No longer does a quick weekend getaway in Ontario mean joining throngs of tourists in Niagara on the Lake. There’s plenty of fun, food and wine to be had just two hours east of Toronto in Prince Edward County. Start the car (fly first, if you must).
dine: Make a roadside lunch stop at Norman Hardie Winery, open May to late fall, for your fix of of wood-fired thin-crust pizza. Play-rock-paper, scissors to designate a driver—winner gets to enjoy a citrusy County Chardonnay with their ‘za. Norman Hardie Winery, 1152 Greer Rd., Wellington, 613-399-5297, www.normanhardie.com
stay: Cool, eclectic room décor at the Drake Devonshire is what modern rustic-chic hotel dreams are made of. But, if you’re on a budget, we say stay at Waring House, where a serenely quiet setting surrounded by luscious green gardens and spacious rooms will make you weep about your cramped quarters back in the city. Waring House, 395 Sandy Hook Rd., Picton, 613-476-7492, www.ontariosfinestinns.com
drink: Pop into very pretty restored wooden barn that houses fine wine and cider producer Old Third—a relative newcomer to the PEC scene, whose bubbly sips will undoubtedly win you over (particularly when paired with hot, buttery lemon crepes from the vineyard’s kitchen). Next up: more tasting County Cider Company, where flavours profiles span from peach to feral (don’t worry, it’s simply the tart taste of late-season apples). County Cider Company, 657 Bongards Crossroad, Waupoos, 613-476-1022, www.countycider.com
shop: Make it a one-stop retail therapy session at Cannery Row PEC, where shopkeepers hock everything from local gourmet jams and fudge to prettily packaged garden seeds. Next door, Kokito carries a stylish array of things you didn’t know you needed, like thick Canadian wool blankets and Relic Leather goods. Knitting enthusiasts, don’t miss Shed at Chetwyn Farms for glorious alpaca yarns (and the adorable alpacas themselves, grazing just behind the shop). Shed, 500 Closson Rd., Hillier, www.shedchetwynfarms.com
County up. —Karen Kwan