Load up your bike and join us for this relaxed ride through some of the East Coast’s most stunning landscapes and seascapes. Traveling from motel to motel, we’ll trace inland lakes and rivers; pedal past peaks clad in birch, fir, and pine trees; and skirt granite-lined harbors and bays where the essences of saltwater and tidal flats waft along on the breeze.
Beginning in Bangor, we’ll first ride to Ellsworth and then continue on to the lively seaside village of Bar Harbor. We’ll spend three overnights in and around Acadia, which, in 1919, became the first national park established east of the Mississippi. Once there, we might bask in some of North America’s first rays of a new day atop the tallest point on the North Atlantic seaboard or experience bike-cruising bliss along the park’s carriage paths.
|Start Date:||Jun 14, 2014||End Date:||Jun 21, 2014|
|Start Location:||Bangor, ME||End Location:||Bangor, ME|
|Total Days:||8||Riding Days:||6|
|Rest Days:||2||Level of Support:||Inn to Inn|
|Miles:||197||Average Daily Mileage:||32.8|
|Type:||Self Contained||Meals:||Indoor Dining|
|Accommodations:||Indoor (Inn to Inn)||Physical Difficulty:||Beginner+|
|Airport:||Bangor International (BGR)||Tour Leader:||Rich Scott, Michelle Mathieu-Scott|
Bangor, Maine. Before meeting the group this evening, you may want to take the time to explore Bangor. Once the worlds’ largest lumber port, Bangor remains the cultural center of the Maine Highlands — there’s loads to see and do! In the evening, we’ll gather at a nice hotel near Bangor International Airport, share a group meal and meet with our tour leader for an orientation session.
Bangor to Ellsworth, 27 miles. We’ll ease into our weeklong tour with a relatively short day, stopping to overnight in the town of Ellsworth, home to the Telephone Museum. Its mission: “To demonstrate the social and technical significance of the telephone network from 1876 to the present, using working equipment to provide tangible, operable evidence of an evolving technology.” We’ll ring ’em up if we get the chance!
Ellsworth to Bar Harbor, 28 miles. Another short day today, which should allow for plenty of time in the afternoon to get acquainted with Bar Harbor’s dizzying mix of sights, sounds, and tasty cuisine. Options include kayaking, shopping, knocking about the waterfront, or perhaps reading up on the geology of Acadia National Park, where the land began lifting upward after glaciers retreated northward some 15,000 years ago. Later, melting ice caps caused a rise in the sea level, resulting in today’s “drowned coast” — that is, what we now see as extensions of the sea were formerly river valleys and these islands were once the tips of tall mountains.
Layover day, Bar Harbor, 0-30 optional miles. If the weather cooperates and we can get up and out the door early enough, we’ll make the 6-mile trip from our hotel to the summit of Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the North Atlantic seaboard at 1,530 feet above sea level. There’s also the option of pedaling Acadia National Park’s 45-mile system of car-free carriage roads. Constructed under the direction of John D. Rockefeller Jr., they’ve been called “the finest example of broken stone roads designed for horse-drawn vehicles still extant in America.” They’re as great for hiking as they are for biking.
Bar Harbor to Southwest Harbor, 40 miles. Today we’ll bid farewell to Bar Harbor and head out along the coast. As the shoreline dictates, we’ll head south, west, north, west, and south again to Southwest Harbor, visiting the shop-filled villages of Seal Harbor and Northeast Harbor along the way. Covering a good share of Acadia’s more than 40 miles of rocky shoreline, we’ll have ample opportunities to get up close and personal with the park’s vibrant array of intertidal flora and fauna.
Southwest Harbor to Blue Hill, 40 miles. After pedaling back to Ellsworth we’ll begin tackling loop number-four, our longest and last. The ride to our overnight destination of Blue Hill does throw some hills at us, but if there were no hills, we wouldn’t be in Maine! It’s reported that by 1850 some 5,000 cords of firewood were being shipped from the Port of Blue Hill annually. The town and surroundings were also known for high-quality granite, some of which was used in constructing both the Brooklyn Bridge and the New York Stock Exchange building. Today, centuries-old homes and buildings remind us of those days gone by.
Blue Hill to Bucksport, 36 miles. Via a new route to our point of origin in Bangor, we’ll ride through the town of Castine, where we could stop for a kayak adventure or simply a nice lunch at the Compass Rose Bookstore and Café on Main Street. Bucksport, our history rich destination for the eve, is where the Penobscot River makes its final run, approaching its entry into the Atlantic Ocean. Day 8 Bucksport to Bangor, 26 miles. A short riding day will end our beautiful tour along the Maine coast but the journey is not complete without a visit to Fort Knox and the Penobscot Narrows Observatory. Fort Knox (not the one with all the cash reserves; that’s in Kentucky) was built in 1844 to protect the Penobscot River Valley from possible attack by British naval forces. Located on the west bank of the Penobscot River, Fort Knox is perhaps the best preserved fortification on the New England coastline. We'll arrive back at our hotel near the Bangor airport with memories of scenery and cycling to last a lifetime.
"I most enjoyed the coast of Maine and its mountains are stunning"
2013 Tour Participant