Here the owners will host your evening cocktail hour and may even whip up a gourmet meal if you’re lucky

Last year I read a book that proved to be transformational in regards to my travel. The book is called The Power of Strangers (2021), written by New York journalist, Joe Keohane; and it explores the benefits of talking to strangers. For a person who often travels alone and has been habitually shy about striking conversations with strangers, it gave me the confidence and wherewithal to change my behavior with life-enhancing results!

The elegant living room overlooks Lake Ontario

I thought about this book as I was interviewing Ian Nelmes one of the co-owners of the stunning four-suite “boutique inn’, Mirazule, located on the shores of Lake Ontario near Milford, Prince Edward County (PEC) in Ontario. Nelmes, along with his fellow owner, Miguel De Lemos, are a new breed of intimate inn proprietors whom will not only check you in for your stay but will pass you a glass of wine and start engaging you in conversation before you have even seen your room.

Furthermore, over the course of your stay here, there is a high probability that you will become fast friends with the occupants of the three other rooms as well as with the hosts themselves. If you were looking for a little ‘me time’ for your vacation, Mirazule is likely not the place for you. Here, Nelmes and De Lemos are your facilitators for some experiential ‘we time’!


Oversized guest rooms have floor-to-ceiling
views of Lake Ontario

When you first arrive at Mirazule, (which is about a fifteen-minute drive outside of Picton), you are treated to a vision right out of architectural digest. With a design best described as “modernist”, its sight lines are the fruits of a collaboration between the owners and Toronto-based BlackLab Architects Inc. But this is just the start. As you walk through the impressive front doors, before you lays an unobstructed panorama of Lake Ontario’s glistening, turquoise waters which could easily be mistaken as a private bay by the Mediterranean ocean. In fact, “mirazule” is loosely translated from a Spanish term for “looking into the blue”.

With the aforementioned glass of wine in hand (all evening alcoholic beverages are included with the nightly room rate) you are invited into the communal living room where a grand piano sits in one corner and the view continues to mesmerize beyond. It is here where you will likely mingle with the other guests over cocktails later on. If not, here, then most certainly you will the next morning while you all enjoy a “decadent and indulgent” breakfast (also included in the room rate) immersed within the art-deco appointed dining room bathed in the PEC sunlight.


The fireplace is the focal point of the two storey atrium

Mirazule is nestled within 45 acres of forest, field and waterfront providing a seclusion from neighbours which many of Nelmes and De Lemos’ high-profile guests seem to appreciate. Walks throughout the property are encouraged and you may be accompanied by their omnipresent Schapendoe (a Dutch sheep dog) by the name of Razz. Alternatively, not too far away, is the Long Point Bird Observatory where extensive bird banding occurs during certain parts of the fall and spring seasons. Ornithology fans, take note!

Following our introductory and engaging chat, Nelmes then takes me for a tour of the guest rooms. Here again, the view of the lake is the most striking feature of the rooms as each is laid out as if to worship the dominant body of water. With a couch facing the exterior, and the king-sized bed adorned with 500 thread count Egyptian cottons, where is positioned on a slightly elevated level, there is no doubt this is a sanctuary of sorts. As if this was not enough, the bathrooms themselves serve as potential water temples offering both soaking tubs with a skylight that opens onto the stars as well as mood lighting and Blue tooth speakers for your meditative tunes. The bathrooms also have rain showers and heated floors. Much attention has been dedicated towards achieving the utmost of luxury for these limited number of guest rooms.

Back to the common areas Nelmes then leads me down to the property’s lower floor which houses another living room featuring a massive fireplace where many guests will linger during the winter months with a good book in one hand and, perhaps, a hot toddy in the other. Down here is a vintage art-deco bar where travel tales and life experiences can be traded over snacks or hors d’oeuvres.


Bathrooms take ‘creature comforts’ to a new level

During the off season (and at other times when they are so moved) the hosts will often treat their guests to an exclusive dinner party where De Lemos serves as the chef drawing from the culinary bounty that PEC is so famous for and Nelmes acts as the consummate Maître’D that he really is. Nelmes is a firm believer that vacationers today are not only looking for a luxurious room into which to lay their weary heads but increasingly are also seeking out experiences with which to enhance their leisure time. These two hosts, whom describe themselves as “social animals”, deliver both in spades!

If you are looking for a secluded weekend in the country where you may have the added pleasure of possibly making new friends or, at least – acquaintances, then book yourselves into the luxurious Mirazule, just a four-hour drive from Montreal.

Mirazule is on Southbay, Milford, Ontario K0K 2P0. E-mail: [email protected] or phone: 1-613-813-7651.

A.J. Twist is a Montreal-based travel writer and photographer. [email protected]

Fall and winter in Prince Edward County

While summers in PEC are legendary (and increasingly crowded), lessor known are the activities the county has in store for you during the other seasons.

Prince Edward County

Many wineries and breweries remain open during the fall and winter months in PEC 
Photo: OneLook Productions, courtesy of Visit The County

From November 2-22, Countylicious opens its doors to fine dining in Prince Edward County featuring prix fixe menus from fifteen participating local restaurants such as Bloomfield Public House, Bocado Restaurant, Drake Devonshire Inn, Flame + Smith, Hartleys Tavern , Matron Fine Beer, Merrill House, Stella’s Eatery, The Royal Hotel, The Waring House and Waupoos Estates Winery & Restaurant.⁠ Each of these chefs have created unique three-course, County-inspired dinner menus consisting of an appetizer, entrée, and dessert ranging from $20-$30 for lunches and dinners from $45-$60. For a region known for its locally grown produce coupled with the migration of some of the country’s top chefs to the area, Countylicious is a great way to sample many different tables at reasonable prices. Details can be found at:

Local brewery, Gillingham Brewing has decided that instead of fighting winter why not join it? Their extensive outdoor heated and covered beer garden offers patio heaters at every table. They are offering fresh-shucked oysters on the weekends and food pop-ups throughout the season. From Thursday to Sunday, they offer a full lunch menu with over 12 unique craft beers on draught and wine by the glass from Domaine Darius Winery (their family winery). Guests can be seen covered up in sheepskins and blankets to combat the especially frigid weather. Shades of the Ice Hotel without the rooms! In addition, many other wineries and breweries in the region remain open during the cooler months.

Those in the know are beginning to snap up reservations to the New Year’s celebration at The Royal Hotel in Picton.

Two seatings are on offer (until sold out) for a multi-course dinner with the second seating to morph into a dance party with a DJ to welcome in 2023. Details and reservations are available by calling the hotel at 613-961-2600.

For more on festivals and special events in PEC visit their dedicated website (

Accommodations in the area include: The Drake Devonshire and the Drake Motor Inn in Wellington. In and around Picton: Merrill House, The June Motel (famous for its Netflix series “Motel Makeover”), and The Royal Hotel, among others. A wide selection of private homes for rent can also be found at