I discovered The County last summer, while on vacation with Jacob. We were coming back from a camping trip in Bon Echo and decided to make a detour, that would last two days, to see the wineries and landscape and learn more about what was produced in Prince Edward County. I had no idea I would fall in love with the region as much as I did.
Last weekend, Jacob and I decided to take a well-deserved break from the city and its high-speed routine and headed to Sandbanks Provincial Park at 3:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon. The rain was heavy, the traffic was slow, but we were feeling great.
We put up our tent in Sandbanks for the next two nights ¾ here are some of the highlights of the weekend. If you have never been to Prince Edward County, you totally should.
If you haven’t been to Sandbanks beach yet, I strongly recommend that you go. It gets pretty crowded through the day, but the dunes are huge and the water is refreshing. It is pretty much the biggest playground in Ontario for families, dogs, lovers, and friends who all just want to spend a day playing in the sand while getting some sun.
What I liked about it is that the beaches are still very natural – meaning you don’t see any “resort-like things” i.e. beach chairs to rent or fast food canteens. What you see is what you get: water and sand. And if you ask me, that is all you need.
Our afternoon started with a quick visit to the very busy and impressive Huff Estate Winery. Finding parking through the limousines and busses parked outside was a clear sign that the winery is a huge hit. It doesn’t have the rustic charm I like so much about other wineries in the county, but the wine was refreshing and smooth on the pallet. I liked the on-site gallery that makes the visit even more interesting. There is also a sitting area and a great patio for those who want to enjoy a glass of wine and relax.Closson Chase
Stopping at Closson Chase was the highlight of my weekend. I discovered not only a gorgeous and welcoming winery, but the wine was truly great. Talking with the friendly staff there, I learned that the selection might be small (Closson Chase specialize in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir) but it was made with lots of care and attention to detail. Founded in 1998, the 30 acre vineyard produces wines that are not too complex in the mouth and that are enjoyable for both a novice like me, or the wine expert. Their picnic area is great: perfect to have a bite and enjoy a glass of wine while contemplating the beautiful view of the grounds. I truly liked stopping there and I am sure it will become a routine stop when we are around
I make it a point to stop at Norman Hardie when I go to The County. I think the winery produces great wines that are intriguing, soft, sophisticated, and truly demonstrate all the potential of the area. The wood-oven pizza is another perk of stopping there. After purchasing too many bottles of the Chardonnay Unfiltered, Jacob and I like to sit on the patio and enjoy pizzas and glasses of wine, looking at the grapevines. It is very casual and feels intimate. Whether you are traveling with your friends or need a tête-à-tête with your lover, it is the perfect rest stop before continuing to other wineries. You can look at my previous post to know more about Norman Hardie.
Lake On The Mountain
If you want great food with a fantastic view, you have to make it to Lake On The Mountain. After a stop at Waupoos Winery, Jacob and I drove to the resort for a quick snack. Lake On The Mountain Resort is located 62 meters above Lake Ontario and offers a great view of the Bay of Quinte.
We stopped at the Miller House to get some charcuterie and wine while enjoying a beautiful view of the bay. The plate was great, showcasing different sausages from Seed to Sausage, some old cheddar, some bacon marmalade (that was just to-die for!) and homemade baguette. It was perfect, there is no other words.
For anyone who enjoys small plates and sharing food, it is the place to relax and breathe the crisp air. On the other side of the street is The Inn (which is owned by the same people) and offers a bigger menu for those who prefer a full meal.
I always get emotional when traveling to Prince Edward County. I always feel like the people there have figured out how to live: they are working hard, they believe in what they are producing straight from the ground, and they are showcasing their work in such artistic ways. For more on what to see, you can check out the blog I wrote last year. Cheers!