Hello! My name is Lindsay, and I’m the Digital Marketing Specialist at South Eastern Ontario. Welcome to our experience blogs! Our mission and ultimate goal is to inspire you, the reader, to want to jump out of your seat and walk, drive, fly, (any means necessary) to your next adventure in South Eastern Ontario.
If you’re looking to plan a girl’s weekend filled with wineries, amazing food, art trails, and picturesque landscapes, then look no further than Prince Edward County! On my recent trip to Prince Edward County or ‘The County’ as the locals call it, I was completely charmed by the laid-back vibe, incredible food, and what seemed like endless wineries. There is plenty to see, eat, sip, and do in The County, so what are you waiting for? Grab your best gal pal (or two, or three!) and follow this itinerary for the ultimate girls trip.
For my first trip to The County, I wanted to bring my best gal pal, my ‘ride or die’, my ‘day one,’ my mom along with me. I was driving up from Kingston while my mom was travelling from Grimsby. We decided that Wellington would be the best spot to meet up at to start our trip. The drive up was absolutely gorgeous and at times I wanted to pull the car over and take photos of the scenery, but I knew I had organized a busy itinerary for us so I wanted to make sure I stuck to the schedule. First stop was The Drake Devonshire in Wellington.
Brunch With A View
If you’re from Toronto, you’ve most likely have heard of The Drake Hotel. Back in 2014, The Drake expanded to open another boutique hotel The Drake Devonshire in the heart of The County. The photos on Instagram definitely don’t do it justice. The hotel is eclectically decorated with interesting artwork and antique furniture giving a totally retro feel. After the long drive for my mom, I knew it was time for us to enjoy some brunch inside The Drake’s restaurant.
No matter where you choose to sit inside this County hotspot you will have an amazing view overlooking Lake Ontario (what’s not to love about that?) To celebrate the start of what would be an amazing ladies getaway we toasted with some delicious grapefruit mimosas! The Drake Devonshire is known for their hearty menu which uses farm-fresh ingredients. My mom opted for the classic Drake breakfast which came with two eggs, hash browns, roasted tomato sausage, bacon, baked beans, and toast. I, on the other hand, had peaked at the menu prior to our visit and kept my eye on the prize and went for the chicken and waffles. There’s no reason on this planet to keep the most loved two ingredients apart. Chicken and waffles make a great team together, and this dish was the best proof for this. Once we finished our meals and soaking up the chill vibe of The Drake’s hospitality, we started to make our way out when we spotted a photo booth inside the hotel. Naturally, we had to take photos.
After brunch, we took a short stroll and came across Parlour Studio. I’m a recent plant mother of two, which I have managed to keep alive for 8 months, woo! I’m not sure if that means I have earned my green thumb but I’m going to consider it an accomplishment! The selection of beautiful plants owner Jessica Acs keeps is unlike anything I have seen. If I had the room in my car, I would have picked up the Monstera split leaf plant (still planning too!). I ended up picking up a mini cactus plant which would travel a lot easier. Afterward, we decided it was time to head into Picton and check ourselves into our room for the night.
Checking into The June Motel
A true girls weekend in The County starts by booking a stay at The June Motel. The inspiration for this trip has been long in the making ever since I came across The June Motel on Instagram last summer. Let’s pause for a moment while you search The June Motel up on Instagram. Totally hip right? Best friends April Brown and Sarah Sklash opened The June Motel in spring 2017. The dynamic duo of #BossLadies revamped a former motel giving it a fresh new paint job, retro style, and a boost of palm print. The lobby is full of plants which are styled by Jessica over at Parlour Studio. The whole vibe of The June is hip but retro, cute, and photo friendly. It’s everything you and your insta feed needs! From the moment my mom and I pulled up to this adorable property, we knew we were in for a treat. Greeted by Keri, we were immediately welcomed inside as if we had been there plenty of times. “How was the ride? What kind of wine can I get you?” asked Keri before giving us a quick tour of the spot. I immediately felt the warm hospitality radiate through her spirit- and not just because she welcomed us with wine.
Before you even settle into your suite, I guarantee your camera roll and Instagram Stories will be loaded with photos. If you visited The June and didn’t take any photos- did it even happen? I also had a hard time not saying ‘caaaute’ at almost everything. The June Motel is stocked with local wines (hello rosés from Huff Estates) charcuterie board and snacks, plus facial kits from nearby herbal apothecary Sunday’s Company. Everything from the glasses and mugs, Nespresso machine, and shampoos/oils was thoughtful and amazing! Still full from brunch, we decided to take a walk around town, relax, and unwind before heading out for dinner.
