Picton and its bounty

It is rare that one is happy to wake-up to an over-cast day; however, after the scorcher yesterday, we were quite happy to have the sun behind a thick blanket of clouds.  A delicious breakfast at the Claramount Inn, a couple of hours to read and relax, then on to the spa.  Does life get better?
It does if you choose to venture forth along Hwy 33 from Picton through to Bloomfield and then Wellington.  A gorgeous, pastoral scene along the highway to my right highlighted the crops, hay and wheat looking good, beans and corn having a tough year.  On my left, were constant views of the Lake.  You will see frequent signs that announce Prince Edward County as Proudly Loyalist…even a couple of Union Jacks!  It is not hard to envision the time when this area was settled.  The majority of the homes along the way date back to the first settlers.  It is obvious that the area was bustling and prosperous from the outset.  You will also notice the modest, colonial cottages, that have been for the most part maintained.  Finally, there are new homes completing the architectural impression.  One thing is for sure, whether big or small, pride of ownership is evident.  Homes and business alike are tasteful and carry a traditional British vibe.
We cruised along the highway for a pre-determined lunch at a waterside inn.  Again, with the sun in hiding, and a steady breeze off the lake, we found lunch to be just as soothing as the morning spa.
Off to check out wine country, Prince Edward County style!  Admittedly, Pat and I were dubious 10 years ago when we heard about the growing wine industry, but have heard so many wonderful stories of vacationing here, strolling the towns and visiting the wineries, that we wanted to check it out for ourselves.
Whether you are a lover of the grape or not, does not matter.  You can just enjoy a day following the wine route guide which will allow you to freely meander through the quiet countryside just as if in horse and buggy 100 years ago….that is to say, once you find yourself off of the 2 lane highway, you are then usually on roads that seem to prefer one car…I felt like we were in rural France.  Then came the wineries and fields of lavender!  So pretty.
One stop that made a big impression was Clossen Chase.  After a casual drive for 7 km, down a scenic road(o’k everything is scenic here!)…we found ourselves at a renovated barn that houses a gallery, reception hall and tasting centre.  We were welcomed by shrubs of lavender and full gardens.  In we went to find some stunning wines….Even though we loved the chardonnays, and bought a couple of pinot noirs…we were disappointed that the reds were served so warm.  The staff was apologetic, obviously not her fault, but considering the fact that Clossen Chase positions itself as a premier winery, it seemed incongruous.  Never-the-less, we greatly enjoyed the tasting and the opportunity to be in a well designed barn renovation that in spirit supports the activities of the vineyards.
Down the road we went to a lavender farm.  A girlfriend of mine recommended this to us, and since her lavender garden is stellar, I thought that we would pop in; plus the gentle fragrance was wafting through the car as we drove along, even before we got there…seemingly sending out the personal invitation.  What a great addition to our day.  The farm grows many varieties of lavender, each with their own characteristic colour, stems, size, and bloom.  I enjoyed a brief lesson on the options and selected 10 plants to bring back to my own garden.  I have been buying fewer annuals because of expense and also the plastic containers that may not get recycled.  I have been gradually making my gardens and planters perennial and appropriate for our growing conditions.  Lavender is perfect for many locations.  It can be hedge-like, or bushy, compact or sizeable.  It is showy and useful and it requires little water or care, except for trim in the fall.  I especially enjoyed hearing , then seeing the busy bees working in the fields.  Our bee population is dramatically decreasing, and planting bee and butterfly friendly options not only makes me feel like I have done good, but more importantly, I have done good for continuing to expand the options for our super pollinators.  If our bees die, and our crops and trees don’t get pollinated…..guess what happens???….It’s not good.
I leave you for another day.   As always, support your local businesses, check out native growings; viniferous or otherwise, and participate at a grass-roots level in making good decisions for you, and your environment.
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