BikeMaine 2016: Discover the Bold Coast!

2016 Route Information

SCHOODIC INSTITUTE, WINTER HARBOR

Often referred to “the quiet side of Acadia National Park,” Winter Harbor is a fishing village located across Frenchman Bay from Bar Harbor. The small town has a wonderful variety of gift shops, antique shops, art galleries, bike and kayak rentals and several eateries. 

Schoodic Institute is located on property that was once home to a former naval station, located completely within the Schoodic District of Acadia National Park. When the Navy closed the base in 2002, the land was returned to the National Park Service. Schoodic Institute was originally conceived in 2004 as Acadia Partners for Science and Learning before changing its name to Schoodic Institute in 2013. The Schoodic Institute is committed to guiding people to greater understanding and appreciation for nature by providing research and learning opportunities through its outstanding Acadia National Park setting, unique coastal Maine facilities, and innovative partnership programs.

Winter Harbor to Jonesport Route Description

“To the Lobster pound!”BikeMaine 2016 began the week with a breathtakingly beautiful ride along the rocky coast of Maine and an optional 8-mile side trip to the picturesque village of Corea. Then settle in for some inland miles through Gouldsboro and Steuben, to Milbridge (only for a peek; you’ll be back here later in the week) and Harrison. Then head Down East to Jonesport and the spectacular oceanfront campsite on Kelley Point, a perfect venue for the lobster bake.

Mileage: 62.3 miles (54 miles without side trip to Corea)
Elevation Gain: 3,067 feet

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JONESPORT

Jonesport, incorporated as a part of a township in 1809, grew into a booming town in the early 1900s with several sardine canning factories, a busy port, a thriving business district and numerous amenities. Currently, Jonesport is in the process of reinventing itself. Commercial fishing for lobsters, clams, quahogs, urchins and periwinkles, and other ocean-related businesses dominate Jonesport’s economy and continue to be a vital part of the town’s identity. Other avenues of diversification are being examined as Jonesport opens itself to the possibilities offered through global marketing. With so much to offer, and yet such a strong identity to protect, Jonesport is guaranteed to continue being a unique and bountiful place along Maine’s Bold Coast.

Jonesport to Machias Route Description

“Life’s a beach…or two!”-No visit to Jonesport is complete without a trip across the bridge to Beals Island, and that is how we began Day 2. Then continue your journey east, hugging the coast northward until crossing the Chandler River. At Jonesboro, head southeast to the remote Roque Bluffs State Park, with its half-mile sandy beach along chilly Englishman Bay and the shallow, warm waters of Simpson Pond. A ride around Little Kennebec Bay finds us pedaling down the Bucks Harbor peninsula to Jasper Beach, remarkable for its astounding array of jasper and other smooth volcanic rocks called rhyolite. Double back to the top of the peninsula and inland to Machias and camping along the Machias River.

Mileage: 56.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 3,061 feet

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MACHIAS

Machias, the Passamaquoddy phrase meaning “bad little falls,” is named for the powerful waterfall roaring through town. Machias was incorporated as a town in 1784. By the mid-1800s it had developed into a major railroad center for northern lumber operations and was home to eight sawmills, a shipyard, and numerous wood manufacturers, grain mills and other factories. Today, Machias is home to a thriving agriculture and aquaculture base, the University of Maine at Machias and Down East Community Hospital. Its major industries are blueberries, balsam wreaths, and education, and it is the seat of Washington County government. Burnham Tavern, now a museum, provides information on the first naval battle of the American Revolution, which took place in Machias.

Machias to Eastport Route Description

From Machias, head north past Lake Cathance to Cooper, then over to Meddybemps and the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge. The route weaves its way among a series of small lakes through Charlotte, to North Perry and Passamaquoddy Bay, with its views of New Brunswick, Canada. Then ride south through the Pleasant Point Reservation (Sipayik) and into Eastport, the easternmost city in the United States.  

