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15 March 2023

A Little Bit County, A Little Bit Rock’n’Roll

On a recent trip to Prince Edward County — a delightful and insanely popular island oasis in Lake Ontario — I was pleasantly surprised to find it peaceful and quiet.

Wide, snow-covered vistas and a relative lack of cars made the drive towards the Drake Devonshire, where I had the pleasure of staying, an absolute delight.

It brought home a lesson I have learned over and over again in the decades I have been involved in the Canadian tourism industry: if you want an intimate experience at a tourism hot spot, go in the low season.

People often ask me for travel hacks, tricks of the trade and inside tracks for creating truly memorable experiences. And really the best one I have is to get to know when your favourite destination is busy and when it is a little quieter. In the industry, we call these high and low seasons. 

Low season travel gets you a front row seat to your favourite experience, with significantly fewer fellow travellers.

If you’ve only been to the County — or “PEC” as it is so fondly referred to — in the busyness of the summer, you’ll be surprised to find a sleep, calm and remarkably peaceful place come winter. 

The County is a cluster of small hamlets and villages with roots deep in farming and agriculture, trade through waterways and unique natural features surrounded by 800 km of shoreline. Travellers come here to fall in love with food, drink, nature, art, community and, of course, the famous beaches. PEC has been welcoming visitors to its sandy beaches for almost 200 years.

Today The County is home to artists, entrepreneurs, farmers, winemakers, brewmasters, distillers, and chefs, and all sorts of creative and passionate folks. They have a reputation for capturing hearts and imaginations with memorable experiences, notable history, and significant natural landscapes. Be warned, you may find yourself visiting for the weekend but considering staying for a lifetime.

I had a booking to stay at the Drake Devonshire. This Toronto outpost in The County somehow manages to blend the historic charm of a lakeside country inn with the artistic cool factor of the urban Drake experience. It is a boutique 13-room hotel that combines a rural and urban vibe in somewhat of a throwback style that can only be described as a little bit county and a little bit rock ‘n’ roll. 

The restaurant is surrounded by large, bright windows that guarantees a picturesque view, revealing beautiful Lake Ontario and serene streams. The menu features all the bounty of the local area. In the County, agriculture is everywhere. The Drake menu takes full advantage of its culinary surroundings. 

The hotel also features a couple of dynamic event spaces and a games room that is a tribute to an analogue era of play. Somehow both spaces appeal to the family getaway and the corporate event crowd. Being there on a Tuesday evening meant experiencing Memphis Tuesday, an open mic night that draws in a jovial local crowd and entertains guests. 

This hotel experience is truly unique. If you have a chance to stay there, I would highly recommend it. If its style and energy doesn’t win you over, you can be sure its caring and attentive staff will. 

For everything you need to know about experiencing Prince Edward County, check out Visit The County –

Travel Well,