Bikes n’ Brews

Bike rides in Elkhart County are a thing of beauty, whether you’re going for a casual spin or aiming for a full workout. And what can be better than a cold beverage (a beer, if you’re so inclined?) after a great ride.

No matter where you start in Elkhart County, we’ve got some great choices for post-ride refreshments and fun.

Goshen: Millrace Canal TrailChoice 1 Millrace Photo 1 copy

Note: See page 28 in the Biking and Walking in Elkhart County 2017 Trail Guide. Download turn-by-turn directions at HTadventures.com.

Begin your jaunt downtown outside the Millrace Farmers Market, where there are several parking lots to choose from to unload your bike. Take your time as you pedal the crushed limestone trail that lines a canal that once powered industry. Enjoy the gorgeous city parks and take a break on a bench to enjoy tree-lined vistas and quiet leafy neighborhoods. The end of the trail is a great place to snap a selfie or go for a walk in the nearby Shoup-Parsons woods. Head back the same way and you could soon be bellying up to the bar at Goshen Brewing Co. for craft brews and a meal made with farm-fresh ingredients.

Beer not your thing? If you time it right on Saturday morning, you could browse the farmers market for fruits, cheeses and European pastries. Or head a few blocks for a cappuccino at The Electric Brew, a pretzel and JoJo’s Pretzels or hand-crafted sundae at Olympia Candy Kitchen.

Elkhart: River Greenway Trail

Wellfield Botanic Gardens was the backdrop for a recent taping of WNIT's "Dinner and a Book."

Note: See pages 26 and 34 in the Biking and Walking in Elkhart County 2017 Trail Guide. Download turn-by-turn directions at HTadventures.

Elkhart’s trails are a window into the best of both worlds, from the urban forest along the Elkhart River through parks and city neighborhoods. The trail leads you to a bustling downtown and the RiverWalk Culture Trail teeming with museums, art galleries and restaurants.

You’ll start at the Elkhart Environmental Center near the trailhead for the River Greenway Trail and follow the grassy path along the river until you reach Studebaker Park. From there, wind your way through neighborhoods and the city’s industrial core until you reach downtown.

You could head straight to Iechyd Da Brewing Company’s patio for a brew and their handmade pizzas, but maybe you’ll want to stretch your mind at the Midwest Museum of American Art, delve into the city’s gilded past at the Ruthmere Museum, or stroll lushly manicured gardens at Wellfield Botanical Gardens.

For a lighter bite to eat, there’s the Black Crow Café or The Electric Brew for sandwiches and soups. Or for more refined fare, choose from The Vine, 523 Tap & Grill or McCarthy’s on the Riverwalk.

Middlebury: Pumpkinvine Nature Trailpumpkinvine-305x282

Note: See page 32 in the Biking and Walking in Elkhart County 2017 Trail Guide. Download turn-by-turn directions at HTadventures.

The trail system around the town of Middlebury is rich with possibilities, both for your route as well as the sweets and treats for your post-ride celebration.

Starting at Krider World’s Fair Garden gives you the most flexibility. From the park, you can head south, toward Goshen, where the Pumpkinvine winds through woodlands and rolling farmland. In the fall, the colors burst at every turn.

You could also take the Ridge Run Trail branch for a shorter but tasty ride that will take you by Das Dutchman Essenhaus. Within sight of the gorgeous covered bridge, you can dig into a slice of pie and coffee before climbing back onto your bike to catch the Wayne Street Trail that takes you back to Krider World’s Fair Garden.

If you’re thirsty for a cold brew, just a few blocks from Krider World’s Fair Garden is Wedgewood Brewing Company, a nanobrewery and tap house in downtown Middlebury. For food, go right next door to 41 Degrees North, a gastropub with a fine selection of regional craft beers.

From Krider’s World’s Fair Garden, if you continue over the trestle bridge at the park and you can embark on a pleasant, rolling ride to Shipshewana. A hush of quiet falls over the tree-lined trail most of the way to the quaint shops and eateries in the heart of Amish Country.