5 Places You Need To Visit in Prince Edward County Before Summer’s OverAug 02, 2021
If you’ve never been to Prince Edward County (PEC), you still have a bit more summer left to change that. While it’s known for its abundant wineries and lush greenery, it also has incredible restaurants and a great selection of delicious breweries. Think of it as more of a low-key Niagara, but with the added benefit of Caribbean-like beaches (seriously, the sand is as white as flour and the water is just what you would find on a tropical getaway.)
I’ve been to Prince Edward County several times over the past few years, and while I’m by no means a PEC expert, there are a few places I missed the first time around that I wish I had known about sooner. So if you’re planning your first, third or fifth visit to the county this summer, here’s a curated list of places to hit to make your trip a total success!
1. DOMAINE DARIUS
This winery is a little off the beaten path—you might actually miss it if you’re not paying attention—but trust me, their wine is pretty much unrivalled in the county. Domaine Darius is known for its perfectly manicured gardens and incredibly unique wine varieties (like port, nouveau and gewürztraminer), and while it’s a bit of a departure from your classic commercialized winery, that’s exactly what makes it worth visiting. Owners Dave Gillingham (who is also the head winemaker) and his wife Joni have been running the place since the summer of 2014, and not only are they super friendly and welcoming, but they’re also more than willing to share their extensive wine knowledge with anyone who walks through their doors.
Each year their wine selection changes depending on which grapes they’ve harvested and what wines they’ve created the year prior, but if you have the chance to try any of their cuvées (a one-of-a-kind blend developed by the winemaker) or chardonnays—you won’t regret it. Oh, and a word of advice: If you like something, buy a lot of it. They don’t usually produce the same blends year after year and their wines tend to sell out fast. You won’t find wine like this anywhere else in the county!
TerraCello is another “under the radar” PEC classic that most visitors tend to miss on their first trip. Again, it’s not the biggest or most luxurious winery in the county, but TerraCello is the real deal when it comes to authentic Italian wine and pizza. Winemaker, owner and master pizzaiolo Anthony “Tony” Auciello planted every single vine at the farmhouse-style winery by hand, and he hand-makes the traditional Neapolitan pizza dough everyday too. The winery has been frequented by many local and international celebrities—Oscar-nominated actress Toni Collette included—so trust me, you don’t want to miss out on a visit here.
In terms of TerraCello’s wine, my favourite has to be the Boca Nera, which is a rich unfiltered red that’s been aged in French oak for three years and has exquisite notes of blackberry, vanilla and tobacco. Smoky and sultry. The pizza (cooked in an oven directly from Naples) is a showstopper too. You can’t go wrong with any of Tony’s pairings, but I have a soft spot for the Pizza Calabrese, which features mild soppressata, sun-dried tomatoes, green olives and a drizzle of olive oil—all fresh from Italy. Run, don’t walk.
Flossie’s isn’t a winery but it’s a must-stop spot for the best sandwich in the county. The drool-worthy sandwich parlour actually started out as a food truck, but it’s now permanently parked at Carson’s Garden + Market in Hillier. Flossie’s has a cute picnic table patio with extra lawn seating right next to it, and all of their hand-crafted sammies are made from locally sourced ingredients. Their menu items can differ slightly depending on what’s in season, but whatever you try, you can count on it being fresh and flavourful—especially considering chef and owner Kyle Jones’ aim is to highlight the absolute best meat and produce in the county.
Menu highlights have to include “When Porky Met Petunia” and “The Hogfather.” Both sandwiches feature Flossie’s homemade bacon-wrapped sausage patty (the former topped with a fried egg, aioli and cheddar cheese, and the latter with spicy tomato sauce, pesto, provolone and mozzarella cheeses, and hot pepper relish), and they’re simply divine. There are also eggplant and mushroom-based sandwiches if you’re not into meat, and they have a hilarious “My Girlfriend Is Not Hungry” menu option where you can add extra fries and mac and cheese balls to your order for your partner who is definitely not hungry.
This ice cream parlour is a county favourite (they’ve been around for over 20 years) so I’m not sure how I missed it the first few times, but this is the go-to place for a sweet treat after overindulging in the best wine, pizza and sandwiches PEC has to offer. Slickers has two locations, one in Picton (which is a little larger) and one in Bloomfield. Their fresh, homemade ice cream is produced daily in small batches with 100% Ontario cream, and all of their cookie, pie and brownie mix-ins are made in-house. This means you won’t find any artificial flavours, colourings or preservatives in Slickers’ scoops, so you know you’re getting the best of the best.
Since they rotate over 70 flavours in their two shops week by week, you’ll always be pleasantly surprised by the selection in both stores. Some favourites—like Campfire and Apple Pie—are available every day, but my go-to is anything mocha or toffee flavoured. They’re also whipping up new creations this summer like Raisin Butter Tart and Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake, so you may even fall in love with something totally original! Sadly, Slickers’ ice cream is only available in either of their two shops, so take advantage of this deliciousness while you can!
What would a list about PEC be without a mention of the Sandbanks beaches? There really is no way to describe the pure serenity of the expansive white sand dunes and beautiful blue waters—all I can say is you have to see it for yourself. These incredible dunes were actually formed over 12,000 years ago by glaciers, and Sandbanks became an official provincial park in 1970. It’s been a favourite ever since! The beach is located just south of Picton, and you can choose to either book a campsite or a day pass. This year, in 2021, visitors looking to spend the day at the beach can no longer show up the day of and expect to get in. Instead, you’ll have to go online and book your day pass 5 days in advance.
Once inside the provincial park, there are a few different beaches to choose from. The first is Sandbanks Dunes Beach, which is a great option if you really want to see the impressive dunes up close. It’s worth considering that there is a fair bit of shade on this beach depending on the time of day, simply because the dunes are so high! The next option is Outlet Beach, which is a great option for families because the sand slopes gently into the water and it’s pretty shallow. If you have pets, head to Lakeshore beach as they have a pet-friendly area!
So there you have it my friends, your very own guide to the absolute best spots to hit in Prince Edward County. Now what are you waiting for? Go out and enjoy yourselves!
Article by: Arisa Valyear
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