Prince Edward County (the County) has become the ‘it’ destination for weekend getaways and millennials and enterprising professionals who are looking for a fresh start in a less saturated market. The County was not always trendy restaurants, craft breweries and wine tours enjoyed on cruiser cycles, though. It was quiet, and weekends left the streets of Picton and Wellington less busy than what they are today. Residents watching the County go from quaint and somewhat unknown to “Wow, you’re from there!?” has been quite the transition.
We had the opportunity to speak with the three twenty-something individuals who purchased a modern-designed farmhouse on 100 acres of land to start Compass Rose Suites, a 3-suite rental in Milford with 3 very dedicated on-site owners. Caroline Reiss, Cameron (Cam) Main and Nick Alles are three enterprising millennials who worked hard to achieve their vision. The property will completely charm anyone arriving. A large rustic barn and a stunning greenhouse for event space, an open-concept, traditional, yet modern farmhouse and a small cabin the three share as their permanent living space make up the property. The accommodations and event spaces are surrounded by forest, meadow and farmland with lush walking trails. Weddings and events are their main target, but they love renting out the entire house to host guests for girls’ weekends, individuals and couples who will rent out one of the rooms as a bed and breakfast.
For the most part, Milford is untouched by tourism, with the exception of bridge-jumping and rope swinging off the Milford bridge in the summers. “Staying in Picton in the summer can be a little overwhelming if you’re looking for a true escape from the city. [Compass Rose] is just out of the way enough for people to enjoy the rural country experience, but close enough to the attractions the County has to offer.” Cam advises. Location aside, the trio took advantage of a huge demand in Prince Edward County: Accommodation and wedding venues. If you’re one of the many who have tried to book a last-minute weekend getaway to the County, you’re all too familiar with the struggle of finding a place that is not already booked. For those looking for a wedding venue, booking one generally needs to be done 1-1 ½ years in advance. Caroline says, “I think what’s really attractive about Compass Rose is that we’re really flexible. We like small weddings, but we can accommodate larger ones on site too. We have the house for accommodation and to get ready in, and the property allows for a lot of space – you can have a tent to host dinner, dancing in the barn, drinks in the greenhouse. There’s a lot of options.” With millennials running the show, you know the party doesn’t have to stop at midnight. “We are really remote, so we can stay up later. We’re also younger, so we want to make [our guest’s] event cool and special. There’s no rigidness with our process.” Cam adds.
Caroline, Cam and Nick are not the first millennials to come to the County to start a new life. It’s a growing trend in this area – with good reason of course. But it’s not an easy process. Getting real estate agents to take them seriously, finding the right property with the correct zoning laws in place, getting to know a new area and connecting with the locals who are not always warm to newcomers and change to the County are just some of the initial struggles they encountered. However, even with these struggles, they managed to successfully become a part of the community. “It’s pretty awesome here. We have a ton of support. Business is not a competition in the County. Everyone here is trying to raise the community up together. Last summer we got a lot of word of mouth from Angéline’s Inn. It’s also easy to make friends around here because a lot of them are business owners and have the same hours as we do, and they’re generally people who are under 40.” Says Cam.
Compass Rose is currently taking on their second season of operation in Milford, Prince Edward County. Although much of what is pictured in this blog post has changed as they have made dramatic changes to the property and farmhouse to make their guests more comfortable. You will just have to see the changes for yourself!