Escapism: Prince Edward County
Ontario's favourite new staycation destination offers some of the best food and wine around.
Prince Edward County
- Distance from Toronto: 2-2.5 hours
- Wineries: 30+
- Signature grape: pinot noir
- Home to the largest fresh water sandbar and dune system in the world
The county became hip so quickly. This year, every millennial is rushing to PEC in groups, eager to get a taste of the region’s highly touted culinary scene. That shouldn't come as a surprise. The region has built a reputation for award-winning viticulture (notably pinot noir) over the last 10 years, and it's quickly becoming a food destination too. Outdoorsy types congregate around Sandbanks Provincial park, while city dwellers eat and drink their way around Wellington and Bloomfield.
Where to stay
The new go-to staycation spot in the province is Angeline's Inn, a little over two hours out of Toronto's downtown core. Whether you want to spend time in nature or hop from winery to winery, Angeline’s Inn is your best bet for old-fashioned county hospitality. It has plenty of accommodations, from suites in a Victorian red-brick house to a modernized white cedar cabin from the 1860s (yes, there’s Wi-Fi). There’s also the open-concept coach house loft with a fully equipped kitchen (naturally) and ample room for entertaining a small group of guests.
Some of the best food in the county is on the same property. The Hubb Eatery and Lounge has vegetarian-friendly seasonal fare with an admirable regional wine list, too.
What to do
No visit to PEC would be complete without touring some of the region’s superb wineries. Sandbanks Vacations & Tours offers a variety of great wine tours that include pick-up and drop-off from your local accommodation. These guided tours are a perfect option if you want to take full advantage of the tastings available at different wineries, without worrying about driving. Plus, their guides can personalize your tour by taking you to wineries that best match your wine preferences.
Where to drink
Get your bubbles and your beer in one stop. Hinterland Wine Co. focuses almost entirely on sparkling wine made from local PEC juice, but it opened a brewery last summer with a mandate to combine local ingredients for a true expression of Prince Edward County beer. The brewery's new restaurant is also a great place to grab lunch. Pair the house-made lamb kofte with a flight of seasonal beers make for a relaxing (and delicious) afternoon.
The hipster brigade has been flocking to the boutique Norman Hardie Winery and Vineyard for a few years now, so don’t be surprised by the plaid shirts, cut-off jeans and beards. Winemaker Norman Hardie has long been one of the ambassadors for the region, proclaiming its ability to create fine chardonnay and pinot noir. Aside from the wine, the pizza oven (designed by the boys from Libretto) is a central draw for those seeking a little sustenance.