Monday, May 24, 2010

Picton May 21-23rd 2010, beaches, wine and sun

What a difference two weeks can make! During this weekend I led a group of 13 cyclists in Prince Edward County. The tour began with a dinner at Portabellas in Picton. This is a small restaurant with homemade pasta and the most delicious rose sauce I ever ate. It was wonderful and inexpensive. Dave and Cynthia made themselves available as leaders of the s3 group so that the cyclists had speed options! Always a good thing! Dave and Cynthia were fabulous!

Barb Bird, Carole Laflamme and I stayed at Carusos. The next morning at 7am our hosts gave us breakfast of fresh fruit and yogurt, homemade scones with butter, tea, juice, coffee, sausages, eggs! After spending the night in the beautiful out of Africa room, this was just an added pleasure. Our hostess also provides massages and before our dinner at Portabellas I had the Caruso's special with hot stones! We heard stories from other cyclists of skimpy breakfasts but Carusos excelled themselves!

The bike route was designed with the help of the Bloomfield bike company and took on the Cressy loop to visit the fifth town cheese factory (where I had their signature goats milk and cheese ice cream) and have a splendid cider tasting at the County Cider. County Cider is perched on a hill overlooking lake Ontario. With its stone tasting room and wonderful lunch area with a wood fired oven, you could imagine yourself in Tuscany. Here we had cheese and cider and grapes. The cider was so good that some on the tour bought some. I agreed to carry it in my pannier with the proviso that they buy me a bottle! The Cressy loop is splendid and lined with lilacs and bordered by the lake.

We rode to the Milford Bistro where their amiable chef and owner welcomed us with specially prepared menus. After his description of the ceasar salad, that is what I ordered. Our chef provided us with an autographed photo of him and told us his wife was diagnosed a few days ago with a horrible cancer. We gave him a hug and I told him I was a cancer survivor and it can be beaten. It is strange where life takes us.

After a decadent lunch it was back on the bikes for a mandatory stop at the Bloomfield bike shop where Lauren got her bike fixed. This gave us TIME TO SHOP. The store has a library and yes, you can read paperbacks on their porch. They have T shirts that read "TV sucks, Ride your bike" I bought one with matching socks. The mechanics are all geniuses with bikes and the owner Katey hilarious. When I was there, a young boy rang the bell. The bell was labelled please
Ring for abuse" as he rang Katey told him his haircut was terrible and his T shirt was a mess. Seeing he did not get it she pointed out that he rang and indeed got abuse.

By the time we returned to Picton, it was time for a hot tub session and some Waupoose cider. The three of us recalled our day in the sun among the vines and surrounded by the sweet smells and tastes of Picton.

The ride on day one was about 85km.

That night we dined on classic French cuisine at the Bloomfield carriage house.

The second day, we lost our young couple who bowed out and Peter who was ill. This left 10 of us. Day two was a picnic lunch that some of us picked up at the marshmallow room, which is the bakery and pastry shop run by the owner of the Bloomfield carriage house. After a bit of confusion, our portabello mushroom and cheese sandwiches on freshly baked bread were ready. I had lemonade, a sandwich and and apple...lunch for a king!

On our second day we rode to big island. This is all farmland with beautiful barns and pastureland. There were sheep grazing on verdant fields that overlooked the lake, buff coloured boats tied to docks, purple lawn chairs, and a charming marina. We watched an Osprey feed its young! It was then on to the Closson Estates Vineyard and organic winery that makes oaked chardonnays. By this time our group had cycled over 80km and they were glad to stop, We unpacked our lunches and had some wine in the sun overlooking the fields behind the purple, yes purple barn.

We cycled to the grange for more wine tasting and were given free samples, (I had two) of their newest rose.

Now there is something funny about a lot of wine on a bicycle. We rode down the dirt road to our next destination, a large public beach used only by locals. It took me a while to steer. The beach is at the end of Bakker lane and is miles of UNPOPULATED sand and beauty. We were alone. The water was cold but had it been warmer what a spot for a small fire and a beach party! It made the famous sandbanks look sick!

At about 100km my group of Mary, Barb, Carole and Michele was flagging. We rode into Bloomfield where we had icecream and I thanked Katey at Bloomfield for her wise advice. I got a special price on socks!

At 118km we rode into Picton. I was sad to leave our splendid bed and breakfast with its warm hosts, charming little orange cat, garden and comfort.

I would sum this little journey as an excursion into pleasure. It was a lot of fun!

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