Let me just start off by saying it’s honestly impossible to capture the beauty of Prince Edward County in writing. It’s so stunning that I now want to move here. I’ve also already planned my non-existent wedding to be here. I’m that in love… with The County.We arrived at Huff Estates Inn and stayed there for the duration of our time in Prince Edward County. It was a beautiful property with great wine and an outdoor sculpture garden that is definitely worth checking out.
After eating breakfast at Huff Estates Inn, I headed out to visit some antique shops in the county. Located in a 150 year old barn, MacCool’s Re-Use has a well curated selection of antiques that ranges from mid-century modern furniture to glassware. There’s something for everyone here including the added bonus of a super friendly dog! Nothing beats my love for dogs. MacCool’s is easily now one of my favourite antique shops.
After leaving MacCool’s, we learned this fun fact: most antique shops are closed on Tuesdays. So, naturally, we moved onto wine! We headed to Karlo Estates in Wellington. Karlo Estates has an iconic drystone bridge; which is the largest of its type in North America. The tasting room is in the center of a barn, with a loft art gallery and covered outdoor deck. As an avid red wine drinker, I was a big fan of their 2015 Pinot Noir which has a rich palate of cherry and chocolate flavours.
We started off our second day with a visit to the Ameliasburgh Heritage Village located in… you guessed it – Ameliasburgh. Janice, the museum’s curator, met us wearing full pioneer garb from the late 1800’s. She took us on a tour through the pioneer village which included stops at a log cabin, display barns, a sap shanty and tons more. We were even able to visit the operational blacksmith shop and saw some work in action. For myself, the most impressive find at Ameliasburgh Heritage Village was the Goldie Corliss 18 foot flywheel.
After Ameliasburgh Heritage Village, we started exploring Prince Edward County vineyards. The limestone-rich soils of Prince Edward County produces excellent wine due to the natural minerality of the soil. With close to 40 wineries, there is just so much wine and so little time! We had the pleasure of experiencing 3 wineries on our second day in the county.
The first was Traynor Family Vineyard. They had the most diverse and unique wine that I’ve experienced in Ontario. My favourite was a wine spritzer that Mike Traynor made for us from his Madonna Vermouth, which is a fortified wine infused with local botanicals. It was unbelievably tasty and refreshing with a single lavender sprig to top it off. Their Pet-Nat is also very unique and Traynor was the first in the county to start producing this naturally sparkling drink. Guapo’s Cantina, located on the property of Trayor Family Vineyards, is one of the county’s best street food joints. Using locally sourced ingredients, the chefs serve amazing tacos.
We also visited Broken Stone Winery and Closson Chase Winery. At Broken Stone Winery, we were greeted by Woody (an adorable chocolate lab) and sampled some delicious wine and cheese pairings. The tasting was set outside and overlooked the vineyard. Winemaker, Tim Kuepfer’s passion was contagious, we loved his stories about the creation of Broken Stone Winery and the grapes on his property.
At Closson Chase Winery, we had a quick tasting of a few different wines. Their 2014 Churchside Pinot Noir has a black cherry and rhubarb palate and the suggested pairing is a braised lamb shank with parmesan and herb gnocchi. Drooling yet?
We finished our second day at Agrarian Bistro in Bloomfield. With a beautiful speakeasy located under the restaurant, Agrarian is one of the county’s gems. I’m a huge sucker for kimchi, so I absolutely loved their crispy shrimp kimchi salad with mayo. Their scallops with a pea and leek puree was also amazing. Have you decided to jump in your car and head to the county for some amazing wine and food yet? I wouldn’t be offended if you stopped reading the rest of my County experience so that you could do just that. Go on, do it, I may just join you.
For those of you that are still reading, I admire your willpower (although I think you’re making a horrible mistake if you don’t plan a day or two in this wonderful place…). Day 3 started at The Saylor House Cafe and Suites in Bloomfield where they serve homemade comfort food using locally grown seasonal produce. Our breakfast was very quiet and peaceful and so tasty. Plus, they’re just steps away from some unique stores in Bloomfield, making this a great way to start a day.
Next, we went to Spark Box Studio, in Yerexville and had an amazing printmaking experience with the owners of the studio. We were taught how to screenprint and it was an unforgettable experience. Scott and I screenprinted some awesome ice cream cones. These turned out so great! (just take my word on it)
We travelled to Norman Hardie Winery and Vineyard in Wellington for lunch. Having eaten there before, I was thrilled to see this on our itinerary. Their pizzas (and wine, of course) are delicious. Their thin-crust pizza is wood-fired and their margherita pizza is hands-down the best pizza I’ve ever had. It’s so light that it doesn’t make you obnoxiously full.
The perfect thing to do after eating a bunch of pizza, is to take a long bike ride… right? (I’m being slightly sarcastic, although as the pizza was so light, this wasn’t bad at all!) We grabbed some bikes, helmets, and water from Bloomfield Bicycle Co. and took a beautiful bike ride through the county. I highly recommend doing this when visiting this region.
After biking for about an hour or so, we returned the bikes and headed to Parsons Brewing Company. Let me just start off by saying there’s absolutely no way I can tell you how awesome Parsons is. It’s too awesome for words. Remember when I said I’ve planned my non-existent wedding? Well it would also include a bunch of beer from Parsons with food cooked by Sam Valdivia and Lance Calvert.
Parson’s Brewing Company was beyond incredible. Pick your favourite food to eat from anywhere in the world, then come here and be amazed that the food and beer here is even better. Their food features authentic Mexican and Southern Comfort cuisine. Sam, who recently moved to Prince Edward County, creates the best Pollo Rostizado I’ve ever had. Picture this, free range whole rotisserie chicken that is marinated in Mexican spices and served with a side of salsas and tortillas. Lance, who’s also affiliated with Guapo’s Cantina, is also an amazing chef and makes the most unbelievable Southern Fried Chicken (house dills… white bread… fried chicken… need I say more?). Secret tip: Ask Sam for some horchata and prepare to have your taste buds completely blown.
Chris and Samantha Parsons, the owners of Parsons Brewing Company, have created some amazing beers. Chris, the brewer, told us stories about each of the beers. My favourite story was about Rinda Rinda, named after the Blue Hearts’ hit single “Linda Linda” and encapsulates 1980’s Japan in a bottle. Chris lived in Japan as a teenager and it inspired him to create this beer with Sorachi hops, yuzu, and lime zest. A sucker for belgian wheats, my favourite was Hefeweizen, a traditional German wheat beer that is light, refreshing and cloudy by nature.
Everyone at Parsons was incredibly nice and fun and by the end of dinner had convinced the crew to experience the county like locals. This meant jumping from the Milford Bridge! It was the perfect ending to the day.
And this ends the first leg of our trip! I expect for all of you to plan a trip and explore the county. You’ll be seriously missing out if you don’t experience all the great food, wine and art in Prince Edward County.