I had visited Norfolk County a couple of times in the past, using the area as a springboard to a great ride, following the  opens in a new windowWaterfront Trailopens PDF file , Port Dover to Fort Erie, or as part of a rail trail tour weekend on an  opens in a new windowOntario By Bike Ride, from Dundas to Port Dover. I felt I knew something about the bike scene in the area. But it wasn’t until I recently spent a weekend dedicated to exploration and cycling adventures that I experienced a true appreciation for all things Norfolk.

Located just 2 hours southwest of Toronto, Norfolk County, south of Brantford, includes the largest town, Simcoe, and a healthy stretch of Lake Erie shoreline. With past industries of tobacco farming and commercial fishing having dried up sometime ago, a focus on new industries that include adventure-based tourism, vineyards and ginseng farming seem like a smart move.

With some familiarity of the area, fueled by a healthy obsession with maps, and having heard rave reviews from ‘nor FOLK’, a fun and friendly name fitting for locals, I was keen to check out the mountain biking trails, endless road riding routes, and see what I could find in between.

The annual  opens in a new windowTour de Norfolk has really put the area on the map for road cyclists. Drawing a crowd of 800 plus, this volunteer-run cycling event that uses Delhi as the ride epi-centre has been touted by many past participants as one of their favourite rides of the year. Meeting up with event organizers gave me a chance to preview some of the roads that are included in this year’s ride (don’t miss it, July 16).

The ride also easily rekindled my affection for road riding as we pedaled along smoothly paved roads (all County roads are paved) and enjoying endless kilometers of quiet farm filled countryside. Used to going at a slower pace, with rides interrupted by more urban impediments, I had forgotten that wonderful sense of freedom and empowerment that can come with clipping in for a 30km/h ride. Made easy with four distances to choose from, July 16 would be the date to experience it for yourself. Featured stops in 2017 include the not-to-be-missed  opens in a new windowNew Limburg Brewery. Situated in a re-purposed public school, on a quiet country cross-road, you may be surprised at the busy patio until you taste the selection of brews on tap.

The ride also easily rekindled my affection for road riding as we pedaled along smoothly paved roads (all County roads are paved) and enjoying endless kilometers of quiet farm filled countryside. Used to going at a slower pace, with rides interrupted by more urban impediments, I had forgotten that wonderful sense of freedom and empowerment that can come with clipping in for a 30km/h ride. Made easy with four distances to choose from, July 16 would be the date to experience it for yourself. Featured stops in 2017 include the not-to-be-missed  opens in a new windowNew Limburg Brewery. Situated in a re-purposed public school, on a quiet country cross-road, you may be surprised at the busy patio until you taste the selection of brews on tap.

Wanting to leave no stone unturned on my visit, and slotted between the mountain biking and road riding experiences, I found so many more adventures that kept me hopping and happy all weekend long. Local wineries that include the  opens in a new windowBurning Kiln, are well situated along Front Road, a super road route and part of the  opens in a new windowLake Erie Waterfront Trail, that connects  opens in a new windowTurkey Point and  opens in a new windowLong Point Provincial Parks. The latter, a well-known birding destination and a 42km sand-duned beach peninsula, is also designated a part of the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. Options from a fast food fish fry to fine dining abound in Port Dover (try  opens in a new windowLago Trattoria for the best of the best). Supplemented by fresh fruits and produce from local farm stands, the variety of culinary treats provides great tasting food fuel for adventurers. A stop at the  opens in a new windowLong Point Eco Adventure Parkis a must-do, and with onsite glamping options a recommended base for all things Norfolk.

With so much to see and do, and a huge variety of rides to experience, it is surprising that a visit to Norfolk is not top of the list for more summer vacationers. Instead of setting your sites on what may be a more natural calling, heading north, take a twist and turn about to the southwest for a guaranteed great getaway. This weekend visit has left me wanting more, and already planning my next visit to Norfolk County.

For more visitor information and to plan your own trip to Norfolk County visit:

Plan a trip around one of the following annual events:

Take a bike tours or rent a bike from: