As travel options became more limiting in Canada, finding places to go in “our own backyard” started becoming the main option for people needing to get away and fulfill their wanderlust. For Ontario residents, cottaging was the main source of summer escapes in the Muskoka, but there is another option that has a lot of people heading a couple of hours East of Toronto. This option is visiting Prince Edward County.
I’ve been wanting to visit “the county” for over a year. Thanks to having to stay local for travel, I was finally able to escape at the end of summer to finally make this trip happen. As a first time visitor to the PEC area, I had a map of over 30 bookmarks I’ve saved over the past year or more. There was no way I was going to tackle it all with two and a half days, but I was going to make a decent dent with a variety of wineries, cafes, breweries, and more! Social distancing protocols were followed, masks were worn, hands were washed and sanitized, and everything else was done to make this trip as safe as possible during the era of COVID-19.
Let’s not waste any more time with an intro and jump into the list of places we visited, and here’s hoping it adds a new place or two for you to visit if you ever make it to the county.
Cafes and Breakfast
Starting off the list of things you may be looking for to start your morning: coffee and breakfast food. The county definitely has options! Sometimes we tried to get the morning coffee and food in the same spot, and also split it up to cover more places as well.
BEACON BIKE + BREW
188 Picton Main St, Picton, ON
Our very first stop of the trip was for breakfast and much needed coffee to start the day in Picton. We went to BEACON BIKE + BREW to get food and caffeine. With a good variety of breakfast options, I got the avocado and hummus toast which was different from other avocado toasts and now something I would like to recreate at home! Matt got the french toast and said it was one of the best! We each also got our preferred hot caffeinated beverages, because a morning wasn’t complete without caffine. Delicious and filling, this was a great start to our day and our trip as a whole.
Miss Lily’s Cafe
289 Picton Main St, Picton, ON
Another spot we stopped for coffee and possibly some baked goods, was Miss Lily’s Cafe, located on the Picton Main Street. I was drawn in by knowing that they used Pilot Coffee Roasters and was very happy with making the decision to stop here for a pick-me-up. Matt was able to pick up a couple of the pastries and they were all thoroughly enjoyed and verified delicious!
The Vic Drive-In
166 Picton Main St, Picton, ON
One of the first bookmarks I made in Prince Edward County, was for The Vic Cafe. This cafe rebranded with the pandemic shaking up the world, and is now and furthermore known as The Vic Drive-In. Think drive-in, eat-in car, or on the patio, minus the rollerblades. Although you can only enjoy their bright and colourful interior by walking through placing your order, this place definitely pulls people in with their aesthetic and then their food offerings. They have breakfast meals like avo toast (with egg or portabella mushroom) and breakfast poutine. Lunch and dinner options come in the form of classic burgers (meat and vegan options) and more! This place is great at any time of the day!
The Bean Counter Café
172 Picton Main St, Picton, ON
On our last morning, we did an earlier stroll back to the Main Street in Picton to The Bean Counter Café. As big fans of Montreal style bagels, we were completely happy with getting bagels for breakfast with morning coffees. We got to enjoy the bagels on the outdoor patio. There were a bunch of other menu offerings for breakfast and lunch. A great spot with a variety of options to eat and drink!
306 Wellington Main St, Wellington, ON
When life gives you lemons, you make more than 20 different kinds of lemonade. Lemons is a cute little lemonade-themed shop, but they also have other beverage offerings if lemonade isn’t your cup of tea. We had blue raspberry lemonade and mango dragonfruit lemonade and both were delicious. A great summer day refresher! They also have lemon-related items to buy as well in the shop.
Enid Grace Culinary & Piccolina Italian Bar
304 Wellington Main St, Wellington, ON
We also stopped into Enid Grace Culinary & Piccolina Italian Bar for a quick mid-day caffeine fix. This spot offers Italian breakfast, espresso bar and aperitivo service, and culinary classes! With a little bit of everything, this Italian bar has coffee, food, drinks, pastries, and more!
Places for next time: Picnic Café in Picton and new spot HelloBonjour in Wellington.
Wineries and Vineyards
One of the big pulls for people going to Prince Edward County is the wide variety of wineries you could visit!
