10 Things to Do in Prince Edward County in September 🍎
Pssst… September is the best, right? All of August’s sun without any of its humidity. Cool nights perfect for sleeping. And the worst of the bugs finally start to bug-off. Plus, the garden gets heavy with delicious produce. Tomato sandwiches for all!
Here’s how to celebrate September’s best in Prince Edward County.
Summer can be surprisingly exhausting, with that Canadian impulse to enjoy every sunny day to its fullest. Replenish your creative well with a horn tour involving art. Start off the month by following the northern-most road in The County, the one that hugs the Bay of Quinte and is home to 24 artists who open their studios as part of the Rednersville Art Tour. See textiles, watercolours, fibre arts, wood-turning, pottery and more during Labour Day weekend.
Or prep for an epic art horn trip around the entire County during the 25th edition of the PEC Studio Tour, showcasing paintings in every medium from watercolour, encaustic, acrylic, oil to mixed media, photography, sculptures, jewellery, pottery, hand-blown, stained and fused glass creations, ceramics, fibre art, silks and more. Studios of 38 County artists will be open during this special weekend, a great chance to explore the back roads and take home a little piece of County creativity. Sept 21-23.
Looking to peruse art using your own two feet? Take to the streets for the Picton Arts Crawl on Thursday September 20.
If you’ve had a rough summer, consider spending some time murdering your darlings – as a writer, of course! The “Women Killing It” crime writing festival is three days (Aug 31-Sept 2) of talks and readings about the craft of killing on the page. It’s a chance to speed date (with authors) and sample a Victorian tea.
As usual, The County has a wealth of live music this month, starting with the Chamber Music Festival from Sept 7-16. The Festival features a performance by the New Orford String Quartet, Montreal’s Lamentations choir, a piano performance, opera, and versatile violinist Mark Fewer, playing both jazz and classical in two separate performances.
Sept 8, join Sue Foley for an afternoon of Red, White & Blues at Closson Chase Vineyards. Foley, otherwise known as The Ice Queen, is considered on of Canada’s best blues guitarists and is a Juno Award winner and 17-times Maple Blues Award winner. Blues by Sue + red and white wines by Closson Chase = the perfect pairing.
From Sept 14-16, relive the 50s and 60s at the Prince Edward County Festival Grounds, with the Rock ‘n Roll Music Festival, presented by Millpond Music. The three-day line-up includes Eddy & The Stingrays, The Reasons, Garage Dog, Big Black Smoke, Dimestore Playboys, The Decades Band, Swingin Blackjacks, The Spirits, The Shadowz, Crimson Cay, Breezeway 50’s & 50’s, Southern Ale, and Nighthawk.
Or spend the day at the beach, listening to Wintersleep belt out its best known tune – “Weighty Ghost” – over the sounds of the park’s gentle waves at the Sandbanks Music Festival. The Nova Scotia indie alt-rockers will be joined on stage on Sept. 15 by Julie Doiron and the Wooden Stars, Gianna Lauren, Listen Up Kid, Ella Jade, Jeremy Kelly and Triples. This is a family friendly concert – it’s the best when a pint-sized mosh pits breaks out! – brought to you by the same fine people behind the spring County Pop concert.
For music of a different kind, drop in for the Fall Warblers Identification Workshop, hosted by the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory as part of its fall bird migration festival. While the festival is better known for the banding of saw-whet owls, The County is loaded with warblers at this time of year, as they stop in on their way back south. It should come as no surprise that warblers sound… warbly. Their call starts with a chip and then the notes warble. Learn more Sept. 23.
Festival Players rounds out an absolutely incredible season of theatre with A Beautiful View, a script written by celebrated playwright Daniel MacIvor. The play – at the intimate new Studio Theatre in Wellington from Sept 4-23 – centres around two women who meet in the camping section of Canadian Tire and recount for the audience all the highs and lows of the sometimes friendship/sometimes relationship that ensues. The script is lush, poetic and yet sardonic and pitch-perfect in capturing that early 90s patter of unconcerned slackers who actually care deeply about what you think. A Globe & Mail review explains that MacIvor is “concerned here with what is lost with love when you name it.”
