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Category: Outdoors

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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Hip & Zen: Yoga on the South Coast

Sometimes I’m physically exhausted by how hard it is to stay hip and trendy. Is avocado toast still worthy of an Instagram? Why is everyone talking about “cold brew” and what happened to normal iced coffee? While these questions may plague me with uncertainty, one thing is for sure: yoga is still hot. Luckily, the South Coast offers a plethora of yoga classes and we at South Coast Almanac have compiled a list of 6 favorites to keep our beloved readers at their trendiest this summer.

Greeting the day at the water's edge

Greeting the day at the water’s edge (Photo courtesy of Ebb & Flow Wellness Studio)

For the early birds and/or night owls
Good Morning/Good Night Yoga Flow…Beach Yoga
Who: Ebb and Flow Wellness Studio
What: Morning yoga – An energizing and awakening morning yoga practice using breath, postures, and visualization. Connecting with the elements of earth and fire. Meet and greet the day.  Evening yoga – Wind down, relax, and connect with your internal systems and external surroundings through gentle yoga postures, breath, and meditation.
Where: Meet at Onset Pier
When: Good Morning Yoga – Fridays 8-9 am / Good Night Yoga – Wednesdays 7-8 pm 
How much: $10
Contact: Beth McLacklin, (508) 273-7736
Bring a mat and/or a towel

Slocum's River Reserve (Photo courtesy of Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust)

Slocum’s River Reserve (Photo courtesy of Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust)

For the nature lovers
Summer Yoga Series
Who: Dartmouth Natural Resource Trust
What: Hour long flow for all levels and ages.
Where: Slocum’s River Reserve, Horseneck Road, Dartmouth, MA
When: Wednesdays 8:30-9:30 am through August 31
How much: Free
Contact: (508) 991-2289
Bring your own mat, towel, and bug spray

 

Fort Taber Yoga (Photo courtesy of Meghan @newportanchor)

Fort Taber Yoga (Photo courtesy of Meghan @newportanchor)

For the community seekers
Fort Taber Summer Yoga
Who: South Coast Yoga
What: Hour long flow on the grassy fields next to Fort Taber as the sun sets with as many as 180 of your neighbors.
Where: Fort Taber, 1000 Rodney French Blvd, New Bedford, MA
When: Mondays and Thursdays 6:30-7:30 pm through the summer
How much: $5
Contact: Pam Teves, [email protected]
Bring a mat and/or towel and water

For the beach lovers
Yoga at Silvershell Beach
Who: Marion Recreation Department
What: An hour long flow, suitable for all ages and levels.
Where: Front Street Marion, MA
When: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8-9 am through August 30th
How much: $10
Contact: Tim Donahue, (508) 525-9800
Bring a mat and/or towel

Yoga at Ned's Point (Photo courtesy of Anchor Yoga)

Yoga at Ned’s Point (Photo courtesy of Anchor Yoga)

For a cause (and for the vistas)
Lighthouse Yoga at Ned’s Point – Anchor Yoga
What: 75 minute flow for all levels
Where: Ned’s Point Lighthouse, Ned’s Point Rd, Mattapoisett, MA 02739
When: Saturdays 8:15-9:30 am through Labor Day
How much: By donation (suggested donation $5/$10/$20) —  100% of all money collected will go directly into the Anchor Chain Fund which gives back to the community (this summer, they’ve already collected over $3,000)
Contact: Jessica Webb, (508) 542-9022
Bring a mat, water, bug spray, and sunscreen. Blanket optional.

Paddleboard Yoga (Photo courtesy of Osprey Sea Kayak Adventures)

Paddleboard Yoga (Photo courtesy of Osprey Sea Kayak Adventures)

For the adventuresome
SUP Yoga
Who: Osprey Sea Kayak Adventures
What: Perfect for yoga beginners & intermediate students, this class offers moderate poses at a laid back pace to strengthen the body, calm the mind and heal the soul. Intro to SUP or equivalent experience is a prerequisite for this program.
Where: Osprey Sea Kayak Adventures, 489 Old County Road, Westport, MA 02790
When: Tuesdays 5-6 pm
How much: $35 per session, or buy a 6 pack and save 15%. BYOB save $10
Contact: (508) 636-0300

No matter which class you choose, we’re sure it will bring you peace of mind. Besides you’ll get to enjoy our amazing South Coast while you are at it!

And if you happen to post any pictures to your Instagram for ultimate hipness, make sure to tag us so that we can see you practicing yoga!

– Shea Necheles

Want to keep up with South Coast Almanac? Sign up for our monthly email newsletter here.

