Ever since we launched our business in The County, we inevitably get asked the same question by our friends, family members, and long-lost Facebook friends all the time: I’m going to The County, what should I do while I’m there?! If you’re asking this very question right now and furiously Googling and TripAdvisor searching, you can relax because we’ve compiled the perfect weekend itinerary. Disclaimer: it’s only perfect if you love wine, food, and sun – but really, who doesn’t? Obviously there’s so much to do in The County that a weekend won’t cover it, but this is a great starting point (and we’ve tested every single one of these suggestions, so you know they’re worth the trip).
Friday Night: Patio!
If you’re driving to The County from Ottawa, Montreal, or Toronto, you’re going to need a cold beverage when you arrive to take your mind off the fact that you just sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Start your weekend at Miller House, a restaurant in Lake on the Mountain (a lake that’s perched 200 feet above the Bay of Quinte!). Sit on their patio and enjoy some local wine or a pint of Lake on the Mountain Brewery beer, and have one of their charcuterie boards. Then pop over to The Barley Room, a pub located at The Waring House hotel that always has fantastic live music and enjoy some of The County’s local talent.
Morning: Explore Wellington
Start the day with coffee and a pastry or sit-down breakfast at Enid Grace, our favourite cafe in The County. This Wellington spot has delicious baked goods and it’s conveniently attached to Parlour Studio, a beautiful new plant shop that features all the succulents you could ever want. Now that you’re fed, pop over to the Wellington Farmers’ Market, which happens every Saturday starting on the May long weekend. You can pick up local products, enjoy some Jamie Kennedy fries for a little post-breakfast snack, and stand in the very spot that Prince Charles stood on Canada Day. While you’re in Wellington, pop into Oak Clothing Co., which is where we stock up on summery dresses and bathing suits, and Side Street Gallery, which features paintings from local artists.
Afternoon: Wine O’Clock
You can’t visit The County without visiting wineries, and there’s a couple ways you can see them: either go on a self-guided tour, or join us for a guided bicycle wine tour of The County’s top wineries. If you prefer the self-guided route, you can pick up a wine map at any of the stores in Wellington and map out your route. If you’re driving, check out some of the wineries that aren’t in easy cycling distance like Norman Hardie, Rosehall Run, Sandbanks Winery, Huff Estates, or Waupoos Winery (a little further out – but the first winery to open in the area). If you’re cycling, rent a bike from Ideal Bike in Wellington and use that as your jumping off point – there are at least 10-15 wineries within cycling distance. If you join us for a tour, just show up and leave the rest to us – we’ll take you to our favourite wineries which include The Grange, Closson Chase, Karlo Estates (where one of our co-founders just got engaged!), and Trail Estate. Pro tip: if you’re looking for lunch at one of the wineries, you can either order a charcuterie picnic basket at The Grange; grab lunch on the patio at County Road Beer Co. (attached to Hinterland winery); enjoy a wood-fired pizza at TerraCello Winery; or enjoy one of the famous pizzas at Norman Hardie.
Evening: Foodie Heaven
Once you’re done touring the wineries, pop into Midtown Brewing Co before you leave Wellington for some oysters and a Negroni – and pick up some local products in their shop. Then carry on back to Picton, where you’ll grab dinner at County Canteen on Picton’s main street, or if you’re staying in Wellington, maybe you’d rather eat at the Drake Devonshire (get the hamburger!). After dinner you can head out to the Hayloft Dancehall and dance the night away.
Morning: Beach Bum
A trip to The County wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Sandbanks Provincial Park. Head over early to avoid the crowds, and grab a spot on the beach to soak up the sun. Depending on where you’re staying in The County, you can grab breakfast to bring with you and eat on the beach.
Bloomfield is one of The County’s charming towns, and it’s chock full of boutiques, cafes, and antique stores. Once you’re done soaking up rays on the beach, drive into Bloomfield and poke around. Make sure you stop by the County Collective pop-up, and if you’re an antiques fan, stop by Dead People’s Stuff. A trip to Bloomfield also wouldn’t be complete without an ice cream cone from Slickers – it’s worth the wait (we recommend the campfire flavour!).
This is just scratching the surface of what to do in The County – you can also visit distilleries, cideries, a lavender farm, and even hang out with alpacas. But that’s the great thing about The County – if you come once, you’ll be back. Reach out to us with any other questions about what to do in The County – we’d love to help you plan your itinerary!