Winter Magic in The County ❄️ ❄️ ❄️
There’s a certain quiet magic that comes to The County in the winter months, presenting myriad opportunities to see a different side of the place and its people. Here are our top things to see and do after the vines are buried, the temperatures drop and the snow starts to fall.
Take in a show. There’s live music year-round in The County, but this is the time of year that you’re most likely to rub elbows with locals as you take in a live act. Try Tuesday nights at the Drake Devonshire, when the mic is open and the talent pool is deep, or Friday & Saturday nights or Sunday afternoons at the County Canteen, Acoustic Grill or Waring House for local performers and out-of-town acts. The historic Regent Theatre also shows documentaries on Sundays and art films on alternating Mondays – a perfect way to wait out cold weather.
Sip summer’s flavours in a County wine. Yes, The County’s wineries are open during winter weekends – a slower pace means you’re more likely to encounter the winemaker while tasting the terroir.
Or pair your wine with a little exercise: Three Dog Winery and Sugarbush Vineyards offer trails and snowshoes, a perfect excuse to indulge when back at the tasting room, where warming treats await. Stand close to the bonfire at Three Dog for an instant warm-up!
In February, find the perfect pairing at Vinter Festival, a celebration of wine, winter, art and music that takes place over Family Day weekend. Or drop into Hinterlude, the foodie festival at Hinterland.
Art in the heart of winter. The Department of Illumination lights up The County for the Firelight Lantern Festival in November. In 2019, they bring more magic with the introduction of Ice Box PEC, at the Macaulay Heritage Village. Join five artists for interactive and immersive art experiences at five purpose-built “ice boxes” from Feb. 2-10.
Flashback to Loyalist days. The County is steeped in history, and in February it comes alive with Flashback February, a week of arts, music, film and food. In 2019, the theme is “Spirits of Our Past,” and will feature a Victorian seance, an Escape Room experience, film festival, Victorian puddings workshop, high tea, “spirited” talk about spiritualism, heritage wine tours and more. Find information, times, locations and tickets at the events page.
Put some colour in your cheeks. Ski, snowshoe, rent a fat tire bike – the newly refurbished Millennium Trail is waiting. If trying to find the 10-km of ski and snowshoe trail at Sandbanks, follow the road signs leading south from Bloomfield and stop at the Dunes Trail parking lot, just beyond the pylons. Do not use the main entrance.
Drop a line through the ice in search of pike and pickerel at the Consecon Family Fishing Derby. Or search for walleye on a charter in the Bay of Quinte.
Indulge hockey fandom and foodie tendencies while taking in the Drake Devonshire’s Annual Barn Burner, an on-ice hockey dust-up between Toronto and Montreal chefs, featuring snacks by top-chefs and an after-match dinner catered by the competitors.
Speaking of The Drake, the dining room of the Drake Devonshire offers unparalleled views of an icy Lake Ontario – a great chance to see the ice sculptures nature creates on the water’s edge – and a range of wine options from around The County. Or appreciate nature’s way of painting ice on the rock faces at the little-visited Little Bluff Conservation Area.
Taste nature’s candy. Join in The County’s first – and sweetest! – harvest of the 2019 season. Sugar bushes across The County open their doors for pancake breakfasts with fresh maple syrup, taffy on snow, s’mores, petting zoos, BBQ sausages, lumberjack show, artisan vendors, face painting and more. Wineries, restaurants and more get in on the action with delicious, seasonal menus highlighting maple syrup and featuring ingredients inspired to bring out the sweetness. More information at Maple in the County.