Day 7 – Route Digest – Milbridge to Schoodic Insitute


Milbridge

Milbridge was settled around 1760 by wealthy ship captains, ship builders and entrepreneurs and incorporated as a town in 1848. The first settlers made their home on the banks on the Narraguagus River and made their living by cutting lumber and building schooners used in the West India trade. Milbridge contains many historic 19th century homes including that of the baron of wild blueberries, Jasper Wyman. Visitors can learn about the town’s maritime heritage at the Milbridge Historical Society, located across the street from BikeMaine Village.

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 that is filled with commercial fishing boats. Visitors can take a boat cruise to observe how lobsters are caught, go whale watching, and photograph islands with lighthouse or puffins. Milbridge restaurants and seafood shops offer a variety of fresh, local seafood.

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.

Milbridge is unique in Maine for its large Latino population, which contributes an array of events, cuisine, culture, and language. Milbridge embraces its diverse residents and cultures, and Milbridge Days is an enduring annual celebration that brings the community together. Milbridge residents of all walks depend on the rich natural resources of the region, including artists and craftspeople, fishermen and farmers, tourism providers and recreationists.

The BikeMaine Village is located on the bank of Narraguagus Bay, within walking distance of the downtown.


Day 7: Milbridge to Schoodic Institute

Miles: 39.3 miles

Elevation Gain: 2158 feet

IMG_0299We start our last day of BikeMaine riding a road running parallel to the Narraguagus River to Cherryfield, named for the wild cherries that once grew along the banks of the river. The town was first settled around 1760, and its town center has been designated a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places for its collection of period structures dating from 1750 to1890.

The town now bills itself as the “Blueberry Capital of the World.” Cherryfield is home to Cherryfield Foods, Inc., which owns and operates the largest fruit farm in North America. The company was originally founded in 1866 as a blueberry canning operation. Since colonial days, Washington County has been famous as the source of most of the wild blueberries packed in Maine.

We turn onto Route 182 and enter the Blackwoods Scenic Byway. The byway travels 12.5 miles through undeveloped mountains, lakes, and forests between the towns Cherryfield and Franklin. Although we turn off the byway before it reaches the mountains, it is worth noting that extensive hiking, boating, and fishing opportunities abound all year round along this stretch of road.

The Unionville Road has us heading south into Unionville, a village of Steuben. Steuben was incorporated in 1795 and named after Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, a Prussian-born American military officer who served as inspector general and major general of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War.

Rest Stop at Mile 22.6 at the Knights of Pythias Hall in Gouldsboro

Route 1 takes us through Gouldsboro, then we turn onto the South Gouldsboro Road. A back road takes us to Grindstone Neck, a summer colony that was founded by a group of gentlemen from Philadelphia and New York in 1890. The Grindstone Golf Course is one of the oldest courses in Maine, dating back to 1891. Many of the “cottages” that are seen around the Neck today were built around that time, as were a 250-room inn, two churches, a stable, a casino, a saltwater swimming pool with one hundred cabanas, and the Winter Harbor Yacht Club, home to the oldest one-design sailboat fleet in the United States, the Winter Harbor Knockabouts.Dige

We enter Winter Harbor, which was settled in 1762 as a plantation originally known as “Mosquito Harbor.” It was renamed Winter Harbor in 1854 because the harbor never froze and was a safe haven for mariners seeking shelter from winter storms.  In 1856, Winter Harbor Light was constructed on Mark Island to guide vessels to the harbor and to warn of nearby ledges. Schooners transported lumber and laths back and forth to Boston and the Canadian provinces in the 1830s. For much of the 1800s, most of the men were employed in the cod ground fishery. Winter Harbor, initially a village of Gouldsboro, was incorporated as its own town in 1895.

From Winter Harbor, we re-enter the Schoodic Point section of Acadia National Park and end our BikeMaine week with a breathtakingly beautiful ride along the park road to Schoodic Institute, where a farewell luncheon awaits.

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