Canada, Prince Edward County

Prince Edward County: Day 2

For breakfast this morning, we walked to Vic Cafe, a very popular restaurant here in Picton. Unfortunately, they had a bit of a wait (20-30 minutes) and we had to check out in 1 hour so we decided to defer our visit till next time. Luckily, right down the block, we came across a bicycle shop/cafe called Beacon Bike and Brew. Aaron had to get his coffee fix and he also ordered a lox and cream cheese toast and I had their breakfast sandwich (with porchetta). It took us a while and I was getting worried because we still needed to pack before we checked out but it was worth the wait as our food was actually made from scratch. I was expecting them to have pre-made sandwiches in the fridge they just unwrapped and reheated but no! It was actually restaurant quality. No wonder the prices seemed high. Aaron’s toast was very creamy with a dollop of olive oil on the cream cheese which added to its flavours and texture. The bread they used was also excellent and had the perfectly soft/firm balance. My breakfast sandwich was very scrumptious and juice dripped everywhere but it was worth it. Everything from the egg, to onions to porchetta was cooked to perfection. After enjoying that surprisingly amazing breakfast, we head back to the hotel to pack and check-out. The front desk staff was again super friendly and even helped us fill up on ice to keep our cooler cold for our trip.

Olive Oil Tasting!

After check-out, we stopped by Kingston Olive Oil Company for some olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting. We had previous been to the location in Kingston and was very impressed by their products. I usually do not enjoy balsamic vinegar but the one from this company is something I really wanted to come back for more. We tried a few flavoured options and even tried a cider made with their peach white balsamic vinegar which was surprising lovely. At the end, we simply chose the traditional balsamic vinegar and the Hojiblanca EVOO. We got the larger bottle this time and when we asked the knowledgeable staff about shelf life, he said that the EVOO should last 18 months from crush date and the balsamic vinegar forever if stored in the right conditions. We had forgotten our old bottles at home but if you bring your old bottles for refills, you get a 10% discount! 

Lavender Heaven

My priority for this trip was to check out the Prince Edward County Lavender Fields since this was their last weekend in bloom. We were definitely welcomed with the aroma of lavender once we stepped out of the car. The field was only partially blooming now as more than half of it is harvested. It was still very nice to see and interesting to witness the oil extraction process. There was a cute boutique in the front selling all sorts of lavender products. I had to try the lavender lemonade and decided I don’t enjoy the taste of lavender that much. Aaron had to buy the honey since he saw honey bees in the lavender field and was very curious how the honey from these bees taste like. (FYI, it tasted just like honey. I was disappointed I couldn’t taste the lavender in it.)

Impromptu Wine Tasting

We had passed by quite a few wineries on the way, so we decided to do a bit of impromptu wine tasting. The first winery we stopped at was Closson Chase, with its tasting room in a beautiful purple barn. We had a sample of their award-winning Chardonnay there, where was not bad but we both didn’t feel like it was worth $40+. We weren’t interested in the other samples and quickly finished the 1.5oz glass. If there were other wines we liked, we really should’ve bought a flight and enjoyed it on its nice patio. Instead, Aaron had read that the lobster roll was very good so ended up sitting down in its “Swinery” and shared one while enjoying views of the vineyard! It was lovely! 

Next, we back-tracked and went to Old Third as we were really impressed with the building on our drive into the lavender fields. Here, they had a cider and Chardonnay sample. Again, these are not my favourite, so we only shared one sample tasting of the Chardonnay. We did not feel this was as good as the Closson Chase one, but we did enjoy the decor and ambience of the whole place. There were two floors and the top floor had speakers and music playing. It felt like we were in a lounge in the day time – a very interesting experience. The first floor had a bar as well as a kitchen and dining area. Apparently they do wine tours with lunch! So fascinating! We found out from another patron there who really enjoys their wine that this winery was started by “two IT guys from Toronto”. (I was unable to fact check this information.) Neat!

As an intermission, we stopped by an alpaca farm, SHED Chetwyn Farms, to briefly hang out with some alpaca between our wine tasting adventures. There was also a cute shop with goodies made with alpaca fleece and yarn.

