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Destinations & Day Trips

A Day Along The Farmington Canal Heritage Bike Trail

Written by Ryan Sylvestre

The Farmington Canal Heritage Bike Trail starts in New Haven and runs up to the border of Southern Massachusetts, it spans about 80 miles. The lovely town of Cheshire has set up a free bike share program that makes it really easy to enjoy a day on the bike trail.

I have mapped out a day along the trail so that you can enjoy a beautiful day getting a little exercise and exploring something new. These trails weave in and out of small towns and offer cool places to explore and maybe even grab a bite to eat.

Bike Trail Background

The Farmington Canal Heritage Bike Trail is a repurposed section an old railroad system that connected New York, the City of New Haven, and Hartford. After the decline of the railroad business, sections started to become abandoned and eventually opened up for public use.

These railways offered a fast route between the large cities of Boston and New York, making this one of the most important forms of transportation back in the day. Even though the declining railway business was pivotal in the opening of the Farmington Canal Bike Trail. We now get to enjoy and relive the history of the railways that once paved the way for important distribution in New England.

It seems like these trails could have easily become overgrown and unusable but instead, they are preserved and give people the opportunity for a pleasant bike around towns they may have never visited before.  

Start off with a free bike rental

Make your way over to Bike Cheshire, located at the local YMCA You can grab a bike for a $10 refundable deposit.

Cheshire is a really cool place to bike around and offers its own attractions to check out. You could spend another day just exploring different areas of the town. There are multiple stops along the Heritage Trail so picking up and dropping off is easy! You can pick up a bike at any time and go wherever you want, just make sure you’re back by 5.

They have a variety of bikes so you can pick out the one that works best for you!

Stops Along the Trail

Heritage Trail

The best stops along the trail will be the amazing beauty of these old railroads. Make sure to take a stop and experience some of the amazing scenery along the way.

The twists and turns of this trial will give you a new perspective of familiar towns. The trail is very easy to navigate, it’s generally flat with plenty of access points and parking lots. I’m sure people have their favorite times to ride the trails, but I have to imagine that the fall foliage would make for a great ride.

If you’re like me, you’ll probably get hungry 5 minutes into the ride. I took the liberty of picking out some cool places ahead of time so you can prepare for you inevitable growling stomach.

Paul’s Restaurant – 1127 Highland Ave, Cheshire

A place like Paul’s is the perfect place to “Slow down and smell the coffee”. Paul’s is a cool little diner that can serve up some awesome food to get you started on your bike riding journey. They have been in business since 1986 and continue to serve the loyal customers of Cheshire.

Black Stone Irish Pub – 1678 Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike, Milldale

A little way up the trail, you’ll find Black Stone Irish Pub. This is more of your traditional upscale bar food with an Irish twist. You can grab some delicious wings with some Shepards Pie Sliders. They have a cool outdoor patio where you can continue to enjoy the outdoors while taking a break from the bike.

Kinsmen Brewing Company – 409 Canal St, Milldale

A quick ride up the street from Black Stone Irish Pub you will find Kinsmen Brewing Company. Reward yourself with a fine “Brew-ha-ha” in this unique taproom. They have a great selection of beers to help you make end your bike riding journey off on a good note.

Plantsville Center of Town – 9 W Main St Plantsville

Even though this isn’t a restaurant, I thought that this would make a cool stop off of the trail. The town of Plantsville has tons of other restaurants to offer and other shops that are worth visiting. Like Zingarella Pizzeria and Ice Cream Cafe, Tavern 42, Hop Haus and Vintage From the Heart.

Your Bike Trail Journey

Taking a ride along the Farmington River Bike Trail is the perfect way to experience something new and exciting. Taking in the beautiful sites and sounds of the trail make for a day of exploration. There are plenty of things to stop and see along the way so you can really make this trip your own.

Check out other peoples reviews and tips on past biking trips. If you take the trip, make sure to let us know about other cool sections of the trail and the best places to stop!

About the author

Ryan Sylvestre

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