Mileage: 59.1 miles
Elevation Gain: 3,392 feet

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EASTPORT

The City of Eastport, located on Moose Island, was first settled in 1772, but the Passamaquoddy Tribe, which has a reservation immediately north of the causeway connecting the island to the mainland, has called the area home for at least 10,000 years. Eastport, the easternmost city in the United States, was incorporated in 1798 and has a rich history of shipbuilding, fishing, marine transport and smuggling.

Eastport, the smallest city in Maine with a population of about 1,300, maintains a working waterfront and a downtown historic district that is on the National Register of Historic Places. Once known as the sardine-capital of the world, the city today takes advantage of its seaport – the deepest natural seaport in the continental United States, its fisheries, and its 20-foot tides to create a new economy. There also is a vibrant creative economy, evidenced by the numerous art galleries lining the main street. The revitalization of Maine’s smallest city has caught the attention of the cruise ship business, which now includes Eastport on its list of stops.

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Eastport to Lubec Route Description

Although you can see from Eastport the outline of the route’s next destination across the bay in Lubec, there is some riding to do to get there by bicycle. Retrace the route to Perry, and then head west around Cobscook Bay. For riders who want to experience Reversing Falls, a favorite playground for seals, there is an 8-mile round trip ride from Pembroke down Leighton Peninsula to Reversing Falls Park. This natural phenomenon is best viewed 1-2 hours prior to the day’s high tide at 10:15 a.m. From Pembroke, the route skirts Denny’s Bay. In Whiting, a sharp left turn will put you on the route to Lubec.

Mileage: 54.4 miles

Elevation Gain: 2,449 feet

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LUBEC

Acadians from Nova Scotia settled Lubec in 1758. Initially incorporated as a part of Eastport, Lubec became a separate town in 1811. Its growth was fueled by shipbuilding and smoked herring and, when the large herring for curing became scarce, by small herring, or sardines.

The sardine packing factories and smoke houses are gone and gift shops, restaurants, a local microbrewery, and the historic McCurdy Smokehouse museum now occupy Lubec’s storefronts. Fishermen harvest lobsters, scallops and other shellfish from Cobscook Bay. Tourists looking for a true Down East experience can appreciate Lubec’s recreational boating, whale tours and the Lubec – Eastport Ferry. The eastern most point of land in the continental United States is located in Quoddy Head State Park, known for its classic lighthouse, ocean views and walking trails.  For those carrying a valid passport, a short bridge links Lubec to Campobello Island, home to Roosevelt International Park.

Lubec to Milbridge Route Description

The first stop of today’s ride is at Quoddy Head State Park, the easternmost point of land in the continental United States. From there, head west to Cutler, a charming fishing village that is also home to one of the most powerful very low frequency radio transmitters in the world. The route passes through East Machias and Machias, then through Columbia Falls, home of the historic Ruggles House and Wreaths Across America, the non-profit organization that annually makes and places wreaths on all the graves at Arlington National Cemetery. From there, it is a straight shot to Milbridge, where you spend the night on the shore of the Narraguagus River.

Mileage: 73.1 miles
Elevation Gain: 4,092 feet

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MILLBRIDGE

Millbridge was settled in 1760 by wealthy ship captains, ship builders and entrepreneurs and incorporated as a town in 1848. For generations, the commercial lobster and clamming industries have played a vital role in the local economy. It is an “Incredible Edible” community where people are invited to snack on publicly planted, locally grown fruits and vegetables as they explore the town. Milbridge also is home to the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge office offering information about wildlife protection efforts and amazing seaside hiking trails. Milbridge is unique in Maine for its large Latin American population, which contributes an array of events, cuisine, culture, and language.

Milbridge to Schoodic Institute, Winter Harbor Route Description

On the last day, the route traces the Narraguagus River north to Cherryfield, known as “the wild blueberry capital of the world.” Travel west along the Blackwoods Scenic Byway, climbing between ponds to the top of Catherine Mountain before beginning a long descent into Franklin. From there, the route runs due south to Sullivan, where we pick up Route 1 to West Gouldsboro. Then travel south to Winter Harbor, where you turn onto the Schoodic Loop Road for the final coastal miles to Schoodic Institute.  

Mileage: 49 miles
Elevation Gain: 3,189 feet

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