Prince Edward County used to be divided into smaller towns: Picton, Bloomfield and Wellington being the main population centres. The area is on the shores of Lake Ontario, and is known for beaches (including Sandbanks Provincial Park), farms on which visitors may pick apples and strawberries in season and a few local wineries.
Long settled by indigenous peoples, the county has significant archeological sites. These include the LeVescounte Mounds of the Point Peninsula Complex people, built about 2000 years ago.
The county was created by Upper Canada's founding lieutenant-governor John Graves Simcoe in 1792. It was named after Prince Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent (the fourth son of King George III) who was commander-in-chief of British North America.
Shortly after the American Revolution, the Crown made land grants to some of the earliest United Empire Loyalists to encourage their settlements in Ontario and provide compensation for property lost in the Thirteen Colonies. The county was divided into three townships named in honour of three of George III's daughters.
For many years Prince Edward County has been closely associated with the wholly mainland Hastings County. Its longtime militia unit has been the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment (locally known as the Hasty Ps), whose most famous member was Farley Mowat. This noted nature author wrote And No Birds Sang about his experiences with the Hasty Ps during the Second World War's Italian Campaign.
In 1998, all of the former municipalities in Prince Edward County amalgamated to form a single-tier municipality as part of provincewide municipal restructuring. Each of the former municipalities is now a ward
By far the most convenient way to get around in the County, cars can be rented in the nearby city of Belleville.
You can access the County from three main points off of Hwy 401 or Hwy 2.
- Coming from the West (Toronto), exit the 401 at Exit #522 Wooler Road in Trenton and travel south to Picton on the Loyalist Parkway (Hwy 33).
- Coming from the East (Ottawa), exit the 401 at Exit #566 and travel south into Picton on Hwy 49.
- A third (and closest) access point is Hwy 62 through Belleville and across the Bay Bridge. Belleville to Picton is approximately a half-hour drive (and a local 'phone call).
An alternative is to take Highway 33 from Kingston to the free Glenora Ferry and follow Hwy 33 to Picton. Kingston to Picton takes approximately one hour.
Bus or train
Accessing the County by bus or train can be difficult. The nearest intercity bus terminal served by major bus lines is in Belleville, as is the nearest train station. Cost for a taxi from Belleville to Picton is $70-85 (July 2018).
Deseronto Transit runs a limited local bus service from Belleville to Picton, and weekdays from Belleville to Napanee.
The County is almost an island and therefore a popular stop for boaters touring Lake Ontario. Harbours in Waupoos and Picton may rent a slip overnight; some of the waterfront campground and cabin sites offer boat launch, docking or boat rental.
The easiest and most popular way to travel around the County is by car, as many points of interest are separated by fair distances. It is possible to hire a taxi to drive you between points but this can be costly. While driving be alert and courteous of slow-moving tractors on County roads, as they often use main roads to travel between farms. Usually the driver will wait until it is safe and move to the side, allowing you to pass. Signs posted in rural areas remind drivers "Slow Moving Vehicles- Farmers producing YOUR food." Please don't honk or tailgate. Give space on the road to the many cyclists who travel County roads as there are no bicycle lanes on most roads.
Cycling is an environmentally friendly and increasingly popular way to see the area. To avoid busier main roads The County has many side roads that are well worn and paved in many cases. They offer fantastic views and a taste of the area that many visitors miss.
- Bloomfield Bicycle Company, 225 Main St, Bloomfield, ☎ . Apr-Oct: 9AM-6PM. Bike rentals, repairs, tours, maps. $35/day (9AM-6PM same day).
- 1 Little Bluff, County road 13 past South Bay (Head east out of Picton, through Milford). Staggering views from towering limestone cliffs overlooking Lake Ontario. Rock beach for swimming, picnic areas and firepits. Usually quiet and private.
- 2 The Regent Theatre, 224 Main Street Picton, ☎ . This theatre built in 1922 plays full length films and hosts local theatre and musical performances. The building is a historical landmark of the area and has been restored as close as possible to its former glory. Usually offers a family-friendly matinée through the summer, a great way to escape a rainy day on the beach! Prices vary depending on performance.
