By Brian Benefield
I think everyone is getting a touch of spring fever lately with the abundance of rain and the sun warming things up to make the daffodils break through the soil. For me, that means it’s time to get on the local trails. Whether you like to bike, walk or take a long run, there are numerous paved trail options around Cobb County. Many of these wind through communities and offer a respite to stop off, have a quick bite to eat, or linger longer to imbibe with an adult beverage.
The Mountain to River trail is literally in our backyard and has been a saving grace throughout the pandemic, as it provides much-needed exercise therapy that we crave this time of year. The M2R, as it’s known to locals, runs from Kennesaw Mountain National Park Southward adjacent to Old 41 and Kennesaw Ave. Near the mountain, you can stop off at Basecamp at this part of the trail to fuel up on a tasty Campfire Skillet breakfast or get some lighter fare with a Mediterranean Grain Bowl to keep your energy level up as you get back on the trail.
Trekking towards Marietta Square, you pass by beautiful homes dating back to the late 1800s, and don’t miss Sessions Stand on your journey for a coffee pick me up and a chocolate croissant that will make you feel like you’re in Paris. Of course, if you ride or run through the Square, there are a plethora of dining options and don’t forget about the food hall, Marietta Square Market, which has over 18 eateries. If you’re very adventurous like me, the trail will take you all the way down to the Chattahoochee River, and although there are a few unpaved sections abutting Atlanta Rd, it is well worth the trip once you arrive at The Battery and Truist Park. You will have plenty of snacking choices, including Antico Pizza, Terrapin Taproom serving Fox Bros. BBQ, and H & F Burger, to name a few.
If The Battery is your starting point for the day, then you may choose to ride or run towards the Hooch, then under I-285, and pop out on Akers Mill Rd for some of the best Korean/American fusion BBQ I have ever tasted at Heirloom Market BBQ. Try the Spicy Korean pork or get some fall-off-the-bone tender Sweet and Spicy Smoked Wings. And you have to love a place that offers seven, yes, seven kinds of BBQ sauce ranging from mild to peppery vinegar to mustardy hot. Once your belly settles down, continue on the pathway towards the Silver Comet Trail, which is only a few miles heading West via Cumberland Blvd towards East-West Connector. Get to pedaling as you cross over scenic bridges that once had trains traversing the pedestrian-converted trails, and as it warms up, you will find most of the path to feel cooler because of large trees providing shade along most sections.
It seems BBQ is a recurring theme on these trails, and you will be pulled off your route by the wafting smoky, meaty smells at the Floyd Rd intersection, and your nose will lead you to TDT BBQ for all the familiar eats. Ribs, chicken, and pulled pork all have 5 star Google reviews. If your bike needs a quick tune-up or just want a protein bar, then Comet Trail Cycles has got you covered directly beside the pathway. Should you choose to continue heading West, and your sweet tooth requires a fix, then jump off at Rolly’s Cakery in Austell for a cupcake or cookie to satisfy that craving.
Whew, all that biking and eating is exhausting, so maybe you planned ahead and have another car located at your stopping point, and if you didn’t, then I wish you luck getting back to your point of origin. All kidding aside, I usually decide a mileage I want to ride for that day and do an out and back route to avoid tiring out. Knowing how wonky Georgia weather can be, we may get a snowstorm in March. But for now, while it’s warm, get outside and take pleasure in being with nature on our well-maintained trails.