Three nice rides around Ellsworth
Our visit to Patten Pond with extended family is always a highlight of the summer. Tons of reading, swimming, relaxing, and eating (mostly lobsters!). This year, I've also managed together some very nice rides in! Here's the lowdown.
1. Schoodic Peninsula
Here's a nice 30ish-miler around Acadia's lesser-known Schoodic Peninsula. No Thunder Hole or tea and popovers here, just beautiful views, tidepools, and smooth, quiet roads. I only experienced limited views because the a thick fog had descended on the area when I did the ride, lifting only as I was finishing up. Still, a great ride, and can't wait to do it under better conditions!
The road around the park is straightforward enough. But I followed the loop that begins on West Gouldsboro documented by the Maine DOT at http://www.exploremaine.org/bike/schoodic.html . There are lots of good tours documented there, though not as many as you'd expect.
2. Surry & Newbury Neck
Here's a ride that I haven't quite done all of, but seems to have great potential. Newbury Neck is another peninsula that extends down between Morgan Bay and Union River Bay. If you start in Surry at the intersection of 172 & 176, follow Newbury Neck Rd south, avoiding the main signposted routes to Blue Hill etc. the road goes all the way to the end of the peninsula with rolling hills and very little traffic. Views are mostly limited to trees and the odd glimpse of water, since almost all the roads leading to the shore are private - but the real selling point for this out-and-backer is the opportunity to put your head down and just go.
3. Happytown Road
This us one LOVELY out-and-back. Like ride mo 2 above, this might not be worth travelling from a distance to do (really because it starts at Route 1, which is just about as inhospitable a road as I'd ever care to bike on). But this turned out to be a great ride for mr because it starts practically across the street from our cabin.
There are two big things to note about this ride. There us no Happytown per se, as far as I know anyway. So don't turn down Happytown Road expecting it to lead you there. The other thing is that this 24-mile ride is about half unpaved hardpack gravel with some washboardy bits. Absolutely perfect for me and Thorny, but anyone on a carbon fiber trifle might run into trouble.
So, as long as you aren't expecting to arrive in Stepford or Shangri-la-di-da Valley, and you've got a sturdy ride with fatties fitted, then this a nice ride for you!
The way I did it today, it's about 12 miles out and 12 back. I rode out Happytown Road from Rt 1 until I got to the crossroads with Winkumpaugh Rd and turned right, following the sign to Annie's Pride general store (isn't that a great name, though? Who wouldn't take that turn?) the store is just across another main road - Rt 1A. I didn't go in, but know it's got a good rep.
There seem to be lots of alternatives, including continuing on Happytown Rd (maybe there is a Happytown at the end of it somewhere?) - I chose this route because I was intrigued by Annie and it fit the time I had for riding today precisely.
The route is gorgeous, with sweet little farms, woods, and great huge fields with typical Maine blueberry bushes and boulders, and a couple very old cemetaries. Another highlight along the route for another time is the New England Telephone Museum.
It's also probably worth mentioning that it's pretty hilly, but nothing too ridiculous.
Here are a couple more rides in the area that I'll have to do another time....
4. Acadia's carriage roads
By next year, both of our girls should be able to pedal these with aplomb. I also want to ride Park Loop Road to the top of Cadillac Mountain.
5. The Downeast Sunrise Trail
Already partially complete, this is another rails-to-trails project employing crushed gravel surfaces and catering to ATVs in addition to walkers and cyclists (seems that's how it works round these parts...). See http://www.hcpcme.org/transportation/sunrise .