- 3 Prince Edward County Lavender, 732 Closson Road, ☎ , toll-free: . Small lavender farm that hosts an annual lavender festival. Has several lavender fields and sells a variety of lavender-related goods. $4.
- [dead link] Ameliasburgh Museum, 517 County Road 19, Ameliasburgh, ☎ . mid-May to early Oct. A museum and pioneer village, tour the many buildings (church, log cabin, barns, blacksmith shop, sap shanty, dairy and bee-keeping buildings) and gardens. Ameliasburgh Christmas in the Village in early December; Amelia’s Tea Room offers breakfast and lunch for special events. Adult $4.50, student/senior $3.50.
- [dead link] Mariner's Park Museum, 2065 County Rd. 13, South Bay, ☎ . Artefacts relating to local maritime history, from fishing and ship building through ice harvesting and rum running, include pieces recovered from shipwrecks by divers, the relocated False Duck Island lighthouse, Fort Kente and a huge row boat. Picnic area. By donation.
- [dead link] Macaulay Heritage Park, 35 Church St, Picton, ☎ . Beautifully restored home, gardens, a cemetery and a museum in a converted church. Tour near Christmas to see the house decorated with antique ornaments, listen to carols and try some hot apple cider from the large stone fireplace. Adult $4.50, student/senior $3.50.
- [dead link] Rose House Museum, 3333 County Rd. 8, Waupoos (Take Union Street out of Picton and Follow County Rd 8 to Waupoos), ☎ . May-Sep: 10AM-4:30PM. A traditional farm house in newly posh wine region Waupoos. If you are touring wineries you will surely pass by the Rose House. Stop in for a tour of the quaint home and barns. By donation.
- [dead link] Wellington Heritage Museum, 290 Main Street Wellington ON (Take Hwy 33 out of Picton to the West and follow it into Wellington), ☎ , fax: . 10AM-4:30PM. Pays tribute to the Quakers that helped develop the area through displays and artefacts. Also includes an exhibit which outlines the importance of the canning industry to the development of the County (75 different canning factories operated between 1882 and 1996). By donation.
Prince Edward County is a very interesting place: the local rural culture is blending with the newer additions of artisans, wineries, spas and high end cuisine. As a result there is a wide range of activities, festivals and attractions available. These are some highlights;
- Bird Watching. Prince Edward County is a high traffic migration point for many species and a popular destination for bird watching. An annual birding festival is held in May.
- Yoga Retreats. Yoga retreats are popping up all over Prince Edward County. Many offer group packages; most are in lovely, peaceful areas.
- [dead link] Farm Vacations. A new way to see the County! Hands-on experience at a local farm, accommodations and meals provided in some cases.
- County Quest. Website for history buffs to download audio files, maps and everything for a self-guided historical tour of the area; choose a time period from a list of several. Tours can be followed by car, bicycle or on foot.
- Arts Trail, toll-free: . A self-guided tour of local studios and art galleries, metal smiths, glass blowers, painters, photographers, potters and jewellery creators. Visit as many or as few as you wish, watch artists work to create beautiful pieces. The Red Barns offer hands-on experience; try your hand at woodworking, glass blowing, stained glass or pottery.
- Festival Players, 289 Main St. Picton (Upstairs of Books & Company), ☎ . Festival Players of Prince Edward County is the region’s professional summer theatre company. For seven years, Festival Players has brought the beautiful landscapes, towns and villages of the County to life through the incredible power of theatre.
Parks and beaches
- Armoury Park, Hill Street Picton (Turn left off of Main street onto Hwy 49, turn right onto Hill Street). To escape the hustle and bustle of Picton on a busy summer day, take your lunch to the park overlooking the Picton harbour. Sometimes known as "Yacht Club Park" or "Armoury Park" it is only about two minutes from Main Street.
- County Youth Park, 375 Main Street, Picton (Hwy 49 north, just outside Picton at the County fairgrounds). Playground and public skate park constructed in 2009.
- [dead link] Lake on the Mountain Provincial Park (Leave Picton on Hwy 33, turn right onto County Road 7), ☎ . This provincial park is a nice picnic stop with great views of the bay and Glenora ferries. There is no admission charge. Aptly named, the park features a natural wonder: a freshwater lake high above nearby Lake Ontario that has a flow of clean water from no known source.
