Ride Green Ft. Wayne Pub Tour

Often when I find myself in a new area I like to get a bit of “ground time”. Going on a walk, run, or bike ride is a wonderful, sensual experience for getting in touch with what a city, town, or countryside has to offer. A little quality time in nature or a quick pit stop in a new restaurant and a bar certainly tends to help along this crusade. Remind me to tell you about that time in Tucson…Luckily “Ride Green Ft. Wayne” has just the thing to take you on such a journey.

The Northeast Branch of the U.S. Green Building Chapter (USBC-IN Northeast) will be hosting its first annual “Ride Green” bicycle pub tour of 7 of the Fort’s favorite bars and restaurants. The event will take place on Saturday, September 6, at 2:00pm and will take attendees on a 6-mile loop beginning at the Wells Street Bridge. The route will pass by local favorites such as O’Sullivan’s Italian Pub, The Green Frog Inn, and Calhoun St. Soups, Salads, & Spirits.

BikeRoute 300x206 Ride Green Ft. Wayne Pub Tour

Ride Green Ft. Wayne Bike Route

Billed as the official public launch of the Sustain Fort Wayne Campaign, “Ride Green” is designed to show residents and visitors alike how to enjoy many of Ft. Wayne’s various businesses in fun, practical, and environmentally conscious ways. According to branch chair Andrew Hesterman, the event is meant to connect and build a spirited community looking to be active participants in the city. “We wanted to emphasize that anyone can be involved in a sustainable mindset and culture”, said Hesterman.

After a period of introspection the USBC-IN Northeast decided it was looking to expand it’s involvement in Ft. Wayne, making its voice heard throughout the community in interesting and inviting ways. While much of its energy was focused on promoting sustainability in the areas of design, architecture, and engineering, there seemed to be something missing in the organization’s overall mission. When asked for comment, Hesterman said, “We want to get people in gear with what (the USBC-IN) is all about.” Cultivating and participating in a burgeoning cycling scene in the Fort seemed the best course of action.

In turn, the USBC-IN Northeast hopes “Ride Green” will encourage citizens to become members. The organization offers LEED Environment certifications and education programs for building, engineering, design, and architectural professionals. Not involved in those fields? Then the organization offers “Green Associate” certifications for those who are looking to be involved with sustainable technologies and lifestyles.

When I asked Hesterman if he would consider himself a “cyclist” he responded with good humor stating, “If I am it’s at a leisurely pace!”

Be sure to check out the event’s website for more details! Did I mention you get a shirt with this?

And, in case you want to know, I’m SO going to be there.

CoasterPromo 300x138 Ride Green Ft. Wayne Pub Tour

Photo Courtesy: Ride Green Ft. Wayne

Andy Helmkamp


Andy is a recent arrival from Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he studied film theory and cultural criticism and spent time working with the Milwaukee Film Festival. There was also a lot of roasting and buying coffee thrown in there for good measure. Currently working for the Ft. Wayne Museum of Art and the Allen County Public Library, he's looking forward to exploring all the Fort has to offer. Chances are you'll find him at the Cinema Center, biking, writing, and running (from nothing in particular...weird right?), and pretending to know way more about craft beer than what he actually does.

#FWChalked Chalk Wall

“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior.”

Artlink and Love, Fort Wayne are indeed following Gandhi’s advice and think nothing but positive thoughts in the hopes they will lead to a more loving city and eventually world.

Artlink and Love, Fort Wayne have teamed up to help spread #FWChalked Chalk Wall to our city. Large Chalk Walls are being installed across the city and these community art projects encourage people to share what they love about their neighborhood or downtown.

chalk wall 1 300x225 #FWChalked Chalk Wall

Love, Fort Wayne was started by the 2013 class of Leadership Fort Wayne and is being carried on by the 2014 class. They are working to spread a positive image for our city and involve residents  in this process. They have already begun part of this process by capturing video of different residents and community leaders sharing their feelings on the Summit City.

Their partner in this project, Artlink, is a local gallery in the Auer Center for Arts and Culture. Their mission is to provide educational programming for artists and the community of Fort Wayne, and this new project is part of that effort.

This latest campaign has a two-fold purpose. First, it allows Artlink to engage the community in meaningful ways beyond the gallery storefront. Second, it enables Love, Fort Wayne to continue the positive conversations about our city it intends to foster.

chalk wall 2 300x200 #FWChalked Chalk Wall

The first wall was installed last week at Wunkerkammer. From its 7,000-square-foot home on Fairfield Avenue, Wunderkammer hosts carefully designed exhibits, educational programs, performances, and special events. The space is intended to be an outlet for contemporary and thought art and often hosts difficult, yet insightful works. Other future sites for the chalk walls include Firefly Coffeehouse, The Arts Campus, and Parkview Field.

Everyone in both organizations is excited to see how the conversation evolves. Head down to Wunderkammer, add your input to the wall, and see what everyone else is saying about why they love our city.

