A Warm Winter Welcome At The Wilfrid
It was 2014 when Nancy Pavan and Frank Ellefsen decided to drive nearly 400 km from their home in Montreal for a long weekend getaway in Prince Edward County. That fateful weekend would change the trajectory of their lives and careers in a profound way. As they explored along the winding country roads, a vision began to take over, one that saw them leaving behind their Montreal condo for a house with a view of the open fields they were passing.
To put it simply: they fell in love.
The County, as it is known locally, felt like a breath of fresh air for the creative couple. Nancy, an art director and designer, and Frank, a chef, immediately felt a kinship with the community of creatives and entrepreneurs that call this region home. “There’s a crazy energy here,” Nancy said. “We found that really refreshing.”
And so on their way home to Montreal, they started researching houses in the County — and less than a year later, they were moving into a beautiful 1850s farmhouse in Milford, a rural community located on the County’s south end. The farmhouse had been in the same family for generations and remained largely untouched. There was a small settler’s house (the original house on the property), a main farmhouse, a barn and 5 acres of beautiful countryside.
“We were the first real estate transaction on this property,” Nancy says. And the home couldn’t have landed in better hands. Not only did Frank and Nancy maintain the original character of the house while adding the necessary modern touches, the duo also infused it with so much light and personality.
“We wanted to preserve the historic nature of the house,” says Nancy, who designed the space in collaboration with Frank. They scoured the County for auctions and estate sales, buying up quality antiques that would soon populate the newly renovated rooms and bathrooms. They added modern touches and completely renovated the settler’s house to include plumbing and electricity. The settler’s house is now Nancy and Frank’s private residence, which connects seamlessly to the 3-bedroom bed & breakfast.
The Wilfrid Boutique Farmhouse officially opened in May 2016. It is an eclectic space filled with light, original art work and a quirky vibe. Walking through the bright red front door, you feel right at home — perfectly comfortable to relax in one of the many common spaces. The library, with its pretty fireplace, is an inviting space to lounge, read or have a cup of amazing coffee (the Wilfrid brews roasts from the great North Roast Coffee Roasters in Kingston). The dining room has a wood burning stove and a bay window. Every nook and cranny of the 175-year old farmhouse has an interesting story to tell, with well-curated objects and interesting design.
Dining at the Wilfrid
Frank is a classically trained chef and sommelier. He grew up in the Eastern Townships, a region of Quebec known for its incredible gastronomy and farm-to-table leanings, and spent a few years perfecting his craft in Alberta before moving to Montreal where he met Nancy.
Frank doesn’t like to create menus, but instead takes a more creative approach in the kitchen — something he calls “freelancing in the fridge.”
“I like to be spontaneous and create on the spot,” he says. That said, Frank draws his inspiration from the fresh ingredients coming from the County’s local farms and enjoys cooking with fresh fish whenever possible. “We are spoiled here in the County with amazing farmers,” he says.
A highlight of a stay at the Wilfrid is Frank’s legendary brunch — served to guests every morning — that includes locally sourced ingredients such as farm fresh eggs, cheeses and other homemade goodies. As the couple is fond of saying: it’s not breakfast, it is dinner at the wrong time of the day! Prepare to be blown away by the quality and flavour of these morning meals.
Guests who arrive at the Wilfrid will find an assortment of activities all year long. The summer is a busy season, with visitors coming for the County’s famous sandy beaches, wine tours and many Instagram-worthy vistas. But the winter is an underrated time to visit. Many of the places people love in the summer are equally beautiful in the winter. Sandbanks, for example, is a stunning spot for a winter walk. Wineries remain open and will be less crowded in the winter (there are two in walking distance of the Wilfrid). There is also an abundance of trails for snowshoeing or cross country skiing.
But perhaps the most enticing reason to visit the Wilfrid (all year long, but especially in the winter) is the amazing sauna experience offered right on the property. From the farmhouse, the sauna is a short walk away — just long enough to get a taste of the chilly winter air before being enveloped by the heat of the wood-fired sauna — and is completely private (delightfully surrounded by trees and fields). The Scandinavian spa experience consists of a changing cabin, a relaxation room, a cooling pool, a hot pool, an outdoor shower and the star attraction, a cedar barrel sauna. The pathways between the various amenities are connected by an illuminated wood pathway, making the whole experience feel like a relaxing retreat in the middle of your County getaway.
Ready for a cozy getaway to the County?
Landsby offers three packages for a private retreat at the Wilfrid. You will be the only guests at the beautiful property!
- The Wine & Winter Package includes a private 4-hour wine tour
- The Chef’s Wine & Dine Winter Package includes two 5-course meals cooked just for you by Frank
- The Nature’s Bounty Package features a guided nature walk and a kayak ride in a wildlife haven
Each package includes all the usual perks of staying at the Wilfrid: unlimited use of the sauna, the infamous gourmet breakfast served daily and use of the surrounding grounds, which include a forest pathway for stress relief and a beautiful barn for awesome picture-taking. The barn opens up over the fields and is an excellent spot from which to watch stunning country sunsets.
As private guests, you’ll also have your choice of bedrooms: the White Room, the Green Room and the Suite. Which will you choose?