In Prince Edward County, $1.3 million buys a lot of real of estate—an entire 19th-century inn, to be precise. That’s how much Jeff Stober, the founder of Queen West’s artsy Drake Hotel, recently spent on Wellington’s historic Devonshire Inn, which he will convert into a high-end restaurant and boutique hotel next spring. He’s the latest in a string of urbanites turning the County into a wine country destination to rival Niagara—only smaller, scruffier and hipper. Since 2001, newbie vintners, dreaming of grape-stained feet and sleepy-town life, have set up more than 30 boutique wineries in the County, producing some brilliant wines from the area’s limestone-laced soils. The food scene, too, has rapidly evolved past pick-your-own-berry patches into eclectic farm-to-table dining with a distinctly Toronto edge (wood-burning pizza ovens, charcuterie, fancy-pants cocktails). City escapees—those who can’t ditch their corporate jobs to raise goats—now hightail it to Wellington, Bloomfield and Picton for a weekend’s worth of edenic vineyard tours, tipsy tastings and produce yanked fresh from the dirt. Here, we pick the best (and newest) places to eat, drink and sleep off the hangover, County style.
Foodie secrets from chef Jamie Kennedy, the patron saint of Prince Edward County