When it comes to summer, I'm picky about how I spend my weekends. Go for a bike ride or browse an antique fair? Hit the Beaches Jazz Festival or ride the roller coasters at Canada's Wonderland? Summers are so short here in Toronto that every weekend matters!
So when we spent a week recently at Sandbanks Summer Village I wanted to tell you all about. If you're looking for a vacation that brings the best of lake + cottage + beach + country, this one can't be beat. Here's my review of Sandbanks Summer Village (SSV) and tips on what to do while you're in Prince Edward County:
SSV is a cottage condominium resort located in Prince Edward County, with cottages available for sale or rent. PEC itself is a growing culinary and artistic destination and SSV is a great base to access the area's wineries, food shops and artist studios. I feel like the area is on the verge of becoming the next hottest vacation destination for people living in Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal. It has an amazing beach, hip hotels, and the charm of the countryside. Plus, the drive east from Toronto is so much more pleasant than the drive north to cottage country :)
Many of the cottage owners at SSV have made their cottages available for rent through the season, April to October. It is a really popular resort and is almost 100% rented out during the summer months. There are three areas to rent in: the open field Meadows, the Woodlands, and Water's Edge (pretty blue cottages shown above). You can search for available rentals online and there's many different models to choose from. We stayed in the Woodlands in a Picton model because it had a loft (fun for Chloe!) and the largest porch.
The cottages are really very pretty. They're all new builds so everything is in great working condition. Our unit was bright, open and airy. The only issue was that the cottage owner had cordoned off the loft so we weren't able to access it. I wish we had known that before we rented the unit. Cottages will comfortably sleep six with two in the master, two or three on the bunk beds in the second bedroom, and two on the pullout sofa.
My favourite feature was the large 200 sq ft covered porch. I knew I was going to spend lots of time out here and brought my favourite summer throw from Indigo just so I could sit with a good book and lounge in an Adirondack chair. We started each day with breakfast outside and ended the night with coffee (or wine) on our (or the neighbour's) porch. Did I mention how friendly everyone was?
I was surprised to learn that SSV had an Activities Director who planned lots of events throughout the week. We enjoyed the drum circle and made new neighbour friends around the campfire. There were fireworks for Canada Day and a weekend brunch for all owners and renters. Chloe loved movie night at the pavilion - Big Hero 6 plus free popcorn! The rain kept us from getting out on the lake but we did manage to sneak in some time in the pool. The resort also has an adult-only pool and hot tub, gym, basketball and tennis courts, playground, and mini golf. I liked having the option to get water time at the lake, pool or nearby beach!
Many of the other resort dwellers were also families so Chloe made some fast friends. It amazes me how quickly kids make friends - basically, you smile at each other, share marshmallows, and you're besties for the rest of the week!
If you're just looking to get away, I think renting at Sandbanks Summer Village makes for a relaxing vacation. The resort is quiet and picturesque and the staff work hard to make your stay enjoyable.
But there is so much to explore in Prince Edward County - we've been here four times in the last six years and still find something new to do each time we come! Beyond the resort gates, here's a few of our County favourites:
1. Sandbanks Provincial Park. Enjoy quiet shallow waters at Dunes Beach or expansive views at Outlet Beach. We like to park near the middle of Outlet Beach near the restaurant - very handy for a 3pm ice cream run!
2. Antiquing. Worth a stop: MacCool's Re-Use, Hickory Tree, Funk & Gruven
3. Farm to Table eats. Get fresh produce and visit the farm animals at Hagerman Farms. Your choice of cheese (I like the Goat's Milk Cheddar) at Black River Cheese. Enjoy wood oven pizza and a glass of peach cider at County Cider Company.
4. Fancy Fare. Sandwiches in the garden at Saylor House Cafe and ice cream for dessert at Slickers are a summer Must-Do. And I've only seen their amazing patio, but we'll definitely be stopping for drinks at Drake Devonshire on our next visit to the County.