- Macaulay Mountain, 224 County road 8, Picton (outskirts of Picton, take Bridge Street to Union Street which turns into county road 8). A nice place to picnic, hike, mountain bike or bird watch. "Birdhouse City" is here; a grouping of many birdhouses constructed to resemble century homes. During the summer children's camps are run here so it may not always be a quiet retreat. In the winter be sure to try your hand at tobogganing the daunting hill! The Bloomfield Bicycle Company leads three club rides on the mountain bike trails, and that can be a good way to find one's way around the labyrinth of single-track.
- Sandbanks Provincial Park, Picton, (South from Picton on County Road 10, turn right onto County Road 11 which leads to the park entrance.), ☎ . Day Use is from 8AM-10PM daily. One of the most popular parks in Ontario, Sandbanks offers three white sand beaches, breathtaking views, staggering sand dunes, limestone cliffs, canoeing, kayaking, picnic areas and five campgrounds. Canoes and kayaks are available for rent on the Outlet river. For a special view paddle up the Outlet into East lake, take a right and you may see some of the swans that live in a quiet marshy corner of the lake. Sunrise or sunset are best. The park also has evening entertainment in the form of music, trivia challenges and plays. Also ask about the Mother's Day Easter Egg Hunt, Lakeshore Lodge Day and the Fall Getaway Fun Run. Winter is a nice time to visit the park, admission is free and Cross-country skiing is the main attraction. $14/vehicle day use, peak season (May-Oct). Discounts for Ontario seniors or disabled persons..
- Picton Golf and Country Club, 734 Hwy #49, Picton (Just five minutes North of Picton, past the hospital.), ☎ . 18-hole course, club and cart rental, renovated clubhouse, dining room and lounge. Stunning views of the Picton Bay and surrounding area. Green fees are around $30.
- Wellington on the Lake Golf Course, 157 Prince Edward Dr., Wellington (Follow Hwy 33 out of Picton and into Wellington), ☎ , toll-free: . A popular 9-hole course adjacent to a retirement-style housing development in Wellington.
- Art and music festivals. The Prince Edward County Arts Council runs a juried art show, jazz festival, a music festival, studio and gallery tours, and photography shows. The studio tour is free and self-guided (guide brochures are available at the Chamber of Commerce in Picton and throughout the County). All events are very popular and have affordable or sometimes free admission.
- County Fair (County Fairgrounds just outside Picton on Hwy 49). Annual traditional county fair (early September) with livestock shows, baking competitions, midway rides, demolition derby, tractor pull, taffy, mini-doughnuts and lots of food.
- Great Canadian Cheese Festival, Crystal Palace, Picton fairgrounds. Early June, two days. Artisan and farmstead cheese show with cheeses from across Canada.
- Maple in the County, ☎ , toll-free: . late March. Sugar shack shindig with maple-themed meal and live entertainment; a one-weekend Taste the County festival backed by several local maple sugar shacks.
- Music on the Mountain, Lake on the Mountain (follow Hwy 33 out of Picton, towards Glenora). Annual free all-day music festival in early September that draws lots of local talent. Great music, beautiful scenery, BBQ and kids' stuff.
- Terroir... A County Wine Celebration, Crystal Palace, Picton fairgrounds. Annual wine-tasting event. You must be 19 or older to drink alcohol in Ontario, and to attend the event. Held early June. $40/person.
- Antiques. Antique shopping could lead you on an accidental tour of the County as dozens of shops are found in various nooks and crannies. With many shops, Bloomfield is a good starting point.
- County Markets, ☎ . End of June until Thanksgiving. Wellington Farmers' Market (245 Main St.) Sa 8AM-1PM, Picton Artisan Market (116 Main St.) Su 9:30AM-2:30PM.
Bloomfield is filled with small boutiques offering everything from clothing to antiques to sweets and is also a haven for artists, hosting many of the stops on the Arts Trail. Bloomfield is home to perhaps the world's funkiest bike shop, the Bloomfield Bicycle Company.
