MY GREAT COUNTY WINE TOUR – PART 3
SOME OF THE COUNTY’S OTHER ATTRACTIONS
Yes, there’s more to the County than wine!
Here are some recommendations for lodging, food and sights.
IN PICTON: In the County’s main town you’ll find three beautiful small inns – THE MANSE, MERRILL INN and the CLARAMOUNT. Peoples’ choice fine dining spots are BLUMEN, MERRILL INN and CARRIAGE HOUSE (in Bloomfield). Go to the ACOUSTIC GRILL for good burgers and live music. Most popular drinking hole is the BARLEY ROOM at the Waring House Hotel (owners of Barley Days Brewery, just up the road). BOOKS & COMPANY (and Miss Lilly’s Café) is a great hangout and experience, THE REGENT THEATRE offers stage, music and first-run and current foreign movies (as well as a very good, licensed café), and the rolling hills of GLEN WOOD CEMETERY tops any park setting in the country. Most interesting sight is the old World War 11 training AIRPORT on a hill above the town. A grim reminder of less pleasant times.
IN BLOOMFIELD: A small, pretty, boutique town that you must explore if only for a SLICKERS ice cream. There are two good cafés – THE SAYLOR HOUSE, tucked away in a garden setting, and AGRARIAN, which is on the main street. The latter has a hideaway, celler ‘speakeasy’ room serving a good range of wines and beers. On the edge of town ANGELINE’S, one of the County’s original restaurants/Inns is now revamped and renamed THE HUB. Renovated rooms (reasonable prices) feature ‘cool’ design and art, and the restaurant serves tapas-style offerings, by one of my favourite chefs, Elliott Reynolds. His partner, Laura Borutski, runs the front end along with maestro owner Alex Fida. The Hub combines country casualness with city coolness – cliché I know, but you get the idea! www.angelines.ca
WELLINGTON: The County’s beach town, but that’s still a bit of a secret as the water is tucked away. No hotels yet, but Toronto’s Drake is set to open next year. EAST AND MAIN is a great restaurant/food shop combination, and sister place, POMODORE delivers the Italian job. Along with a smart rental suite on the second floor. A block away, TALL POPPIES, is a dream local coffee shop/café/event spot. Love those Winter Sunday afternoon poetry readings with a pint of County beer. Wellington’s local park is perfect for picnics with steps down to lake Ontario, and the Saturday market (next door) features Henry’s Humble Bread – the pride of local breadmaking. (You can also catch him at TO’s Brickworks, along with another County treasure, Vicki’s Veggis).
Wellington is on the up ‘n up except for the insensitive LCBO, who have moved their store from the town centre (and by a boating dock) to the outskirts of town. Sure it’s a ‘beautiful box store with parking’, but locals now have to drive. Did they not notice that the supermarket, hardware store, drug store, bank, post office, library, and three restaurants were all huddled downtown. This is a disgraceful move by LCBO, and I’m encouraging locals to boycott.
FARMSTANDS: The roads by the Waring House Hotel roundabout offers three of the finest. Honey Wagon (organic) to the south on Sandy Hook Road, Laundry Farms on #1 to the north, and Hagermans to the west on #33.
SANDBANKS BEACH: Everyone loves the Sandbanks but you may not know about a couple of new attractions close by the entrance. The former Mercantile Store is now an amazing grocery/deli/coffee shop called OUTBANKS. Stop by for a latte, baguette or a bottle of Black Prince wine. Of course you can also get daily summer essentials such as firewood, ice, worms and ATM. Across the road is Canada’s most glamorous mini-put. Beautiful landscaping to complement the woodland setting. Even the French-fry truck is spiffy. Cold beer too. A fun spot for sure.
THE COUNTY WINE MAP: Pick-up a copy at your first call. It’s excellent, and will help fill in the blanks in my sketchy travel instructions. Also lists other useful stuff. www.thecountywines.com
P.S. For more info about events, the Arts and Taste trail, visit www.tastecommunitygrown.com