36 Hours in Prince Edward County

As some of you already know, my boyfriend Zach and I have been in a long distance relationship for almost three years now. He lives in Toronto, and my home is San Francisco. Because we only get to see each other every 6-8 weeks, we've established annual traditions over the past few years that make our time together extra special. And one of those traditions is going on a trip every year for my birthday (not too shabby, huh?). For the first year of long distance, we traveled to Paris and Cannes in France, and last year we spent a week in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Due to busy schedules and vacation day limitations, we decided to do a few nights in Prince Edward County. When we were choosing where to go for our getaway, I must admit that PEC's main selling points were The June Motel (every square inch of the motel is Insta-worthy) and the impressive number of wineries in the area (I love wine, so if you don't know, now you know). But between the wineries and shops that we visited, and all of the towns we drove through, it quickly became one of our favorite trips to date! Here's why:

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Prince Edward County is a rural area on the northern shore of Lake Ontario comprised of a handful of small communities, and is just over a two-hour drive from Toronto. Zach and I arrived at The June Motel in Picton on a Wednesday evening around 9:30 pm, which was after the front desk had closed and the owner had kindly texted us the information of how to obtain the key for our room. From the moment we unlocked our room at The June, I immediately fell in love. In June 2016, owners April Brown and Sarah Sklash took over the existing Sportsman Motel and transformed the space into a tropical and chic oasis that they opened earlier this year in May. The interior in "The Classic" room that we had booked was pure Instagram perfection. After snapping nearly 100 photos (not an exaggeration) of the room upon arrival, Zach opened the mini fridge and surprised me with a bottle of Prosecco and a full charcuterie board - talk about a perfect start to a birthday trip!

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The following morning, we ventured into the quaint downtown area of Picton to grab a quick coffee and breakfast at The Vic Cafe. For such a small town, Picton (and PEC in general) seems to be experiencing a lot of growth recently, with the openings of trendy cafes and restaurants and the building of multiple condo complexes. The Vic Cafe underwent a renovation earlier this year and has become one of the go-to breakfast and lunch spots in the area. Their breakfast menu has a balance of light fare and heartier options with a vegan and vegetarian focus. Zach and I opted for quick coffees and pastries (mine of course being gluten-free), and we were also convinced to get a few of their vegan carrot squares for post-winery snacks (and they were insanely delicious, even Zach agreed).

We then drove about 25 minutes to Wellington to begin our first tasting of the day at Rosehall Run Vineyards. We arrived at 11 am to an empty lot and enjoyed an unintentionally private tasting of four wines, all for SEVEN. DOLLARS. That's unheard of in California. Bonus points for PEC.

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Up next was Norman Hardie Winery, a popular lunch spot down the street from Rosehall Run that is known for their wood-fired pizzas. We immediately got a seat on their sunny patio, and enjoyed a glass of Pinot Noir with our salad and pizza that we split - it was delicious! We then walked upstairs to their tasting room and each got a glass that we sipped on as we walked around the vineyards (and snapped some photos, of course).

 

We continued our PEC winery tour at Sandbanks Winery, where we each did a tasting at their outdoor tasting bar. Not surprisingly, we started to get the munchies. Luckily, Zach's coworker had recommended a restaurant with an outdoor patio that overlooked the lake. It sounded like the perfect way to end the afternoon, so we headed to The Miller House and grabbed a lovely table where we enjoyed a charcuterie board and drinks with a stunning view before heading back to The June.

After a power nap, we spruced up for dinner and headed to The June's outdoor bonfire pit for a pre-dinner glass of wine (because more wine never hurts). Because Uber doesn't operate in PEC, the front desk notified us that a cab would take approximately 30 minutes to pick us up, so we called the cab company when we ordered our drinks. The cab actually took about 45 minutes, but we eventually were picked up and were on our way to Blumen Garden Bistro. With a focus on fresh and seasonal ingredients, it's easy to understand why Blumen Garden is one of the top restuarants in PEC. Per usual, we began our dinner with a cocktail, and both decided to start with the seasonal soup, followed by the duck and lamb entrees, which were both incredible, all accompanied by a great bottle of wine. We were pretty exhausted from our busy day, so we were fortunately able to cork up our bottle of wine and bring it back to The June where we ended our evening with a nightcap and a movie.

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The following morning, we checked out of The June and drove into Wellington for brunch at the popular Drake Devonshire Inn. The interior of the hotel has an absolutely stunning balance of rustic, cozy, and chic, and the restaurant was designed with high beamed ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows that looks onto the property's lakeside beach. We were lucky enough to order breakfast items before they switched to their lunch menu (on weekdays, breakfast is only available until 11 am). After devouring our brunch and Caesars (to my Americans - they're essentially Bloody Mary's but made with Clamato juice instead of tomato juice), we strolled down Main Street. We stopped into The Parlour Studio, a stunning plant shop with the most beautiful copper accents, and Oak Clothing Co. that had a great selection of both men's and women's clothing. Before heading back to Toronto, we drove to Sandbanks Provincial Park in the hopes of catching a few rays, but unfortunately the beach was closed due to flooding.

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Needless to say, PEC completely stole my heart, and I couldn't have asked for a dreamier birthday trip with my love. Even though we spend so much time apart from one another, I'm grateful that we can share such special experiences together and make the time that we do have with each other incredibly special.

If you have any questions about anywhere that we stayed or visited, feel free to shoot me a comment below or DM/email me!

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