4 Awesome Hikes in Kennebunkport Maine

You’ve planned a visit and now you’re looking awesome hikes in  Kennebunkport.  Yes there are delightful restaurants – great decks from which to enjoy an afternoon beverage – and shopping options galore.  How about getting out and going for a walk?  There are wonderful walking options close to Dock Square in Kennebunkport – all close enough to ride your bike to if you choose to make more of an adventure out of it.

 

St. Anthony’s Franciscan Monastery

The trails of this 66-acre estate are open to the public and afford incredible vantage points of the Kennebunk River as it flows towards the sea.  Enjoy the quiet beauty and solitude of the many paths – through manicured gardens, past outdoor shrines and grottos, through the woods, and along the river.  There are great benches to relax on and while watching life on the river pass by.  The grounds of the estate were designed by legendary Frederick Law Olmsted Bros who also designed New York City’s Central Park, and many of the sculptures adorning the grounds were crafted by world-renowned artists and sculptors.

Getting to the Monastery – 0.5 miles from Dock Square – cross over the bridge into Kennebunk.  At the light with Route 35, make a left onto Beach Avenue.  St. Anthony’s is on your left.  There is ample parking for bikes or cars.

Bridle Path of Kennebunk

From this starting point, the Bridle Path stretches both north towards Kennebunk and south towards the ocean.  If you choose the southerly portion, the distance you’ll cover will be quite short.  If you choose to go north, you can walk more than 2 miles before you will have to turn back around and retrace towards your vehicle.  Either direction, you will be exploring land, preserved as part of the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, that lies alongside the Mousam River as it meanders to the sea.

Getting to the Bridle Path – 2.1 miles from Dock Square – cross over the bridge into Kennebunk.  At the light, continue straight on Route 9 / Western Avenue.   Continue straight through the light with Sea Road.  Follow on another 0.6 miles and you will see a small pull off on the right hand side of the road.  If you cross the river you’ve gone too far!  Park off the road side, in the direction of traffic.  The path goes in both directions from this point.

Cape Porpoise Harbor Islands

Plan your visit to the islands with the tide.  If you want to get out and back, you can bank on having a solid hour and a half to two hours on either side of low tide during which you can explore.   Spend that time exploring the mud flats, bring a book and a water bottle and pull up a sunny rock on Trott Island, or wander the whole way over to Stage Harbor and go for a swim.  Please note – even during the lowest of low tides, you will still have to slog through ankle to knee deep water as you cross the various channels to the islands.  We recommend you wear shoes that will not come off in the mud.  These islands are all part of the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust.  Please visit their website for guidelines regarding island use – especially if you decide you’d like to make a night of it and set up camp.  Don’t forget to check the tide!

Getting to Cape Porpoise Harbor – 3.0 miles from Dock Square – there are many different routes that will take you to Cape Porpoise.  For the most direct route from Dock Square, head up Spring Street to the light and make a right onto Route 9.  Go one block and make a left, staying on Route 9 / School Street.  In town Cap Porpoise, where Route 9 will make a 90° turn to the left, stay straight onto Pier Road.  Follow Pier Road out to the end of the peninsula where you will find a parking lot and restaurant options if you choose to stay for a meal.

East Point Sanctuary – Biddeford

This entire trail is about 1.4 miles roundtrip and is very easy walking.  You’ll be a stone’s throw from Wood Island Lighthouse, and the rocky shore Maine is known for will be right at your feet.  Take time to smell the beach roses and the bayberry shrubs.  If the tide is out, explore the plentiful tide pools, keeping in mind that any black rock you put your foot on will be slippery!  This is a phenomenal location to watch the moon or sun rise.  If you have binoculars, bring them!  Please be mindful of the severely eroded embankments and choose options that will not contribute to this issue.

Getting to East Point – 10.4 miles from Dock Square – follow Route 9 out of Kennebunkport.  Pass Cape Porpoise and then Goose Rocks Beach.  Make a right onto Fortunes Rock Road.  Follow it as it makes a 90° turn to the left.  Pass Fortunes Rock Beach on your right and continue on.  At the stop with Route 208, continue straight on Mile Stretch Road.  Follow as the road turns into Lester B Orcutt Blvd which leads to the ocean.  Park along the right hand side of the road, facing the ocean and facing with traffic.  The trail head is across the street and is marked with a fence and a Maine Audubon sign.

 

6 Great Reasons to Visit Macedonia

I love to travel so it does’t take much for me to add a destination to my bucket list. With Macedonia I was instantly hooked. For anyone on the fence here are 6 great reasons to visit Macedonia.