- Green Gables, 286 Main St, Bloomfield, ☎ . M-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 11AM-4PM. Quilts, linens, lace, lamps, pictures, home fashions, collectibles, candles, cards, jewellery and accessories.
Picton [dead link] is the largest town in the County and offers many stores and boutiques. For clothing try Jimodi or Beach Bum. Popular boutiques include Gilbert & Lighthall (housewares, art, jewellery), Allison's (bed and bath, art, stationary) and Kelly's (amazing jewellery, funky knick-knacks, clothing). Picton also has grocery stores, pet stores, pharmacies, a guitar shop (Strum) and a Canadian Tire for camping supplies. Free parking available on Mary St (turn right at Bean Counter).
- Books and Company, 289 Main St, Picton, ☎ . New and used books, music, Wi-Fi. Frequently hosts readings and other events. Miss Lily's Café adjacent (try the almond croissant!) Walking distance from quiet, shady Benson Park for those who prefer reading outdoors.
- Giant Tiger, 20 Elizabeth St, Picton (Turn left at Bean Counter and you'll see the huge tiger mural). Canadian regional chain with bargain clothing, food, housewares. Popular with folks headed to the beach because it has everything needed for the day - water toys, sunscreen, snacks, towels.
- Ideal Bike, 172 Main St, Picton, ☎ . 10AM-6PM. Sales, rentals, repairs, accessories. Road, mountain, BMX.
On the farm
Local farms and orchards invite you to pick your own apples or strawberries in season; berries are usually ripe before Canada Day and the various types of apples are ready between August and October. Local produce is also available in the farmers' markets seasonally.
- Campbell's Orchards, 1633 Rednersville Rd. (County Rd #3), RR1 Carrying Place, ☎ . Fall corn maze, spring and fall wagon rides, annual Easter egg hunt, apples in season, maple sugar in season. Christmas and seasonal baskets, group tours. Various pick-your-own fruits and vegetables are in season at different times from June to October.
Wine and cheese
A vibrant wine industry has sprouted from grapes planted in Prince Edward County over the course of the past decade. The official designation of DVA Prince Edward County was established in 2007, with over 40 wineries open locally.
- 1 Black Prince Winery, 13370 Loyalist Parkway, Picton (1 km west of Picton Centre), ☎ , toll-free: , e-mail: email@example.com. 11AM-5PM. Picton's only winery and a pioneer in the area, Black Prince has been making well-priced wines from local grapes for over 10 years and is a fierce supporter of the local art scene.
- Black River Cheese Factory, 913 County Road 13, RR#2 Milford, ☎ , toll-free: , fax: . Sep-Jun: daily 9AM-5PM, Jul Aug: daily 9AM-7PM. Local cheddar, mozzarella and speciality cheeses, seasonal baskets.
- Long Dog Vineyard & Winery, 104 Brewers Ro, Milford, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Gamay grapes are planted in the vineyard. Apr/May Sep/Oct: Sa Su noon to 5PM. Jun-Aug: daily noon to 5PM.
Prince Edward County's food scene is an interesting mix of urban flair and rural simplicity.
- Taste Trail, toll-free: . A self-guided tour of culinary hot-spots, restaurants, ice cream shops, wineries and cheese factories. Brochure includes a map and site descriptions (downloadable, or pick up a paper copy when you get into town).
- Grocery Chains. Metro, No Frills and Sobey's in Picton are standard grocery stores offering pre-prepared meals as well as typical basic goods.
- Farmer's Stands. Throughout Prince Edward County, from spring until late fall, vegetable stands offer a taste of the County with local produce and local flavour. Some offer firewood, baked goods or maple syrup. Perfect for campers looking to take a dozen ears of corn back to the site or day trippers looking for a snack on the go.
For familiar food in a hurry Picton has a McDonald's, KFC, Subway and Tim Horton's. All are on Main St. Subway has a patio that is popular in the summer.
- CJs, 19 Elizabeth St. Picton (Right across from Giant Tiger. Turn onto Elizabeth from Main St.), ☎ . CJs pizza is typical County pizza - thick, crusty and really cheesy. Great panzerotti. At lunch time, a slice and a pop can be had for $3. $15-25 (large pizza), cash only.
