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. Due to tourism and an active summer community, the year-round population of 516 residents nearly triples from Memorial Day to Columbus Day each year. The small town has a wonderful variety of gift shops, antique shops, art galleries, bike and kayak rentals and several eateries. Grindstone Neck Association includes a yacht club, home to the oldest one-design sailboat fleet in the United States; a nine-hole golf course boasting “water views from every hole”; tennis courts and footpaths. Winter Harbor also is home to a vibrant arts organization, Schoodic Arts for All, that brings year round performances, exhibits and workshops to the area.
Winter Harbor is the gateway to the Schoodic Point section of Acadia National Park, where BikeMaine 2016 began and ended at Schoodic Institute. 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.
Day 1 – Winter Harbor to Jonesport
“To the Lobsterbound!”
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
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. In 1905, the town of Jonesport was divided into ten school districts, with 16 lower grade schools and one high school. When the sardine fishing in the area began to decline, lobster fishing took its place, but eventually, much of Jonesport’s commercial fishing industries moved to other ports.
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.
The BikeMaine Village was on Kelley Point, named after Thomas Kelley, who settled the point in 1773, and was the perfect site for our annual lobster bake. This beautiful ocean front property is now owned by Dawn and Ed Degenhardt, founders of Degenhardt Foundation. The Degenhardts, along with their nine children adopted from around the world, use the Foundation to improve life for children and families worldwide through the non-profit organization “Aid for Kids.” Domestically, the Aid for Kids’ “Other Maine” project provides clothing, school supplies, books, back packs, and other needed merchandise to the rural poor living in Aroostook and Washington Counties. Each Labor Day, Aid for Kids invites families from northern Maine to camp on their spectacular Kelley Point property.
Day 2 – Jonesport to Machias
“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
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.
The BikeMaine Village was located along the banks of where the Middle and Machias Rivers meet.
Days 3 & 4 – Machias to Eastport (plus layover day in Eastport)
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
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. This history, coupled with a bustling downtown and ferry access to Canada’s Deer and Campobello Islands, makes Eastport an excellent community to spend a rest day in.
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.
The BikeMaine Village was situated in a hilltop field at the intersection of Key Street and Brighton Avenue, less than a half-mile from the downtown.
Day 5 – Eastport to Lubec
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, 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.
**Optional visit to Campobello Island for those who have a valid passport.
Mileage: 54.9 miles (46 miles without side trip to Reversing Falls)
Elevation Gain: 3,095 feet
Lubec was settled in 1758 by Acadians from Nova Scotia. 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 Lubec’s storefronts are now occupied by gift shops, restaurants, a local microbrewery, and the historic McCurdy Smokehouse museum. 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.
The BikeMaine Village was located in the sports fields adjacent to the Lubec Consolidated School, with its view of the Quoddy Narrows.
For more information about Lubec visit: VisitLubecMaine.com
Day 6 – Lubec to Milbridge
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
Milbridge 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.
Milbridge has an active fishing harbor situated at the mouth of the Narraguagus River. Downtown Milbridge is easily walkable, and has a well-defined, full-service Main Street, with restaurants, grocery store, laundromat, pharmacy, library, historical society, and a medical center. 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. Visitors can take a tour boat cruise to observe how lobsters are caught, go whale watching, and photograph islands, lighthouses and puffins.
Milbridge is unique in Maine for its large Latino population, which contributes an array of events, cuisine, culture, and language.
The BikeMaine Village was on the bank of Narraguagus Bay, within walking distance of the downtown.
Day 7 – Milbridge to Schoodic Institute, Winter Harbor (end)
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
Lodging Options along the BikeMaine (2016) Bold Coast Route
*Please note that while BikeMaine is willing to make cyclists aware of non-camping lodging options, BikeMaine makes no representation about the quality of the properties or service provided.