The Family-Friendly Prince Edward County Rental Parents Should Book Immediately
This week, The Littlest Passport features a stunning AirBNB in Prince Edward County, Ontario’s farmland.
As we wrote in an earlier post, families planning a vacation to PEC will need to decide between staying in the County’s countryside, quaint towns, or on a lakefront. We sit down with a family that chose to stay in a Prince Edward Country country home to hear more about their experience.
Travelers: Brandi, her husband, and their two year old daughter (with visiting grandparents and friends)
Hometown: New York (though Canadian!)
Destination: Babcock-Hubbs House, Carrying Place, Prince Edward County, Ontario
Number of Nights: 5
First off, why did you decide on a family vacation in Prince Edward County?
We were back in Ontario visiting family and attending a wedding a wedding outside of Kingston. We asked my parents if they would join us at the wedding so that we had someone to babysit our daughter. Since they were coming from Nova Scotia, we wanted to make a bigger visit out of it, but the location of the wedding was pretty remote - there wasn’t enough to entertain us for a full week.
My husband and I started exploring options elsewhere in Ontario. We wanted a relaxing destination, and even considered renting a place in cottage country, but soon realized a traditional cottage vacation wouldn’t fit our needs. Most cottages had uneven terrain and tons of exterior stairs down to a rocky shoreline - not ideal for our toddler or for her grandparents. Plus both the kid and the grandparents need something to entertain them - staying in a remote location in the woods wouldn’t work.
Prince Edward County was the perfect solution. There’s tons to explore and do - alpaca farms, lakes, quaint towns, restaurants, playgrounds and wineries. Plus we could find a rental in a quiet, relaxing location, but that was safer and better fit our toddler’s needs.
What made you decide to stay in Prince Edward County’s countryside? Did you consider in-town accommodations or a lakefront property rental?
We considered all options. Staying in-town has its advantages, especially being able to walk places. But the in-town properties have neighbors on all sides of the property, and are often close to the road. There’s the safety issue of having to keep a super vigilant eye on our daughter if she was on the porch or playing outside. Plus, living in a big city, it’s sometimes nice to have some SPACE - and quiet.
We looked at some lakefront properties, but most of the ones we researched required guests to bring their own linens and clean the property before leaving. I wasn’t interested in having to set up a property on arrival, nor did I want to leave the cleanliness of our rental in the hands of whoever rented the property previously! Plus, there’s the safety concern of being near water with a toddler … I realize I sound like a nervous nelly.
Not at all. Safety is an important consideration when booking accommodations with young kids.
It is. Of course there are safety concerns everywhere, including the country. But we felt like we could relax most there, and give our daughter a little freedom to explore and roam outside. Plus, my husband and I just really love relaxing around a fire pit and looking up at the stars, which we could do in the country. That was the clincher!
So how did you discover the Babcock-Hubbs House in Prince Edward County?
I came upon it on AirBNB. I’m cautious of using AirBNB for family rentals, and have written about previous not-so-great AirBNB experiences. Although I looked through local PEC property rental companies, as I mentioned, most of those properties required guests to bring bed linens, towels, and some required guests to clean the home prior to departure. Plus, most properties required week-long stays, and we could only stay 5 nights with our schedules. Since our search was coming up short, we turned to AirBNB, and we found this gem.
Would you recommend the Babcock-Hubbs House to young families wishing to rent a PEC property?
I would! The configuration of the house is especially great for folks vacationing with extended family - in our case, grandparents - or wanting to invite friends to visit for a night or two, which we also did.
Also, the house is beautifully renovated with stylish decor - though nothing about the house is overly precious. The furniture and accessories (throw pillows, blankets, etc.) are comfortable and cozy, but I wasn’t worried about our daughter damaging any of it. It really allowed us to relax and enjoy the home.
Finally, the home was spotless. It was professionally cleaned before our arrival, which I appreciated. Especially with little ones that play and cruise around the floor, it’s important to find a clean rental.
What makes the configuration of the Babcock-Hubbs House convenient for a family rental?
The master bedroom with a queen bed is on the main floor, as well as a full bath - though it’s not an en suite. The other three bedrooms are upstairs - two bedrooms have queen beds, and the third upstairs bedroom has two twin beds. Plus there’s a second bathroom with stand-up shower upstairs.
The upstairs/downstairs configuration gives families a bit of space from one another, and having a second bathroom is super convenient. Though some people might prefer an en suite bathroom off the master bedroom, having it off of the living room meant that our daughter could use it during the day, rather than having to go upstairs.
The only bummer was that my husband and I chose to forgo the main floor master bedroom, so that we could sleep next door to our daughter. All the rooms are lovely, but the master bedroom is grander, and more spacious. I was a little jealous to have to give it up!
So the Babcock-Hubbs House had a second floor with stairs. Were the stairs blocked off by a door or a baby gate?
No, unfortunately the Babcock-Hubbs House does not provide a baby gate, so the stairs were open. The host flagged this immediately when I reached out to her inquiring about the suitability of the property for our two year old. She did say that we were welcome to bring a pressure-mounted gate (the stairs are a standard width).
We didn’t bring our own gates - mostly because we don’t own a baby gate. Our apartment situation never required one.
I was a bit nervous about the stairs, but we kept our two year old daughter’s socks off (to avoid slipping), made it clear that she had to go upstairs with an adult, and kept all the interesting toys and activities downstairs. Plus the stairs are between the living room and kitchen, so we could keep a good eye on her.
