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Category: Biking

Hello September, We Love Ya! 8 Great Things To Do This Month

Here comes September — back to school, back to work, back to reality. Lucky for us we live on the South Coast and our reality is pretty darn sweet. Here are our 8 Great Things for the month ahead.

  1. Annual Onset Bay Illumination

Onset Bay Illumination NightOne of our all-time summer favorites (postponed by rain earlier this year which makes the start of September that much better!), Illumination Night is truly magical. After dark settles in, a horn sounds and volunteers run the beaches and two islands, lighting thousands of flares as they go. The result of their efforts: fire lining all of Onset Harbor. Stroll along the flares and enjoy the spectacle. Beforehand, spend the day in Onset enjoying its annual kite festival from 10 – 4 and the El Caribe steel drum band performing at 7:30 pm. September 1, Onset Beach (free parking available at Hynes Field, a 5 minute walk from the beach). Free. See more here. 

Allens Pond Butterfly Census2. Butterfly Census

Help members of the Massachusetts Butterfly Club find and identify different types of butterflies in Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary. The butterfly club guides will lead teams into parts of the Sanctuary and provide their knowledge about butterflies native to the South Coast. The event is free, but pre-registration is required. Wear long pants, sunscreen, and bring water and a snack — butterfly watching can work up an appetite! September 8, Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary, 1280 Horseneck Road, Westport, 10 -2. Sign up here. 

Photo: Narrows Center for the Arts

The Iguanas are headlining

3. Narrows Festival of the Arts

What better way to spend an early September Sunday than outside, enjoying a variety of live music, perusing selections of work from art vendors, enjoying food truck food and lemonade, and maybe even saying hi to some exotic animals? The Narrows Festival of the Arts promises all this along Fall River’s historic waterfront. The festival is free and has fun for all ages, between the Children’s Museum tent and the indoor and outdoor stages of live music, there’s sure to be something to please everyone in the family. September 9, 16 Anawan St. Fall River. More here. 

Fort Phoenix 5K4. Ready. Set, Run!

Cooler temps means all the more reason to get outside and run the South Coast! There is no better way to start than with a fun 5k, through the gorgeous Fort Phoenix State Beach and Reservation. The 5k benefits a variety of local charities, and registration is $15 prior to the race (and includes a t-shirt) or $20 the day of. So hit the ground running and embrace the start of fall in Fairhaven. September 9, 10 am, Fort Phoenix State Beach and Reserve, Fairhaven.  More here. 

5. Get your dancing shoes on!

What do celtic music, French Canada and New Bedford have in common? Genticorum! Genticorum is coming to the James Arnold Mansion this September, and bringing with them their jubilant Celtic-based music all the way from French Canada. Join the band to experience music influenced by jazz and Québec folk music with fiddle and flute (seems fun to us!).  Tickets at $20 in advance (available online) or $25 at the door. September 14, 7:30 pm-9:30 pm, Wamsutta Club, 427 County St, New Bedford, Get tickets here. 

6. Time to get spooky!

What better way to jump start some Halloween spirit than with a day touring cemeteries?! Little Compton Historical Society is opening up all town cemeteries for an afternoon. So get out and explore the beautiful historic grounds (including many which are normally not open to the public!). Volunteers at each site will be available to answer questions and share information. Tickets are $10 for Society members, $15 for non-members, and free for kids 12 and under. September 22,  11-4. Wilbor House Museum, 548 West Main Rd, Little Compton. See more here. 

7. Lakeville Arts and Music Festival

September is the month of music and art! If you missed the Narrows Festival (or if one just wasn’t enough), head to Lakeville for its Arts and Music Festival. The festival celebrates local artists and musicians from the South Coast. Rain or shine, the day is filled with fun and entertainment for the whole community and, guess what, it’s free. September 29, 10-4. Lining the intersection of Routes 105, 18 and Precinct Street. More here. 

