Reserve Now, Relax Later
reservation res·er·va·tion/rezərˈvāSH(ə)n/noun: an arrangement whereby something, especially a seat or room, is booked or reserved for a particular person
All indications point to a busy summer 2021 in Prince Edward County. At a time when the rules are changing constantly, it is essential to pre-plan your visit. Now is not the time to be spontaneous. Due to COVID-19 constraints, you’ll need a carefully planned schedule with to navigate your way through The County this summer.
Physical distancing and government regulations have reduced the capacity of indoor spaces and events, and many County gems have had to change up how they offer their food, drink, art and experiences. A number of wineries, cideries, breweries and restaurants will only be offering tastings and meals by reservation. Make sure your spot is secured before you venture out.
Please let this content inspire your future visit: non-essential travel is not recommended by public health officials at this time. For up to date info on COVID-19 in our region, click here.
Don’t trust published opening hours/days – many businesses simply haven’t been able to keep up with amending all their social platforms in response to constantly changing restrictions. Check social media posts, or direct message, email or call to make sure that your destination is open and whether a reservation is needed. Hours and capacities may be limited.
Make a reservation
Don’t wait to be hungry before you find a place to eat. If you’ve booked a place to stay this summer, start locking in your dining reservations. You can try OpenTable or calling/messaging restaurants directly with your dates. Some restos are taking reservations only, while others are limited-seating first-come first-served. Lack of planning may result in unnecessary hangry. (Also, see our map of picnic areas, in case dining out means literally eating outside.)
Curb Your Impulsive Side
If you’ve booked a stay here, you’ll need to plan your days as attractions, including Provincial Parks and Conservation Areas, are expected to have very limited availability. Ontario Parks is expected to announce new tools for managing weekend visitor traffic. Follow us on Facebook @VisitTheCounty and Instagram @visitthecounty for updates and information on bookings, COVID protocols or closures.
Please note that for the 2021 summer season, entry to the Wellington Rotary Beach will be $20 per person. Entry to Little Bluff Conservation Area will be limited, with a parking fee.
During peak summer months, beaches and outdoor spaces are especially busy and thousands of unprepared visitors are turned away every day. Do not head to the beach without checking these channels in advance:
- Sandbanks and North Beach – Check SandbanksPP on Twitter
- Wellington Rotary Beach – Check Prince Edward County on Twitter or Facebook
- Little Bluff and other Conservation Areas – Check Quinte Conservation for permitted use.
Ready to make a reservation?
Here are some suggestions to get you started:
Wine Tour with Panache
Make a reservation for a Vintage Car Wine Tour! Join Sam Grosso for a bespoke wine tour in the vintage car of your dreams. The former owner of Toronto’s Cadillac Lounge has found a new calling and will take you on a 4-winery tour in a beautiful automobile from his fleet of vintage cars. Bring your fave playlist and rock the tunes in chauffeured style! For more tour options – including horse-drawn carriages, bicycles, luxury vehicles or taxis – click through to our blog on tours.
Go for a Float
See the sights of Picton Harbour with Captain Larry or Captain Mike at Picton Harbour Pontoon Boat Tours. Or drive yourself around the dunes at West Lake in a pontoon rental from West Lake Water Sports. There are plenty of sailing and charter options available if you’re aiming to get on the water. Check out our blog on ways to go beyond the beach.
Ride a Horse
Book a trail ride with Diamond J Ranch. Enjoy a scenic mountain ride through fields and woods overlooking Picton Bay. They cater to families and groups, and inexperienced riders are welcome. Pony rides are available for the little ones. Farm tours can also be booked at Lamb’s Quarters Farm in Picton and Campbell’s Orchards on the shores of the Bay of Quinte.
Tee up a wine tour
Hoping to set up a tasting tour of County wineries or cideries? Download the new Wine Explorer app from the Prince Edward County Winegrowers Association. The app can match your personal wine preferences with bottles on offer at local wineries. It also includes detailed profiles, as well as lists of unique – and bookable! – wine activities and elevated tastings. Discover which wineries will welcome your dog.
Escape Camp Picton
If you truly want to escape, we’ve got you covered! Escape Camp Picton, located at The County’s authentic WWII era gunnery training school, is launching an outdoor escape room in 2021, plus two indoor escapes for you and your bubble. This unique escape room takes inspiration from its location – blending heritage, history and an unforgettable game experience.
Looking for more ideas? We have lots of trip planning information here.
By Sue Hierlihy, Dead People’s Stuff Antiques. (Updated April 2021)