History buffs – salty dogs – those who cycle for the scenery … this weekend cycling tour is for you. The seaside towns of Kennebunkport, Kennebunk, Arundel, and Cape Porpoise – collectively known as The Kennebunks – are saturated in maritime history, from times of salty sea captains, to a thriving ship building industry during which time as many as 100 ships were built and floated down the river a year, to the fisherman who for centuries have made a living off the coast’s rich marine resources. Today, the stately homes of the sea captains are welcoming B&Bs; boat building is still present, including a boat building school just four miles from town; and many a local make their living on the sea as lobstermen and fishermen.
Day 1 – Cruising the Coast
Why save the best for last? This afternoon you’ll meander along some of Kennebunkport’s loveliest roads and shorelines. We’ll start by going inland where we’ll be likely to see sheep and alpacas and even a llama grazing at the Ewe and I Farm. If you stop, they’ll visit – they’re quite friendly animals. We’ll take a short cut through the woods along the Gravelly Brook Road, home of the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust and some of the Trust’s many local trails. About a mile further along the route, you’ll find yourself surrounded by salt marsh, marking your close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. Hang a left once you arrive in the quaint lobstering village of Cape Porpoise and you’ll see the same sight that made me first fall in love with Maine. A quiet cove, beautiful homes, a safe harbor full of working lobster boats, and of course the magical islands of Cape Porpoise Harbor and the Goat Island Lighthouse. The view simply can’t get any better. We’ll finish our afternoon jaunt as we pass Walker’s Point – home of George and Barbara Bush – and then hug the coast the entire way back into town. Tonight’s dinner? Lobstah!
Cycling Options: 14 miles
Lodging: First of 2 Nights at The Nonantum Resort
Day 2 – Let’s Cover Some Distance
Goose Rocks Beach, Fortunes Rocks, the craggy shore of Biddeford Pool and the East Point Sanctuary, Wood Island Light, Hills Beach – these are some of the places we can adventure to when we head northeast of Kennebunkport. You may recognize a few roads in and out of town from yesterday’s ride, but most of the journey will be uncharted territory for our group. We’ll take a well-deserved break once we get to Biddeford Pool – there are great trails to walk, with crashing waves right at your side. Finding a perfect picnic spot is hardly a challenge and once you’ve had your fill it’ll be time to get back to town and our evening treat! Ride your bike, or finish the route in the van – it’s your vacation, do what feels good. Our goal is to be back to the inn with plenty of time to get showered up and grab an extra layer. Our evening chariot awaits a very short walk from the inn – it’s the Schooner Eleanor, an impressive vessel hand-crafted by its owner and captain, Rich Woodman. Rich and his crew will skillfully maneuver the Eleanor and our group out the river and into the open ocean where we’ll set the sails and enjoy an entirely different view of the coastlines you’ve been seeing. Relax, enjoy a glass of wine and keep an eye open for the diving Gannets or the occasional Minke Whale. Once back on shore, it’s a short walk to dinner at one of Kennebunkport’s finest and most fun, and the conclusion of an impressive day.
Cycling Options: 13 or 32 miles
Meals: Breakfast & Lunch & Dinner
Day 3 – Kennebunk and its Beaches
After another impressive breakfast at our inn, we’ll once again hop onto our bikes and this time explore what is west of the Kennebunk River. We’ll follow the rural River Road north and west to the first place where we can cross the river, Durrell’s Bridge. From there be prepared to have your cycling socks knocked off as we ride past some of Kennebunk’s stateliest homes, including the Wedding Cake House on your right. Continue through Kennebunk’s downtown, taking time to stop for ice cream at The Daily Scoop – if that’s your flavor. Then it’s time to travel back towards the sea, this time along the Mousam River. If conditions allow, we’ll take the Kennebunk Bridal Path along the river’s edge, watching for marsh birds and forest creatures along the way. Once back on the roads, it’s time to saunter along Kennebunk’s many beaches. Take your time, watch the surfers, watch the waves, get off your bike and put your feet in the sand – so luxurious. Pass back to the “other side of the bridge” and take your time through Kennebunkport’s Dock Square and back to the inn.
Cycling Options: 15 miles