1. You Will Have the Place to Yourself

If you have ever used the phrase “Off the Beaten Track” Macedonia is the place for you. Last year, Macedonia received 630,000 visitors. To put that in perspective France received 81 million people and Disneyland received 25 million.

2. The Food is Really Good

Macedonian cuisine is a wonderful mixture ofMediterranean and Middle Eastern influences. Lush with farm fresh vegetables, herbs and amazing local cheeses.

3. And So Is the Wine

Macedonian wines have begun to get the attention they deserve.” Food and Wine” picked it as their top wine destination of 2015.

4. The Word is Out

The New York Times picked Macedonia as a top 10 destination for 2015.

Outside Magazine picked it as a place everybody will be talking about it 2015 saying

“Crowds have yet to reach this mountainous Balkan state, which means you can go caving, road biking, and hiking in glorious isolation.”

Yahoo Travel called the Town of Ohrid the secret gem that you have never heard of.

British Travel Magazine Wanderlust picked the Western Balkans including Macedonia as a top destination for 2015.

5. There is Lots of Great Stuff to See and Do

Some of the trip highlights include:

  • 1. Cycling into Albania
  • 2. Visiting 3 National Parks
  • 3. Discovering Lake Ohrid one of the oldest in Europe
  • 4. Exploring fabulous Byzantine churches

6 It’s a Bargin

Since the Euro is so low and we are trying to launch Macedonia as a destination the 8 day/7 night tour is only $1400.00 per person.

Check out our Macedonia Bike Tour

Where to Bike in Portland, Maine

Portland, Maine’s popularity as a place to live and visit is due to its charm, food, arts scene, and access to outdoor recreation. Casco Bay provides unlimited opportunities to enjoy the ocean while many lakes and mountains are within an easy drive. Portland has a very active bike culture and many great places to ride. Here is a list of popular cycling routes.

Great for Families with Children

The Eastern Promenade Trail. The eastern prom trail runs for 2.1 miles each way along the shores of Casco Bay and then connects to the Back Cove Trail (this loop trail is 3.5 miles in length). The entire ride is on bike paths and along the water.

The Cape Elizabeth Loop
This ride follows the shore of Casco Bay to Portland’s Lighthouses, through the farmland of Cape Elizabeth with an optional ride to Portland area beaches. Detailed route notes are available from the State of Maine’s bike tour site or if you are seeking a guided and van supported tour check out Summer Feet Cycling’s 5 Lighthouse Tour.

The East Coast Greenway
The East Coast Greenway is a 2500 mile route from the Canadian border to Key West. The goal is for the route to be entirely on bike paths. The route is mapped and well signed and provides the opportunity to explore south of Portland. You ride the Greenway (out and back)  down to Old Orchard Beach, a beautiful beach surrounded by an outdoor arcade and carnival type games about 40 miles round trip. Looking for a longer ride?  Cycle all the way down to Kennebunkport about 85 miles round trip. Route notes are available from the East Coast Greenway Website.

North of Portland

A couple of fun options for cycling north of Portland offer great cycling and a ferry ride.

Chebeague Island
The largest island in Casco Bay, cycling Chebeague offers a fun glimpse of island life. There are a couple of hills but the island is a good family ride. There are 2 ways to cycle Chebeague 

The Chebeague Loop
Catch the mail boat from Casco Bay Lines and cruise among the islands of Casco Bay. On Chebeague spend the day exploring the island, it is approximately 10 miles around the island, and return to Portland via the Casco Bay ferry. Summer Feet Cycling offers a self guided package featuring bike rentals, ferry tickets and a gift card towards lunch at the award winning Chebeague Island Inn.

Chebeague Island, Cousins Island, and Falmouth
This version includes a little more cycling. Like the other Chebeague Island Tour, this tour begins by riding the Casco Bay Ferry to Chebeague Island.  After cycling on Chebeague you hop a ferry to Cousins Island and then cycle back on the mainland to Portland. Total mileage 26 miles

Portland to Bailey Island
Located near the town of Brunswick, Bailey Island is a popular summer destination. From Portland to Bailey Island is a 45 mile ride.  Get an early start, stop for a lobster roll and catch the 2:00 pm Casco Bay Ferry back to Portland.

