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I’ll cut right to the chase here: At the Oxbow Beer Garden in Oxford, you can cross-county ski, snowshoe, or fat bike on the trails – for free – then head inside the restaurant for pizza and beer. Maybe head out back and loiter by the bonfire if you’re so inclined.

To summarize: Trails. Beer. Pizza. Bonfire. All in one spot. Cross-country skiers will be familiar with this location – it’s the former Carter’s XC Ski Center on Main Street in Oxford. Carter’s still runs their Bethel location, but parted ways with this spot a couple of years ago.

Last year, Oxbow Brewing Company reopened the doors (and the trails). And I love what they’ve done with the place.

Oxbow Beer Garden – formerly Carter’s XC Ski Center, from the road. Shannon Bryan photos

If you simply did a quick drive by, you might not immediately notice the changes. The big barn is still there. A congregation of short buildings. A dirt parking lot.

But then there’s that nice Oxbow Beer Garden sign and the old barn’s sharp-looking exterior. And just wait until you step inside that cool renovated space. Big changes have definitely take place in there.

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