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Cruising in Prince Edward County

Last month I introduced Niagara on the Lake, a one-stop gem of a destination. This month I thought I’d throttle up and introduce a location that will keep you cruising.  With its sandy beaches, beautiful scenery, wineries and restaurants, you will want to take the time to explore the Bay of Quinte. From Presqu’ile Bay to the eastern end of Adolphus Reach you have more than 80kms of protected inland waterway to savour.

The Bay of Quinte is a cruising dream just an hour and a half east of Toronto. With its many marinas, islands and canals with swing bridges, you won’t be disappointed as you hone your navigation skills and will be planning your next trip before you’re heading home. To get started, I will encourage Captain Greg to create a destination route that will make a great getaway but I’m sure you’ll be quick to create your own agenda soon enough.

As you cruise east past Cobourg on the edge of Presqu’ile Provincial Park in Brighton, you won’t miss the 69-foot Presqu’le Point Lighthouse. Built in 1840 its the second oldest lighthouse along the shores of Lake Ontario andhasn’t changed much in over a hundred years. The Provincial Park it sits on is a massive weave of trails and a haven for sun worshipers with its 3 km of sandy beach. Brighton has a rich history with massive century homes, many built from the wealth of the Canadian rum runners during the roaring twenties prohibition.

Presqu’ile Bay marks the western entrance to the Bay of Quinte and will lead you through the 8 km Murray Canal to get there. As a part of the Trent-Severn Waterway it operates from mid-May – mid-Oct but lockage hours may vary so please check ahead. Constructed in 1889 the Murray canal will lead you through two bridges; the Brighton Road Swing Bridge and Carrying Place Swing Bridge. A toll of $5 is required after you pass through the Brighton Road Bridge so pass close to the south side and have your money ready to place in the cup on the end of a pole extended by one of the attendants.

Once you pass through the Murray Canal you’ll find yourself at the mouth of the Trent Severn waterway, the 386 km canal route that I will feature another time. If you want to stop here, the newly built Trent Port Marina has all the essentials and is just a stone’s throw from everything you will need; shopping, restaurants and if you do make the stop, don’t miss the Kawartha Dairy ice cream canteen.

A little further east you’ll happen across the town of Bellville, another great little destination with the downtown core a 10-minute walk from the marinas and yacht club. Restaurants abound, I’m told the locals boast The Boathouse Seafood Restaurant has the best fish and chips in the area.

If you prefer a more quiet and relaxing time, just east of Belleville you will find yourself surrounded by small islands and quiet bays adequate for anchoring overnight. There are smaller marinas with fewer amenities but if a quiet relaxing time is what you’re looking for this really is a beautiful place to be.

Another 40 km east of Belleville at the “elbow” of Adolphus reach and Long reach you’ll find yourself at Picton Bay. The town of Picton is a part of Prince Edward County and surrounds the bay. It’s known for its beautiful B&B’s and its gorgeous views. Picton is a fabulous place to spend time, explore antique stores, boutique shops, and fabulous restaurants. Barley Days brewery offers tours if you’re a fan of local brews.

On the south shore of Prince Edward County you’ll find Waupoos, home of the Waupoos Estate Winery. It is definitely a destination to highlight, the winery is just 1.6 km from the Waupoos marina, a beautiful walk or a quick taxi ride. If you’ve hired a captain for the day, the winery has its own dinghy dock and a waterside drop-off can easily be arranged. If you”d like to enjoy an evening of quiet luxury you can arrange to stay the night at the “Farmhouse” onsite and enjoy breathtaking views of Prince Edward Bay as the sun sets and enjoy dinner at their highly acclaimed farm-to-table restaurant. I can’t think of a better way to spend a quiet evening.

I could keep writing about this fabulous destination because the options are endless, 80km of beauty. I look forward to hearing about your experiences and any tips you’d like to share. Like everything else in 2021, it will be a very unpredictable season and my advice is to plan well. If you’re planning an overnight or even a day trip to a specific destination, call ahead to the marinas and ask what their requirements for transient boaters are, also inquire about Covid restrictions in the area you are visiting. If you have any questions or need a little help in your planning, please reach out to us.

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