What’s new this summer in The County? 🍜 🍺 🎨
It’s not just the seasons that change in The County – it seems every week a new business sprouts up, rewarding intrepid explorers with new finds, be it beer, wine, art or delicious culinary treats.
Here’s a look at what’s new and notable in The County!
Butter Dream Cakes, on Picton’s main street, is where to head when your sweet tooth starts throbbing. Give it some love with these amazing creations from Meganne Carlisle, or stop by for high-tea. A cake + doughnut hybrid? Yes, please!
Big Mike’s BBQ has teamed up with Kinsip House of Fine Spirits, setting up at the distillery for what might be the most perfect pairing: fall-off-the-bone-meaty-everything with Kinsip’s signature maple-flavoured whisky. The BBQ special and the cocktail special might just be a match made in heaven, like the Outlaw Dog and a Kinsip Caesar, pictured above.
Flossie’s Sandwiches may be your Wellington Farmers Market go-to fare – and you can still find them there Saturday mornings – but when the craving for one of their out-of-this-world breakfast sammies hits, head to Carson’s Garden + Market, where Flossie’s has taken up permanent residence. Epic sammies + retail therapy + all your garden needs in one spot. You’re welcome.
Flame + Smith has been stoking the fires, and serving fresh local fare in Bloomfield for more than a year now. A talented cast of ‘Smiths’ are working away (right where you can see them) to bring you fresh sourdough loaves, beautifully grilled steaks, charmingly charred veggies and sinfully sweet desserts. Looking for a quick bite? Saddle up to the bar for a glass of something local with a side of oysters.
Good Place is proof that not every foodie who ventures into PEC is looking for the sinful: they’ve got a market full of vegetarian and vegan-friendly finds, plus a menu of healthy, colourful deliciousness that will help you get back on the straight and narrow. Bonus: they have a whole wall dedicated to waste/plastic free products (BYOBag!) Looking to eat clean and green in the North end of The County? Stop by the recently opened Green Root in the Rossmore Plaza.
Idle Wild has opened a bricks-and-mortar location on Main Street Wellington after years of appearing, like a mirage, at some of your favourite County wineries and events. It’s a different menu every day, but the same commitment to quality and diverse flavours. Tune into their Instagram for their what’s on special.
La Condesa landed on Main Street Wellington with a bang, bringing vivid colours, authentic Mexican dishes and cocktail-making that’s practically theatre. You might recognize some of these faces from Parsons Brewing, but the crew is really creating something uniquely their own here – and it’s worth savouring.
Land & Bog Smokehouse, Brewery & Cabins is going to lure you to Consecon Lake. With a snout-to-tail philosophy and a focus on County-grown ingredients, they offer traditional southern-style BBQ with distinctive signature dishes like brisket made with County water buffalo. All that plus amazing sunset views! It’s set to open mid-August, but you can find them at events around The County all summer.
Pochette is exactly what its name suggests: pocket-sized eats. These made-fresh-daily rotis and pies are both savoury and sweet. With lots of vegan, gluten-free and vegetarian options, they’re a perfect spot to stop in and grab a quick bite. But their unique location – an almost-greenhouse made entirely of windows just off Bloomfield’s Main Street – offers a great place to rest and enjoy. Tuck into pizzaroti, patties, galettes and handpies, or peruse the specialty items in the Tuck Shop. Open weekdays for lunch only.
Tabersnack is the first restaurant you’ll encounter if you’re entering The County from the Wooler Road exit of the 401. And what an introduction! Heaping portions of poutine are dressed up with jerk chicken, traditional cheese burger ingredients, and more. They’ve got all the summer fun basics – hot dogs, burgers, fries, patio – and what sounds delightfully promising: a leafless salad.
The Counter Coffee & Kitchen + The Honey House are just around the bend from Tabersnack in Consecon and definitely worth the detour! Perfectly positioned at the edge of The County for those coming from the west, they will satisfy any sweet tooth plus give you the caffeine boost you need to make it the rest of the way to Sandbanks.
