Summer has flown by in The County. We are now two months into county living and with so much to do, visitors flocking to the dazzling shoreline of the Bay of Quinte and our new home, I shoved the remaining boxes into corners and gave into being a tour guide.
One wonderful thing about country living in the summer is the abundance of food available every few kilometers. If it’s not a fruit stand, it’s fresh eggs left on the driveway. I had to dig into my only resource on country living, my mother, to ask how that worked when I began seeing the handwritten signs out of my peripheral vision, FRESH EGGS.
“You stop, leave the money and take the eggs.”
“What? What if someone just took all the eggs? What if you need change?” My urbanized brain could not comprehend someone leaving their goods unattended like that, and having exact change, forget it.
Mr. L just shook his head, “Where I come from, those eggs would be gone.”
“People live on the honour system here and keep some change in your truck.” She responded with a casual shrug.
I still haven’t been brave enough to pull over and grab some eggs and leave my money. I was all worried about stopping safely and what if there were no eggs left? But I will..
Everywhere we have traveled through Prince Edward County this summer there was wine, ciders, beers, pizzas, fresh fruit and vegetables. Baked goods. Ice cream. God, the ice cream. What ice cream is the best was the prevailing question of the summer.
Cousins, friends, kids and adults. We’ve had them all visit and below are some the more notable places we have visited that I highly recommend checking out if you are in the area. I have quickly found my favourites, close enough to our house all with friendly, PEC service and welcoming attitudes. We’ve been congratulated for moving here, our hands shook by strangers and quickly told where the goldmines are, where you can go hiking for free, or park so you don’t have to pay for a provincial park. Informed of the best wineries, where to order pizza and initiated into what seems to be a special kind of club. We have also been told it will take twenty years or one of our kids marrying a local to stop being the new people. Good thing we are not planning to move anytime soon.
Great places to visit when in Prince Edward County – A summer to remember
Campbell’s Orchards – What can I say about the Campbell family? The first people here to make us feel welcome and up the road from our new place we were greeted by Sophie the dog, our kids wander in the play area through the stone labyrinth and my eldest child demands (nicely of course) that Colin ensures to have Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream when she visits. They always have ready their delicious Raspberry Chocolate Scones when we stop by (and other baked goods, the kids like the Short Cakes). We have been raspberry picking, apple picking, rode the wagon more than once and it’s a staple when I need fresh fruits and veggies. With a cute gift shop it this local farmer’s market is a must stop for all of our visitors. Apple season has just started and I already have two bags of delicious apples to try including the Zestar.
Sandbanks The Dunes – it took me a bit to navigate this huge park near the tip of Prince Edward County but it was worth it. Gorgeous soft sand dunes, shallow warm waters and a place to grab lunch. I’m in. The kids enjoyed the challenging hills and I can’t wait to explore this park in the cooler weather and hike around.
Bay of Quinte – We live on the bay so may be a bit predjuiced but have witnessed amazing sunsets, rainbow laden waters and have had fun boating around the waters catching fish.
North Beach – A more northern beach but closer for us than Sandbanks. A tip from a couple of sources informed us we should drive all the way to the end and go to the bay side for a quieter experience and especially if you have small children. With calmer, water water, long stretch of sandy beach, it is the perfect place to take a swim and have a picnic.
Casa Dea Estates Winery – With a beautiful tasting bar, good wines and a giant chess board to keep the kids busy. A definite stop.
Harwood Estates Vineyard – an all solar powered winery the cute tasting bar is well set up and the wines were very good. You can order a picnic basket and it’s a large enough property that the kids can hang out in the muskoka chairs by the pond.
Nice Ice Baby Ice Cream – we tried all the ice cream that The County can offer but our hands down favourite is Nice Ice Baby in Belleville. It is a constant request by our kids to try one of their unique flavours. With an eclectic patio and indoor seating, you can grab hand-crafted ice cream or gelato plus an espresso or quick lunch. With another location in Wellington, this is must visit.
Wellington Park – In the centre of Wellington this local park overlooks the dazzling waters of Lake Ontario and possesses a huge wooden play structure. Great for kids and full of people of all ages. With tall, old trees and picnic tables, grab a book, coffee or your spinning wheel and let the kids play for awhile. Usually new friends are to be found.
Diamond J Ranch – One of our last summer excursions took us down to Picton, on Loyalist Parkway just past the Glenora Ferry. The kids voted to go horseback riding. Reserving an hour trail ride a couple of days before was a good idea, they were busy! Doug and Jacob led us on our gentle steeds through the woods that overlooked the Bay of Picton. Our behinds were a bit sore and our clothes soaked through from the summer heat, but it was a great experience.
There are so many other places that we’ve visited, stay tuned for more updates and hear how we transition to autumn weather that will include cooler nights and sunny days. Personally, I can’t wait for the leaves to change colour having (at last) some huge trees in our front yard. The kids will get to jump in a proper pile of leaves!
Today with the onset of school and after a three and a half hour trip into town for groceries and supplies for the next week or so, getting into a regular routine will be interesting. We shall see what real country living means for our family.