We made it! Let’s hope that 2020-21 goes down in history as the most difficult school year in the history of school years. Time to pack the essentials – masks, sanitizer, and patience – and safely celebrate! As always, make sure to choose activities based on your kids’ abilities to adhere to public health protocols, including keeping their distance from others. No easy task, as parents have always known, but this pandemic has painfully confirmed!
In other happy summer 2021 news – many day camps are running! Here’s our guide.
Wishing you a summer filled with much-deserved fun-in-the sun and family memory-making in Prince Edward County.
Photo: Sunflower field at Sunnydale Farms in Waupoos.
Pick-your-own (PYO) Produce
Campbell’s Orchards in Carrying Place is currently offering PYO strawberries, raspberries, and cherries. On the docket for later this year -tomatoes in August or September and, the star of the show – apples in the fall. Say hello to the resident animals, hit the playground, reward yourselves with apple fritters and other treats!
Laundry Farms just outside of Picton is wrapping up their PYO strawberry season, and raspberries are next.
The Blueberry Patch in Waupoos will be offering PYO blueberries (mid-July to Labour Day) and also has a farm stand with a variety of ready-picked fruit.
Waupoos U-Pick Blueberries (formerly Little Highbush Blueberries) offers PYO “pesticide-limited” blueberries beginning mid-July – Thursday-Sunday 8-4.
Laura’s Blueberry Farm, located close to Sandbanks’ Dunes Beach area, is offering free picking again for the 2021 season – they ask that you pick one container for them for every one you take home. Pesticide-free!
Farm stands abound in the County, and visiting them can be a fun way to teach kids about where their food comes from and celebrate the changing seasons. Many also offer sure-fire kiddie crowd pleasers – the Farmhouse Eats cafe at Hagerman Farms comes to mind – soft serve, milk shakes, curds, YUM.
The Curious Goat General Store is offering a family-friendly 2.5-hour group Bees and Blooms Adventure. Tickets are $65/person aged 16+, $30/child aged 6-14, and free for 0-5. Tour the garden and apiary with Beekeeper Elis, learn about the amazing world of bees, make your own balm, and enjoy a locally made snack. Or peruse the farm stand while your little ones busy themselves with a bee-themed colouring page or crossword.
The interactive petting zoo at Waupoos Estates Winery & Restaurant is currently closed, but you are welcome to walk up to the outdoor pens and say hello to some furry friends. Please read and respect all of the posted rules. It would be unwise to leave without sampling from the winery’s extensive array of chocolate, candy, and gelato treats across the street!
The fields at Prince Edward County Lavender are in full bloom, and make for a fun July outing ($8/person, kids 12 and under are free). You can learn all of the names of different lavender varieties (they are not all lavender-coloured!), and there is lots of room to run around. Masks are not required in the fields, but are in the store, which carries lavender-flavoured treats, including gelato, shortbread, and chocolate bars.
Sunnydale Farms and Sunflower Fields Ice Cream Shoppe will be offering access to their sunflower fields for a small fee during their brief but beautiful mid-summer bloom period – check their social channels for updates. 2021 update – both fields closed for the season in early August.
Noble Beast Farms is offering two up close and cuddly experiences with their herd of friendly alpacas. The Alpaca No Zoom Zoom! tour is 2.5-3 hrs; $169/person aged 16+, $89/child aged 6-15 years. The Bloomin’ Welly Little Trekk is 1 hr; $79/person aged 16+, $49/child aged 6-15 years.
Stroll the stalls and sample the treats at the Wellington Farmers’ Market (Saturdays 9-1) and the Picton Town Hall Farmers’ Market (Sundays 10-2). Bonus – both are playground adjacent – Wellington Park and Benson Park, respectively.
Splish splash and dash
Hit the beach, but if you’re heading to Sandbanks (Outlet, Dunes, or Lakeshore Beach) or North Beach Provincial Parks, be sure to make a day use reservation first! You can reserve 5 days in advance, and print out and place the confirmation on your dash to skip the check-in line. This year, Wellington Beach has a $10 per group entry fee on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, but residents can obtain a pass that allows free entry. More details can be found on the municipality’s Summer Hub site.
Enjoy art “en plein air” at the Oeno Gallery Sculpture Garden! A new exhibition is installed each May, and the garden is open every day from 9-5. No entry fee and no appointment required.
Putts and flicks
The County’s mini golf destination, Caddy Shack, is open for business – $13/adult, $9/youth (7-15), and kids 6 and under are free with an adult or $5 each. Hit the patio from 12-8 for wood-fired pizzas.
The Mustang Drive-In shows double features every Wednesday – Sunday; show-time is just after sunset. Entry is $30 per car load of up to 5 people. Check out the lineup here, and make sure to read through the Rules/FAQ section – they are asking visitors to remain in their vehicles during the films and to refrain from bringing their own food – have no fear, poutine and popcorn are on the snack bar menu. Pro-tip – BYO mosquito covering for your windows! Also – if your kids are a bit older and/or don’t require corralling, meander the Mustang’s new Trunk Shows. Every Sunday from 10-4 check out over 50 vendors (selling oddities, collectibles, vintage items, crafts & more) and live music by local musicians.
Beat the heat
Here’s a good rundown from the Visitpec.ca blog on where to indulge in ice cream and gelato around the County.
The PEC Public library’s summer clubs for kids are now taking registrations! The groups will meet once a week using Zoom OR in-person outside at the Ameliasburgh Branch Library. Creators (arts-focused) meet on Tuesday afternoons. Outdoor Adventurers – OK, this one might not involve beating the heat! (camping-focused) meet at 10:30 (ages 5-9) or noon (10+). Sorcerors meet on Thursday afternoons. All branches are now open!
The team at Escape Camp Picton recently launched a new team-based outdoor escape adventure! $150 for up to 5 players; each additional player to a max of 12 people is $20.
In addition to ongoing programming including a weekly walking tour, three County Museums – Ameliasburgh Heritage Village (Thursdays, 10-4), Macaulay Heritage Park (Fridays, 10-4), and Wellington Heritage Museum (Weekends, 10-4) – are planning to reopen the last week of July. Check their website for updates.
The Big Lake Arts Festival in August includes lots of kid-friendly events, like the “Hoops and Loops” Kids Workshop and Concert ($10) at the Wellington Heritage Museum and Fiddlers on the Barn ($10/kid, $25/adult) at SHED Chetwyn Farm.
County Colours is a downloadable colouring book featuring contributions from 11 talented and generous local artists. This project was a collaboration between PEC Parents and LIFE AU LAIT magazine and launched in the early months of the pandemic. We have had tonnes of fun colouring these wonderful County-inspired scenes, and we hope you will too!