A Great Escape to Canada’s pastoral scenes cut with winding roads hugging gentle hills reveals panoramic vistas of Lake Ontario, Canada.
Do you already have an impression of Prince Edward County? Here I stand, gazing at the most fabulous sunset, and the skies above are bathed in multiple hues of pink! How foreboding, and in a good way! I liken The County to Cape Cod, but I think it is more like Martha’s Vineyard. Pastoral scenes cut with winding roads hugging gentle hills reveal panoramic vistas of Lake Ontario and fields of corn, wheat, cattle, sheep, or grapes. Included is the historic allure of streetscapes, heritage buildings, quiet harbors, and vineyards. It is a must for artists, nature lovers, and anyone seeking “a beautiful island adventure.”
Only two hours east of Toronto, four hours west of Montreal, and 8.5 hours northwest of New York, Prince Edward County is home to over three dozen wineries and vineyards, countless exciting art galleries and artists’ working studios, fine and casual dining, jazz and other musical festivals, and numerous tempting sweet shops and cheese shops. From the inlet beach and sand dunes of Sandbanks and North Beach Provincial Parks that make up part of the over 800 km of coastline, to the weather-beaten red barns and quaint Victorian residences, The County is attracting a bevy of gay entrepreneurs carving out a simpler life and opening businesses. The County is seeing an infusion of urban dwellers. And we all know what happens when gay individuals arrive: They sprinkle a bit of fairy dust around and — voila — home!
So what does Prince Edward County offer? Well, for the art lover there are amazing finds and wonderful shopping in Bloomfield. A great destination is f a d, run by partners Michael and Dean, recently featured on BUMP of OutTV and Logo. f a d (funktional ART AND DESIGN) showcases over 50 of Canada’s top fine craft artisans in porcelain, hand-blown glass, jewellery, and much more. Around the corner is the fine art gallery f a d (Fine ART AND DESIGN) There are usually art demonstrations onsite, so do be sure to visit when in Bloomfield; you might just learn about encaustic from Canada’s renowned encaustic artist Tanya Kirouac or run into internationally recognized stone sculptor Dean Munroe.
At Love Nest Studio and Gallery you will find two fine artists whose works are deeply inspired by nature. Fibre artist and photographer Tara Wilkinson features unique sculptural fibre art nests, greeting cards, photo prints, and more in her charming restored chicken coop Gallery. In a rustic, century-old barn gallery, encaustic sculptural painter Andrew Csafordi’s beautiful textured beeswax paintings reach out beyond the board to stir the imagination.
Round The Bend Gallery features the work of painter and multi-artist Andrew Innes, as well as an exciting collection of Canadian art glass. Andrew Innes paints for the joy and excitement of it. His paintings are a personal response to natural beauty observed.
At Ricarro Jewellery you should expect to explore a wide variety of unique jewellery inspired by life and nature, each created by hand, one at a time. From the gallery, you can watch Carol Burrell at work in the studio. At certain times, a tour and a demonstration of the jewellery making process will be given.
Looking for that special piece for your home? Look no further: Gilles Charette has created G3 Living – a destination for unique furnishings and accessories imbued with Glamour and Gracious style. In a word, Gratifying.
You’ll appreciate the self-guided wine tours in one of the award-winning regional wineries. Vineyards are amazing places that have entranced people for centuries. Poets have written wistful and profound verses about them. Still, no one has ever captured a vineyard’s magic in words, or music, or even pictures. There are seven stops we recommend:
Clink! Clink! Do I hear a toast coming from owners Sally and Rob Peck of Sugarbush Vineyards? Theirs is a small family-owned and -operated vineyard and winery, the garagiste winery of Prince Edward County. (Garagiste:\GA-razh-EEST\ n. fr. a passionate winemaker who creates limited-production premium wine in a garage-sized winery, specializing in small lot, artisanal wines made entirely from estate-grown grapes.) All of their vintages are produced entirely from grapes hand-harvested from their vineyard.
