Our Vacation In Prince Edward County
This past Labour Day long weekend, my wife and I have done something that we haven’t done since 2011. Take a vacation. What I do keeps me so busy that I really can’t afford to take time off. But I made an effort after coming back from India to take some time off for two reasons. One, to be absolutely frank, my wife was pretty upset with me that we had not done a vacation in five years. I have to admit that I’ve really dropped the ball on that front and I need to better. The second reason is that I have really started to focus on cycling as I find it helps to relieve the stress that is caused by what I do for a living. Plus I am preparing for the PWC Epic Tour where I will be doing the 80 KM route. The question was, where to go for a four day vacation? What my wife and I came up with is Prince Edward County which is about a three hour drive east of Toronto. It has a wine region and a food culture which is something that my wife can get excited about. In my case, it has a lot of routes to cycle which is something that I can get excited about. The plan is that I will spend the mornings riding my road bike and in the afternoons and evenings indulge in my wife’s need for food and wine.
Now we did drive our 2016 Hyundai Tucson Limited on its first road trip and I was worried that we would not have enough space to hold my bike and our gear for four days away from home. But as you can see from this picture, that wasn’t an issue:
Two bags full of clothes, a bike, a soft sided cooler and two laptop bags fit in easily. You’ll also notice that I have a tarp in the back. That’s there because I don’t want to mess up the interior.
Now because we were driving three hours. My wife and I decided to take turns driving and we used the Ontario Government’s OnRoute rest stops to take a break and switch drivers.
Now these OnRoute rest stops have gas, washrooms, food that varies from rest stop to rest stop, and free WiFi. They are on highway 400 and highway 401 and if you’re driving for more than an hour, you should really leverage them.
The drive factoring in the rest stops (two of them) and Apple Maps via Apple CarPlay giving us the fastest route took almost three hours. But we were soon at our final destination which was the Waring House which is just outside Picton Ontario. The reasons why we chose this place were simple:
- It had WiFi, which by the way was very, very good.
- It is bike friendly.
- It was in the middle of everything that we wanted to do. Cycling, wine tours, dinner, etc.
The property has several buildings for guests as well as a couple of restaurants.
We were staying in the building on the left which had 16 suites. I have to assume that the building on the right had the same amount of suites.
They also had a private cottage if you don’t want to interact with anyone else.
There is a vineyard on site as well as a greenhouse that grows food for the on-site restaurant. We were in a very nice suite which was well appointed and very comfortable. The suite also allowed my wife and I to set up shop with our respective MacBook Pros:
You can see that I have my MacBook Pro open on the left and my wife’s MacBook Pro closed and asleep on the right. If you look on the wall on the left, you will note the Olixar 4 port USB adapter that I often travel with. We used it to charge our respective iPhones. We’re also using one power adapter though we have two MacBook Pros that use different Magsafe connectors. To overcome that, I purchased a spare power adapter with a MagSafe connector and a MagSafe to MagSafe 2 converter so that either one of us could a single power adapter. It also avoids the possibility that one of us picks up the wrong power adapter leaving one of us without the ability to keep their laptop charged.
So that meant it was perfect, right? Well…. There was this that I noticed:
This is yet another hotel with a clock radio that has a 30 pin dock adapter in an age where Lightning connections are the only thing found on iDevices. That’s a #fail as Apple hasn’t made a product with a 30 pin connector in years and they should really do something about that. Such as either have a converter for Lightning connector devices (not to mention micro USB connections for other smartphone platforms) or not to bother having such a device in the first place. But this is pretty much the only thing that I can criticize.
So, in terms of the wine and food, let me cover it this way. We ate breakfast at the Ameila’s Garden as that was included with the room, and had dinner at the Barley Room which had great food and entertainment. Both of these restaurant were on the Waring House property.
The plan was that I would ride my bike in the mornings, and then we would go out in the afternoon. Because I am a high tech guy, I track my bike rides using an app called Strava. This allows me to compare my efforts and figure out how much I am, or not improving. The first ride that I took when I arrived on Thursday afternoon and covered 26.2 KM on a route that was very heavy in terms of long sustained climbing. Here’s what it looks like from Strava’s perspective:
The next day, I went out for a 50K ride on roads with rolling hills which were much easier than doing the long sustained climbing that I was doing the day before. The problem was, I didn’t get any data as the Strava app crashed 18K into the ride. I’ve never had that happen to me before and I think it is tied to the fact that they’ve had two updates to their apps in the last two weeks. I am guessing that they might have some stability issues with their app that they are trying to squash.
