Celebrate spring and Canadian culture at the Maple in the County Festival!

Even though this winter has been mild, it doesn’t stop me from longing for spring. With March just around the corner, I’m marking my calendar with opportunities to finally get out of the house and start exploring again.

One way I annually celebrate the arrival of spring is to head to one of my favorite Ontario destinations – Prince Edward County – for the Maple in the County festival. This quaint, regional festival is a perfect way to get outside, take in some classic Canadian culture, and celebrate the first harvest of the year: maple syrup!

This year, the festival runs from Saturday, March 31st until Sunday, April 1st – with countless affordable and luxurious accommodation packages available I would recommend staying for the weekend. Though spring isn’t normally the most sought after time to visit Prince Edward County, the beauty of this island shines through in any season – there’s something magical about seeing the first inklings of life come back into this place. Start your day off with a fantastic pancake breakfast laden with warm, locally produced maple syrup at one of four sugar shacks. The festival is sponsored by the Prince Edward County Maple Syrup Producers, and there are eight of them to visit, each offering something unique. From antique tractor exhibits, on-site museums, sugar shack tours, lumberjack shows and hiking trails through the sugar bush, there’s something for everyone.

Once your appetite is satisfied, get exploring! Follow the renowned Arts Trail, a self-guided route that leads you to the County’s best studios & galleries, to experience Maple in the County themed, artist-run events. Make sure to visit the annual Farm & Artisan Market located above Picton’s favorite bookstore and café – Books & Company – to pick up a regionally inspired memento of your weekend. Retail sales will be abundant throughout the County, take advantage by visiting the unique, boutique shops throughout the three main hubs of the County: Picton, Bloomfield and Wellington.

If you want to understand why Prince Edward County was recently named the ‘Gastronomic Capital of Ontario’ by the Globe and Mail, this weekend will give you ample opportunity. Maple in the County coincides with ‘The County’s’ twice-annual, prix-fixe fine dining festival: Countylicious. For just $30-35 you can experience menus full of locally grown ingredients at many participating restaurants County-wide. Taste your way around the Taste Trail (sister to the arts trail), and be led to countless artisanal food producers like award winning Fifth Town Artisan cheese factory, cafes, wineries, cideries, breweries and restaurants. If wine is your passion, take a tour through the stunning wine-region of the County and take part in special events all weekend long.

Though it may be difficult to motivate yourself to make a trip before the warm weather is truly upon us, visit once, and you won’t be disappointed. Besides, nothing will warm you up faster than a visit to a stunning island and friendly community celebrating a longstanding Canadian tradition. Get sap happy!

For full festival information visit www.mapleinthecounty.ca or call 1-866-845-6644.