Winter out here in Prince Edward County can be quiet, peaceful even lonely as you hear the chilly winds whip across the frozen bay and farm fields. Unless you have three kids, than you find things to explore.
This time of year is a hectic one for our family. Full of holidays, birthdays and escapes to warm temperatures which leaves little time to explore as much as I would have liked this past year. In addition, a lot of places close down on winter or reduced hours in the area. You learn to call ahead anywhere you go, even if it states something is open. That was a tip a neighbour gave me in the fall.
Snow tires became a must to navigate the sometimes icy roads and we watched in fascination as the bay seemed to freeze overnight. The best part of the winter was watching the ice fishing huts go up. With mouths agape, our family watched in fascinated wonder at the ATV’s and snowmobiles going across our shoreline or dedicated ice fishers trekking out to their spots. It became a familiar sight before too long to have the horizon dotted with little black mobile huts.
We had lots of fires to keep the house toasty warm on those windy nights. Played board games, and when there was enough snow the kids ran to the backyard to play.
Overall, the winter went by quickly for us but I must say, we are looking forward as spring rushes into Prince Edward County.
Denmar Farms – fresh cut Christmas trees.
Once upon a time we had a real tree, bought from a store parking lot. For the last ten years, it has been artificial as per Mr. L’s wish. This year, I wanted the kids to experience cutting down a real Christmas tree. I heard Denmar Farms had some beautiful ones so we jumped in the SUV a sunny Sunday afternoon and drove to north Belleville. Upon arriving we spotted a cute little shop and before too long were out on the very organized tractor wagon ride out to the fields. Even with a bit of grumble, Mr. L even cut down our chosen tree himself! Afterwards, the kids had fun running the hay maze, and drinking hot chocolate. All complimentary.
We signed the kids up for ski lessons at the local hill in a little village just north of Trenton called Batawa. The kids all had amazing lessons and learned a lot from the instructors who tried to make it fun and challenging. Parents could ski or sit in the cozy lodge where lunch and drinks were being served and watch out the huge windows. I highly recommend this as a family outing or for younger children learning to ski. It is not too far from Prince Edward County and the hills are manageable no matter what your level. One tip, Sunday 1 pm lessons are not as busy and with one chair lift that means no line-ups!
We took the kids on winter hikes this year and what a lot of fun! We hit Sandbanks Provincial Park. Seeing the long sandy beach encased in white snow and ice is a sight to behold. Over March Break, winter’s last hurrah, we hiked Massassauga Point. The kids enjoyed the old quarry and climbing the rock wall to the trails above.
For the first time we also went to Presqu’ile Provincial Park in Brighton. A large, more rugged but great hiking place for families. We took the dogs for the marsh hike and checked out the old lighthouse. Perfect for a sunny day hike!
The official end of winter and onset of spring with Maple in the County. A fun-filled weekend where all the maple shacks open up, wineries have fun events and everyone is out and about snow, rain or sun. We rushed back from a quick March break trip to attend at least one event and decided on Three Dog Winery. We have been before, but the open space, open fire pit, marshmallows and food for everyone was a draw. They had delicious waffles and sausages and wine tastings. Jacob had fun with the miniature horses and the kids were a damp, sticky mess from the marshmallow roasting but it was a nice afternoon.
We topped the afternoon with a stop at our favourite local orchard, Campbell’s Orchards and picked up a few treats and Audrey enjoyed the maple dunked candy apples and I picked up some of their new Premiere cider from Apple Falls Cider.
With temperatures warming up our attention will focus on Easter, spring garden planning, house projects and I can take stock how much of that firewood we used. Did I mention we discovered a river? Right beside our house. Apparently we live on a main run-off that ensures our backyard grass is marshy. I think we’ll keep the winter boots out for backyard walking a little longer.