What to Do when it’s Raining in The County ☔
Into every life, a little rain must fall. Even – gasp! – during a Prince Edward County getaway. If it’s raining in The County, here are some suggestions for where to find the silver lining on those unwelcome grey clouds.
Indoor space is at a premium due to physical distancing protocols – be sure to call head, check websites and socials and make a reservation wherever possible to be sure there is space!
1. Take a Trip around the Horn
Most visitors stop in Hillier, Picton or Sandbanks, but many don’t make it all the way around to The County’s more isolated areas, including the South Shore, Sophiasburgh, Ameliasburgh, Waupoos and Cressy. Check out this blog for ideas for routes and stops.
Stop for blueberries, wine, cider and more in Waupoos, or travel out along the horn to Cressy, where you’ll find cheese, mustard and some rather grand summer homes. (And since Lake Ontario can also produce wild swings in the weather, you may find yourself leaving rain and finding sunshine.)
If it’s raining in the County Stay warm and dry in the car while playing a little barn quilt bingo. Keep an eye out for one of more than 100 blocks adorning County barns and buildings.
2. Step Back in Time.
Wellington is a former Quaker meeting space, while Macaulay Heritage Park hosts a permanent exhibit on Indigenous history. The grand Victorian House is also open to the public and contains Escape Macaulay, which challenges visitors to help a servant, Jane, find treasures to make up for lost wages. [Escape Macaulay is not currently open – stay tuned!]
Literally escape the weather by visiting the former gunnery school, established during WWII to teach allied forces how to precision target. Become a citizen spy and use espionage, code-breaking, and teamwork to find clues and solve puzzles left in a workshop that belongs to a French resistance fighter. The information hidden in his workshop – if found by the enemy – would change the course of the war. Your mission is to seek out the clues, solve his puzzles, and destroy the information before the enemies can find it… or you!
Strict COVID-19 cleaning protocols are in place, including intense cleaning of all surfaces in the escape room, as well as high-touch areas in the lobby and common areas will be sanitized between game plays.
4. See a Show.
Forget that it’s raining in The County and get immersed in a show! Check whether Taste That!, The County’s improv troupe, has a performance planned. They’re always good for a laugh. Check in with The Regent Theatre to see what they are streaming and what live, physically-distanced events they are offering. The Mustang Drive-In operates rain or shine – enjoy a classic movie from the comfort, and dryness, of your own car. Many local wineries and restaurants are offering outdoor concerts in tents or other outdoor structures that can keep you dry in most rain conditions. Check our event listings page for ideas.
5. Take an Art Class.
Follow the muse where it leads you – you’ll likely find workshops in everything from still life painting to writing to kid-friendly musical and artistic afternoons available at Bloomfield’s Baxter Arts Centre. [Pending changes to The County’s status during COVID, the Baxter will reopen for programming in Fall 2020.]
6. Visit an Artist.
Part of what gives The County its unique vibe is its rich vein of creativity. Check out the Arts Trail online, a PEC Studio Tour guide and explore galleries and artists’ studios, home to painters, potters, glassblowers, fibre artists, photographers, jewellery makers and more. Looking for a one-stop-shop on local art? On a day when its raining in The County you can easily spend the afternoon wandering around SideStreet Gallery, Mad Dog Gallery or The Local Store, which opens for the season in May, finding all sorts of County gems.
And now for something completely different: drop in at The McLuhan Satellite Institute for the self-professed “weirdest thing to do in Wellington.” Entrance is by reservation and donation at this art experience slash education centre slash retail shop slash museum of thought. Marshall McLuhan’s grandson Andrew offers bespoke lectures on “the medium is the message” and more.
7. Taste the Terroir.
The County’s bedrock of calcareous limestone is what gives the soil the minerality needed to produce world-class wines. From citrusy chardonnay grapes to full-bodied malbec, winemakers here are bottling up a bit of sunshine every season. Book a tour – whether in cars, carriages or bicycles – or plan your own trip with the Prince Edward County Wine Growers Association map.
8. Get Some Retail Therapy.
Whether you’re a big spender or just a window shopper there are dozens of stores and shops in downtown Picton, Bloomfield, Wellington and Consecon to peruse when its raining in The County. Clothes, books, locally-made arts and food products, body-care, antiques, furniture, knitting goods and even PEC-branded swag – there’s something for everyone.
9. Learn a New Dish.
If food’s more your scene, cooking classes can be found with From the Farm and Littlejohn Farm. Options range from globally-inspired French, Indian or Moroccan cuisines to pickling, sourdough, cheese-making or charcuterie workshops, all set on charming rural properties that truly bring the farm to the table.
The Waring House also welcomes all skill levels, with menus made of fresh, local ingredients. Classes vary wildly, from upscale vegan to creme brulee to cooking with County brews!
10. Pick up a Book.
Perhaps the rain is a sign to slow down. If so, head to Picton’s Books & Company for a wander amongst the shelves of bestsellers, specialty magazines, local poetry and lore. There’s also a huge selection of kids books, toys and board games. And Pushkin, the store cat, will undoubtedly commiserate about the unfortunate weather. For specialty books, try Zest Kitchen Shop for recipes and culinary tomes, Carbon Life for out-of-the-box books on politics, justice, history and design, and KOKITO for cute books for kids.
All of The County’s six library branches (Picton, Bloomfield, Wellington, Milford, Consecon, and Ameliasburgh) are packed with cozy nooks, books, and often kids programming or activity spaces. Their staff are pretty amazing too for recommendations and local tips. Check their websites for opening hours and services.
11. Book Some Me Time
12. Set Yourself a Fancy Table
Grab some takeout from one of the County’s many restaurants and find your new favourite bottole of wine. Then set a fancy table with new napkins, plates, place mats, vases or other goodies from one of the County’s many house ware shops like Zest Kitchen Shop, The Ye11ow, KOKITO, Green Gables, Gilbert & Lighthall. Add some flowers from Coriander Girl, Floralora or Flowers by Marvin and make your dine-at-home experience extra special.
13. Put on a Slicker.
#CountyUp and embrace the weather with a visit to the shoreline. Consider parking on Main Street and heading for a walk at Wellington Beach, where wild winds can churn up some amazing waves, which put on a show as they crash into the iconic lighthouse. If you’d rather stay dry during your weather watching, grab a table on the covered patios at the Drake Devonshire, The Vic Drive-In or Isaiah Tubbs Resort.
And remember: rain helps the garden grow, which means better farm-to-table produce at the next meal!
Content updated August 2020