Riders who were clambering for a picturesque Maine coastal ride finally got their wish. After several days exploring the inland beauty of Maine, today’s route took us from Belfast through the Blue Hill Peninsula to Castine. After an amazing (and we really mean amazing) sunrise and tasty breakfast, the weather was beautiful as riders left the seaside camp site and bid adieu to our amazing hosts in Belfast.
Our route continued to hug the coast as we made our way up the west side of Penobscot Bay to the first rest stop of the day. Riders were treated to admission to Fort Knox as well as the Penobscot Narrows Bridge Observatory that provides amazing views of the surrounding area. Fort Knox is a coastal granite fort built in the mid-1800s.
The fort was strategically located on the narrows of the Penobscot River to protect the river valley from a British naval attack that never came. Atop the bridge is the Penobscot Narrows Observatory, the first bridge observation tower in the United States, and said to be the tallest public bridge observatory in the world. The tower reaches skyward 420 feet (128 m) and provides visitors a breathtaking view of the region, to include –on a really clear day – another glimpse of Mount Katahdin.
Riders took advantage of what was described as, “the best lunch yet” at the Blue Hill Congregational Church. As one rider put it, “nobody can cook like church ladies in Maine.”
The day proved to be challenging as the large number of rolling hills on the Blue Hill Peninsula took their toll the rider’s weary legs. Fortunately, those ailments were soon forgotten as riders were welcomed by a cheering group of K-8 children from the local school in Castine.
We camped within the earthen walls of historic Fort George, across the street from the Maine Maritime Academy. Dinner and breakfast were provided by the good folks at the Academy as well where riders enjoyed mingling with the Midshipmen and learning about life at the Academy.
After dinner, many riders made their way down the hill to “downtown” Castine where drinks and even a bit of dancing followed. As the fog rolled in, riders struggled back up the hill to the campsite to rest before the ride to Bar Harbor…