How to Have the Ultimate Winter Escape
With the hustle and bustle of December a distant memory and summer still too far away, most of us have nestled into full-on hibernation mode. From the comfort of a cozy couch it can seem like there’s not much reason to leave the house. But winter weekends are the ultimate opportunity to explore, indulge and experience what Prince Edward Island has to offer. It’s so much more than just a summer paradise, it’s great at winter too! Taking a quick winter escape to PEI is the perfect way to break up the routine with a burst of winter activities, innovative food, and hotels that will spoil you.
Take to the Trails
PEI has dozens of options for hiking and snowshoeing through wilderness trails and across windswept landscapes. A dedicated group of volunteers maintain a number of trails for winter use. Spend a day exploring the Dromore trails on foot or by snowshoe. This network of trails winds along banks, near gurgling streams and among the mixed forests that once covered all of PEI.
For an easier trail, try Winter River just outside of Charlottetown where the relatively flat terrain and occasional bridge and boardwalk meander through thickets, across wood roads and along the Winter River out to where the river meets Winter Bay. The season’s early sunsets make it possible to catch a brilliant sunset at the end of a trail and still be back in Charlottetown in time for your dinner reservations.
Seize the Day (Even a Chilly One!)
Treat the family to three days of winter wonderland at the annual Jack Frost Children’s Winterfest and celebrate all things winter with a jam-packed schedule that includes sleigh rides, ice sculpture demonstrations, movies, face painting, appearances by kid’s TV celebrities and live music. This year, celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday by taking a Great Canadian Adventure through the Outdoor Snow Kingdom. Or pop inside the warm up tent before hitting the Indoor Playland.
Local hotels even offer packages that include accommodations, family VIP passes to the event, treats, surprises and loads of discounts to make your weekend in Charlottetown a truly VIP experience.
Hit the Slopes
If you want to add even more colour to your cheeks, hit the slopes at Brookvale Provincial Ski Park. Strap on your skis and spend the day carving up a storm in the fresh air. Or rent a tube and visit the sliding hill (it’s free!)
Dine in Style
Even if you go for the toughest trail on the most challenging of winter days, the hardest part of your day might be deciding which of Charlottetown’s cozy restaurants to indulge in.
Charlottetown restaurants are banding together and toasting winter with a three-weekend celebration of food known as Winterdine. Participating restaurants are offering decadent, chef-inspired, 3-course menus.
The Brickhouse will be serving up local fair with a contemporary flair. Reserve a table near the action and watch the chefs prepare your meal in their open kitchen. Menu features food to fit all tastes – from a rich and savoury steak to a bubbling scallop bake. When dinner is through, pop upstairs for a nightcap at Mark’s Lounge where live musical performances pepper their winter weekends. Their Winterdine menu changes from week to week. But the secret is out so make a reservation when you book your hotel.
Warm Up & Get Cozy
Get a sailor’s view and rest your head at Charlottetown’s only waterfront hotel. The Delta Prince Edward’s newly renovated rooms are the perfect way to relax after a day of exploring. Take break in the sauna after your day outside or treat yourself to a glass of wine at the Water’s Edge Bar before dinner.
Take a Walk through Time
A winter stroll through downtown streets is the best way to enjoy the city by night. Even in the crisp after-dinner air, there’s warmth to the city that’s unmistakable. The historic buildings, cathedrals and homes lend a rich elegance to the cityscape. Don’t miss Victoria Row, where an ornate iron archway opens onto a cobblestone lined street where quaint historic lights illuminate the mature trees and Victorian buildings. Although it may feel like you’ve stepped back in time, modern restaurants and charming shops and galleries make it an unmissable part of any visit.
Embrace One Last Taste
Brunch on Sunday is a Charlottetown institution. After your busy weekend you’ll want to savour every bite of vacation before heading home. If you found it hard to decide on the restaurant for Saturday’s dinner, you may have a tougher time deciding on Sunday brunch. Sim’s Corner Steakhouse & Oyster Bar offers up a delicious brunch menu in their cozy restaurant (that’s much-loved by locals). Or if café style is more your speed try Leonhard’s for a fresh and healthy dish followed by German baked treats.