Mountain Biking

There are number of places to mountain bike in and around Portland. Thank you to Jim Tasse of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine for providing this information. Many of the Portland Trails trails allow mountain biking, most of the rides are fairly short but very scenic. Some more popular options are:

The Evergreen (easy)
Established in 1855, Evergreen Cemetery ‘s 239 acres make it the second- largest cemetery in Maine . It has a number of noteworthy headstones and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The cemetery has a park area with four ponds and a network of wooded trails. Maps are available at the cemetery office, which is open 7:00a.m. – 3:30p.m. weekdays. The cemetery is open daily 7:00a.m.-4:30p.m

The cemetery features a network of moderately sloping trails, some paved, others left natural. Trails connect across Stevens Avenue to Baxter Woods.

The Fore River Sanctuary (easy to moderate)
This 85-acre preserve is the home of Jewell Falls, Portland‘s only natural waterfall, as well as the site of the former Cumberland and Oxford Canal. The lowland area, where salt and freshwater marsh meet, provides great bird-watching opportunities. Red oak and white pine contribute to a habitat for many songbirds and small mammals in the upland area. The land around the falls was donated to Portland Trails by the family of Tom Jewell, one of Portland Trails’ founders. Open from dawn to dusk, year-round.

15 Minutes from Portland

30 Minutes from Portland

Other Cycling Resources

Looking for more information for cycling resources in Maine?

  • The State of Maine Department of Transportation produces an excellent guide to bike routes throughout Maine at the Explore Maine website.
  • The Bicycle Coalition of Maine is the state-wide advocacy organization for Maine. They publish an annual events calendar as well as offering several one day rides in Maine including the lobster ride and the women’s ride.
 

Sharon Kalember, Pedal the Coast

“This was a vacation without any planning. We didn’t have to do anything—not even lift our bikes or fill our water bottles. Our guides were so accommodating. Each day we’d arrive at the destination and everything would already be taken care of, so all we had to do was go to the bar or to our room!

We really enjoyed the wine and cheese reception at sunset looking over Pemaquid Point. It was amazingly beautiful. Our guides picked local cheeses and nice wines that you would not normally choose. They always recommended great local restaurants, and we could order anything off the menu! When we all had lunch together we still had lots of choices, so we tried things we don’t usually find in Florida, like whoopie pies. There was a lot of local flavor on this trip.

The inns were phenomenal. We stayed two nights in Bar Harbor, which was just incredible. The first day it rained but it was still a great day, because our guides, Nick and Paul, took us on a van ride along the route and then to a really nice restaurant for lunch in Acadia National Park.

The cycling was lovely, and there were gorgeous views around every corner. The towns we rode through were beautiful, and we took a lot of back roads, seeing things we wouldn’t normally get a chance to see.”

 

Carol Walsh, Camden

“We are already looking forward to our next trip! The cycling was excellent. You can go as far as you want and then ride in the van. There is no pressure, no bullying, and no questions asked. You just go at your own pace.

The guides were so supportive and accommodating. They helped my husband fix his flat tires and repaired another couples’ bike that was damaged in shipping. The cycling routes get you away from traffic, so you’re mostly on secondary roads and you get to see more of the countryside. We saw cattle, horses, and barns but I always felt close to civilization, just not the touristy areas. The guides kept us together and to a schedule but we had some down time to walk around Camden and relax. They really go out of their way to make sure your trip is pleasant and that you are enjoying yourself.

We stayed at the Blackberry Inn and it was just top-notch. They treat you like royalty there. I wanted to be pampered—and I was! I felt like everyone was bending over backward to make sure our trip was great. The restaurants our guides chose were wonderful and the food was just fantastic everywhere. One of the general stores packed us a huge lunch that we ate at a park overlooking the ocean.

I really enjoyed the sunset cruise, the breeze, and the captain’s funny stories. But what was absolutely amazing about that sail was the moon rise – it was almost just like a sunrise—gorgeous.”

Steve Slack, Quebec

“My wife and I chose the Quebec trip after having such a great time on the Maine’s Gold Coast trip, which was just incredible. At one point while we were riding I thought to myself, ‘Does vacation get any better than this? Does life get any better than this?’ The whole experience was an adventure.

It’s important to have a guide that is sensitive to the group so that we can all ride at our own pace and enjoy the experience. That’s what a Summer Feet trip delivers—they create a fun atmosphere and it’s a critical part of the dynamic. Their guides are just unbelievably accommodating. They did everything they could possibly do to make the trip as great as it could be. They told us, ‘This is your trip, and it’s a vacation, not a death march!’ They were really flexible with everyone’s needs.

I give Norm kudos for putting together a top notch group of folks that care about the experience they provide for their guests. And you really do feel like you are their guests. They make these trips become the type of experience you want them to be.”