10+ Things To Do when it Rains – 2021 edition ☔
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 in those unwelcome grey clouds.
Indoor space is at a premium due to physical distancing protocols – be sure to call ahead, check websites and socials and make a reservation wherever possible to be sure there is space! Please note that public health travel advisories and orders are changing frequently during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Please consult our COVID-19 Essential Info page for the latest updates.
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 Road Trippin’ Off the Beaten Path 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.)
2. Step back in time
Visit one of the three The County’s Museums scheduled to open on set days for summer 2021. Macaulay Heritage Park in Picton features Macaulay House, restored to the mid 1850s; the historic former Church of St. Mary Magdalene, now a museum; the old parish cemetery; heritage gardens and the carriage house. Wellington Heritage Museum, located in the heart of the village of Wellington, was built in 1885 as a Quaker Meeting House and now features exhibits on local history. Ameliasburgh Heritage Museum has grown from one building, in 1968, to a full pioneer village. The main structure was built in 1868 as a Wesleyan Methodist Church. Over the years, several additional buildings have been added to the site, including a log cabin, display barns, an operational blacksmith shop, a sap shanty, dairy and bee-keeping buildings, and a large stone building housing the Goldie Corliss 18 foot flywheel.
3. Craft your own barn quilt tour
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. These eight-foot square (and smaller) painted replicas of quilt blocks are painted on wooden boards, then mounted on a barn or other building. Barn quilts draw attention to Ontario’s disappearing rural landscapes, timber frame barns, and the family farm.
4. Crack open a game
Gaming goes local with a new take-home escape challenge from the creators of Escape Picton. The Arrow’s Secret explores the amazing history of the Avro Arrow in Prince Edward County while encouraging players to discover clues, decipher codes and solve puzzles in the comfort of their own home or cottage. If jigsaw puzzles are more your jive, Books & Company and Bonkers and Green Gables have great selections, plus other games to boot.
5. 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.
6. 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 thePrince Edward County Wine Growers Association map or their new PEC Wine Explorer App.
7. Seek 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.
8. Pick up a book
Perhaps the rain is a sign to slow down. If so, head to 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.
9. Set yourself a fancy table
Grab some takeout from one of the County’s many restaurants and find your new favourite bottle of wine. Then set a fancy table with new napkins, plates, place mats, vases or other goodies from one of the County’s many houseware 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.
10. Embrace the rain
#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.
11. Stay warm and dry at the Drive-In
Rainy evenings gotcha down? The Mustang Drive-In has movies rain or shine and it’s a well known Sandbanks camper secret that rather than spend the night in a tent in the rain.. spend it laughing and snuggling in your car!
And remember: rain helps the garden grow, which means better farm-to-table produce at the next meal!
Updated June 2021.