This month marks 50 years of showcasing County history and heritage at the Ameliasburgh Heritage Village, a hidden gem rarely discovered by visitors. The collection of buildings – including a school house, chapel, general store, carpentry, blacksmith, honey house and sugar shack – depict agricultural life in Edwardian times, when The County was emerging from the Barley Days and about to become the Canning County of Canada. Celebrate on Sept 2, or return for a tea room social featuring baked good studded with seasonal apples on Sept. 30. The County’s five museums are still open on weekends only in September!
Fall means harvest, and that frequently means celebration. Experience an authentic fall fair on Sept 7-9, with judged baking, preserves and veggie growing competitions, plus livestock shows, a midway and all the usual deep-fried treats at Picton Fair, one of the province’s oldest fall fairs. (First established in 1836, when the railway was still a new mode of transport in Canada.)
The Milford Fall Fair is Sept 15, a one-day, inexpensive, family-centred event with live music, an array of vendors and displays in the shed of prize-worthy produce, arts and crafts, canoe races and cooking. Be sure to stop by the make a bird feeder booth to craft a souvenir that will draw in the birds! Ameliasburgh Country Fair kicks off Sept 29 with a parade, followed by the livestock and horse shows, as well as exhibits of flowers, vegetables, woodworking, home crafts, art and photography and school projects.
Or get all the nostaligic feels at the Fall Antique Show & Sale Sept 14-16 which coincides – very conveniently – with the Model Train Show on the same weekend (Sept 15-16) at the Crystal Palace Fairgrounds.
On Sept 22, Camp Picton – aka Loch Sloy Business Park – will be invaded by foodies seeking all the best food, wine, beer and spirits that The County has to offer. Taste Community Grown is a family-friendly event, with shuttles running from Belleville, Bloomfield or downtown Picton, and features comfort food, farm stands, craft brews, shopping, entertainment, wine and spirits! Grab a plate (or a glass!) and get a taste of this year’s harvest.
Camp Picton will be overrun by actual campers on Sept 7, with #TheMotoSocialCAMP, a weekend camp for motorcycle enthusiasts that promises good food and even better company. Bike or no bike, hang out with the campers and help raise funds for mental health.
If you prefer your two wheels to be pedal-powered, check out the Kiwanis Fall Colour Fondo on Sept. 23, a delightful ride around Waupoos. Choose from 25, 50 or 100 km routes, remembering that Waupoos is a series of deceptive long, slow ascents and descents. Reward yourself at the end with wood-fired pizza and desserts from Waupoos Estate Winery.
Or sign up for the new County Gran Fondo on Sept. 8, a scenic 50, 100 or 150 km ride through Sandbanks Provincial Park, Milford, Picton and Wellington, and the quiet roads in between.
If tootling around on two wheels doesn’t sound challenging enough, head to the Sandbanks Fun Run, a 5km and 10km run through the Park’s trails, leaving from the Park Store on Sept. 16. All proceeds support the Terry Fox Foundation.
Or lace up your sneaks for The County Marathon, a Boston qualifier that’s fairly flat (and therefore fast), fully closed off from traffic, near the cooling effect of the lake and fully equipped with washrooms, water and transport for spectators. It’s a small town race with a lot of amenities. The run takes place September 30, 2018 and is open to runners, walkers and wheeled athletes.
If all that exercise doesn’t bust your gut, try spending the evening with Gavin Crawford, best known for his eight seasons on This Hour Has 22 Minutes and host of CBC Radio’s Because News. His new show, “Friend” “Like” #Me, takes the audience on a clickbaiting spiral of hilarious characters we all know and love (and love to hate) from our lives off- and online. Sept. 22. (Hot tip: virtually all of Comedy Country’s performances have sold out this season. So get on getting those tickets!)
And finally, there’s a limited opportunity to step inside Al Purdy’s A-Frame, where Purdy wrote much of his iconic poetry. Purdy is a giant in Can Lit circles, and the subject of the powerful documentary Al Purdy Was Here. The A-Frame he knocked together on the shore of the Bay of Quinte let him devote his days to writing. When he died in 2000, Purdy left behind more than 30 books of poetry. Today, the house is used as a writer’s residence, where new and emerging writers can find inspiration in the isolated setting to finish projects. Bring a lunch and enjoy a picnic by the lake!