Created by Lynn May Gosselin
The island county of Prince Edward County is fast becoming a haven for vacationers.
A mere four hour drive from either Montreal or Toronto, this lovely, tranquil area on the edge of Lake Ontario has an upcoming arts scene and a small cluster of boutique wineries. Perhaps with some time, Prince Edward County will become the Napa of Canada? Well known for the amazing beaches and dunes of Sandbanks Provincial Park, this once unknown family vacation spot is now seeing all kinds of city dwellers looking to stroll quaint streets, hopping in and out of boutiques and lazing the weekend away. Fast becoming a hot culinary destination, Prince Edward Country is home to famous Black River Cheese Company and the annual Great Canadian Cheese Festival in Picton, a sign that Prince Edward County is looking to make its mark as an interesting foodie destination. Charm and serenity abound in this lovely part of the world, spring, summer or autumn; PEC is great choice for an easy getaway.
Canada is home to two wonderful, well-known wine regions, the Okanagan Valley on the West Coast and the Niagara Region in the East. Local artists and chefs in PEC saw an opportunity in the fertile land of this island county and decided to plant grapes. And what is being produced is wonderful. During your time in PEC, be sure to swing any of the 40-plus wineries marking their mark on the wine world. In hot production in this area, Burgundy style Pinot Noirs. Two wineries not to miss are Norman Hardie, in Wellington and Hubbs Creek.
What better pairing for wine than cheese. Luckily in Prince Edward County, locals have been perfecting not only the art of wine making but of cheese as well. After a few wine tastings, plot your course to the banks of the Black River and taste some of the fine selections at Black River Cheese. All the cheeses made on property are created from milk supplied by local dairy farms. Well known for delicious naturally aged cheddar, try some of the artisan cheeses and flavoured mozzarella for something unique.
White sandy beach
Sandbanks Provincial Park has long been a draw for families looking for a summer camping trip or week long cottage getaway by the water. One of the most beautiful places in all of Ontario the park boasts a gorgeous beach, the world’s longest fresh water sand bar and dune system. The dunes create an impressive, sweeping effect, the perfect backdrop to this lovely beach. In the summer, this is the place to be and an influx of tourists make their way to any one of the cottages or campsites to choose from. So book early, or come in the shoulder season when the weather is still perfect enough to enjoy the pristine white of the sand without all the crowds.
We all cheer for ice cream
Nothing could be more synonymous with summer beach time than ice cream and in Bloomfield, close by to Sandbanks Provincial Parks, Slickers on Main Street is serving the best in the county, arguably the best in the country. Made in small batches, Slickers ice cream is created from completely local ingredients. With a daily changing menu and inventive flavours like Campfire, with an impressive taste of burnt marsh mellow, it’s worth waiting in the line that is always out the door. Another great flavour to try if they are scooping it when you arrive, Apple Pie with actual pieces of pastry and apple, seasoned to perfection with cinnamon and vanilla.