Holley Taylor


Holley is a student at Albion College in Michigan studying English with a Creative Writing Emphasis and History. She is excited to be back in her hometown this summer working as a Marketing Intern for Visit Fort Wayne. Holley enjoys reading, writing, dancing, and spending time with family and friends.

Fort Wayne Outfitters offers unique activities

Tucked away by the river in the historic Cass Street Depot – a building that looks like an illustration from an old fairy tale – lies Fort Wayne Outfitters and Bike Depot. This gem made its debut in Fort Wayne in 2007 and has been helping both residents and visitors alike to rediscover the joy of biking and the Fort Wayne rivers ever since.

FW Outfitters offers a variety of different rental options for your exploring pleasure. They have both standard and premium bikes on hand to rent. If you are just looking for a nice family outing and something different to do for an afternoon, the standard bikes should fit your needs perfectly. If you are more familiar with biking and would prefer to ride a mountain bike or specialty road bike, then the premium bikes are for you.

FWOutfitterStore 061a 300x200 Fort Wayne Outfitters offers unique activities

For just $48, you can rent out a standard bike for the whole day! Take it out in the morning and watch the city wake up and start moving. Bike to one of the great downtown restaurants for a quick refueling break, and then see more of the city from the peaceful Rivergreenway.

Or, if you already have your own bike and want to bring that with you, the Depot is great place to start a ride. They will be happy to service your bike for you, regardless of brand, and make sure you are all set for a long ride. Pick up a cold drink to take along while you are there!

FW Outfitters also supplies visitors with kayaks, canoes, or stand-up paddleboards. See Fort Wayne in a whole new way from the river. No matter which way you’d like to travel, FW Outfitters has you covered. They have single kayaks as well as tandems and canoes. This is a great way to spend the day with the family and it will definitely be an experience they never forget. Single kayaks are only $40 for a whole day of river exploration.

depot water 300x199 Fort Wayne Outfitters offers unique activities

If you’d like to get outside but aren’t really one for canoeing or biking, try booking Captain Black’s pontoon tour. The tour will last two hours, departs from the depot, and travels along the three rivers. This boat ride for 12 is sure to be a great time. See the rivers and enjoy a great meal catered by Hall’s, one of the favorite local restaurants.

For more rates on rentals and a link to the Fort Wayne Outfitters and Bike Depot shop, check out their website. And, with its convenient location, there are hotels and a plethora of restaurants close by to make your trip planning easy. Check out some of our great packages for insider deals. Take advantage of the cooler summer we’ve been having and start exploring the outdoors!

Holley Taylor


Holley is a student at Albion College in Michigan studying English with a Creative Writing Emphasis and History. She is excited to be back in her hometown this summer working as a Marketing Intern for Visit Fort Wayne. Holley enjoys reading, writing, dancing, and spending time with family and friends.

West Central home & garden tour offers inside view of historic neighborhood

wc 300x126 West Central home & garden tour offers inside view of historic neighborhood

Grab your walking shoes, and get ready to explore one of Fort Wayne’s most historic neighborhoods!

Fort Wayne is home to many historically rich neighborhoods. Among them, West Central is worth a second look. The good news for you is that annual Home & Garden Tour is right around the corner. Here’s what you can expect from this weekend that celebrates history, arts and horticulture in one of Fort Wayne’s most eclectic neighborhoods.

On Sept. 6 and 7, proud residents in the neighborhood open their doors for a few hours to the public for this annual event. Think tours of gardens, historic homes and other buildings from the 19th and 20th centuries, an arts fest, food, and live music. Several stops are on the itinerary this year, including beautiful homes and gardens. Browse the booths of  local artists at the ArtsFest and select a one-of-a-kind treasure for your home or as a unique gift. You’ll surely be impressed by the amount of local talent.

If you’re hungry there will be a variety of local food trucks and other vendors on hand. There will also be live entertainment during the event. The block party lasts all weekend!

I have gone every year for the past three or four, and I can tell you it’s one of the highlights of the fall. It inspires me to see how old homes have been restored with sometimes new and modern twists. Occasionally you can talk to the residents and learn about their renovation adventures.

I also enjoy hearing some of the history behind the residences.  At one time West Central was where Fort Wayne’s wealthy lived, so there is a backstory or two waiting to be rediscovered. History buffs: rejoice!

Tickets are $15 the day of the tour.  You can buy discounted tickets are local shops in the area. The tour runs from 11 am to 5 pm Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 6 and 7.  For further information, visit the West Central Neighborhood website, or call (260) 385-WEST.


Lauren Caggiano was raised in Fort Wayne, and returned in 2007 upon graduation from the University of Dayton. The president of WriteOn LLC, she specializes in writing, marketing, and French translation. In her spare time she enjoys travelling, yoga and volunteering. In the summer you can catch her riding around downtown on her vintage green Schwinn. For more information, check out her website: www.lcagg.com.

