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 five 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. In February, the Tabor Playhouse in Milford hosts Norm Foster’s “Sinners,” a comedy about what can happen when the Minister’s wife starts fooling around.
Sip summer’s flavours in a County wine. There are 17 wineries open during winter weekends – a slower pace means you’re more likely to encounter the winemaker while tasting the terroir. The Merrill Inn, Three Dog Winery and Sugarbush Vineyards offer trails and snowshoes. Or sink into the seats in front of the Grange’s stone fireplace and munch on popcorn while being mesmerized by the fire’s unpredictable dance. 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.
Flashback to Loyalist days. The County is steeped in history, and this February it comes alive with Flashback February, a week of arts, music, film and food. Highlights include a talk about how dinosaur fossils are restored, cast and mounted for display in museums, a County-inspired trivia night and a full-day, hands-on cooking class where participants will make a 19th century menu using the open hearth and wood-fired oven at Macaulay House. Find more information times, locations and tickets at the events page.
Find the perfect pairing. Wine and curry? Wine and snowshoes? Wine and oil paints? Try for yourself this Family Day weekend at the inaugural Vinter Festival, a celebration of wine, winter, art and music. Twelve wineries are participating. Karlo Estates, Sandbanks Winery, Grange of Prince Edward Winery and Stanners Vineyard will host artist-led workshops, including all materials, instruction, wine and a boxed lunch. Trail Estate Winery, Closson Estates, Sugarbush Vineyards, By Chadsey’s Cairns Winery and Vineyard, Karlo Estates and Lacey Estates will have special food pairings, such as fondue, french toast, chilli, curry and chocolate. Rosehall Run, Three Dog Winery, and Lacey Estates will be exhibiting art or live music. Several will have their acreage open to snowshoeing! Check out the full range of events here: https://www.facebook.com/vinterfestpec
Put some colour in your cheeks. Ski, snowshoe, rent a fat tire bike – the Millennium Trail is waiting. Cold Creek Landhaus has a getaway weekend featuring snowshoeing, wine tasting and a raclette dinner. Put your snowpants on for the Ski Doo Suit Ski Bunny dance party at Karlo Estates, featuring kid-friendly drinks, food by Chef Chris Byrneas and music by DJ Ombudsman. Indulge hockey fandom and foodie tendencies while taking in the Drake Devonshire’s Second 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. Drop a line through the ice in search of pike and pickerel at the Consecon Family Fishing Derby. Or appreciate nature’s way of painting ice on the rock faces at the little-visited Little Bluff Conservation Area. If trying the 10-km trail at Sandbanks, follow the signs leading south from Bloomfield and stop at the Dunes Trail parking lot, just beyond the pylons. Do not use the main entrance.
Taste nature’s candy. Join in the County’s first – and sweetest! – harvest of the 2018 season. Twelve sugarbushes 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.