2013 – Bar Harbor to Camp Jordan – Route Digest


 

For riders interested in learning more about the daily routes, we are providing a route digest for each day.  This summary is a compilation of history, culture and trivia that Maine native Fred Frawley uncovered along the route, and environmental information prepared by Kate Dempsey of The Nature Conservancy.  If there is something you discover in your travels along the route and think should be added to the digest, please submit your comments to ride@bikemaine.org.

Bar Harbor to Camp Jordan

You will begin the day peddling along the Acadia coast where you will see extensive tidal flats of Taunton Bay.  Watch for bald eagle as you ride – Taunton Bay is home to quite a few nesting pair!  Taunton Bay has high tidal fluctuations that create expansive tidal estuaries.  The large tidal range and freshwater tributaries in this region produce conditions that effectively mix nutrients with dissolved gases and create incredibly productive waters.  Tidal estuaries play a critical role in making the Gulf of Maine one of the most productive water bodies in the world.  They also provide important fish spawning habitat for a number of migratory including alewives and American eel.

After passing through Trenton, head towards Ellsworth, but at the intersection with Route 204, turn east toward Lamoine. You’ll remember that this area was initially French territory, and “le moine” (French for “monk”) changed into Lamoine over the years. Lamoine, like many of the towns out on the coast, boasts local boatbuilding craftsmanship. There is also a gravel mine. Lamoine lays at the northern head of yet another bay that reaches into the Atlantic — Frenchman Bay. Mount Desert Island (the land mass that includes Bar Harbor and the main section of Acadia National Park) lies further south in Frenchman Bay. The bay itself extends 15 miles and reaches seven miles in width.

The spectacular views just keep coming as you head north to Hancock. Here, you meet up with Coastal Route 1, which at one time was the main thoroughfare from Maine to Florida. The Interstate Highway system has changed all that, but up here, Route 1 is the lifeline east and south.

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Hancock is the home of Ray Murphy, the world’s first chainsaw artist, who has been carving intricate art from wood since 1952, and “Wilbur,” a 20-foot fiberglass lobster located outside the Tideway Motel near the junction of Rt. 182 and US 1.

Hancock is also the home of the Pierre Monteux School for classical conductors and musicians attended each summer by world-class musicians.  Among alumni are Lorin Maazel, André Previn, Sir Neville Marriner, David Zinman, Erich Kunzel, and Leon Fleisher.

Enjoy the cruise east along the coastal route, because the route is about to turn inland for the last time. It’s fitting that your last peek at the Atlantic on our route may be among the most spectacular.

You will head across an inlet leading to three additional bays, accessed by Bert Gray Road, via West Sullivan and North Sullivan. A significant portion of residents in this area are likely to be involved in the fishing, construction and trucking industry. The local landscape features open field, forests, hills, lakes, and ponds.

East Franklin marks the head of Hog Bay and is your last contact with salt water directly connected to the Atlantic Ocean. Though substantially inland, the extension of Sullivan Harbor leading up to Taunton Bay and Hog Bay gives Franklin a coastal flavor one captured (literally and figuratively) in Kelp Krunch, an energy bar made here in town by Maine Coast Sea Vegetables, Inc.

After about half the day along the coast, you will head north through some of Maine’s blueberry country.  As you make your way across rolling hills, you’ll see the thin soils and rocky barrens where Maine’s smaller low bush blueberries thrive.

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You will begin to see fresh-water bodies, as you head north on Route 200. Outside Franklin, the route runs between Great Pond and Georges Pond. A few miles further, approaching Eastbrook, the route runs between Webb Pond to the east and Abrams Pond to the West. As for Franklin, the Town’s website speaks for itself:

Years ago, Franklin was best known for lumbering, ship masts, railroad ties, granite, blueberries and Christmas trees. Today there are more than 75 businesses in town, many of which are home-based and range from electricians, jewelers, photographers, woodcutters, wreath makers, potters, basket makers, tile makers and sculptors.

Rolling north to Eastbrook, keep an eye on ponds throughout the territory. Once in Eastbrook, check out the Greek Revival style Eastbrook Baptist Church and Eastbrook Town House from the mid-19th century.  The church has been used as a town meetinghouse and library as well as a religious structure.

Leaving Eastbrook, we turn west and head  toward Graham Lake. While on the coast, you may remember Union River Bay. Graham Lake was formed in the early 20th century by a dam on the Union River, which in turns leads to the Bay. The original dam was built in 1922 about four miles north of Ellsworth, creating a lake/reservoir encompassing about 13,000 acres.

The route follows the Western shore of Graham Lake from Waltham in the north, to Fletcher’s Landing, down to Ellsworth Falls, the site of the dam. Fletcher’s Landing, also known as Central Hancock, is an unorganized territory with fewer than 200 residents according to the last census.

You’ll come to Ellsworth Falls, on the Union River and the site of one of the dams that created Graham Lake. Then, lean right and head north on the well travelled Route 1A towards the end of this section of the route, Camp Jordan, on Branch Lake.

Camp Jordan

Just before your end point, look to the corner of Winkumpaugh Rd. and Harrison Landing Road and you’ll see the Telephone Museum. Located in “a big gray barn on a country road”, the museum displays show the history of the telephone from the Bell patent to the mid-1980’s. As the museum itself says “Ring us up! Use a hand-crank (magneto) phone and learn how a switchboard operator connects calls. Find out how and why the dial phone was introduced. See and hear the wonderful noise of electro-mechanical telephone switching systems.”  Check ahead of time to see if the museum will be open.

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Camp Jordan, on the shores of Branch Lake, Camp Jordan is owned and operated by the YMCA of Bangor and each summer it host’s overnight campers and others from around Central Maine and beyond. Camp Jordan has provided the summer camp experience for many Maine boys and girls for over 100 years.  The 6000 square foot dining lodge was a gift of Maine’s most famous contemporary writer, Stephen King (and his wife) who lives in nearby Bangor.  With luck, the lake will be warm enough for a swim.

While Camp Jordan does not provide lodging to outside groups, Ellsworth has a plethora of hotels and lodging available. 

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