There’s nothing better than waking up at leisure, and strolling down to breakfast without having to leave the building.
Our second day exploring Prince Edward County started in the perfect way – with lemon blueberry waffles shaped like farm stuff!! My waffle was shaped like a barn, while J had a rooster and a cow. They were so adorable I almost didn’t want to eat them. It’s probably a good thing I ended up with the barn.
Considering my lack of adorable photos of Merrill Inn, these waffles will have to illustrate this part of my story. It’s pretty fitting, actually, because Merill Inn was perfectly adorable but with the comfort of the bigger hotels. It was really the perfect place to stay for us, and it was right in the heart of Picton, which itself was the centre point of everything we wanted to see in Prince Edward County. Our package even included a bagged picnic lunch, which we brought on the road with us.
Once we got rolling, we started headed right to Copper Kettle Chocolate Company. We had our first taste of things to come the night before, when we practically inhaled the goat cheese truffles that I bought at Fifth Town. To back it up a little, this is just one example of the county working together – the goat cheese was made by Fifth Town and the chocolate was done by Copper Kettle. Both companies carry and advertise the product, and both companies get business. Symbiosis!
Of course, we got more of them, along with a number of other fun truffles. They also had some chocolate ‘shots’ full of different wines and things, so we got a couple ice wine shots and a couple of Pinot Noir.
Down the Loyalist Parkway we went, to another bunch of wineries and fun.
At Huff Estates, we bought a really interesting unoaked Merlot, which was pretty novel for me. Next, we ended up at Sugarbush Vineyards, which is a self-proclaimed ‘garagiste‘ winery. There, aside from buying some wine, we enjoyed a chat with the owner about the area’s history.
Sugarbush Vineyards ‘Not Red’ wine — oddly, we didn’t buy this particular wine. I just thought the name was funny.
Another part of our package at Merrill Inn was a complimentary wine tasting at Closson Chase, a winery that focuses on producing Chardonnay. We aren’t big white wine drinkers, and to be totally honest, the price points were a little higher than we were looking for here. Nonetheless, we took the opportunity to try some wines we wouldn’t have thought to try.
The Closson Chase tasting room was inside a large and lovely barn, with stained glass, local art and lots of ambiance.
Similarly, The Grange of Prince Edward is also situated in an incredible barn, overlooking a fantastic lot where it seems people book picnics in the summer. Yeah, I think we’ll be going back to do that sometime. We politely asked if we could enjoy our packed lunches in their tasting room, overlooking the farm, since it was too windy and cold to eat outside.
We hit a few more wineries before we called it a day, including Lacey, Casa Dea and Sandbanks. By this time, I was slowing down and started playing this game where I was only allowed to pick one wine to try, and only try another if I wasn’t convinced by the first one. This was a change from the start of the day, where we tried 3-4 different wines at each location.
At Sandbanks, for example, I saw that they had a Foch Reserve and chose to try that because we hadn’t seen Marechal Foch at the other wineries we had been to, and I like to have a variety. We got to try pairing it with both cheese and chocolate and in the end, ended up buying a bottle. The prices there were very reasonable, too, so I think we’ll go back again.
I just couldn’t do any more that day – so we stopped at Tall Poppy Café in Wellington for some “Not Wine”.
There was but one last stop before ‘home’ – Barley Days Brewery. After a day of wine sipping, it was nice to switch to beer. We had already tried two of their beers at dinner the night before – Harvest Gold Pale Ale and Loyalist Lager – and I was excited to try their holiday Yuletide Cherry Porter. The Cherry Porter tasted like Black Forest Cake – all chocolate and cherries. I just wasn’t sure I could drink 6 of them, so we got a pack with the Harvest Gold, Loyalist and Wind & Sail Dark Ale. But I couldn’t stop thinking about that Cherry Porter…
From there, we headed back to the hotel for a nap before dinner. I was really looking forward to this dinner, conveniently at the restaurant at the Merrill Inn, having read many glowing reviews of the food there. They didn’t disappoint – but I did, with my photo taking.
My sad photo of the gnocchi appetizer looks oddly pink. Boo! It tasted like clouds of lemony heaven.
The meal was as incredible as I had hoped. I started with a soft lemony gnocchi appetizer that melted in my mouth. The main course was a rack of lamb – a new adventure for me – with tabbouleh. For dessert, I had “Baked Alaska” for the first time. Unlike my usual choice of “something dark chocolatey”, I enjoyed the mix of meringue and gelato and cake. Yummy!