#VisitPEC: How to make the most out of your 24 hour visit to Prince Edward County.

“Let me make a few phone calls and connections for you, and we’ll set you up for travelling to Prince Edward County“, my fellow foodie friend Rebecca McKenzie, of the Ontario Culinary Tourism Association says. I marvel at the speed with which she helps guide Marc & me around a visit to what is a popular (weekend) getaway for many visitors from Toronto. Prince Edward County (not to be confused with “Prince Edward Island”, which is out by the East Coast of Canada, on the Atlantic Sea), is a peninsula at the northern tip of Lake Ontario, a good two hours’s drive or train ride east from downtown Toronto Union Station. It is this relative geographical proximity, as well as Prince Edward County’s ample supply of charming B&Bs, interesting Arts & Taste Trail tasting activities as well as beautiful natural lake and forest spaces that make the county such an attractive destination for both overseas visitors and Canadians alike. #VisitPEC – Prince Edward County, the county’s claim on Social Media, has therefore righteously gained enormous popularity over the course of past years.

Today, we have arrived to pay homage to the county’s effort in promoting sustainable, local, food & culture travel, essentially looking for what makes this quirky little “island county” tick. Local Alexandre Fida is one of the best (and first) people we go to in order to find out more. Over the course of several years, him and his team have managed to preserve, restore and embellish quite a number of old & honourable Prince Edward County mansions. Staying at his accommodation business, “Angeline’s Inn” with its choice of unique log cabins, cottages and designer motel-style units, is therefore not only highly recommendable, but starts telling the story of what Prince Edward County is about: A dedicated community of professional, passionate local people, who have the heart, vision and energy to turn Prince Edward County into a must-see destination for all types of travellers. Check this out.

Access to Prince Edward County is best renting your own vehicle, as there is virtually no public transport available once you leave the VIA Rail train station at Belleville, the local gateway into the county ...

Access to Prince Edward County is best assured by renting your own vehicle, as there is virtually no public transport once you leave the VIA Rail train station at Belleville, the local gateway into the county …

 

... so after about a 20-minute drive from Belleville, we arrive here: Angeline's Inn has us stay in their wonderful log cabin with a view ...

… so after about a 20-minute drive from Belleville, we arrive here: Angeline’s Inn has us stay in their wonderful log cabin with a view …

 

... including their fantastic inner décor of both comfort & cosiness: Who of you wouldn't want to stay here with us?

… including their fantastic inner décor of both comfort & cosiness: Who of you wouldn’t want to stay here with us?

 

Well done, dear Alexandre Fida, distinguished here by ...

Well done, dear Alexandre Fida, distinguished here by the well-known magazine “Essentials” …

 

... such a pleasure to meet both you & Laura, the "Hubb Eatery" adjacent to the accommodation units that provides dinner & breakfast options to guests staying here ...

… such a pleasure to meet both you & Laura, the “Hubb Eatery” manager adjacent to the accommodation units who together with her team provide dinner & breakfast options to guests staying at “Angeline’s Inn” …

 

... very delicious ones at that, I must say ...

… very delicious ones at that, I must say …

 

... and congratulations, too, on such a beautiful décor again at the reception area: I immediately want to stay and/ or go back here to read, write or simply relax in such a beautiful, and welcoming environment.

… and congratulations, too, on such a beautiful décor again at the reception area: I immediately want to stay and/ or go back here to read, write or simply relax in such a beautiful, and welcoming environment.

 

Here at the "Hubb Eatery & Lounge", we also pick up our copy of the Local Arts & Taste Trails that regroups outstanding artists & foodie places to visit on Prince Edward County ...

Here at the “Hubb Eatery & Lounge”, we also pick up our copy of the Local Arts & Taste Trails that regroups outstanding artists & foodie places to visit in Prince Edward County …

 

... and the creativity starts right here I find: Just LOVE this clever "spoon map" of Canada !! How original!

… and the creativity starts right here I find: Just LOVE this clever “wooden wall spoon map” of Canada !! How original!

 

Well done, dear Alexandre & team! Definitely recommend you come and stay at "Angeline's Inn" while in Prince Edward County!

Well done, dear Alexandre & team! Definitely recommend you come and stay at “Angeline’s Inn” while in Prince Edward County!

 

But the magic, again, does not stop there. To convince us even more of the local charm, Alexandre takes us out on a visit to Picton, the Prince Edward County town he calls home.

Picton, we learn, numbers around 5.000 inhabitants, which makes it “the largest town” in the entire county. This already gives you an idea of just how quaint everything around here is, enhanced by the fact that everybody seems to have an almost natural inclination for – antiques! From popular second hand shops, to furniture in many places in general: Everyone we meet is proud to emphasise their local traditions, family history, pieces coveted and handed down over generations, all the way to using them to find fresh inspiration for new business ventures, creative ideas and quirky combinations. It is not uncommon, therefore, to find unusual re-uses for existing materials and items, or to find the local winegrower also being an artist, and vice versa. To have a family move from Toronto and start an artisanal craft beer production. To have print artists work with what looks like truly ancient letterpress machines, only to make very fresh & funky new designs. Check out our little drive around creative Picton 

... which Alexandre starts by taking us to "his house" (another one among several, we learn) that he has "rescued" and is currently renovating into an artists' residence: "The Old Falconer" is well over 150 years old!