Dining at Blumen Garden Bistro
For dinner, we headed over to Blumen Garden Bistro, which was recommended to us by a couple of locals. This top-rated restaurant is such a hit because they make food their number one priority by using local ingredients. Everything from the service to the food was exquisite from the moment we arrived. For appetizers, we shared beef tartare and sauteed herbed mushrooms, smoky eggplant puree balsamic kale, fried feta cheese and a poached quail egg. For our entree, I had the Angus reserve ribeye, dauphine potatoes, vegetable medley with compound butter and a thyme jus while my mom had the special, a curry braised massaman lamb shank, Thai squash fritter, cashew rice with pickled carrot. Hands down one of the best meals I have ever had in my life! While we shared our dessert which was banana pudding and peanut trifle with Lindt chocolate brownie dulce de leche we were greeted by Chef Andy Felher. After talking for about half an hour on the restaurant industry and the popularity of Prince Edward County, I felt the wave of tiredness hit me and knew it was time for my mom and me to head back to The June and rest up for another busy day.
A Walk and a Bike Ride Along The Bay
My mom and I lucked out with the most gorgeous weather during our stay in The County. We had an early start to our morning renting cute mint bikes that The June Motel supplied from The Brake Room. I mentioned to my mom that I haven’t ridden a bike since high school to which she replied that it has been since high school for her as well. I quickly realized that I may have gotten a bit too ambitious with planning the itinerary. As you can image, my mom and I struggled a bit with essentially relearning how to ride a bike. A humorous memory I will forever cherish. We decided to leave the bikes behind and head out for a walk around the bay. We soon came across an adorable bake shop in a shed that’s on the side of the road. The Perfect Lil Bake Shop operates on an honor system, which means for everything you help yourself to you leave money in a jar for them. After an active morning of biking and hiking, we naturally had to stock up. We bought some freshly baked banana bread, cookies, scones, and butter tarts (we earned our treats after the biking lesson.) After a bit more of a trek, we headed back to The June to sadly check out to which I looked at my mom and asked if I could just live at The June forever.
Getting Energized at The Vic Cafe
To fuel up for a big day we headed over to The Vic Café for brunch. The Vic Café serves a menu that caters everyone from meat-eaters to vegetarians and vegans. The style is very European chic and has a little patio out in the front. I ordered the Spanish Holiday which was a rice bowl with black beans, queso fresco, chicken, and an egg with an avocado chili lime dressing. My mom had the special which was a falafel wrap. The Spanish Holiday was exactly what my body needed after an adventurous morning!
Oeno Art Gallery
The first stop of the day was to the infamous Oeno Gallery out in Bloomfield, which is located on-site at Huff Estates. Throughout the year, guest can enjoy enchanting exhibitions both inside and outside! There was two exhibition happening while we visited Oeno. The first exhibition was from Toronto-based artist Ben Woolfitt, who had a collection of abstract textured paintings and the second exhibition was by another Canadian artist Dale Dunning. Using the head as a metaphor for human experience, Dunning’s collection was sculptured using cast bronze, steel, and aluminum. Each piece by the artist was truly mesmerizing and inspired me to get back to Kingston and create something of my own. With two stops left in our itinerary, I had to put that thought on hold and continue with the day!
At this point of the blog, I bet you were starting to wonder if my mom and I headed out to any wineries? Of course, we just had to! It would be a crime to not visit one winery during a trip to The County! Prince Edward County is Ontario’s fastest growing wine region with Hinterland in Hillier becoming a hotspot for some sought-after wine. Their specialty is bubbly. They offer sparkling wines and even have a cherry cider for the cider fans! Lauren helped us with our tastings but it was hard to decide which glass of bubbly we enjoyed the most. Every single one was a winner for me. In the end, we each purchased a bottle of the Ancestral– an off-dry sparkling Gamay in the ancestral method (bottled while still fermenting.)
Lavender Fields Forever
If you’re a lover of lavender, you need to check out Prince Edward County Lavender Farm in Hillier. With three acres planted and twelve varieties of lavender, it’s a dream-come-true! Visitors are invited to wander through during the flowering season, which is typical during the first few weeks in July. There is also a lavender shop, open from April to Christmas, which sells almost every lavender product you could possibly imagine- from lavender facial cream, dried lavender tea, to lavender gelato! Yes, gelato!! Many of these products are made on-site by the owners. Unfortunately, the gelato was not available until summer but I did stock up on some goodies such as a bath soak and earl grey lavender tea. I definitely plan on going back once the lavender is bloomed to snap some pictures and you know, have some of that gelato.
Take A Trip to Prince Edward County!
There you have it! My ultimate ladies weekend guide to Prince Edward County. Check out the Google Map below for the locations we visited to help plan out your own. Which of these activities would be a must on a trip with your girlfriends? Let me know in the comments!
Located along the north shore of the St Lawrence River, the South Eastern Ontario region spans from Cornwall and The Counties to Ontario’s burgeoning wine and craft beer country known as Prince Edward County and the Bay of Quinte. Along the shores of these waterways, you’ll find fascinating history, quaint villages, inspiring art, live theatre and gastronomic delights. No matter how you choose to experience it, South Eastern Ontario offers some of the best places to visit in Ontario.