A Weekend in Prince Edward County (with a 6-year old)

22 May 2017 | 0 Comments

This Victoria Day weekend, I was really looking for a family getaway. It was Ian’s birthday, and I’ve been working too much lately, so I figured it would be fun to head out of town and spend some time together. Some friends had told me about Sandbanks Summer Village, a condo cottage resort in Prince Edward County. They said it was great for families, and there were 2-bedroom cottages available for rent. Done and done.

On the way into the County, we stopped at my friends Lori and Lorraine’s farm, Thyme Again Gardens. They have a cute roadside stand where they sell fresh meat, produce, spices and more from their farm. Clara, now 6 years old and a total city kid, was beyond excited to get a farm tour from Lorraine. She met the pigs and got to pick fresh eggs right out of the henhouse.

We had lunch at County Road Beer Company, which is nextdoor to Hinterland Wines. I had a wine slushy (it was as good as it sounds) and Clara had the non-alcoholic version while devouring an entire cheese plate. She is my child after all. We picked up beer and sparkling wine from the bottle shops, and also hit up Rosehall Run to get more wine on the way to Sandbanks Summer Village.

When we checked into our cottage, Clara just about lost it when she realized that her room had a bunk bed (top bunk! yes!) and the pool was open. Ian braved the chill (it’s a heated pool, but it was still only 18 degrees outside) and took her for a swim while I read trashy magazines pool-side.

Sunday was cloudy so we played a few outdoor games at the resort before the rain came in. Then it was indoor games (Clara kicked my butt at Battleship) and a trip to Picton to check out the antique fair. I bought Clara a locket, since she’s kind of obsessed with them, and she picked a skeleton key so she could be “just like Mary in The Secret Garden.”

We drove over to the bottle shop at Barley Days Brewery, and then went to the small town of Bloomfield for ice cream at Slickers. Everything is close in the County, so it’s easy to bop from town to town.

A few places were open on Victoria Day Monday, but not everything, so those that were open were busy. We had breakfast at Enid Grace Cafe in Wellington which was fantastic, but it was so rammed with people it was hard to enjoy.  A good reason to go back sometime when it’s not so crowded.

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If you’re thinking of going to Sandbanks Summer Village, here are a few tips. The cottages are all individually owned, so while they’re the same from the outside, they’re really different on the inside (depending on which model the cottage is, how many upgrades the owners chose, and how they are furnished). The one we rented was… shall we say… spartan. There was one couch and one chair, a basic dining table, a double bed in one room and the bunk bed in the other room. The patio furniture was basic and the BBQ didn’t work until Ian fixed it himself. I got the feeling that this unit was purchased purely to be a rental. It was totally fine and we were happy enough, but if we were to go again I would rent from an actual owner (there are lots on Airbnb and VRBO). Our rental was through Expedia.

Speaking of rentals, read the fine print before you book. We paid what I considered a fair enough price for a 2-bedroom cottage on the long weekend, but it wasn’t super cheap. Then after booking I received an email from the resort saying there would be an additional $80 cleaning fee. I went back to Expedia and read the fine print, and yes it did say that there would be an additional cleaning fee charged. $80 seemed ridiculously steep though, considering the cottage was 600 square feet. I assumed cleaning would be included in the initial price.

The cottages are in three main areas – the “meadows”, the “woodlands” and “lakeside”. They go up in price based on location. We were in the meadows, where the cottages are close together and there are no mature trees. The weekend we were there was quiet so it wasn’t an issue, but it doesn’t really seem like a traditional cottage when you’re looking at the plastic siding of the neighbouring unit. If you’d like a more picturesque view, book a woodland or lakeside cottage.

All of that being said, the cottages are brand new and the facilities are great. There are canoes and kayaks for anyone to use at the lake, and tennis, basketball, shuffleboard, ping pong, and a putting green by the heated family swimming pool. There’s a large playground with swings, and a game room with boardgames and puzzles to take out. During the summer months there are kids’ activities every day. Everyone we saw was very friendly and there were many families with young children. If you were looking for a place to take your kids (or even go with your extended family or a few friends and their kids) it would be perfect.

 

 

 

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