The Marans Dinebar, and its nearby patio dubbed “The Coop,” may be branded around a heritage breed of chickens, but its menu will appeal to carnivores and vegetarians alike. The emphasis here is on food with global flare, but with the flavours coming from fresh, local ingredients. Each dish and beverage pairing is a veritable who’s who of County partners, from brewers to distillers to farmers. And they’ve got lots of quirky touches: vintage silver spoons abound and bills are delivered between the pages of Roald Dahl classics.
Saigon Wellington is the cure for what ails you after a long day of sipping vino or toiling to keep the kids slathered with sunscreen. It’s the perfect place for when you. just. can’t. This is no-nonsense Chinese takeout – with a great selection of Vietnamese staples – that’ll also do sit down meals if, by chance, you manage to rally. (Pro tip: order the spring rolls. They’re made from scratch and super tasty!)
Stella’s Eatery is influenced by the Indigenous flavours chef Leah Marshall Hannon experienced in her grandmother’s cooking. It’s a place for shared plates and thoughtfully paired wines and cocktails, where the chef and first-rate wine curator are committed to promoting female-led businesses and farms in The County. We almost don’t want to tell you about it, because it’s so good – but also because it’s currently open only for dinner, and does not take reservations. So go early, bring a willingness to wait, or try to sneak a spot on their patio over by Acoustic Grill. Trust us: it’ll be worth it!
A few others worth the wait: Beacon Bike + Brew is set to open on Main Street Picton, mixing two-wheels and two types of brews (coffee and booze). The Blue Sail Seafood Company is also taking shape on Main Street Picton and will add to the dining scene, offering seafood dishes inspired by a place entirely surrounded by water. We’re also eagerly awaiting the opening of Picnic PEC, a long-time favourite of County visitors and residents alike. Its on-brand gingham food truck has appeared at wineries and events, serving up fresh, flavourful fare made by Rebecca Hunt. This summer, she’s aiming to open a window on Main Street Picton, where she’ll offer sandwiches, gourmet coffees and other takeaway eats.
And a couple updates: Yum Club has moved into Picton, with a healthy, hearty, quick-pick menu at family-friendly prices. Hartleys Tavern is now offering lunch, a chance for a midday feast featuring the best of County flavours. Wellington’s North Docks is under new management, with a retooled yet classic pub menu, and a stunning view of the water. Picton’s Vic Cafe has moved down the street, but retained a menu with lots of bowls and burgers, plus lots of vegan and gluten-free options too. Vicki’s Veggies is back in action at the iconic farm-stand on Morrison Point Road, plus when Vicki isn’t pruning tomatoes she’s leading classes at her own studio: Vicki’s Yoga. Milford’s Live, Laugh, Eat is also under new ownership – stay tuned for updates/changes.
Crimson Cider opens the July long weekend, offering ciders made from apples sourced only in Ontario, free from “flavourings” or “essences.” Katie and Craig have painstakingly restored the old stone house (the one at the Picton roundabout with the crimson door) that will become their tasting room, while planting an orchard and also building out their cidery. We’re looking forward to our first sip!
Gillingham Brewing Company is partly responsible for turning Wilson Road at Hwy 62 into a destination. Already home to Domaine Darius winery and Sugarbush Vineyard, this corner now has some seriously tasty beer served out of a bright space with lots of taps, all overlooking the vines. They’ve currently got five beers on offer, from a dark, chocolatey Porter to a crisp, summer-smooth wheat ale – plus all the colours in between.
Matron Fine Beer has been popping up on County menus, happily accompanying burgers, oysters and big plates of fish and chips. Meanwhile, their brewery has been quietly taking shape down a Bloomfield lane. Finally – finally! – the two come together and it’s at last possible to get a taste right at the brewery itself. Find them open (as of this week!) at the end of Barkers Lane in Bloomfield, where you can grab a Janky IPA or a Yeasayer Lagerbier.
