Flashback February in The County
Written by: Susan Smythe-Bishop
For 10 years, Tim and I dreamed of the day that we could move permanently to Prince Edward County, and we finally took the plunge last summer. To be honest, the biggest concern I had about settling here can pretty much be summed up in one word: Winter. Aside from welcoming the first few gorgeous snowfalls that typically set the stage for the holiday season, the magic of winter had often been lost on me. But that has all changed…
Now, I find myself standing in awe of winter. With crisp Arctic-like sunrises and sunsets, spectacular glistening ice formations along the seemingly endless shorelines, and vibrant colours of the Barn Quilt Trail that literally explode against the pure white snow, a friend of mine recently quipped on Facebook that it looks as though we are living in some kind of an enchanted snow globe – and I have to agree!
Not only can I appreciate the beauty of the season now, I’ve also discovered that there is so much to do here in the winter months. In addition to many of the wineries and restaurants remaining open for delicious business, cross-country skiers, snowshoers and snowmobilers alike have been delighting in the abundant snow while anglers and their ice-fishing huts dot the bodies of water that surround the island. To top it off, I was pretty excited to learn that later this month, The County plans to mark Flashback February, a week-long heritage celebration that features hands-on learning, live demonstrations, talks, film screenings and stories that explore the relationships of past, present and future in The County. I have always had a huge fascination for the history of this area, and this seems like a fantastic way to really explore it.
About Flashback February – February 17-25, 2018
According to Jennifer Lyons, Head Curator for Museums with the Corporation of The County of Prince Edward: “Prince Edward County is bursting with history, and this fun-filled week features talented chefs, curators, artists, experts and local organizations who will all be presenting fantastic opportunities to learn about the area’s rich heritage. Both visitors and residents alike will be able to fully immerse themselves in unique events that will help to celebrate and give context to the storied past of this beautiful region.”
The weeklong festivities kick off over the Family Day Weekend on Saturday, February 17th from 2-5 pm at Parsons Brewing Company. Admission is free, there will be live music, a roaring fire, kids can play historic games and toys provided by the County Museums and delicious food and beverages will be available for purchase. And to make it official, Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff will toast the past while proclaiming Heritage Week in Prince Edward County!
Other exciting events throughout the week include a Family Day Pancake Breakfast at the Wellington Arena, and then you can pop over to see the progress being made on the Wellington Heritage Museum’s heritage garden. You can discover how dinosaur fossils are restored for museums around the world by Trenton-based Research Casting International, or perhaps get out your cross-country skis, toboggans and/or snowshoes and head over to Sandbanks to celebrate their annual Winterfest. That’s right – there is more to Sandbanks than splashing in the waves and climbing the gorgeous sand dunes in the summer! It really is stunning in the winter months.
If you are into film, then check out the Heritage Week FilmFest at the historical Regent Theatre where the 2018 History Moments series, beautifully produced by History Lives Here Inc., will be launched. I have seen quite a few of the earlier vignettes and they really are fascinating. Tributes in this upcoming series with a regional focus feature Cressy’s Jennie Woolworth, née Creighton, who helped her husband Frank establish the Woolworth retail empire; and a pioneer of the Ontario cider industry, the legendary late Grant Howes – founder of The County Cider Company located in Waupoos. These are just a couple of the amazing stories that will be unveiled.
(Photo credit: Johnny C.Y. Lam)
If you are into food, well, I personally think The County is always the place to be. But, this week in particular, you can participate in a Victorian Culinary Workshop where you actually roll up your sleeves and cook a complete 19th century dinner using the open hearth and wood fired oven at Macaulay House, which I find so interesting. With today’s modern conveniences (hello, Instant Pot!), it’s hard to imagine or even appreciate the painstaking cooking processes of days past and from what I hear, this event tends to sell out quickly. If you would rather sit back and let top-notch chefs cook heritage-themed meals for you, why not book a spectacular dinner with Chef Michael Hoy at 106 Bridge St in Picton? Or, head over to Milford’s Jackson’s Falls Country Inn where they too will be serving up a gorgeous heritage-inspired meal in their beautiful restaurant, The Public House. Menus can be found on the Museum website. Be sure to book these in advance as they have limited seating.
I love to cook, so I’m partial to food-related events, but there are many other cool family-friendly events on offer, click here to find out more. And, don’t forget, while you are here in The County – you can also shop amongst the amazing modern-day businesses, PEC’s history-makers of tomorrow!
Will I be ready for spring when it comes? You bet – we have Maple in the County to look forward to in March! I honestly would never trade four seasons for anything – I’ve just wished that winter was a little bit shorter. Will I ever dread winter again? I don’t think so, at least not while I am here in The County, surrounded by so much beauty and inspiration from both the past and the present.
See all February event listings here.