What’s New in Prince Edward County – Summer 2020
As you shop, dine, taste and travel around the region, please respect physical distancing and safety protocols in effect. Plan ahead by making reservations or appointments as necessary. Please note, in addition to doing takeout, restaurants and tasting rooms are currently working with reduced capacities for patios. Click here for a full list of travel tips and tricks.
Emerging from months of self-isolation, like butterflies from cocoons, makes everything seem all bright, shiny and new. Hats off, everyone, for making it through the lock down phase of the pandemic.
When out and about in The County, please give our small local businesses extra physically distant smooches, especially the newly-minted ones who will forever remember their launch year, or first full season, as being in the time of COVID.
Check out these new businesses and services while exploring the region. If you’re choosing to love PEC from afar, many offer online order and delivery:
by Karen Orme, Runaway Rooster B+B
New Places To Feast
Bermuda’s leafy patio and funky subterranean bar-lounge hits the spot with classic comfort-food. This 80s blast-from-the-past comes from the owners of Guapo’s Cantina, the popular, taco-slinging pop-up kitchen, which will live on as a caterer.
The freshly-renamed Bloomfield Public House Market has converted its sit-down restaurant to become a purveyor of fine grocery and essential items, including to-go meals, cheeses, and signature-smoked meats – perfect for picnics! The covered patio is now home to Judy’s Barbecue, a southern kitchen and smokehouse, for warm-weather dining and takeout. Fried chicken is the star.
Make this charming hamlet a destination, especially for a meal or a drink at The Milford. Housed in a circa-1827 building, the 24-seat eatery has great grub elevated by local, seasonal ingredients, and a terrific outdoor burger bar and patio.
100 Acre Woods is hosting a burger pop-up this summer. Roadside Burger starts serving July 4.
7 Numbers serves up the rustic, flavourful tastes of southern Italian soul food, just like Nonna makes it.
Hankering for the catch of the day? Blue Sail, a seafood market and fine-dining restaurant, hits its first full-season stride.
Wheel on up to Beacon Bike + Brew for java, pints, light fare, and cool cycling gear.
The Marans has reworked its restaurant space to hold three individually enclosed dining booths. The most delicious news, though, is that take-out is now available, as well as Chef Guerin Sykes’s global take on prepared home meals, in-house baked goods, and culinary retail products like hot sauces and curry pastes.
The Vic Café is now The Vic Drive-in, a throwback to an iconic ’50s- and ’60s- style restaurant. The new setup goes all-out classic, with pull-up parking and carhop service (sans the roller skates).
Just down the road, The Bean Counter Café, a bakery, gelateria and lunch counter, continues its tradition for great eating under new ownership.
Pastries, pastas, and picnics, oh my! Enid Grace Culinary & Piccolina Italian Bar is a must-stop. And, that’s just the tip of the delizioso offering at Enid’s new location. There’s also an ever-changing menu of Italian breakfast and lunch items, a full-on barista counter, cooking classes and private dining events.
From the owners of La Condesa is Koenji Whisky Bar across the street from their Mexican food hot spot. The lounge specializes in all things whisky, from sippers to signature cocktails, and Japanese-inspired small plates.
Grab refreshing hand-squeezed lemonade (22 flavours on tap), Italian sodas, sandwiches, and snacks to go from Lemons.
My Pies is a family-run pie shop with a storefront at 186 Main St. in Wellington, serving small or large, sweet or savoury and fresh or frozen pies. Try the mini breakfast pies with your choice of egg & bacon, egg & sausage or a veggie pie option with tofu.
Here’s the scoop from a few of our wineries, breweries, cideries and distiller:
Take a trip down Barker Lane off Stanley Street for a drop-in on Matron Fine Beer, whose lagers, ales and IPAs pair beautifully with Old Style Barbeque. They’re serving badass authentic Texas-style nosh on the brewery’s awesome new beer garden patio.
Local cider companies, Crimson Cider Co. on Loyalist Parkway, and Fieldbird Farm and Cider, on Highway 62, toast their respective first-year anniversaries later this summer. Offering a terrific selection of dry-style crafted ciders in seasonal flavours, Crimson recently installed a cider slushie machine pouring refreshingly cold flavours like peach cider and berry cider.
While Fieldbird’s tasting room and retail shop is closed for the summer, its online cider shop is open for order and delivery.
