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World of Weekends: Exploring Prince Edward County with Kristina, Javier and Luka

Jul 05, 2017

RAV4 World of Weekends Prince Edward County Wing Mirror
In World of Weekends, couples from across Canada take the RAV4 out to play. In Part Five, Kristina & Javier make the drive to Prince Edward County.

My husband Javier and I are both professional photographers, but since the birth of our daughter Luka a year and a half ago, we’ve also taken on the wonderful role of full time parents.

Everyday with Luka is full of surprises, and we’re excited to take her on a weekend adventure to the Sandbanks Provincial Park. Located just a few hours outside of Toronto, the park is home to three large beaches and otherworldly dune formations. There’s really nothing else quite like it in the region.

Javier and I are both expatriates, so there’s always some exploring for us to do in Ontario. We moved to Toronto over ten years ago, but I’m originally from Lithuania, and Javier was born in Colombia, so together, we’ve covered a lot of ground.

RAV4 World of Weekends Javier Luka Throwing Stone

Both of our cultures are important to us and we would like for Luka to be a part of that as much as possible, including the language, history, music and food. That said, it’s also super important for us to show her around the country we now call home.

We travel as much as we can, but we’ve definitely had to adapt to having our little one come along for the ride. As new parents, we can really appreciate the RAV4’s Toyota Safety Sense; it helps give us peace of mind on road trips like this one.

Traffic isn’t too bad when we head out on Friday afternoon, so we arrive in Prince Edward County in time for dinner. Wellington, where we’re spending the night, is a small town on the shore of Lake Ontario, right by Sandbanks Provincial Park.

"It’s by far one of the coolest natural sights I’ve witnessed in Canada

It’s one of the oldest towns in the region, with less than 2,000 people, beautiful examples of traditional Canadian architecture and a lauded food scene. After considering our dinner options, we settle on Pomodoro, an Italian restaurant known for their unique take on traditional dishes incorporating local ingredients.

As we pull up, signs by the door inform us that our trip falls smack-dab in the middle of the Countylicious Festival, a celebration of local gastronomy that offers original tasting menus. The highlight is definitely dessert, a decadent chocolate mousse with nuts that’s topped with a fried basil leaf - it’s delicious, like nothing I’ve ever had before.

RAV4 World of Weekends Black RAV4 Driving Through Field

Saturday, we awake to a grey and cloudy morning, casting Prince Edward County in a mysterious haze. Before heading out for a day of exploring, we treat ourselves to a hearty brunch at the Drake Devonshire, a boutique hotel in Wellington that’s an offshoot of the Drake Hotel in Toronto’s West End. It’s stunningly outfitted with a retro-chic vibe and the dining room has gorgeous views of Lake Ontario, which seems to go on as far and wide as the ocean.

The fact that the Drake has sprung up here just goes to show how popular a destination the area has become for food and wine lovers. Luka had the pancakes and we had incredible eggs benedict with country ham.

Eating breakfast with such an incredible view of the lake gets us excited to finally make it to Sandbanks Provincial Park. It’s by far one of the coolest natural sights I’ve witnessed in Canada, complete with sandy beaches that you’d never imagine finding in Southern Ontario.

Kristina Luka Sandbanks Provincial Park

We get Luka out of her car seat to go on a long walk, and she has all the fun in the world trying to climb the small sand dunes. For now, Javier and I help her make it to the top, cheering her on and carrying her through the uneven terrain. We try as much as possible to encourage her to become independent, but we can’t help giving her an extra push sometimes. After all, this isn’t the easiest ground to navigate, and even I come close to falling down a couple times.

Despite breaking into a swear with all the climbing, it gets cold pretty quickly and we head back to the car for some respite. With the heated seats we warm up quickly and are ready to explore some more. We take our time, even doing a bit of offroading and end up driving on every type of road from asphalt to unpaved stretches - luckily the RAV4 is equipped for it all

As photographers (and new parents), we never pass up an opportunity to take some photos, especially in such a unique setting. While we’re getting a couple shots by the lake, Luka collects rocks, her own souvenirs for this weekend. I make sure to bring them back with us to display at home on our mantel.

Contrary to what the forecast predicted, Sunday turns out to be a warm, beautiful day. We want to make sure to pack in as many sights and activities on our last day, starting with a tour of Waupoos Winery, one of many wine and cider producers in the region.

RAV4 World of Weekends Luka in Front of Barn Door

Our guide brings us to the cellar, where we learn more about the production process specific to Ontario’s climate, and a quick tasting of the winery’s offerings in their boutique. The wine is great, but we choose to head across the street to where our true interest lies: fresh hard cider. We make sure to grab a few packs to bring home, yet another souvenir of our weekend by the lake.

After stocking the car with our bounty, we drive into the Macaulay Conservation Area, which covers about 400 acres with hiking trails for all levels of experience. We stick to Whattam’s Memorial Walkway, a flat wide path in the woods where Javier and Luka do some heavy-duty exploring.

Once we’ve completed the trail, we decide it’s time to hit the one back home. Luka is sound asleep the whole way, in the backseat looking peaceful as ever. I wonder where we should take her next, maybe farther north? Javier always talks about Algonquin Provincial Park, another Ontario spot with a beautiful lake she could explore and undoubtedly find a few rocks, and memories, we can take home and cherish.

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