- Prince Edward Pizza, 130 Main Street Picton (Across from Petro-Canada on a little side street), ☎ . Similar to CJs pizza but a bit cheaper. Offers lunch time slices as well (11AM-2PM) at around $3. Rent a movie at Town and Country right next door and make a night of it!
These places offer casual fare at decent prices;
- Schooners Fish and Chips, 72 Main St. Picton, ☎ . Closed during the winter. Great fish and chips in a casual, homey atmosphere. Eat on the patio overlooking Main Street when the weather allows. Try the clam chowder!
- Angelo's, Main Street Picton (Adjacent to the Métro parking lot), ☎ . Casual dining room, takeout and delivery. Angelo's makes classic Greek, Italian and Canadian food but is especially known for their pizza.
- The Club Café, 6 Stanley Street, Bloomfield, ☎ . 8am-3pm. Healthy breakfast and lunch is made from scratch daily, year round. Giant muffins, soups and outstanding sandwiches. Free WiFi.
- 1 Blumen Garden Bistro, 647 Highway 49, Picton, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. lunch 11:30am-2pm, dinner 5pm-close. Closed Feb-Mar. Casual fine dining, Fabulous International in-house prepared dishes, Large garden patio, Reservation highly recommended, $7-32.
- The Bean Counter, 172 Main Street Picton, ☎ . 8AM-8PM. A stop on the taste trail thanks to the dozens of flavours of amazing gelato (which is handmade on site!) the Bean Counter also has great drinks and snacks. Cozy atmosphere with couches and comfy chairs as well as tables, a great place to meet friends!
- Miss Lily's, 289 Main Street Picton (head towards the town hill, it's right there!). Newly opened in Spring 2008, Miss Lily's is adjacent to Books and Company, a fantastic book store. The décor is chic but accessible and the prices are reasonable. Free Wi-Fi is a bonus! Get there early or all the good sandwiches might be gone as they are pre-made on site.
Pubs and lounges
- [dead link] The Barley Room Pub, Picton (head out of Picton on Hwy 33 towards Bloomfield. Turn left on Cty Rd 1), ☎ . It is at "Warings Corners" and part of the hotel/restaurant/special events mecca known collectively as "The Waring House". The Barley Room is a favourite pub locals and has great food that is sophisticated but simple and affordable. Great specials and usually some live music on the weekends. They feature local ingredients in the food and offer many local wines, ciders and beers. Patio is great in the summer (screened in to prevent bugs)and can be used into the fall when the heaters are on. Prices are very reasonable.
- Coaches Pub and Grill, 297 Main Street Picton. Offers typical pub grub at good prices. Has three dining areas- the back patio, the bar and the front dining room. The patio is nice but overlooks a parking lot. Always busy on a Friday night, a popular local hang out.
- The Acoustic Grill, 172 Main Street, Picton (right behind the Subway on Main Street), ☎ . Offers pub grub with an upscale twist. Prices are affordable and there is almost always live music showcasing local talent. Small place but very popular and usually busy.
- Currah's Lounge, 252 Main Street, Picton (in the Bristol Building beside the Post Office), ☎ . Currah's Café is popular typically busy on a weekend evening. For something slightly less formal try "The Lounge" behind the restaurant. Comfy chairs and couches, a pool table and dart board make it a mellow hang out. Offers food from the restaurant menu. Try the Olivini Tapenade! Prices are mid-range, fairly affordable.
Hotels and resorts
- Angelines Inn, 433 Main St, Bloomfield, ☎ .
- Claramount Inn and Spa, 97 Bridge Street, Picton, ☎ , toll-free: . Spa, heated indoor/outdoor pool, suites, full breakfast. Clara's Restaurant (open 5:30-9PM) overlooks Picton Bay. $175-225/night, two night minimum on weekends.
- Huff Estates, 2274 County Rd.1, Bloomfield, ☎ , toll-free: , fax: . Winery, gallery and country inn. $200-360.
- Manse Boutique Inn, 10 Chapel St, Picton, toll-free: . Seven rooms, outdoor pool. Two-night minimum on summer weekends. $190-260/night.