 

Buzzards Bay Coalition Watershed Ride

South Coast Almanac Avengers

8. Bike on!

We love Buzzards Bay, South Coast early fall views, biking, clean water, and a good party. That’s why this September, the South Coast Almanac team is biking the Buzzards Bay Watershed Ride for the third year straight! The route has 100, 75, and 35 mile options, so there’s something for everyone. Cyclists each raise $300 (or more!) to support the great work of the Buzzards Bay Coalition. You’ll have access to five water stops, a yummy food truck lunch, and dinner with beer and wine at the party (which features live music and award presentations!). The SCA team is always looking for new riders (and trust us, we have A LOT of fun, see photos of our award winning costumes from last year), email us at [email protected] if you’re interested in joining our team! In the past, our publisher, editor, and advertising director along with board members and friends of the ‘Nac have ridden. We want you to join us!! September 30, start time depends on which route you choose. See more here. 

Wanna keep up with the coolest happenings each month on the South Coast?! Sign up for our free newsletter right here!

OR subscribe to our print magazine which has even more activities and events to keep you busy all summer. You can buy a copy of our current issue right here for just $8.95 delivered to your door. An annual subscription is right here.

 

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Our Top Picks for May: 6 Things We’re Really Looking Forward To

May is a lovely month. Just on the cusp of summer, it’s an exciting time of year. Here are some things to pass the time away while we anticipate the best season of the year.

1.  Pass the Popcorn: Fairhaven Short Film Festival

Whoops! This has been postponed and future dates will be announced in the fall — but we’re still leaving it up so you can put it on your radar for later in the year. 

Bring your Junior Mints to the third annual Fairhaven Short Film Festival taking place on May 5 and 6 featuring films collected by Asbury Shorts USA. Academy Award nominated director Jason Reitman (JUNO, Up in the Air, Thank You for Smoking) calls Asbury Shorts, “The best short film show I’ve ever seen.” Forget about watching these films on YouTube or your smartphone, enjoy them on the big screen at the Fairhaven Town Hall Auditorium.

Sponsored by Howe Allen Realty and the Fairhaven Improvement Association, net proceeds will fund a scholarship for a Fairhaven student planning to study film and digital media production.  For more information on the films or to purchase tickets, go here.

2.  Tuesdays with Haskell

A few years ago, the Trustees of Reservations bought the late Allen Haskell’s property right in the heart of New Bedford.  Haskell was a lifelong New Bedford resident and a famed horticulturalist. The six acre property hosts a traditional New England style common, beautifully designed historic gardens and one of the oldest homes in New Bedford.

Celebrate spring by dropping in on Tuesday mornings (through October) from 9 am to 12 pm to help tidy the garden and learn new skills. All you need are gloves and water — no previous gardening skills are required.  For more information, click here. May 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30th, 787 Shawmut Avenue, New Bedford.

3.  Dust off Your Bike

We just formed our team for the Buzzards Bay Coalition’s annual Watershed Ride. We hope you’ll join us! It’s a beautiful course and the camaraderie among riders is pretty wonderful (the party at the finish line is great, too). If you want to join the South Coast Almanac team, check it out here.

The Velofix Van (Photo courtesy of Marianne Lee)

The Velofix Van (Photo courtesy of Marianne Lee)

Yes, yes, we know the ride is in October but we’re putting it on our May calendar as a reminder to dust off our bikes, get out there and train for it. To that end, we just emailed Mike Lee of Velofix Southcoast. We met Mike at the Watershed Ride last Fall where he handled bike support and were blown away with his mobile bike repair van. When we learned he’ll come to your home or office with his mobile van to tune up bikes, we took his business card. And didn’t lose it. Thanks to Mike, there really is no excuse for not getting your bike in shape for the season. Check Velofix out here.