… which Alexandre starts by taking us to “his house” (another one among several, we learn) that he has rescued from demolition and is currently renovating into an artists’ residence: “The Old Falconer” is well over 150 years old …

 

... which Alexandre starts by taking us to "his house" (another one among several, we learn) that he has "rescued" and is currently renovating into an artists' residence: "The Old Falconer" is well over 150 years old!

… and now houses a yoga studio, a gallery as well as a printshop, with more to come in the parts that are still being renovated.

 

Also in downtown Picton, is "Second Time Around" second hand shop for lovers of all kind of "fantastic little things" ...

Also in downtown Picton, is “Second Time Around” second hand shop for lovers of all kind of “fantastic little things” …

 

... the beautiful florist across the street ...

… the beautiful florist across the street …

 

... as well follow more tips on our "Arts & Taste Trail" itinerary.

… as we follow more tips on our “Arts & Taste Trail” itinerary …

 

... taking us all the way out just near Picton, where Spark Box Studio's Chrissy

… taking us all the way out just near Picton, where Spark Box Studio’s Chrissy hosts not only a creative print studio, but also many an artists-in-residence programme …

 

... no wonder the two of us immediately connected: Find out more about their activities and how you can apply for a artist's residence, too!

… no wonder the two of us immediately connected: Find out more about their activities and how you can apply for an artist’s residence, too!

 

Fancy even more art? Mad Dog Gallery gives you a good overview of excellent local painters - and has a furry welcome for you, too.

Fancy even more art? Mad Dog Gallery gives you a good overview of excellent local painters – and has a furry welcome for you, too.

 

Beyond the local towns of Picton & Wellington: Make sure you make your visit to Prince Edward County a #winelover one!

Yes, there is definitely time you need to set aside for visiting some of the county’s rather excellent, up & coming wineriesfoodie places as well as craft breweries. As a #winelover traveller, this fact about Prince Edward County amounted in no small way to my decision (and interest) to come here in the first place. So let me tell you more about which wineries to visit, and how to structure your visit around them if, like us, you only have one day to spend around Prince Edward County.

Mapping out the local "terroir": Farming, as well as viticulture, benefits from the local lake climate whose influence takes over from the rather gigantic Lake Ontario to the south ...

Mapping out the local “terroir”: Farming, as well as viticulture, benefits from the local lake climate whose influence takes over from the rather gigantic Lake Ontario to the south …

 

... and especially near the small town of Wellington, you will find a surprisingly large cluster of (mostly boutique) wineries around.

… and especially near the small town of Wellington, you will find a surprisingly large cluster of (mostly boutique) wineries around.

 

We start our visit with Norman Hardie Winery, which is well-known for their Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir & Cabernet Franc varieties ...

We start our visit with Norman Hardie Winery, which is well-known for their Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir & Cabernet Franc varieties …

 

... including their fantastic, wood-fired oven pizzas, which makes the winery a perfect place to enjoy lunch ahead of your tasting experience.

… including their fantastic, wood-fired oven pizzas, which makes the winery a perfect place to enjoy lunch ahead of your tasting experience.

 

Next up for us on the #winelover agenda is a visit to Hinterland Winery, the only winery to produce only sparkling wine as well as a delicious apple cider from their local apple orchards.

Next up for us on the #winelover agenda is a visit to Hinterland Winery, the only winery to produce only sparkling wine as well as a delicious apple cider from their local apple orchards.

 

Talking about sparkling wine & cider: Besides wine, there is of course a large selection of local craft beers available, too - for instance at Parsons' Brewery & Tasting Co., only a stone's throw away from Picton in Prince Edward County.

Talking about sparkling wine & cider: Besides wine, there is of course a large selection of local craft beers available, too – for instance at Parsons’ Brewery & Tasting Co., only a stone’s throw away from Picton in Prince Edward County.

 

Last but not least, one place definitely not to be missed from your #winelover itinerary throughout Prince Edward County, is Karlo Estate, well-known for their red wines in particular, as well as for offering a food & wine pairing tasting experience.

Last but not least, one place definitely not to be missed from your #winelover itinerary throughout Prince Edward County, is Karlo Estates, well-known for their red wines in particular, as well as for offering a food & wine pairing tasting experience.

 

The owner, like I mentioned before, is also an artist ...

The owner, like I mentioned before, is also an artist …

 

... and has perfect way of drawing me into their world: Wine, music, beautiful food pairing with exciting wines such as ...

… and has a perfect way of drawing me into their world: Wine, music, beautiful food pairing with exciting wines such as their Rosé blend of Fontenay Noir & Vidal grape varieties, the “Three Witches” Chardonnay, Riesling and Auxerrois blend, as well as the “Lake on the Mountain” Riesling with its zippy acidity balanced by a touch of sweetness …

 

... not to forget the lovely company that awaits you here: Kudos to the excellent tasting team for making our stay at Karlo Wine Estate such a memorable one!

… not to forget the lovely company that awaits you here: Kudos to the excellent tasting team for making our stay at Karlo Estates such a memorable one!

 

Interested? Hungry? Thirsty for more? Have a look at my entire gallery of travel photos from Prince Edward County to still some of that first appetite here:

 

I have also produced a travel video that highlights some of my travel adventures in Western Canada, all the way from Vancouver to the vast open plains east of the Rocky Mountains. A fascinating, funky take on what has truly been a life-changing journey. Enjoy with sound & smile 🙂

 

Disclaimer: I have been supported by Rebecca McKenzie / Ontario Culinary Tourism Association as well as Angeline’s Inn on this trip to Prince Edward County. All opinions are my own.

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