- Queen's Inn, 145 Main St, Picton, ☎ , toll-free: . Eight-room boutique hotel. Two-night minimum on summer weekends. Wifi. $125/night.
- Waring House, 395 Sandy Hook Rd, Picton, toll-free: . Restaurant, inn, conference centre, spa & cookery school. CAA/AAA discount. $150-300/night.
- [dead link] Sportsman Motel, 12351 Loyalist Parkway, RR 4 Picton, ☎ . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM. On Picton Bay, refrigerator in room, some units have kitchenette. No smoking, no pets. Picnic area. $90-120/night.
Bed and breakfast
- Duck and Loon B&B, 630 Highway 49, Picton, ☎ .
- Lavender Farm B&B, 732 Closson Rd, Hillier, ☎ , toll-free: . Boutique open 11AM-5PM daily in high season (May-Oct), weekends only off-season, closed winter. $135-165/night.
- Moonlight on the Lake, 410 Huyck's Point Road, County Rd 20 Wellington, ☎ . Spa packages available at extra cost. $125-155/night.
- [dead link] Suites on the Lake, 229 Main St, Wellington, ☎ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. No pets, no kids under 12. Two night minimum on weekends.
- Thyme Again Gardens, 403 Smokes Point Rd, Carrying Place, ☎ . Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 11AM. Organic farm with bed-and-breakfast. $95-175/night.
Cottages and short-term rentals
- Baycrest Lodge Marina, Big Island, Demorestville, ☎ . Boat rental, fishing charters, marina facilities and service. Cottages and lodge. Cottages $99-225/day.
- Cherry Lane Campground and Cottages, 89 Sandy Lane, Cherry Valley, ☎ . BBQ, swimming pool, docking and boat launch, playground, wi-fi, cottages with kitchen, satellite TV. Linens/towels not included.
- Loyalist Farms, 1238 County Road 17, RR 2 Milford, ☎ . Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 11AM. Farmhouse rental (4-6 persons max). Fruits, vegetables, jams and preserves for sale. $170/night (two night minimum).
- Sunrise Cottage Resort, 15841 Loyalist Parkway, RR#2 Bloomfield, ☎ , toll-free: . Inquiries 8AM-10PM only. Cottages, boat rental, charters. wi-fi, outdoor pool.
- County Shores, 2281 CR 15, RR2 Picton, ☎ , fax: . Boat and camp trailer rental, boat storage, playground, coin-operated showers, hunting/fishing licences, store with bait, tackle, ice, coffee, groceries, farm produce, marine and RV supplies. $32-42/night (RV parking).
- Edgewater Park, 191 Winns Drive, Picton, ☎ . Trailer park and camping resort, pontoon boat rental. May-September. No pets. $40-55/day.
- Johnson's RV Park, 3235 County Road 13, South Bay, RR3 Picton, ☎ . Two bedroom cottages, deck, BBQ, RV hookups, shower, laundry, docking in harbour, ice, bait, swimming, fishing.
- Lake Consecon Resort, 5430 County Road 1, RR 2 Consecon, ☎ . Check-in: noon, check-out: AM. RV parking and dump station. Boat docks, boat launch ramp, store, playground, outdoor pool, showers. Store with ice cream, ice, bait and firewood. Fishing boat, canoe and paddleboat rental.
- Log Cabin Point, 146 Outlet Rd, RR1 Cherry Valley, ☎ , toll-free: . Motorboat, paddleboat and bicycle rental, fishing licences, campground and cabins.
- Smugglers Cove, 3187 County Rd 13, Picton, ☎ . Serviced RV sites, showers, washrooms, bunk house, cottages, general store, playground, beach, boat launch, canoe rentals. Hall seats eighty. $40-50/night (RV parking).
- Prince Edward County Libraries, 208 Main Street, Picton, ☎ . Wi-fi and public-use computers; branches in Picton, Wellington, Bloomfield, Milford. Free.
|Routes through Prince Edward County|
|Trenton ← CR33 ←||W E||→ ferry → Adolphustown → Kingston|
|Deseronto ← CR49 ←||N S||→ END|
|Algonquin Provincial Park ← Belleville ←||N S||→ END|