4. Take a(n Unconventional) Hike

The Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust (DNRT) has a couple of cool (and free) walks happening in May. First, a full moon walk on Wednesday, May 10 at 7:30 at Slocum River’s Reserve where two DNRT members lead an exploration of the evening landscape. The walk lasts approximately an hour and the DNRT suggests a flashlight or headlamp to help navigate the trails as the moon rises and sun sets. If the weather is questionable, call 508-525-9266 or check here on the morning of the walk.

And throughout May, families can enjoy StoryWalk® which celebrates nature and reading all at once (how many events can boast that?). Paskansett Woods features “Watch the Birdie” by Nancy Cote (featured in the 2016 South Coast Almanac) and Ridge Hill Reserve features “Feathers for Lunch” by Lois Ehlert.  Walk the trails and read the story with the family during the whole month of May. See more here.

5. Brahmin Handbags Tent Sale

We’ll have a blog post coming up on this as we get closer to the date because this is more than a tent sale. It’s a great story. The semi-annual sale draws people from all over the country (no kidding!) and has the festive aura of the old Filene’s Basement Wedding Dress sales. Whether you need a handbag or not, you shouldn’t miss it. May 19 and 20, 9 am to 6 p.m and May 21, 10 am to 5 pm. 77 Alden Road, Fairhaven. Tent is located on the lawn next to the Standard Times parking lot. See the Facebook event listing here.

6. Ta Da! It’s launched

Last year's Almanac launch

Last year’s Almanac launch

On May 18, we officially launch the 2017 edition of our print magazine. On the 18th, copies will be on their way to our subscribers’ doors and trucks will be delivering them to newsstands all over Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Keep your eye out for it!

If you want it delivered straight to your door for 30% off the cover price, you only have a few more days to pre-order. After that, we have to raise the online price to the newsstand price. Why do we have to do that? Because we give our mailing list to the printer soon. After that, we lose out on bulk mailing rates from the printer which means hauling copies to the Onset post office and sending it off by priority mail. If you decide to preorder the issue, we pass the savings straight along to you — because we love our subscribers. If you want to join their ranks, click here.

In the meantime, stay up to date with South Coast events, stories and best-kept-secrets by signing up here.

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Ride On! Biking on the South Coast

bike on the beach

We’ve been doing a lot of bike riding these days, training first for the Pan Mass Challenge and now for the Buzzard’s Bay Coalition’s 10th Anniversary Ride.

We thought we might share with you some of our favorite local bike rides. They’re all roughly between 20-30 miles because we’ve found that’s the correct mileage needed in order to indulge in Betty Ann’s black magic sundaes without any negative consequences.

I’ve linked to the routes on Strava so you can download the maps. Rather than rating these rides by level of difficulty, we rate them by access to ice cream — the number of ice cream shops along (or very near) your route. Strava does not give you this critical information. That’s why South Coast Almanac is better.

So That’s Why They Call It Lakeville

(28.6 miles in Wareham, Rochester and Lakeville, download map here)
Ice cream rating: 1
Pump House at Little Quittacas Pond

Pump House at Little Quittacas Pond

Sometimes I feel like I’m in Vermont ride with its beautiful country roads. Sometimes I feel like I’m in Minnesota (though, to be completely upfront, I’ve never been to Minnesota…I’ve just internalized its license plate motto – 10,000 lakes). I just always feel like I’m away when I’m on this ride. Which is why I love it, even though the ice cream rating is low.

Ice Cream at Robin’s Nest in Rochester. Ice cream novelties at Plumb Corner Market, Rochester.

 
 

To (and From) the Lighthouse

(27.7 miles in Mattapoisett and Fairhaven, download map here)
Ice cream rating: 3
Bikes at Ned's Point, Mattapoisett

Biking from Ned’s Point, Mattapoisett

I am enamored of lighthouses so this ride starts and ends at Ned’s Point Lighthouse and the destination is West Island which is itself spectacular. Along the way, you pass through Mattapoisett’s lovely waterfront, the Bluefish home (described here), the Phoenix bike path, and windmills.

