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Category: Biking

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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