A Family Staycation In Quinte West
Written and Photographed by Andrew Taylor
My family and I recently moved to the Bay of Quinte area from the city. We have been slowly adjusting to our new life in the region and realizing just how much there is to do here. Our fresh start has shown us how beautiful this place is, so when we needed a getaway, with our two daughters in tow, my fiancée, Shannon, and I packed our bags and headed to a riverfront cottage within the region. It seemed like a perfect staycation destination.
As soon as we arrived, all of our eyes lit up. We had pulled up to a beautiful
four-season cottage—with a loft!—located right on the Trent-Severn Waterway. We immediately loved the view and how peaceful it was in this
northern part of Quinte West.
Our first stop that night was to Dimitri’s Pizzeria and Restaurant just down the road in Frankford. As soon as we walked in the door, the friendly staff welcomed our kids with great big smiles; we loved the family atmosphere! We’ll definitely be coming back again and bringing our appetites with us. Wereturned to the cottage full and happy, ready to settle in for the night.
The next morning we headed out to the nearby Bleasdell Boulder Conservation Area. I love that this adventure is a short hike, making it very
doable for our kids. We had a nice family walk along the trails, where the kids kept talking about how excited they were to “see the big rock.” They had lots of fun discovering the area and running wild around the rock, and we definitely made some fun and silly memories!
From there we took a trip to Dahlia May Flower Farm. This small, femaleowned operation grows a variety of flowers, supplying fresh, seasonal cut blooms and bouquets at a farm stand on Stockdale Road. I love that my family and I got to explore this beautiful setting; it was just so magical.
After our morning adventures the kids were hungry, and mom and dad needed coffee—which meant it was time for lunch. We made our way to The Riverbrake Cafe in downtown Trenton for fresh, delicious sandwiches and a spectacular view of the Trent River. After we finished eating and walking through downtown, we felt pulled towards our next local business.
Do you know what my favourite treat is? Well, anything sweet, really! I’d heard many good reviews about a nearby bakery: Wannamaker’s Bakeshop. They are known for their delicious, fresh baked goods! Fresh cinnamon buns, doughnuts, cookies—this is a piece of heaven to me. Looking at all the freshly made doughnuts and unable to decide, we chose to pick up a half-dozen to take away. The Oreo, chocolate dip and vanilla dip with sprinkles were our favourites.
After coming back to the cottage, it was time to sit back and relax by the fire and admire the view of the Trent-Severn before dinner. Once we were all rested, we made our way down to Momma’s Diner, which has a classic diner look to it. The friendly customer service paired perfectly with our order of a classic cheeseburger and fries—just what we needed. The kids enjoyed their chicken fingers while pretending to read the menu together. It was a quiet night, which was what we needed after a full day of activities!
The next day we woke up ready to explore more of what the Bay of Quinte has to offer as we slowly made our way home. We stopped at Sager
Conservation Area, which has an excellent trail that’s not long at all, even with two kids—our girls were running through the leaves like there was no tomorrow! The stairs on the trail are a bit of a workout, so be prepared, but once you’re at the top, you’ll see the amazing lookout tower! After a few flights of stairs you can enjoy the great view of the surrounding forests and hills.
Next stop: Grills Orchards! This country market and orchard provides an opportunity to learn, explore and have some fun. With a full stock of fresh vegetables, fruits and tasty products, they are a terrific local food store with an entire section dedicated to local artisans and craft makers. Depending on current safety restrictions, Grills also offers pick-your-own apples and wagon rides to the pumpkin patch and corn maze. (This is a picture from 2019; we’re crossing our fingers for next year!)
Even though our staycation is over, we’ve discovered that there’s lots more to do. We can’t wait to continue exploring the local shops and outdoor activities here in the Bay of Quinte. This staycation adventure was so much fun! And a good reminder that getting away doesn’t have to take you very far from home.
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