Morandin Wines has a lucky number. After bidding on three properties over three years, they finally purchased 33 acres on Hwy 33, just outside Wellington. They planted three acres with 33 rows of three varietals. In their third season, they harvested three tonnes of grapes. Now they’re open to the public at last and offering estate-grown wines: Pinot noir, chardonnay and Pinot gris, plus Riesling, rose and a sparkling.
Redtail Vineyards was sold last year and is operating with a new team, including winemaker Lee Baker. They’re an off-grid, small batch winery with big plans: a new tasting room opened this spring and there are plans for a restaurant. This winery is a bit off the beaten path, closer to Consecon than the cluster of wineries in Hillier, but it’s well-worth the journey: try their Pinot Noir, chardonnay or Pinot Gris on their patio, surrounded with lush greenery and accompanied by exuberant bird song.
Settlers Cider does crisp, dry British-style ciders from a sun-filled building on Danforth Road, keeps late(r) hours on Friday nights and always has a cocktail special that’s well worth sipping, like the “Spring Cider Sling,” featuring local rhubarb. As their orchard takes shape, they’ve been fermenting found and foraged apples, creating a wild vintage. They’ve also played with cider in rum and whisky barrels.
Strange Brewing is now welcoming beer-lovers at their Chase Road location. On tap now? The Horn Trip, a juniper-infused Pale Ale; Velo Trip, a sumac radler; and Corduroy Road, a black licorice root IPA. From our friends at the Wellington Times: “The experience at [Strange Brewing] is more relatable to visiting a local sugar shack than it would be a modern brewery. There are no commercial fridges, just a cozy little bar you’d see in any small restaurant with enough room for two taps and a cash register. The tanks that [brewer Dave] Frederick uses are tucked behind his large wood fireplace. It’s not shiny, but it’s authentic.”
Picton Art Crawl on the fourth Thursday of each month during the summer gives you a clear path to getting your creative juices flowing – all within walking distance in downtown Picton.
2gallery features contemporary Canadian fine art from national, regional and local artists producing work across a wide-range of styles and media including painting, drawing, prints, photography, sculpture and mixed-media. In addition, the gallery offers a selection of historical and secondary-market works by well-known artists.
Carbon Art is a contemporary art and design gallery just an alley-way-away behind The County Canteen in a burnt out carcass of a former coffin manufactuary (#truestory) curated by local gem, Hri Neil.
Black River Studio in Bloomfield hosts workshops, arts programming and markets, alongside a store that features hand made items, artwork, and prints.
If you haven’t seen it already, visit the Wisdom of the Universe mural on the exterior wall of St Andrew’s church in Picton. Spend time with this stunning piece by award-winning Metis artist, Christi Belcourt.
And a few updates: Memory Factory Antiques is in a new location in Carrying Place, while Lustre & Tarnish has moved from Bloomfield to The Armoury in Picton. LoveNest/Andrew Csafordi Gallery have opened a third space, Andara Gallery, on Wilson Road.
Cabin Fever Kayak has three instructions: reach, dip, repeat. These rentals get you onto the Black River, a bucolic piece of paradise in the eastern part of The County. It’s a six kilometre stretch – a journey of maybe two to three hours, depending on your paddling prowess – and will get you up close to the farms and cottages in the area, as well as all kinds of flora and fauna.
Littlejohn Farm is offering hands-on, authentic farm experiences for small groups and teams (the sourdough workshop is awesome!) Keep an eye out for harvest dinners, wine tours and other special events by this dynamic duo. Those who are keen to get up close and personal with their food will also want to visit their pals at Quinta do Conde to pick up something fresh from their farm-stand or stay for their al fresco harvest dinners. The more adventurous types might want to visit H&H Farm for one of their ‘safari’ tours to meet their heifers among the hops before grabbing some of their water buffalo cheese and meets to take home.
