As an avid Montrealer and a beach bumming enthusiast, I’ve always said that the only thing missing from Montreal is an ocean front. While not steps away from home but still relatively close, I’ve found my solution. Nestled between Lake Ontario and exit 566 off the 401, you will find Prince Edward County, home to Sandbanks Provincial Park and a plethora of wineries.
My family and I just spent a week there with my sister-in-law, her husband and two kids and we were all pleasantly surprised with what the County had to offer. For starters, Lake Ontario looks and smells nothing like what I had imagined, no fishy odour and green slimy texture but rather turquoise, yes turquoise, water rising against white sand. I hadn’t planned on taking a vacation this summer, quite frankly, my LO’s temperament had been getting the best of me and the idea of stepping outside of our routine made me nervous. That said, I put my worries aside and opted for an easy trip close to home. It was my first time spending a week in Prince Edward County and while the weather wasn’t optimal, we were still able to make the most of it.
Our first day there, we made our way to Sandbanks beach where I was completely dumbstruck by the water. We spent the entire afternoon there and while Arya didn’t nap, she was thoroughly amused by her surroundings. Clear water, flocks of seagulls and an endless supply of sand are the perfect recipe for keeping an overactive baby happy. Needless to say, 30 seconds after pulling out of the parking lot she passed out and slept for an hour in the car.
Day two was a cloudy one so we made our way to Huff Estates in Bloomfield for lunch and wine tastings. The food was OK but the wine was fantastic and the terrace allowed the kids to roam free while the adults finished up a bottle of Pinot Grigio alongside a plate of cheese and charcuterie.
The morning of day three allowed us to take full advantage of the house we rented which was fully equipped with a pool, hot tub, basketball net and ping-pong table while the afternoon took us to the local pier where we engaged in some amateur fishing. Day four was a visit to Dunes beach at which Arya took another impromptu two-hour nap and I relished the moment in the sun. On day five we brought the kids to a petting zoo at Waupoos Winery. The wine wasn’t great but the cider was pretty noteworthy and the kids really enjoyed visiting the farm animals as well as exploring the candy store on site.
It’s not always logistically or financially possible to whisk the entire family away to Rome or Bali for a month so I strongly encourage fellow Montrealers looking for an easy trip close to home to explore this rural community. I will, without a doubt, be returning to Prince Edward County on an annual basis.