Easy Riding in Prince Edward County
What is it about Prince Edward County, an island community in Southern Ontario, that keeps me going back spring, summer and fall? Answer: It’s a cycling and foodie paradise!
That’s not news. People have touted the county’s wealth of wineries, produce and culinary goodness for years—Prince Edward County even has a Taste Trail, a popular self-guided route that connects wineries and restaurants throughout the area. But being from Toronto, when I think of a local wine and produce region, I think of Niagara. Or at least I did until 2009, when I first rode through Prince Edward County.
Great Waterfront Trail Adventure, an eight-day bike tour along Ontario’s Waterfront Trail (my odometer clocked in at 786 kilometres!). On Day 5, we biked 130 kilometres from Trenton to Kingston via Prince Edward County.
That’s not an unreasonable distance, but with rest stops hosted by communities about every 10 to 20 kilometres, it took all day. But although I biked across the county, I didn’t have the time to truly experience it. So I was determined to go back.
And back I went soon after, with a group from the Toronto Outdoor Club, which had cyclists ranging from novice to triathlete. (Fear not, newbie riders! While the county roads aren’t devoid of cars, traffic is light and speeds are slow. You’ll feel safe. Trust me.)
My outdoorsy group camped at Sandbanks Provincial Park, with its stunning sand dunes and beaches. Sandbanks is a nice base for cyclists, as it’s only a 12-kilometre ride to the beautiful village of Bloomfield, where you can continue along various bike routes short and long, depending on what you fancy.
The Marshmallow Room artisan bakery has lots of fixings (breads, spreads, sweets and cheeses) for a perfect picnic up at Lake on the Mountain if you bike east or Big Island if you bike north. (If you bike west, to Wellington, forgo a picnic and splurge on one of the many restos there.)
Lake on the Mountain is on a 100-kilometre loop that allows you to visit plenty of food towns, such as:
- Picton, for The Bean Counter Cafe’s homemade gelato and Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Co.’s delicious cheese;
- Waupoos, for the County Cider Company, home of a yummy peach cider that rivals the view from the restaurant patio, and the Waupoos Estates Winery for, um, wine; and
- Milford, for the famous Milford Bistro’s fabulous fare.
And though it seems like a long, lactic-acid-producing ride, with so many yummy stops, it doesn’t feel like it. That’s my kind of country ride!