Where to picnic in PEC
With physical distancing in effect, if you’re finding it a challenge to snag a patio spot or you just love a summer picnic, here’s where to grab a meal to-go for an al fresco feast:
Please note: Following COVID-19 lockdowns, The County has become an even more popular destination for outdoor fun, but it’s taking a toll on our beaches and wild spaces. Please respect the flora and fauna by adhering to all rules posted at the beaches, parks and conservation areas, by taking your garbage away with you, using public washroom facilities, and avoiding crowded locations.
Leafy green Benson Park has seven physically-distant picnic tables set up, as well as public restrooms, right in the middle of town.
While Macaulay Heritage Park doesn’t have picnic tables, it does have a huge expanse of lawn, making it a great spot for a physically-distanced lunch. BYO picnic blanket.
Macaulay Mountain Conservation Area has a picnic shelter and lots of green space to relax and dine the day away. Find walking trails as well.
Lake on the Mountain Provincial Park is known as a place for picnicking – its tables overlook the stretch of water plied by the Glenora Ferry to the north, or the natural phenomenon that is a lake on top of a ‘mountain,’ itself surrounded by a lake, to the south.
What to eat: Conveniently accessible from the Millennium Trail, The Waring House is offering picnics-to-go. Grab sandwiches and sweets at the aptly-named Picnic PEC, or a couple doors down at Beacon Bike + Brew or Lily’s Cafe. The Bean Counter Cafe’s got lots of sandwiches, soups, muffins and scones. Or find heartier fare at The Marans Dinebar, which has opened a prepared food section inside its small restaurant. Find crepes to go at Crepe Escape and all kinds of picnic-y goodness at Agrarian Market.
(Please help keep The County clean by putting trash where it belongs!)
Fans of ice cream can find three physically-distant picnic tables behind Slickers in Bloomfield.
Bloomfield’s Mill Pond Park has three picnic pavilions and a standalone picnic table, adjacent to the tennis courts. This is a quiet spot, edging a pond that’s great for amateur anglers.
What to eat: The Saylor House Cafe does a brisk lunch trade, with classic soups and sandwiches. Or go for southern comfort food at Bermuda, which has a large, leafy patio as well. Bloomfield Public House Market has done extensive renovations, transforming its restaurant into a grab-and-go market with a huge variety of prepared foods. Old Style Barbeque has set up onsite in the beer garden at Matron Fine Beer – a fine spot for a pint and picnic. Or hop onto Flame + Smith’s new app, an easy way to order their fire-kissed burgers, steaks and desserts.
Two picnic tables can be found under the trees in front of the Wellington Public Library.
The park in the heart of Wellington has a grassy, shaded green space down near the water, perfect for pitching a blanket and biting into takeaway from Wellington’s diverse collection of restaurants. Eight new picnic tables have been added as well.
There are also two picnic pavilions at Wellington Rotary Public Beach, offering a sweet view of the water, or grab a spot on the sand for a beach picnic. (During the busy summer months, follow The County on Twitter or Facebook for updates on beach capacity and closures.)
What to eat: The County Picnic has your classic picnic ready to go, all packed up in an insulated bag no less. Pick up pizza pie – or actual savory or sweet pie – at the east end of town, at Rock n Rogers or My Pies, respectively. Stay healthy with vegan-friendly grub from the Good Place. Grab a burger or a wood-fired pizza from Midtown Brewing Company, or Asian-inspired eats from Idle Wild. Enid Grace serves up all kinds of sweets and savouries, and next door, find vegetarian-friendly sandwiches at Lemons. At the west end of town, find Chinese and Vietnamese at Saigon, diner takeaway at Orchard Drive Dari-Bar & Grill or find doughnuts across the street at the Lakeshore Farms Market.
Head to Karlo Estates with your basket, then pick up a glass of vino and one of seven (SEVEN!) of their picnic boxes which are made from scratch with local, whole ingredients. Head to the dry stone bridge, a heavenly spot in the vineyard where there’s room for picnic blankets and plenty of picnic tables as well. Accessible from the Millennium Trail.
What to eat: There are lots of wineries offering lunch options – with a heavy emphasis on pizza. Or hit up Chef Jamie Kennedy’s new fry stop, at his farm on Station Road at Loyalist Parkway. Or stop in at Loch Mor Cider Company for a takeaway ploughman’s lunch. Consisting of bread, charcuterie, cheese and pickles, it’s as hearty as the name suggests. You can also find Flossie’s amazing sandwiches at Carson’s Garden + Market.
There are picnic tables and many sandy spots to spread a blanket at Sandbanks Provincial Park, of course, and lots of trails to work off whatever sticky treats are tucked into your basket. (During the busy summer months, follow SandbanksPP on Twitter for updates on beach capacity and closures.)
Off the beaten path is Beaver Meadow Conservation Area, a small site dominated by a marsh teeming with life, from birds to swans to the flat-tailed critters that give the park its name. There are no picnic tables or washrooms here. And plenty of mosquitoes. But if forest bathing + picnicking sounds up your alley, bring your basket, blanket and your bug spray!
What to eat: Stop for supplies at Outerbanks Deli or grab eats from Currah’s Dunes Grill or Currah’s Park Store & Grill or stop in at Fosterholm Farms‘ stand for picked-fresh offerings and some of the most mouthwatering maple butter tarts around.
Milford Millpond Conservation Area is a perfect spot for a summer picnic beside the water. This 11.8 hectare (29 acre) property also contains the Milford Dam.
Note that Little Bluff Conservation area in the South Shore area is closed until further notice. Check Quinte Conservation for updates.
What to eat: Tuck into the farm food shop at Quinta do Conde, where samosas and other farm-fresh savouries and just-picked items are on the menu. Or drop by Ruth’s Canteen, where the cookie cupboard offers contact-less pick-up of gluten-free and/or vegan savory and sweet treats. Lighthall Vineyards sells beautiful sheep’s milk cheeses. Find ice cream and made-to-order sandwiches at Black River Cheese Co. If you’re looping around Waupoos and The Horn, stop in at Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Co for charcuterie and cheeseboards or takeaway goodies from their new The Horn Market + Foodstop. Big Mike’s BBQ is also in the area, but can be ordered from anywhere – they’ll deliver to you.
Take a drive west, toward Ameliasburgh, where Roblin Lake Park offers a picturesque place for a picnic. And a public toilet!
What to eat: It’s worth the turn into Consecon for a stop at The Counter Coffee & Kitchen, a tiny spot in the dead centre of the hamlet, where they’re serving up Kaleidoscope Kitchen’s divine croissants with bacon and cheddar, or house-made muffins.
Stop in at Stratos for a deep-dish pie, or pick up poutine at Tabersnack, where there are 10+ picnic tables set up for roadside eating.
Where to go when you gotta go
Public restrooms are open from 9 am until 7 pm seven days a week and cleaned twice a day. These include washrooms located at:
- Skate Park, Picton Fairgrounds
- Benson Park, Picton
- Wellington Park, Wellington
- Millpond Park, Bloomfield
- Town Hall, Bloomfield
- West Fall Park, Carrying Place
- Roblin Lake Park, Ameliasburgh
Portable toilets are also available, equipped with hand sanitizer or portable sinks, and will be cleaned daily. They are located at:
- Jack Taylor Park, Hillier
- North Marysburgh Town Hall, Waupoos
- Wellington Beach, Wellington (the existing permanent washrooms have showers and are not able to open)
- Weller’s Bay/Edward Drive Boat Launch, Consecon
- Rossmore Boat Launch, Rossmore
- Northport Boat Launch, Sophiasburgh
- South Bay Boat Launch, South Marysburgh