Where better to spend a summertime long weekend than Prince Edward County? Less than 2.5 hours from Toronto, this rural region makes for the perfect weekend break thanks to the plethora of restaurants, wineries, and beaches that the area is home to. If you’re not sure where to begin, check out this unofficial guide for a weekend getaway in this scenic spot.
If you’re heading there from Toronto, get a jump start on the weekend by leaving home in the morning. That way, you’ll arrive in PEC by lunchtime and have the whole afternoon and evening to enjoy. After dropping off your bags, it’s time to hit the wineries! Most popular of the bunch are Closson Chase (it has a stunning outdoor patio and one of the best pinot noirs in the region), Karlo Estates (set in a barn with fairy lights), and Huff Estates (which boasts one of the largest tasting rooms in the region). Then there are the “hidden gems” like By Chadsey’s Cairns (as quaint as can be), Rosehall Run (delicious rosé!), and Harwood (another great County rosé and excellent food pairings). Needless to say, there are so many wineries to explore in the area.
After you’ve spent the better part of the afternoon on your winery tour, head to The Drake Devonshire Inn for dinner. Top-notch cuisine, contemporary art, and a private beach are just a few of the perks that come with The Drake. Our only warning is that you make your reservation in advance! Cap off your night with some fresh-churned ice cream from Nice Ice Baby, only a short walk from The Drake Devonshire.
Spend a weekend like the locals and stop by Enid Grace Café in the morning. This small eatery has coffee to-go, but as soon as you step in the door, you won’t be leaving that quickly thanks to the multitude of fresh, homemade baked goods and bread. If you feel like something heartier, they also offer full breakfasts, such as smoked salmon bagels and breakfast sandwiches. Once you’ve finished enjoying breakfast on the patio at Enid Grace, walk a few blocks and stroll through the Wellington Farmers’ Market (open Saturdays only). Here you’ll find ready-to-eat street food and locally-made gifts, as well as grocery items like produce and cheese.
Assuming the weather cooperates, it’s time to hit the beach! Prince Edward County is home to Sandbanks Provincial Park, a must-visit while in the area. The natural sand dunes make for the perfect location to sit back, relax, and enjoy the sun. There are three beaches in the park and by July and August, the water will be warm enough for swimming.
Once you’ve had enough sun, head back into town and visit Midtown Brewery. Though PEC is known for its wineries, there are a few notable breweries in the region, one of them being Midtown. With local beer on tap, TV screens playing the latest sports games, and an outdoor patio, Midtown is the ideal spot to relax after a long day at the beach.
Sunday mornings in Prince Edward County are all about relaxation. Sleep in, walk along the local Wellington Beach (it’s much smaller than Sandbanks but has a nice boardwalk and water access), or take a stroll down Main Street. Alternatively, if you’re looking to get in one last activity, consider a visit to Prince Edward County Lavender, the area’s very own lavender field. It is reminiscent of the lavender fields of Provence when in bloom (the season is late June and July), and even hosts its own Lavender Festival twice a year.
To ensure that you don’t go hungry on your drive back home, stop in for lunch at Wellington’s newest restaurant, La Condesa. Plenty of Mexican flair awaits in the form of tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, tostadas, guacamole, queso fundido, and (if you’re not the one driving home) watermelon rosé sangria.