Hand sanitizer … it’s the only thing you can’t drink at Kinsip House of Fine Spirits. Available in various sizes, the 120mL bottles come in handy while making your way around The County in COVID times. Pick up a few bottles of drinkable alcohol while there, like Juniper’s Wit with all the fixings for the perfect gin cocktail.
Call ahead before popping into Amanda’s Vineyards, the newest PEC winery located at 419 County Rd. 25, not far from Lake on the Mountain. Small and family run, with vines planted in 2014, the winery specializes in port-style wines. There is also guest accommodation on site.
Settler’s Cider, the orchard-based, craft cidery on Danforth Road that made last year’s What’s New list, is now named Loch Mor Cider Company. Cidermaker Sara Boyd recently earned her pommelier designation, only the third person in Canada to do so! Pair the award-winning ciders with this season’s new food offerings, including ploughman’s lunch boxes with local charcuterie and cheeses.
Sandbanks Estate Winery, founded in 2001, is now part of Arterra Wines Canada’s wineries and brand family. It’s business as usual at the winery … or as normal as it gets while following new health and safety protocols. For the time being, reservations are recommended for social-distanced indoor tastings. Open-air tasting-pod stations are also available, and safe-distanced picnics are encouraged.
New Farm Stand Gems & Pop-ups
Life doesn’t get any better than cruising country roads and markets in search of local ingredients and food:
Coming soon: Locazoa, an online marketplace app that lets local customers shop for seasonal produce, goods, and memberships to Community Supported Agriculture programs from more than 40 participating PEC-based farmers and producers. The virtual shop is driven by a mandate to enhance connect shoppers with goods and fresh food grown produced in the region, while helping sustain the livelihoods of farmers.
Blue Wheelbarrow Farm’s organic veggies and greens are a staple on local restaurant menus and markets. The County Rd. 17 farm stand, open Wednesdays 3 p.m.-6 p.m., features a new collaboration with organic flower grower and floral designer Ben’s Blooms. Order produce and bouquets through the pair’s new weekly Community Supported Agriculture offering, or find them at the Wellington Farmers Market on Saturdays.
Have local delish-stuffed Cornish pasties, will travel. In addition to County-wide winery/brewery/cidery pop-ups, The County Pasty Co. rounds out its first anniversary with an online order/delivery service and the summer launch of THE HORN Market + Foodstop at Cape Vineyards.
Hallelujah! Jamie Kennedy’s glorious fries, aioli, poutine, and homemade soda are now available 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday to Friday, at J.K. Farm located at Station Road and the Loyalist Parkway. Follow the directional signage to where the J.K. Fries’ chip stand is set up beside the barn. Take out or picnic-linger. J.K. Fries will also make the occasional appearance at the Saturday Wellington Market.
Score great bee-based products for home and kitchen and other goodies from neighbouring growers and makers at the Curious Goat General Store’s farm shop. New: Beekeeper Elis Ziegler leads one-hour bee experiences for groups of up to 4.
The County Catch makes the leap from markets to a permanent wholesale/retail location at 1023 County Rd. 15. Fresh-caught fish from the local waters of Lake Ontario and the Bay of Quinte are available for pick up or delivery. Pickerel, perch, whitefish, and more. Yes, please!
Nestled in the heart of Black River’s ’hood at 985 County Rd. 13 is Ruth’s Canteen. From 11 a.m.-3 p.m. weekends, food stylist and accomplished baker Ruth Gangbar fills her cute-as-a-button outdoor cookie cupboard with awesome sweet and savoury treats.
The Harvest Shed, just 2 km from Highway 49’s Skyway Bridge, is a boutique-style farm stand at 2008 Fish Lake Road featuring an eclectic mix of local, seasonal goods and sundries, from grass-fed beef and veggies to jewelry and vintage treasures.
New Things To Do
From families and wine lovers to makers and outdoor enthusiasts, there’s something for everyone to get County active:
With its pastoral fields, serene waters, and gently undulating sand dunes, PEC is already Zen-like. But if you’re on a quest for even more personal solace, then we have just the thing! Strike a pose with yoga instructor Angela Caliendo among the lavender fields at Millefleurs. Looking to flex with some furry four-legged pals? Shed Chetwyn Farms offers yoga among the cutest herd of alpacas. Or try goat yoga with Yoga with Mikenze at Once Upon A Farm. Or, try the kind of yoga that retoxes as it detoxes! Unfurl your mat at Karlo Estates with Jeff & Janice from Serendipity Yoga Fridays at 6 p.m.