As for coming down the stairs - she wasn’t old enough to open her bedroom door and venture off on her own. Otherwise, I think we would have bought a baby gate in Belleville, on our drive into PEC!
Did your Prince Edward County family rental come with any amenities for babies or toddlers?
Yes. The rental provided a large, sturdy - clean - pack and play. Since this PEC rental was one stop on a longer family road trip, we brought our own Baby Bjorn travel crib, which we used instead, since we’ve retrofitted it with a mini crib mattress. Our daughter is a bit of a Princess and the Pea, and the thin mattresses in standard pack and plays make for less comfortable toddler sleeps.
But we had friends stay with us one night that had a two month old baby. The baby slept in the pack and play with no problems.
Beyond the pack and play, the Babcock-Hubbs House has a high chair, bathtub, dishwasher, a fully equipped kitchen, BBQ, and washer and dryer, which are all nice to have for a vacation rental with little ones.
But one of the best features of the house - for us - were the toys and games. There were so many adorable farm themed toys that our daughter loved. I particularly remember the large wooden barn with farm animals, and a set of soft animal themed bowling pins and ball. Our daughter loved setting them up and knocking them down over and over. There was a whole trunk full of toys for young kids, which was great. There are always down times where we’re back at the house between activities and need to keep our daughter entertained. A rental that comes with fun novel toys is a lifesaver.
You mentioned activities. What are some of the things your family did during the Prince Edward County stay?
We visited many of Prince Edward County’s towns - Wellington was a favorite, with a great playground and cafe.
We went to both North Beach and Sandbanks. The rental comes with a season parks pass for one car, which was super convenient and a nice perk.
We didn’t visit the wineries - however, Prince Edward County has so many strewn all about, including some that were a quick car ride away.
It was all really relaxing. The host sent us a list of things to do ahead of our stay, and also had up to date guidebooks in the house, which were great resources.
How about the location of your Prince Edward County rental? How close (or far) were you to various attractions?
A lot of the attractions were about 20 minutes by car, give or take. The roads are all so quiet and idyllic that we didn’t mind the driving. I was a little worried about being somewhat “remote” since our daughter traditional hasn’t loved car rides, but she was great with the car trips around the County. She often wouldn’t sleep in the car, so we’d drive home for naps, and it never felt like too much driving.
The only thing about the distance to town was that my husband and I never took advantage of having the grandparents around the babysit so that we could go to dinner. We planned to dine at one or two of PEC’s nicer restaurants, but once we were back at the house after a long day, we never felt motivated to head out again. Not that we really minded!
What was there to do on the property?
The property has a lovely large yard. It’s not fenced in but the property is surrounded by farm fields so it serves as a natural end point for our daughter’s exploration. There wasn’t outdoor play equipment for our daughter, but she was happy to run around. (Editor’s Note: The Babckcock-Hubbs House provides a soccer ball, KanJam, and winter sleds for slightly older children).
There’s a fire pit in the back of the house, with several lounging chairs, so we all could spend some outside relaxing after our daughter fell asleep (the signal on the monitor we brought extended to the fire pit with no issues). It’s worth noting, though, that the Babcocks-Hubbs House doesn’t provide firewood, so you’ll have to buy some in town. (Editor’s Note: Prince Edward County does occasionally issue a fire ban in the summer, when weather is dry. Consult your host or visit The County’s website to learn if a burn ban is in effect.)
Our daughter and her grandpa also went on a lot of walks down the country road. There are a couple of neighbors nearby who have horses and dogs, so she liked looking for them, picking up gravel rocks (there are obviously no sidewalks out in the country) and chatting her grandpa’s ear off!
There were also boardgames for older kids as well as adults, so we played some of those at night after our daughter was asleep. And as I mentioned earlier, there were a lot of great toys for young kids and babies, so our daughter was well entertained.
Were there any safety concerns worth noting?
For some families, the stairs would need to be gated, which I mentioned.
Not a safety concern, but there are two dogs - boxers - that live across the street. They roam free and are quite friendly, and they do wander on to the property sometimes - something the hosts nicely flagged to us before booking.
The dog’s owners do keep a close eye on them and call them back, but if anyone in the family is afraid, or you’re nervous of how your little one interacts with dogs, you’ll want to keep a close eye on your little one when outside.
Speaking of dogs, the owners of the Babcock-Hubbs House do own a hypoallergenic dog that vacations on the property, including inside the house - you’ll see photos of it on the Instagram feed. However, the home was spotless, with no signs of dog hair or dirt anywhere.
Any final tips for families staying at the Babcock-Hubbs House?
Go grocery shopping in Belleville prior to arriving at the house. Given its county location, you can’t just “pop out” to the store, and you’ll appreciate having snacks and a couple meals on hand to get started. And try to get firewood at the same time, so you can have a first night bonfire!
For a first day activity, visit Campbell’s Orchard. It’s only an 8 minute ride away, has some play equipment and small farm animals for the kids, as well as fresh local produce, cider on the patio, and a small selection of baked goods and prepared meals.
Alternately, 15 minutes from the property is SHED Chetwyn Farms - an alpaca farm that sells various alpaca-related goods. Everything is beautiful, albeit a bit pricey, but the little ones will appreciate the chance to see alpacas, and the farm is located near several small wineries, where you can pick up a bottle for dinner.
If you want to hit the beach during your stay, we recommend North Beach. It’s much less crowded that Sandbanks, has calm waters for little ones, and is closer to the rental property than Sandbanks!
The Babcock-Hubbs House can be rented through AirBNB, link provided through the rental’s Instagram account. No consideration was provided for the writing of this post, all opinions are those of the family.