Ice cream at Mac’s Soda Bar in Fairhaven, Seaport Ice Cream Slip in Mattapoisett and just off the route at Oxford Creamery, Mattapoisett.

 
 

Butler Point & Back

(22 miles in Rochester, Marion and Wareham, download map here)
Ice cream rating: 1
Butler Point/Kittansett Club rest stop

Butler Point/Kittansett Club rest stop

Despite the low ice cream rating, I love this loop. Cranberry bogs, ponds, pristine farms and Buzzards Bay views. As you approach a bend in the road going out to the Kittansett Club, look up at the telephone poles to see the osprey nest and, if you’re lucky, the family will be home. Stop at the farmstand on Point Road, buy a fresh-grown tomato and eat it like an apple.

Ice Cream is available just off the route in downtown Marion at Sea Dips.

Cinderella Ride

(19.3 miles in Onset and Bourne, download map here)
Ice cream rating: 4
Biking the Cape Cod Canal

Biking the Cape Cod Canal

This is a 19 mile ride that is one of my favorites because I can never get enough water views and this one boasts salty views more than three-quarters of the time. Also, it’s flat. Also, look at the ice cream rating.

I call it the Cinderella Ride because on the way out to Scusset, it’s like your fairy godmother has sent you magically off to the ball. You ride feeling like you’re a willowy Olympian atop a high-end titanium bike, effortlessly clocking speeds you’ve never seen before (except downhill). The clock strikes midnight at Scusset when you turn the bike around and face the headwinds. Suddenly, you’re on your sturdy reliable bicycle in your sturdy reliable body. (Still, grateful for both.)

I spend most of the ride back trying to figure out how to game the wind (is there a time of day to avoid it? Is there a time when the wind shifts and you can use it both ways?)  Mother Nature just laughs at me and turns up the breeze.

Note: There is a short distance on Cranberry Highway which includes a rotary. If you’d prefer not to tackle that, simply park at the canal and do the 14 mile ride on the bike path.

Ice cream at Nana’s, Guido’s & Stash’s in Onset Village. Novelty ice cream available at Scusset Beach and Andy’s Country Store at Bourne Scenic Campground. Just off the route: Betty Ann’s in Buzzards Bay, home of the wicked black magic sundae

Farms & Sea

(34.5 miles in Dartmouth & Westport, download map here)
Ice cream rating:  3
Bike stop at Lloyd Center

Even on a rainy day, the view from the Lloyd Center is pretty spectacular

You’ve got everything on this ride: polite drivers, country roads, rock walls, farms, marshes and sea.  If I lived closer, this would easily be my go-to ride. Stop at the Lloyd Center to climb up to its observation deck for breathtaking views (detailed in our Only on the South Coast article in the 2016 edition).

Ice Cream at The Bucket at Gulf Hill, Salvadors, Head Town Landing Country Store. Just off the route: Handy Hill Creamery and Wood’s Ice Cream in Westport)

JOIN US

Bikes at Lloyd Center

The Lloyd Center also provides nice cover from unexpectedly rainy bike rides

We’ve got a South Coast Almanac team for the Coalition Ride….join us on October 2 if you want to be on the team that wins the costume contest! There’s a variety of distances (100, 75, 35 and 11 mile options) so, even if you’re just starting out, you have more than enough time to get ready. You can learn more about the ride here. If you want to join our team, let us know for a discounted registration fee code. Email us at [email protected]

DO YOU LIKE PAPER MAPS?

If you’d like to find your own special rides and if you love paper maps so that you can see the whole picture, rather than just your small screen, check out Bike Friendly Mattapoisett, a map with great biking recommendations brought to you by the Friends of the Mattapoisett Bike Path (available at the Town Wharf General Store), and Rubel’s Eastern Massachusetts Road and Bicycle Map (available at Yesteryear Cyclery in New Bedford).

See you out there!

 

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