Next on your wine tour is Black Prince Winery, located on a 10-acre vineyard that grows Chardonnay, Cab Franc, and some hybrids. In 2009, Geoff Webb of Black Prince launched Chardonnay Terroir – the first County wine aged in County-grown and -coopered local oak barrels, and a follow-up to a gold medal for the 2007 Chardonnay Reserve.
Continuing on the tour, be sure to visit Huff Estates Winery, a modern facility created by Lanny Huff with one thing in mind: producing high-quality wines. Complete with a moat-surrounded patio, kitchen for light lunches, floor-to-ceiling windows, and even a heli-pad, this is unlike any other winery in the area and offers a unique experience for all.;
Next, The Grange of Prince Edward Vineyard Estate and Winery, a family-run agri-business by Robert and Caroline Granger. With 60 acres under vine, the farm is home to six distinct vineyard blocks; plantings include Pinot Gris, Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc, and enough Pinot Noir to make it one of the larger vineyards in Canada.
Onwards, Sandbanks Estate Winery is a family-owned winery situated along the picturesque shores of Lake Ontario, in the heart of beautiful Prince Edward County. Catherine Langlois invites you to enjoy wine tasting in their charming boutique, explore the estate, or sit back and relax in their inviting vineyard setting.
Your last two stops include Keint-He Winery, where every bottle of wine made by winemaker Geoff Heinricks is made from 100% hillier grapes. What sets Keint-He apart is that they are one winery with three distinct vineyards, each possessing its own unique terroir. Organically grown, their Pinot grapes prosper in harmony with their environment, not in spite of it. Keint-He has applied the Burgundian model of viticulture to the County microclimate. Last but not least is Harwood Estates Vineyards, where all three vineyards are tended by hand. Their Pinot Noir, Pinot St. Laurent, and Pinot Gris are favorites of owners Kerry Wicks and John Rode, especially when served with French-style cuisine. For lighter fare, Harwood’s vivacious Friends Rose with its strawberry pallet is a great choice. Harwood’s Tasting Room is right inside the solar-powered winery where their fine Prince Edward County wines are available.
Come and experience the joy of cooking seasonally in Prince Edward County – Canada’s newest culinary destination. From the Farm Cooking School is the ultimate field to table culinary experience. From meeting local farmers to preparing traditional favorites in Cynthia’s state-of-the-art chef’s home kitchen, the day will capture your heart and your senses.
You will never be bored in Prince Edward County! There is sailing, boating, fishing, cycling, antiquing, bird watching, windsurfing, kayaking, hiking trails, camping, and let’s not forget shopping.
If that’s not your thing, how about a day at the spa? A great way to relax is to visit Ria and Rod’s Little Organic Day Spa, offering thalassotherapy, ancient therapies using raw, organic, Canadian, indigenous-based ingredients and products. Your private urban retreat for ocean therapies, treatments, and all that encompasses mind, body, balance for both men and women. Treat yourself today; you deserve it!
We offer bed-and-breakfasts, inns, or vacation rentals.
Bells and Whistles Family Inn offers the casual and fun atmosphere of a rural setting on three acres where you can sit by the pool or relax by a fire at night, gazing at the stars. Child-care services are offered for those who would like to take a wine tour or enjoy a romantic dinner out.
Gilead Schoolhouse, once a one-room schoolhouse for many decades, has been converted into a comfortable three-bedroom rental home and retains much of the original charm and character. This lovely property is bordered by old split-log fences and is surrounded by open fields, ensuring quiet and privacy.
The 21-suite Inn at Huff Estates is a luxurious accommodation, very contemporary in design but with a country feel as the rooms either overlook the vineyard or the garden. All rooms feature a private pergola patio for guests to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery. The Inn offers Deluxe Rooms, Premiere Suites, and a Winemaker’s Suite.
Relax in comfort at Loyalist Lofts in their newly renovated historical loft vacation rental apartments. Steps from your door you’ll enjoy fine restaurants, casual cafes, film, live music, theatre, local art galleries, parks, gourmet take-out, and fine grocery outlets.
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