Carson’s Garden + Market is the place to go, whether you’ve got dirt under your fingernails, a hankering for something new on the patio or a family member who needs a novelty garden-related gift. This place is stuffed with sleek Japanese tools, organic seeds, garden gnomes, Insta-worthy planters and bits and bobs to attract birds and bees alike. There are three alpacas on site for the summer, plus Flossie’s food truck.
Escape Macaulay House revolves around the fact that, in 1846, Reverend William Macaulay – one of the founders of Picton – gave up paying his servants. Participants are challenged to scour parts of the Museum to find clues and solve puzzles to find a treasure that will help the servant, Jane, get paid – all in under 60 minutes. It’s a great evening or rainy day activity and is perfectly suitable for kids, couples or multi-generational groups.
Hothouse Mobile Sauna brings the heat to you, with a mobile, Finnish-style dry sauna that can roll into your girl’s weekend, bachelorette or family vacation. Check their site to find them at events, then bring your bathing togs and a water bottle to settle in for a solid reeeeeeelax. Lakeside Massage Therapy offers Swedish massage for relaxation and to knead out the knots in tense areas, as well as Thai yoga massage, to rejuvenate and re-energize – all at the hands of Lana Cummings, a registered registered massage therapist who has been practicing for more than 14 years. Or, work up your own sweat at The Gym in the Armoury – a new addition to the Picton fitness scene with the CUTEST mascot.
Millefleurs Honey & Lavender Farm is bringing shades of purple to the shores of Lake Ontario, opening their apiary and lavender farm Canada Day weekend. The owners are both biologists and former public servants, with Sylvain a sommelier and master distiller (with plans for a meadery) and Wilma a botanist, master gardener and apprentice-potter. If you’re already a fan of the Lavender Festival at Prince Edward County Lavender Farm you’ll be happy to know they’ve extended the festival this year to two weekends: July 6-7, and 13-14.
Look Way Up, Way Up is a new star and sky-gazing experience offered in The County that offers night sky viewing through a couple huge telescopes. It’s a swoon-y three hour experience and, weather permitting, you’ll come away with some brilliant shots on your smartphone.
The Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory has a new banding station and a new Master Bander – catch them both during a self-guided stroll around the National Wildlife Area, a guided excursion with a knowledgeable volunteer or at twice-annual Birding Festival.
Spark Box Studio offers print-making and screening workshops, in an Insta-worthy studio just outside Picton. Artists Kyle Topping and Chrissy Poitras can customize a workshop to any age, any skill and any time frame. Not only is a great way to tap into The County’s creative culture, it also results in a personalized memento of your trip.
There’s a new festival in town! The PEC Yoga Festival gives you the chance to get on the mat while in The County with some amazing teachers from the region. Find them rising and shining at the historic Crystal Palace July 6 and on the beach July 7.
Looking to explore The County by bike? Jeff Sniderman is adding his passion for cycling to PEC by launching County Bike Rentals – a fuss-free rental company that brings the bikes to your door along with a helmet, lock, light, map, water bottle and emergency road service. The best part? They pick them up from you at the end too! Looking for a ride with a guide? The County Picnic is a new cycling + tasting + touring adventure available around Wellington.
The Millennium Trail (our very own 49km multi-use trail) is in the midst of a serious up-grade that begs for you to take your bike/stroller/feet on. We’ve got Everything You Need to Know about The Millennium Trail and How to Pub Crawl the Millennium Trail in handy-dandy blogs.
Fans of the iconic Drake Devonshire will swoon at the new, nearby Drake Motor Inn – you’ll need to pace yourself on all the Insta-worthy-ness. A short walk from the Lake, the local brewery and the Wellington Farmers’ Market.
To keep in the loop on other PEC pop-ups, updates and events sign up for our once-a-month, not-spammy-at-all e-newsletter here!