Trailside Attractions - Center Grove Orchard

On a recent visit to Center Grove Orchard I realized how close this fall treasure is from the Heart of Iowa Nature Trail.

The orchard is only 1 mile south from the trail on gravel. There are no big hills to climb and there doesn’t look to be any dogs at the farmsteads along the way.

7 minutes isn’t much of a detour!

7 minutes isn’t much of a detour!

Center Grove has a gift shop and snack bar area that does not require admission to visit. The Country Store makes for a great bike break. There’s warm donuts, apples, coffee and more.

Free samples help you know which variety you like best.

Free samples help you know which variety you like best.

An educational snacktime

An educational snacktime

The clock is ticking with November 3rd being the open day of the season. Check out their website for more details.

Happy Riding!

Trailside Attractions - Art House on State

Only a stones throw off the High Trestle Trail in Madrid is a peaceful spot filled with beauty and talent.  

Water colors, pastels, blown glass, pottery, textiles and photography can be found here.  All are created by local artists.  Art House on State has been in Madrid  since May of 2015 and is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Classes are available for those wanting to develop their creative talents.  

The High Trestle Trail Bridge is the subject matter to numerous pictures and paintings on display throughout the gallery.  It's a great place to find a gift for fans of the trail!

I enjoyed a quiet break from my bike ride and browsed until I found just what I had been hoping for.  A small picture of the bridge by Terry Dooley.  It fit perfectly in my bike bag and will soon be hung on my office wall.  Now I can enjoy the High Trestle every day!

Take some time off the trail to visit this Madrid treasure.   A bit of culture added to a bike ride is always a good thing.

Happy Riding! 

Trailside Attractions - John James Audubon Birdwalk

Less than a mile from the T-Bone Trail you'll find the John James Audubon Birdwalk.  It's a  collection of art honoring the artist, ornithologist and naturalist the Iowa town is named after. 


Ceramic tile mosaics are incorporated into sidewalks within the town square and replicate prints from "Birds of America" .  I was happy to find the state bird along with a couple of family favorites. 

In the center of the plaza is a bronze sculpture depicting Audubon painting while his dog Zephyr rests at his side.  Close by is the town's public library.  A Carnegie library, the building is a work of art itself and houses books and prints by Audubon. The library wasn't open during my visit but I enjoyed looking at their pretty flower beds.

At the corner of Washington and Broadway I found the towering stained glass clock depicting Audubon and his dog.  21 feet tall, the clock is hard to miss!

If you enjoy birding, art, or American history, head into Audubon before or after your ride to visit this Iowa attraction. 

Happy Riding!

Trailside Attractions - Enabling Gardens

Tucked away in the heart of Altoona there's a breath taking spot to enjoy right off the Vern Wiley II trail. Located at 1050 1st Ave. S the Enabling Gardens   is a fabulous barrier-free garden accessible to people of all abilities. The park is free to visit year-round.


Plan on spending a good amount of time here. There are so many surprises to find among the beautiful beds. 30 bird houses can be found along with garden art and John Bromell's metal sculptures. My favorites were the gnome garden and the 12 foot praying mantis.

A picnic area and garden swing are perfect spots to take a break off the bike. There's also a water fountain for refilling your bottle.   

Plan to make a stop at this pretty venue the next time you ride through Altoona.  You might even find some inspiration for your garden at home.

Happy Riding! 

The Bakers Pantry - A Hidden Treasure Along the Raccoon

A perfect spot for cyclists to fuel up is less than a mile off the Raccoon River Valley Trail in Dallas Center.  Located in a former hardware store, The Baker’s Pantry specializes in bulk foods.  But, don’t let that deter you from visiting on your bike.  

Along with ingredients needed for baking, there are numerous healthy options for hungry cyclists riding through town.  In addition to made to order sandwiches on homemade bread, there’s nuts, dried fruits, produce and snack mixes.  So many choices that would fit nicely in a bike bag.


On my visit I opened the door and was greeted with the amazing aroma of baking bread.  I browsed through the aisles and spotted an item I couldn’t pass up.  Homemade elderberry jam!!  There was no way I was returning home without some.  I also bought a couple of homemade chocolates.  Those didn’t make it back to the trail.  Delicious!  

Next time you’re riding through Dallas Center visit The Baker’s Pantry. The store is open Monday - Friday 9:00 - 6:00 and Saturdays from 9:00 - 3:00. Hidden off the bike trail it’s a treasure you’ll want to find!.

Happy Riding!