Tuesday, July 3, 2012

summer road trip

summer arrives and wine country beckons me. each year oliver and i try to make a pilgrimage down to either niagara on the lake, or even closer, prince edward county. this time the latter won our hearts. spring and summer in the county is magical and this particular weekend did not let us down. honestly, i can't remember a weekend that has not given us glorious weather and that's just the icing on the cake when you are touring around such magnificent landscape.

so, the twist on this year's jaunt is now we have a toddler in tow. planning travel around naps, meals and bedtimes takes on a different approach but i was determined to enjoy as much of the county as we could!

truly, it's so easy to get to i wonder why we don't spend more time here. on the drive in we swung by our favorite take-out food shop, pan chancho, in kingston. picking up a few delicacies we pulled a blanket from the car and dined al fresco in a park not too far down the road. spontaneous summertime picnics are always welcome in our family!

what a breath of fresh air to find grey stone return - which fit the bill for our family of four - one of which being our furry family member. an addition to the century farmhouse, the suite has a separate entrance and boasts enough room for all so we don't go twitchy. ok - back to the food - we arrived to fresh banana muffins, farm fresh eggs, bakery bread, yogurt, fruit, the neighbour's freshly preserved strawberry jam and the owner's homemade granola. we were set.

(above: table for three at norm hardie winery)

the weekend took a slower approach than what we'd usually try to accomplish in 48 hours in the county (which would typically consist of whirlwind winery tours and extravagant food fests) - this year we had to pick and choose where we wanted to spend our time since we were sharing it with our young son. top of our list was norm hardie winery - he has built a beautiful patio complete with an impressive wood-burning oven. delicious pizza, freshly cropped greens, and wine - all with a beautiful vista in view. a little slice of heaven. we wanted to linger longer but the beach was calling... a short jaunt up the road and this is what we arrived to:

(above: does this say summer or what?)

dinner was take-out burgers and lamb kebabs at tall poppy cafe in the village of wellington - a return visit will next bring us to dine at east and main or at the newly opened pomodoro (same owners).

the next day it was all about the trek for peach cider at the county cider co (waupoos) and lunch overlooking a bay. en route was a stop at the black river cheese company for some aged cheddar, and their new artisan cheese edwardsburg. just minutes down the road from the cheese company turn left and venture to vicki's veggies - an endearingly adorable self-serve organic veggie "hut" - absolutely a must! i managed to nab the last bag of sugar snap peas - it was a sweet succulent bag of "candy" for the drive home.

(above: how adorable is this self-serve veggie shed?)

i think, however, most memorable for me this time was the driving and the time spent exploring. we went from north to south, east to west, up rolling hills, down into quaint hamlets, discovering rural roads, breezy county roads - with blue skies from end to end. names like cherry valley easily persuading me to want to own a slice of this heaven on the island. each charming home has its own special curb appeal. every single property perfectly tended to! it is a very magical place indeed.

so, this season, our trip to the county - where did it rank for us? well, it definitely was short, but definitely sweeter -we found that the county really does have it all - breathtaking scenery, warm inviting beaches, stunning wineries, top notch eats, and warm county hospitality.

see you again prince edward county, we're truly smitten.