Note from South Coast Almanac:

We’ve gotten an overwhelmingly positive response to this post and have discovered a couple more cool outdoor yoga events that you may want to check out!

    Fitness in Cushman Park, Fairhaven offers Tuesday morning yoga (and Thursday morning boot camp) at 8:30 a.m. free of charge thanks to a variety of local business sponsors. Through August 25.
    Westport Rivers Winery had their first yoga class/post-yoga wine tasting on July 23d. If you missed it and want to participate in another one (I know I do!), let them know.
    The best way to find out more about either of these classes is to look on their Facebook pages.
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The Magic Number is 5 — 5 Ways to Celebrate the South Coast this January

Hey! The calendar will soon turn to 2016. That means just 5 more months until our magazine launches and you can hold our lovely print (or digital) edition in your hands as you sit on the porch, or at the beach, or on your boat, engrossing yourself in all that makes the South Coast special.
 
In the meantime, how to fill your time to help May come quicker? Here are 5 things to enjoy on the South Coast in January:
 
Polar Plunges
On January 1, more than a few brave souls will be plunging into winter waters (water temperatures hover around 40 degrees this time of year).  Maybe it’s time you tried it.
 
In Fairhaven at 10 am, the annual Polar Plunge will surprise you with its crowd. Last year, they came from all over the state and some from well outside the state, representing over 40 towns. (See Fairhaven Polar Plunge.)

 

Don’t worry if you decide to sleep in and you miss the Fairhaven festivities. At noon, Mattapoisett’s Freezin’ for A Reason Polar Plunge takes place at the Town Beach. (See Mattapoisett Polar Plunge.) 

And between 11 and 2, you can jump from The Back Eddy’s dock as part of its Polar Plunge Brunch (though you can simply just choose the brunch option). Reservations are strongly recommended because this is pretty popular. The Back Eddy, 1 Bridge Road, Westport. 508-636-6500.
 
Onset is taking this year off for its Polar Plunge but will return again in 2017.  
 
The Moby Dick Marathon 20th Anniversary
Stop by for five minutes or for an hour or two. I had to read Moby Dick twice in college and hated it each time. I went to the Marathon last year at 5:00 in the morning just to see what it was all about (and whether there was anyone there at 5 a.m. – there are!). Here’s my quick report: Moby Dick is far better enjoyed when you’re sitting under the skeleton of whales, surrounded by quirky and interesting people who have braved the cold to do something as whimsical as participate (whether as a reader or simply as a listener) in this annual literary marathon.  
The reading takes place from Saturday, January 9 at 10 a.m. through Sunday January 10 at 1 p.m. New Bedford Whaling Museum, 18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford, MA.
 
Embrace Winter
Rent some snowshoes (see Ski House in Somerset) and find a favorite summer trail and snowshoe through it. Or find a new place. The Trustees of Reservations website allows you to search for local places for good snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. For example, Allen Haskell Public Gardens in New Bedford is a great place to cross-country ski, snowshoe, or pull a child on a sled. Cornell Farm in Dartmouth also offers space for skiing, showshoeing and winter hiking.  See Trustees’ Search by Activity.
 
Eat, Drink and Be Merry
Have you heard of hygge? It’s a Danish word (pronounced kind of like HYU-gah). While it can’t be translated easily into English, I gather it generally means a sense of coziness and well-being. Good company, food and drink are required elements. Those Danes are onto something. Even though they have 17 hours of darkness in deep winter with temperatures hovering at freezing, they are among the happiest in the world (The World Happiness Report — it really exists). So, don’t stop with the holiday merriment. Keep meeting up with friends and family for good meals and company. If you don’t want to entertain at home, check out your favorite local spots. You might even find some crazy specials out there. Combine lunch and dinner (lunner?) at Ella’s in Wareham on Saturday afternoons between 3 and 4 and you’ll get 25% off your meal.  New Bedford’s Cork has a “5 at 5” menu. You get $5 glasses of wine and $5 appetizers between 5 and 6 pm on weekdays (this really plays nicely into our theme of 5).  Ella’s Wood Burning Oven Restaurant, 3136 Cranberry Highway, Wareham, www.ellaswoodoven.com; Cork Wine and Tapas, 90 Front Street, New Bedford, www.corkwineandtapas.com.
 