Make it a day date in Fort Wayne!

IMG 0698 300x300 Make it a day date in Fort Wayne!

Ready to go for day date fun!

I’ll admit it, sometimes it’s easy to get stuck in a date night rut and do the same things each time the idea of going out comes up. I grow a little tired of the run of the mill Friday/Saturday night date. They seem to all turn out the same – dinner at a local restaurant, a movie out somewhere, maybe grabbing a late evening drink and then home. I’m not complaining about being taken out on a date (so keep them coming, husband of mine!), but occasionally it’s nice to shake it up and switch date night to a day date! A few weeks ago my husband and I were lucky enough to both have a weekday off together and decided to go out and explore Fort Wayne day date style!

We started off by grabbing coffee at one of my favorite local places, Firefly Coffee House. I’ve been going to Firefly since I was in high school. I love the coziness inside with plenty of tables, and cozy couches to relax and sip on a cup of joe! They also have a nice deck that has some tables and chairs that make it perfect when the weather is nice. Although I do love their coffee, I would highly recommend a Firefly Smoothie on a warm day – it hits the spot!

IMG 0673 265x300 Make it a day date in Fort Wayne!

If you’re lucky you can even hand-feed a giraffe at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo!

Our next stop was the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo. I know you may be thinking “a CHILDREN’S zoo for a date?!”, and my answer is YES! Don’t let the name fool you, the zoo is fun whether you have little ones or want to do something fun with your friends – no matter what your age! We decided to kick off our zoo trip with a trip to the African Journey. The African portion of the zoo has always been one of my favorites. I remember being little and going to the zoo with my mom and wanting to head straight for Africa so we could ride the “Zebra Cars” (RIP). The way the African Journey is set up is a big loop, so you aren’t going to miss any animals along the way! We were able to see Zebra’s, Hyena’s, a Honey Badger, Wildebeast and of course, lions!

After we exited Africa we decided to just pick one more area to explore for the day (another promise of a return zoo date?) and settled on the Australian Adventure. The Australian Adventure is currently undergoing some major upgrades and improvements, some that you can already see! Phase one of this project included updating bathrooms and walkways, creating a new entrance to the area and upgrading dining and outdoor seating. Phases two and three will see updates to existing exhibit areas and even some brand new exhibits and animals! We took a break once we came in the Australian Adventure, grabbed slushies and sat down to enjoy the beautiful weather in the new seating area! One of my favorite parts of Australia is getting to walk through the kangaroos. During our visit most of these cute animals were snoozing on their afternoon nap, but other times I have seen them hopping along checking out the people that have come to visit them.

IMG 0687 300x300 Make it a day date in Fort Wayne!

Coney Island’s coney dogs are famous for their steamed buns and secret chili sauce.

After a great morning at the zoo we were ready for lunch, and decided on one of our favorite local spots, Fort Wayne’s Famous Coney Island in downtown Fort Wayne. If you’ve never been to Coney Island it is an experience every local and visitor MUST have! I’m a big Coney Island fan and have been going to get delicious hot dogs and bottled Coke for as long as I can remember! We went through the back alley entrance (because it’s much more fun to enter where it feels like you’re being secretive) and found a table and ordered our food – easy as that! Both my husband and I got coney dogs and a bowl of chili along with their famous bottled Cokes and we were in heaven. And, although Coney Island is famous for their coney dogs, you really can’t go wrong with ordering anything off of their small, but delicious menu.

IMG 0610 300x300 Make it a day date in Fort Wayne!

The Allen County Courthouse is one of the many architectural gems you’ll find in downtown Fort Wayne!

Post stuffing our faces with coney dogs, we decided to walk around downtown for a little bit. Taking in downtown is one of my favorite things to do. I love checking out some of the historic architecture and our beautiful parks to pass the time outside. If you want to do more than just take a walk, check out other great downtown places like the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, the Botanical Conservatory, Science Central (also not just for kids!) and more!

Soon we were craving a sweet treat and headed off to Zesto Ice Cream. Zesto is another Fort Wayne staple that you MUST try! I had to get my tried and true favorite, a chocolate vanilla twist cone. There’s really nothing better than sitting outside on a nice, summer day eating your Zesto twist cone – I promise you!

Our day date stopped there and we finished our day with walking our dog and binging on Ugly Betty on Netflix, but if you want to keep the date going, I think the perfect ending would be dinner and drinks at The Deck! Want even more date ideas (day or night)? Checking our trip ideas page!




Katie Robinson simply loves Fort Wayne! Born and raised in the Summit City, she returned following graduating from Ball State University with a degree in Public Relations in May of 2013. A former Visit Fort Wayner, Katie currently works for the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority as the Marketing and Customer Service Specialist. In her spare time you can find her baking cupcakes, Zumba-ing her heart out and relaxing with her husband, Joe, and their adorable Shih Tzu, Gidget.