We travel a lot. And sadly, about 95% of the time that travel is without our two fur-babies. It's usually tough finding someone to take care of Bernard and Walter but this time we lucked out in finding a fantastic Air BnB that was dog-friendly! Destination: Prince Edward County. What also made our lives easier, was driving the 2.5 hours in the BMW X3 M40 (M40 stands for Mucho Fast). This thing has a 335hp turbo 3.0 litre V6, firmer suspension and M sport brakes with painted calipers... aaaaand goes 0-60mph in 4.4 seconds. If you're not a car person then that's car-people talk for "real fast."
So we leave Friday evening for PEC, we take the 407 and I initiate the Dynamic Cruise Control feature to make the drive that much more enjoyable. Dynamic Cruise Control adapts your speed to the car in front of you. Meaning, if you set it to 120km/h and someone pulls in front of you, the car will automatically lower its speed to ensure a safe amount of space. You can also set the X3 to keep you within the road lines, should you have to take a look in the back seat to check on your dogs. Not that I know from experience... These features are quite remarkable and clever first steps to autonomous driving.
After the painless drive, we get to PEC around 6:30pm and are amazed by the location that BMW chose. It's owned by exceptional Toronto Chef, Grant van Gameren, who owns Bar Isabel, Bar Raval and a few others. The place is stunning. We're staying the converted barn (we later find out that they used to keep pigs there). The Cressy Longhouse is decorated like a 1930's hunting lodge with some surprising twists like taxidermied chickens complete with Wu-Tang medallions. The floors are heated and the view onto Lake Ontario is spectacular. There is also a small vineyard home to Chardonnay grapes and a lavender field to top it off.
We had a bit of a late night that night but woke up to a spectacularly sunny day and sipped coffee on the deck overlooking the vines. Our first stop of the day was Three Dog Winery for a nice light Chardonnay to kick it off. After a few more stops, we quickly learned we enjoyed the breweries more than the wineries. Parsons Brewery was a group favourite with a number of excellent craft beers on tap and a to-die-for pretzel with mustard seed. After Parsons we took a 40 minute drive in the X3 over to Wellington to see Norman Hardie Winery which I was told we had to experience. The location is spectacular and the pizza was awesome. We made a stop at Kinsip Distillery to pick up a bottle of Gin and finished the day at Barley Days for one last pint. As mentioned, our next trip to PEC will likely be more brewery-focused than winery-focused.
One thing I would say about visiting PEC, is to expect a lot of driving if you want to fully experience the county. And if you can, do it in the BMW X3 M40 because it really makes it an enjoyable ride, that's for sure.
Anyway, we finished our long day with dinner at Waupoos Winery. Our timing was perfect as we were there for Countylicious which get's you a three-course meal for $40 - not a bad deal at all.
Waking up on Sunday, we watched the dogs run around the vineyard and while sipping on a cup of coffee and taking in the warm sun and beautiful view. We had been spoiled with another absolutely beautiful day (Saturday was so beautiful that I got a sunburn...).
Mid-morning we set out for Picton, about a 20-minute drive away. We had breakfast at the Vic Cafe, a hip, quaint little spot right next to the town's old movie theatre. The food was simple and fresh and the decor was definitely Instagram-able.
All in all, I would definitely recommend checking out Prince Edward County as there is so much to do and see. It's a quick jaunt any Torontonian can enjoy time and time again.