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Region: Greater Portland and Casco Bay
Highlights: beaches, swimming holes, historical landmarks, lighthouses, museums, rural, state/national park, urban
|Portland Trails||22+||Gentle terrain for almost all cyclists|
|Portland to Cape Elizabeth Ride||30+||Gentle terrain, some hills, for almost all cyclists|
The scenic 22-mile+ and 30-mile+ rides have three different starting points and then take similar routes, offering a quintessential view of coastal Maine. Portland has a working waterfront and a picturesque shopping district. In the 18th and 19th centuries, this was once a busy shipping port. From Portland, cyclists cross over the Fore River on the Casco Bay Bridge and head out toward the coast with opportunities to stop along the way at state and municipal parks with lovely sand beaches, historic lighthouses, and two interesting lighthouse museums. The 30-mile+ ride takes you to Prouts Neck, where artist Winslow Homer lived and painted.
Parts of both rides follow the Eastern Trail, the southernmost part of the East Coast Greenway in Maine. This trail is currently mostly on-road with great signage. If you want to travel the entire length of the Eastern Trail (not a loop), go to www.EasternTrail.org, which has information about completed off-road sections. Also see the trail section in the back of this book.
Take the Downeaster Amtrak train or bus to the Portland Transportation Center or park your car there at an inexpensive daily rate. The Marginal Way Park-n-Ride lot and the parking lot at Bug Light are free. No matter how or where you arrive, you can bike from there on an exciting adventure in a very popular part of Maine.
Special features: Portland Trails; Portland's Old Port; Prouts Neck; Higgins Beach; Crescent Beach State Park; Kettle Cove; Two Lights State Park; Scarborough Beach Park; views of Calendar Islands and Casco Bay; Portland Head Light, the oldest lighthouse in the country and one of the most photographed lighthouses in the world, commissioned by George Washington in 1797; Southern Maine Community College campus; Portland Harbor Museum; Spring Point Ledge Light
Road conditions: Generally good; wide paved shoulder on ME 77 in Cape Elizabeth
Cautions: Use caution on bridge and crossing Broadway at traffic light; some streets and roads have no shoulders.
Starting points: Rides originate in Portland or South Portland: Park-n-Ride lot on Marginal Way. Take Exit 7, Franklin Street, off I-295 in Portland. At first traffic light immediately after the off-ramp, take a left onto Marginal Way. The large Park-n-Ride lot will be on your left. Portland Transportation Center (connections to Amtraks service or interstate bus service). Take Exit 5 from I-295. Bug Light parking lot. Take ME 77 over Casco Bay Bridge to South Portland, go straight on Broadway to end. Take left on Breakwater Drive to parking lot.