Old Salt Cocktails
990 Closson Rd, Hillier, ON
Our first winery visit in Prince Edward County was for one that I’ve had bookmarked for a long time. We went to Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards and Estate Winery but ended up spending our time without wine. At the back of their outdoor space is Old Salt Cocktails, a mobile cocktail bar that serves cocktails, wine, and more! They also have a BBQ with food offerings we well. The cocktails were so good we didn’t want to leave, but we had other stops to make. We would highly recommend visiting this winery, even if it’s just for the cocktails! Next time we will try the wine too.
Hinterland Wine Company
1258 Closson Rd, Hillier, ON
Our second winery visit was to Hinterland Wine Company. Hopping from one winery to the next, we picked one close by. We sat out in the Muskoka chairs, enjoying a wine-based Peach bellini and cherry cider, while also enjoying the additional wildlife with chickens and ducks roaming the area. The kitchen was closed this year, but the drinks were still good!
Norman Hardie Winery and Vineyard
1152 Greer Rd, Wellington, ON
Our last stop before we left the county was Norman Hardie Winery and Vineyard. Known for their wine and wood oven pizza, we sipped on some Reisling while sharing an extremely delicious marinara pizza and a plate of oysters. We continued to rave about the entire meal for a while. We couldn’t have been happier with visiting with this winery and having it be our last stop.
Wineries for next time: Sandbanks Estate Winery, Keint-He Winery & Vineyards, and more. So many more!
Breweries and Distilleries
If wineries aren’t your thing, Prince Edward County also has some breweries and distilleries available for beer and spirits!
Prince Eddy’s Brewing Co.
13 Macsteven Dr, Picton, ON
We made a quick stop into Prince Eddy’s Brewing Co. just on the outskirts of the main Picton street. We ordered some plantain nachos and a beer sour to enjoy on the outdoor patio. Both the beer and nachos lived to our expectations! Definitely intrigued to remake those nachos at home now as well.
555 Brewing Co
124 Picton Main St, Picton, ON
One of the closest spots to our Airbnb was 555 Brewing Co. This was a place we had on our list to visit and walked by a couple of times each day as we walking onto the Picton Main Street. We stopped in for a late-night dinner on one of our evenings and enjoyed a pizza and cider. Vegan pizza is an offering they have for anyone looking for a plant-based food option!
Kinsip House Of Fine Spirits
66 Gilead Rd, Bloomfield, ON
Although we didn’t make it in time for a tasting, we did stop by the Kinsip House Of Fine Spirits. We decided to pick up some bitters to elevate our at-home cocktail experience. it was hard to pick only 3 flavours, but we ended up with Lavender Lemon, Ginger, and Sour Cherry. We are excited to make some new cocktails with those! Definitely book a reservation ahead of time if a tasting is something you are interested in while in Prince Edward County.
Breweries for next time: Parsons Brewing Company and Midtown Brewing Company
Restaurants in Prince Edward County
With plenty of options for food, we usually tried to pair up our bigger meals with the stops previously mentioned, but there was one standout restaurant we were able to experience that gets a category all to itself.
We definitely lucked out on getting a table with a reservation at the Drake Devonshire. In hopes of grabbing a late lunch in the town of Wellington, we asked is something was available as walk-ins. We ended up getting a table indoors with a great view of the water. Our lunch was accompanied by great service, amazing food, tasty cocktails, and a great experience overall. We walked out back to take a look at the water. Waterfront seating was temporarily closed due to weather. I definitely see the appeal of having an outside table next to the water. Highly recommend making a reservation. We would definitely go back next time as well!
Restaurants for next time: Mexican food from La Condesa and Sand and Pearl Oyster Bar.
Staying in Prince Edward County
We stayed in a cute and chic Airbnb just a 10 min walk from Picton Main Street, which gave us the ability to walk to the main street strip for a lot of the spots on this list. When it came time for us to visit Wellington or Hillier community, we drove the 20-30 minutes by car.
Two other spots we didn’t get to explore were The Lakeside Motel (Wellington) and The June Motel (Picton). Both are highly recommended and posted about often on Instagram for their cool vibes and overall experience. You can book your stay at either of these places if they have availability!
Please note that there are many places that close Monday – Wednesday, or one or two of those days, So plan your trip accordingly if you are going for a specific place in mind.
I hope this Prince Edward County travel guide was helpful and helps you make your next trip out to the county a great one! Follow me on Instagram to stay up to date with any more travels and lifestyle content!