a different experience at most places it was still super enjoyable and we still got to visit lots of wineries and eat lots of food. I think if we had stayed at an Airbnb we might have done more takeout from some of the restaurants since all of them are doing some form of takeaway, but since we were at a cabin it seemed more difficult to do that.
If you want to read more about Prince Edward County be sure to check out my other trip reports and guides to wineries, breweries and cider houses, as well as the region in general. Find them all here!