Wells, Maine Overnight 2018
So this was a bikepacking trip I did last summer with my friend Tim. It was a 50mi ride from my parents house in Kingston, NH to a campground in Wells, ME. Now some of you may be familiar with the New England coast, but for those of you that have never been to this part of the world it is very different from many other coastal areas in the USA. The coast line itself is pretty rocky. So the beaches that we do have are usually mobbed. Riding a bicycle on the road in these areas can be difficult and dangerous. As long as you take your time and make yourself known it isn’t too bad.
On the way up we took the “ scenic route “. Were we road up 1A basically the whole way. This was a really nice ride! Breezy and cool with some great views of the ocean. Once we made it into York it was about 11AM and it was mobbed. So it was slow going through traffic, but its not too long of stretch. There are a few restaurants and beach bath houses that offer a bit of a break from the hustle. So once we made it out of there it was only a few miles to the next beach town.
Ogunquit is really nice with more places to stay off route1. Gas stations , food, and cool little cottages everywhere.
Side bar here: Maine has three big things you will notice. Cool cottages, ice cream stands, and no shortage of lobster joints.
Shortly after getting through the strip we only had a mile or so before we got into Wells. First we set up camp and got cleaned up and then we went out in search of a bite to eat. We started back the way we came towards the center of town and saw a sign that said Hobbs Place. You could have easily missed it if you weren’t on a bicycle. So we turned down this side street towards the ocean. First thing I noticed was this little lobster pound. It was PACKED. I looked at Tim and was like “ I’m not waiting in that line ” . The road we were on seemed to go right in to Wells Harbor. We still weren’t 100% that this was even the right place. So we road to the end and we were so stoked to find a really nice restaurant called Hobbs. It was around 2 pm by now and there was maybe 10 people in the whole place. So we got a seat at the bar and ordered some grub. The food was excellent and they had a great selection of Maine beers. The people were great and the patio view of Wells Harbor was peaceful and calming. After dinner we headed back to camp stopping to get some ice cream along the way.
The next day we headed back early, the mosquitos were horrible. Tim was off before I could pack up my things. So we met down the road at Dunkin Donuts for breakfast. We talked it over and that it would be best continue back the way we came with the exception of a portion of 1a. We figured that it would be a little faster getting back seeing how it would be in the 90s during the day. So we made it into York Beach by 8 am and much to my satisfaction. The beach was empty so I was able to jump in the ocean and wash off the salt at the beach showers. The day was getting hot already and it was nice to cool off a little. This was part of the reason for a speedy and early return trip , to beat the heat. We started back down 1A for only a short while and then moved over to route 1. The ride would take us through Kittery by the trading post. Its faster but I do recommend you follow signs for the bike route. We got a little lost and ended up on a very busy part of town before the bridge. We must have missed the bike route signs and had to navigate back over to 1A again.
Shortly we made it back over the bridge into Portsmouth, NH. Here is also a point to mention that if you aren’t familiar with the area it can be a little crazy. There’s a lot of one ways and intersections that can be very confusing. We eventually made it through there and back on our route home.
All together I really loved this trip it was just far enough to feel like an real adventure. I recommend it to anyone thinking of leaving around the Portsmouth, NH area. There is much to be discovered and the Maine coast has a lot to offer. I feel like the New England coast is a little under valued as a place for bicycle touring. As for me, I definitely found it worthy of more exploration.
This is the trip that started my bikepacking campaign of touring and reviewing the North East Coast of North America. My next trip will be in the fall of 2019 where I will be taking the ferry from Bar Harbor, Maine to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.