Finally, I did a 61K ride that was on a mix of rolling hills and flats. Here’s what Strava saw:
In terms of what we did after my bike rides in the morning, we visited two wineries on Friday. The first one that we went to was Norman Hardie:
It not only had a great winery, but it had an outdoor restaurant that served hand crafted oven baked pizza that tasted great. It was also insanely busy on the day that we went. Our next stop was Rose Hall Run:
At both stops, we bought some wine to take home with us. Some of these wines aren’t available anywhere else such as the LCBO, so it is very much worth it to do some tastings (which by the way cost a few bucks a taste if you don’t buy some wine) and ask questions to figure out what kind of wine that you like.
Saturday, we went to see the UEL Monument at Adolphustown. But to get there, we needed to take a ferry to take the Glenora Ferry that travels between Glenora and Adolphustown across the Bay Of Quinte:
The ferry runs every 15 minutes or so and gives you a great view of the Bay Of Quinte. Once there, it’s a short drive to the monument:
At this site are the graves of United Empire Loyalists who came up from the United States after the Revolutionary War. A lot of the graves are unmarked, but highlight the fact that Prince Edward County is an area where a lot of United Empire Loyalists settled in. From there we went to the museum that’s on the site:
Inside you’ll get all the details on how United Empire Loyalists ended up in this part of the world along with artifacts from that time period:
It’s five dollars to get onto the site. They also suggest that you donate to the museum as well.
From there my wife and I took the ferry back across the Bay Of Quinte and headed to Country Cider which was very busy.
On the left is a barn which has a shop and an area where you can do tastings of Cider at two dollars for a flight of four. We bought four bottles of cider as well:
On the right is a restaurant that served really good pizza:
My wife and I then went back to our hotel to rest up for an event that was an unexpected treat, which was to go to the Lennox & Addington Dark Skies Viewing Area. The reason why these areas exist is that light pollution from cities and towns stops people from being able to see the stars. Thus these areas exist so that you can see the stars in all their glory. It’s an one hour from Prince Edward County based on Apple Maps. That was handy as that’s about a 3.5 hour drive from Toronto. We’d normally not drive out to this place. But seeing as we were within an hour’s drove, we figured why not? So after a quick nap, we drove out to an event that they were having at 9:30 PM to 11 PM:
Now this is the only picture that you’re going to see from this place. That’s because I did not have the proper camera equipment to take pictures of the night sky. That’s a shame because it’s a stunning view that gets better as the night goes on. And you never see anything like this anywhere near a populated area. I strongly recommend that you come out here and do this at least once as my wife and I were blown away by what we saw. For example, my wife and I could clearly see the Milky Way Galaxy as well as the Big and Little Dippers. Other interesting things to see were pointed out by the astronomers who were on site with their telescopes which made viewing even more enjoyable. Next time, I’ll bring the camera equipment that is needed to capture what we saw.
The next day we checked out of the Waring House. But before we headed back to Toronto, we stopped at Sandbanks Provincial Park. It contains the world’s largest baymouth barrier dune formation. Thus, if you like beaches, this is the place for you:
There are a ton beaches space for you just to hang out and work on your tan. You can also hike around, but it is sandy so you should keep that in mind if that isn’t your cup of tea. It costs $17 for a car load of people to enter the park for the day.
The drive back to Toronto was uneventful. One of the things that made it uneventful was the fact that the Hyundai Tucson is such a great highway driver. It is smooth on the highway as well as being largely quiet. I was impressed and so was my wife as this was our first road trip with the Tucson. Driving at night was another strong point as the HID lights with the ability to “see” around corners because they swivel in the direction that you turn the steering wheel really lit up the darkly lit country roads in Prince Edward County. It was also great on gas. We started out from Toronto to Prince Edward County, and then drove around for several days mostly on country roads. We only had to fill up before going to Sandbanks Provincial Park as we had less than a quarter of a tank left. At the time we had only consumed 7.6 L / 100 KMs which is outstanding. The drive to Sandbanks and back to Toronto ended up a fuel consumption of 7.2 L / 100 KMs. That too is outstanding.
That covers what we did on our vacation. I would really like to return for a longer period of time to do more riding as they have a bunch of routes that can challenge you as little or as much as you want. Staying at The Waring House is definitely something that I’d love to do again. On top of that, Prince Edward County also has great food and wine which really makes it a great destination. It may be a bit of a drive outside of Toronto, but it is very much worth it and I would recommend vacationing here in a heartbeat.