There’s no better way to safe distance at the movies than to watch from your car at a drive-in. The much-loved Mustang Drive-In, with its iconic blue bus at the front gate and old-time signage, has proud, new owners. The drive-in, one of only 16 in Ontario, is initially going full-on nostalgia with the showing of classic movies rather than new releases.
Put your spy-busting and secret decoding skills to the test at Escape Camp Picton. The military-inspired escape room, stationed in the decommissioned WWII gunnery school of Loch Sloy, offers a virtual-play option until players can get back into the war-heritage-and-history-based game in real life.
The Weekend Social, at 7 Elizabeth St., hosts fun-infused learning experiences that spark creativity and personal growth. Choose from curated sessions inspired by The County’s offerings, or customize your own. Meeting and private venue rental is available once bigger social gatherings are permissible. Rumour is, there is a dedicated Caesar bar on-site.
Dip a paddle into the peaceful waters of The County shoreline to discover the ultimate de-stress antidote to months of COVID lock-down. New non-motorized boating outfitter PEC Kayaks will happily hook you up with quality time in a kayak or canoe. Rentals include life jackets and safety kits.
New Shops and Services
Browsing through art and vintage finds at Hand Works is always a treat. This season, the property’s front yard is home to several new summer pop-up vendors, including Daisies ’n Dirt , a gardener’s dream shop, Stone Temple Coffees’ mobile café, and Goddess Fab Jewelry Design Studio, a maker of healing stone jewelry and other bejewelled collections.
Bloomfield Beauty Co. starts the season with an ab-fab renovation of its two-storey spa, including redesigned and expanded treatment spaces, and new skincare lines.
Belleville’s Taste of Country is opening a Picton location in the former Schroedters Farm Market. The outstanding overhaul of the building is almost complete, and the popular bakery-store ready to stock with the retailer’s unique country gifts and home décor, and frozen and specialty foods
Style-savvy men welcome jeffreyscott to Picton Main Street’s retail scene. In addition to being a source for fashionable men’s clothing and the occasional cool pop-up vendor and event, the shop also houses vintage barber shop Bay Barbers, and a hip lounge-bar area.
An eye-popping, sunny yellow door marks the spot for The Ye11ow Studio, a downtown pottery shop selling handmade coastal-inspired pottery for everyday use by local artist Dawn Middleton.
ERBN Green, The County’s first legalized marijuana retailer, is set to open two store fronts aimed at 40+ females. Cannabis Co., opens in July selling regulated cannabis products. The Modern Market opens later in summer selling innovative cannabis-related lifestyle items, including beauty products, textiles, houseware and art.
There are a couple of new local services catering to businesses. Need a temporary work or meeting space for just the day, or more? Check out County Coworking, with its fast WIFI connectivity, and collaborative and private work spaces.
Need professional product shots for your advertising and social media marketing? Food stylist Ruth Gangbar and photographer Christopher Gentile join forces to offer three packages, from a private DIY workshop to in-studio sessions producing both low and high resolution images.
The Lake House Vintage fills its tiny boutique at 306 Main Street with an ever-changing collection of elegantly curated vintage and new small home décor items with the perfect PEC lake-house vibe.
In Business In Different Places
There’s been some moving going on in the last year:
Ladies wear boutique Magpie Clothing Essentials expanded its stylish inventory into 261 Main St., just a few doors east of its old location. Nickels, a must-stop shop for home accents and gifts along with a framing service, hopped across the street to 237 Main St. Bath and beauty shop V.R. Sudz n’ Stuff moved further east to 231 Main St.
The Armoury at 206 Main St., which reopened last summer after a marvelous renovation, is the new address for furniture refinishing specialist Painted Pieces, vintage and bespoke jewelry artisan Lustre & Tarnish who moved from Bloomfield.
KC Closet Fashion Boutique relocated right downtown, expanding its offerings into the former Agrarian Bistro at 275 Main St.
Oak Clothing Co., and its thoughtfully curated selection of women’s and men’s apparel and brands, has moved from above the Home Hardware to street level in Enid Grace’s former space at 303 Main St.