Calling all oenophiles and epicureans – Prince Edward County is your newest getaway.
Ontario, Canada is home to great spots for food & wine connoisseurs such as Lake Erie North Shore, Twenty Valley and of course, Niagara on the Lake. However, if you’re looking to be a trend setter and explore the newest oenophile appellation that’s rapidly growing with top chefs, breweries and wineries – Prince Edward County is a must.
Huge thanks to Acura Canada who provided us the chance to experience a relaxing weekend in Prince Edward County with the help of the Acura MDX. As my frequent readers may know, Affluence Avenue is a lifestyle website that focuses on extravagant experiences relating to culture, arts, travel and food and drink. I started this website with the purpose of celebrating sublime life moments because to me, that’s what life is about – specifically enjoying and enhancing your everyday.
It goes without saying that there was a natural fit with all components: Acura MDX, a luxury comfort vehicle; Affluence Avenue, the lifestyle website; and Prince Edward County, the recently coined Gastronomic Capital of Ontario that has food and wine connoisseurs alike excited.
The above recipe guaranteed superb results – here’s a video of how it all went:
As you explore Prince Edward County and converse with the locals; they will all say that just few years ago there were only 10 wineries and a handful of restaurants on the now popular Taste Trail. However, the trail is now home to over 50 wineries, restaurants and artisan food vendors and was recently coined the Gastronomic Capital of Ontario by the Globe and Mail. It can be explored with a self guided route at your leisure or, alternatively you can let your spirits guide you in Ontario’s newest wine appellation in search of tucked-away treasures inspired by a dedication to local ingredients.
Additionally, food and drink isn’t all Prince Edward County has to offer. The area is rich in Arts & Culture with outstanding theatre, film, jazz, rock n’ roll, chamber music, and dance events taking place. Prince Edward County is to Ontario what Saltspring Island is to British Columbia: a mecca for artists from all walks of life. It’s also home to one of Canada’s best freshwater beaches, Sandbanks Provincial Parks with water so dazzling you’ll forget you’re in Ontario (and I mean that in the best way possible). You can enjoy all sorts of outdoor activities – camping, swimming, fishing, boating, sailboarding, birding, cycling, hiking.
Last but not least, the County is filled with calming spas and offers a wide range of choice for the wellness tourist.
Here’s a suggested itinerary I had the pleasure of experiencing that will leave you wanting to come back to The County over and over again.
9.00am – The journey to Prince Edward County begins. From downtown Toronto, the destination is about 2 and a half hours away so be prepared. That being said, Acura MDX’s entertainment system and comfort (Italian leather seats!) made it for a quick feeling ride. Side note: although this feature wasn’t used on this trip, as a fan of road trips with friends the split screen video system is an important component in minimizing disagreements over TV show choices.
12:30pm – Arrive at Huff Estates. Huff Estates is a winery, inn as well as home to Oeno Gallery (a perfect addition for the arts & culture lovers). Although it was a rainy day, the place provides an inviting atmosphere and I would definitely recommend staying here.
1:00pm – The Wine Tour begins – be prepared to stay on the tour for about 4-5 hours. The tour guide, Gilles, is a friendly and knowledgable local who knows his wine. Apparently, he has on average about 100 bottles in his collection so plan to ask questions – he will have answers. Gilles will be sure to take you through some of the most notable spots in The County such as the newly developing Toronto’s Drake Hotel property in Prince Edward County, the local beach, the loyalist inspired architecture landmarks and the Millionaire’s Row comparable to the likes of Martha’s Vineyard and Hamptons. The wineries visited are boutique and craft where you can find the owners behind the bar, sharing their story. A great personal touch.
Don’t forget to pay special attention to the Pinor Noir in the county. Apparently, the region’s grapes produce some of the best Pinot Noir comparable to the best in the world. According to the wine makers’ in the region, a few more generations and the county will be producing the best Pinot Noir world wide.
The guide will also provide you with a six bottle wine carrier challenging you to fill it up with local goodness that you taste from the local vineyards. I took on the challenge and met him half way, filling three out of the six spots with delicious Cabernet Franc and Riesling. It also helps that the bottles fit nicely in Acura MDX’s wine compartment – a small but an impressive feature for the vino lovers.
8:00pm – Dinner at Merrill Inn. A shuttle is highly recommended from your hotel to the restaurant as this is a smaller town with scarce taxis. Merrill Inn is located in a traditional loyalist house and the restaurant is in the lower level. The whole town maintains a Loyalist feeling – it almost feels like a time warp with traditional Anglo inspired houses that have not been affected by the modern touch. The Merrill Inn food is splendid in both the taste and presentation.
8:30am – A simple but delicious breakfast at Huff Estates.
10:00am – Massage at Claremont Inn & Spa. Another beautiful traditional building that has a 5 star spa on premise. The vibe of the town is synonymous with relaxation so it only makes sense that the spa culture is quite rich. Recommended treatment: the Eminence Back Bliss and Hot Stone Massage. It is equivalent to an organic facial for your back and includes cleansing, toning, exfoliating, a customized masque, a hydrating massage and hot stone treatment. There is also access to the pools and hot tub.
11:30am – Explore Sandbank Park and beach. As an avid traveler of the world, I haven’t been much impressed with Ontario’s beaches. However, stepping grounds on the Sandbank Park and seeing the turquoise waters definitely shifted my opinion. I couldn’t help but take some time driving around the park and enjoying the scenery of the water and I can only imagine how beautiful it must look in full summer bloom. A must visit if you’re in the area. Watch the video clip for the full effect!
12:30pm – Savoury lunch at the local favourite Blumen.
Prince Edward County may be the emerging wine country but it can definitely compete with the likes of established Niagara on the Lake. I highly recommend a visit to the county – you will not be disappointed.
Until next time,