Next, we stopped at the relatively larger Lacey Estates Winery. Here, we tried their Gewurztraminer, Riesling and Dorland (70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Cabernet Franc). I usually really love Gewurz and Rieslings and Cab Sauv so I was very excited to try these! They were not bad but I wasn’t overly in love either. I like my white whites sweet and the reds full-bodied and dry but the whites were too dry and Dorland not full-bodied enough for my liking. 

We were getting tired from all the winery hoping by now and decided we will make one final stop at Grange Of Prince Edward Vineyards & Estate Winery. This was definitely the largest of all the wineries we’ve been to today. I am hesitant about going to larger wineries because I much prefer smaller, boutique wineries with friendlier service. It turned out this was the perfect place to make our last stop. The tasting room was very spacious and the service was very courteous. They also had a nice bathroom to use vs. the portable toilets at the other wineries. We shared their signature flight here starting with their sparkling, Chardonnay then Cabernet Franc. We were very pleasantly surprised by their sparkling since this is usually not our drink of choice. The Chardonnay was again not as good as the one from Closson. The Cabernet Franc was not too bad either. They had a nice picnic area outside and even sold picnic baskets loaded with food. We had originally wanted to picnic at Sandbanks Provincial Park but we were getting hungry and the park is closed until after 3:30pm (see below) and we saw that other people were just chilling with wine and their own food so we did the same. I also tried their blood orange sangria which was basically just their sparkling wine mixed with blood orange S.Pellegrino. It was pretty tasty and went very well with our spread. We just relaxed there, enjoyed our food with their wines and hung out with the free-roaming chicken.

Chilling in Sandbanks

We kept our eye on Sandbanks Provincial Park’s twitter (@SandbanksPP) the whole day as they kept their feed updated. After checking for the last few days, it appears they usually close around 11am-12pm (due to the beach and parking lots being full) and reopen at around 3-4pm so we had planned to get there in the afternoon. The only catch is that parking is a fixed fee so be ready to pay $21 regardless of when you show up. We did enjoy going there later though as there was no wait to get in and we were able to get a parking spot with ease. We chose to go to Dunes Beach as we wanted to see the sand dunes. There was some flooding so we had to trek through knee-high water to get to the dunes. Once we were there, we settled down in a nice flat spot at the top of the dunes and enjoyed the view. The sun was also lower at this time so we were able to get a spot with shade even though we didn’t bring a beach umbrella. Aaron went for a nice dip while I did some reading. It was very relaxing and it was soon close to our dinner reservation time. 

Ice Cream Disappointment

We had wanted to make a pit stop at Slicker’s Ice Cream prior to the beach but the lines were too long so we stopped by on the way to Wellington for dinner. Unfortunately, they were closed even though it was only ~7:30pm (earlier than their posted closing time on Google). We were disappointed.

East and Main

Our dinner reservations were at East and Main though and their only opening was at 8:30pm. Most restaurants are very busy here, especially since it’s the long weekend I guess. For dinner, we started with fries as well as their refreshing watermelon caprese salad. The fries was definitely larger than we had expected but we could not stop eating as their garlic aioli was so good. Apparently there was also cheddar cheese mixed in there! Amazing! It reminded me of the garlic sauce at Shawarma Palace in Ottawa.

For mains, I had their special tonight which was the duck breast and Aaron had ordered the seafood pasta. This is our third sit-down meal for this trip and I would have to say that the lag between ordering and food the table has been consistently longer than I would usually expect. My hypothesis is that it is either because they are really busy during this long weekend or they really take their time to prepare their food from scratch. Generally, I wouldn’t mind if we were on vacation and just enjoying each others company but we were planning to drive back in Ottawa tonight so did not want to leave too late.

The duck breast had a really delicious sauce and served plenty of veggies. My only complaint would be that the texture was a bit tougher than expected. They said it was to be prepared medium rare but it was not as tender and melt-in-your-mouth as I had hoped for. Aaron’s seafood pasta was excellent though and I found myself constantly reaching over to have some more. The sauce was creamy but not too heavy and had a nice seafood taste. We were pretty full by now and did not regret not having room for dessert.

The Tesla was at around 20% charge at this point so we headed to Belleville for a quick charge before driving home. And this concludes our weekend adventure in Prince Edward County.

Have you been here before? Did you try any other wineries or restaurants that we missed this time around? Let us know in the comments below!

Happy travels and hope everyone is having great long weekend! 

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