Gourmet Travel - Prince Edward County Ontario Wine Tours - Devonshire Inn, Wellington

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Prince Edward County Ontario Wineries in Canada - Southern Ontario Gourmet Travel
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Prince Edward County Ontario Wine Tours - Devonshire Inn, Wellington

The County - Southern Ontario Wine and Food Culture Comes of Age

by Wade Rowland - Part 3

Our weekend Prince Edward County excursion took us to three new wineries, with a stopover at one of the county's cosiest small hotels, in the pretty lakeside village of Wellington. Located south of southern Ontario's Highway 401, Wellington and the County are a perfect getaway stop for travellers enroute from Toronto or Montreal, and the Sandbanks Provincial Park is a scenic 20 minute drive further south.

Devonshire Inn in Prince Edward County Ontario Canada
Devonshire Inn library, Wellington, Ontario
Photo © Christine Collie
First, the hotel. The Devonshire Inn on the Lake is, as you'd expect, on lake-front property. In summer the restaurant opens up onto a broad terrace just a few feet from the Lake Ontario and a small rippling creek that flows through the two acre property.

The building itself has an eccentric history: it began life in the 1870's as the Wellington Foundry, but was later converted into a private residence embellished inside and out in the Victorian style. Later still, it became a tourist lodge, and the a nursing home.

The Devonshire Inn's current owners, Kathy Kennedy and David Littman, escaped their respective high-pressure Toronto careers about a decade ago and began a sensitive restoration of the building, which is now virtually complete. There are several well-appointed guest lounge areas and three cozy fireplaces. Our favorite feature was the library, with its comfortable wing chairs and sofa, the bookcases stuffed with an eclectic collection of volumes on everything from feminism to English literature to archery and wine-growing. We spend a pleasant hour browsing.

Given the size of the establishment, we were not expecting miracles from the kitchen, but we were very pleasantly surprised by our dinner at a table overlooking the leaf-strewn terrace and the autumn-gray lake. The menu is predictable but the produce is fresh and locally-sourced and meals are exceptionally well-prepared and presented. This is what visitors to, say, France or Italy learn to expect of such small hostelries, but until very recently this level of quality was virtually unknown in Ontario outside the larger towns and cities.

Now the County itself boasts half a dozen restaurants that are, as the Michelin Guides say, "worth a trip". This is one of them.

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