Even a short get-away can lift the spirit and soothe the soul
Sometimes you just need a break from life. My husband and I recently got back from two days (one night) in Prince Edward County, which is a short couple hours drive east of Toronto. We both returned feeling rejuvenated and relaxed. It was lovely and I felt like I was in another world.
The County - as it is known to locals - is located along the shores of Lake Ontario and is comprised of a few quaint towns surrounded by vineyards, and includes the sand dunes of Sandbanks Provincial Park. It is a wonderful area to cycle, taste good wine, eat good food and do some hiking.
We stayed at a delightful Bed & Breakfast (see details below) in the village of Wellington. In recent years, this town has gained in popularity due to the opening of the the Drake Devonshire, an upscale inn and restaurant, as well as the large number of small, private wineries and vineyards that have popped up in the vicinity.
We spent our first day cycling along the country roads and visiting several wineries. Some of the wineries have restaurants serving lunch and dinner on patios facing the lush vineyards surrounded by beautiful gardens.
On our second day we drove to Lake on the Mountain, which is one of Ontario's natural wonders. This lake at the top of a mountain has a constant flow of crystal clean water with no apparent source. It sits 60 metres above Lake Ontario. There are beautiful views from atop and the roads driving up are lovely.
You can't leave the County without going to Sandbanks Provincial Park. This park lies along the shores of Lake Ontario and has one of the worlds largest sand dunes along a freshwater lake. The dunes are surprisingly immense and remind me of movie scenes of large deserts. The sand is talcum soft. We walked up and down the dunes with our toes in the sand.
For a quick get-away from Toronto, I highly recommend visiting Prince Edward County. It becomes quite busy over the summer but is nice and quiet in May, June, September and October. If you live elsewhere and are in need of a break, try exploring areas around your hometown.
Wellington Willows Bed & Breakfast This lovely bed & breakfast is perfectly situated in Wellington along the main street. The new owners, David and Esther, have renovated their traditional home while maintaining its charm. The bedrooms are bright and clean and the washrooms are modern and comfortable. Esther cooks a delicious breakfast which will keep you going for most of the day. David was very helpful and suggested some good wineries, areas to visit and restaurants.
We visited the following wineries near Wellington:
Rosehall Run known for its sparkling wine called Pixie.
Norm Hardie Vineyard and Winery where we stopped for lunch. They have delicious, crispy, thin-crust pizza baked in an outdoor wood burning stone oven. They have a beautiful patio overlooking the vineyards.
Closson Chase Vineyards which have a colourful garden with comfortable chairs where you can do tastings of several types of their wine.
We visited the following in Waupoos (on our way back from Lake on the Mountain):
Waupoos Estate Winery which is the oldest winery in Prince Edward County. Located on the shore of Lake Ontario the views are stunning.
County Cider Company known for it's delicious and refreshing hard ciders made from locally grown apples.
Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Company which produces handmade cheeses made from milk by locally grown goats and water buffalos.
Restaurants and Eateries
Drake Devonshire is an upscale Inn with a lovely restaurant overlooking Lake Ontario. We had dinner there and the food was good but it would be just as nice just to stop by there for drinks and sit on the patio.
Norm Hardie Vineyard and Winery has delicious, crispy, thin-crust pizza baked in an outdoor wood burning stone oven. They have a beautiful patio overlooking the vineyards.
The Bean Counter Cafe is a cafe located in the town of Picton. We stopped in for a coffee and couldn't resist their decadent maple sticky buns.