Get Out and Listen to Music
Another way to find some hygge is at the Narrows Center for the Arts, a world class performance space overlooking Mount Hope Bay and Battleship Cove. It has some great shows lined up for January. Ten years ago, I listened to Anna Nalick’s Breathe (2 a.m.) on my ipod every single time I ran (back when there were ipods and when I ran). She’s coming to the Fall River venue. So is Marshall Crenshaw, Entrain, Cheryl Wheeler, The Winter Blues Festival, and many other great acts. See Narrows Center for a complete list of the upcoming shows.  Narrows Center, 16 Anawan Street, Fall River. 
 
Go out and enjoy January. And remember, five more months until South Coast Almanac launches!
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In Search of Nature and the Perfect Yankee Swap Gift…

I’m attracted to trends that can be reduced to hashtags. So when REI announced they were staying closed Friday and were encouraging folks to #OptOutside, I thought it was a great idea.

We took the lists compiled by the Buzzards Bay Coalition suggesting good walks for the day after Thanksgiving (2014 List and 2015 List). We picked West Island which led us to a quiet beach and clambering over rocks.

I liked the idea of eschewing Black Friday in exchange for some nature. But, well, I kinda wanted to go shopping too. So we made our way to the Town Wharf General Store with a specific assignment: get yankee swap presents for our extended clan Christmas party next weekend. It’s not an easy task – we’ve got a wide variety of people in this group: young, old, male, female, candle-lovers, candle-haters.

Yankee swaps are pretty common so I assume everyone knows about them. But if not, here are the rules in a nutshell: everyone brings a gift, gets a number and picks another gift in numbered order which they can either unwrap or trade for a previously opened gift.

Basically, the goal as the gift recipient is to end up with something you like but that is not so fabulous that you know someone with a better number will steal it away from you. The goal as the gift giver is to give something that will not lead to disappointment. People don’t groan audibly when they open the gift but you can sometimes see a groan on their faces. By all means, you want to avoid the silent groan.

So we went to the Town Wharf General Store in Mattapoisett and owner Chris Demakis was there. He asked if he could help us and we gave him the assignment: something in the $15 range that would not be a disaster whether it ended up with my uncle Tommy or my cousin’s teenaged daughter.

An almost impossible assignment, right? Not for Chris and the TWGS. Here’s what he came up with.

SPOILER ALERT: Anyone heading to the Briggette’s family Christmas party next weekend should stop reading. Or maybe not. You can start strategizing on which package you want. Or don’t want.

Here are the things we brought home:

20151129_094103_resized_1Chuckwagon Dinner Bell. I’m not sure how many people would want this but I know we wanted it. And that was enough to decide to buy it. Yankee swap pluses: it’s unisex, no one already has one and everyone needs one. (Well, maybe not the last.) ($20)

 

 

 

 

 

20151129_093745_resized_1Coop’s Hot Fudge. Handmade in Massachusetts, Chris says this hot fudge is unbelievable. I’m going to pair it with a gift certificate for some ice cream and make someone very happy. ($10.95)

 

 

 

 

 

 

20151129_093849_resizedMcClure’s Bloody Mary Mixer. Made in Brooklyn by McClure’s Pickles, it’s apparently spicy and delicious. And easy — you just shake and pour. I’ll add some garnishes to the package to round it out. Alcohol not included. ($9.99)

Even though McClure’s can be enjoyed without alcohol, some of the younger ones may not like its spiciness so I’ve got something they can swap this out for…

 

 

 

20151129_105540_resized An assortment of old-fashioned fun. A bag filled with a whoopee cushion ($4.99), a Hairy Scary “Jumping” Spider ($5.99), an invisible ink pen with ultraviolet light ($5.99) and some candy buttons ($1.00).

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know I shouldn’t have opened the box, but I wanted to demonstrate the jumping spider in action:

The Jumping Spider

We actually only need to bring three gifts to the party. One of these will stay home with us. If you have any strong opinions on which should stay home, leave me a comment. (M.B.)

 

 

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Destruction Brook Woods. Why does such a peaceful place have such a, well, destructive name?

Destruction Brook Woods Reserve

Just peace and quiet

One of the goals in making this magazine is to showcase the many magical places on the South Coast and to encourage us all to wander off our own beaten paths. You know, those favorite places where we always go. The idea is to shake things up. Go a couple of towns over from your own and find something new. Be a local tourist.

It’s been fun asking all sorts of people, what do you like to do? We’ve been gathering the answers and creating a list so that one of the Almanac’rs can explore the answers and report back if there’s something we should highlight.

Again and again, Destruction Brook Woods came up when we talked to people.

Something about the name kind of put me off, evoking unpleasant flashbacks to 1980s horror movies. I finally went — October seemed the proper time to go to a place with destruction and woods in its name. Of course, it’s not creepy at all. It’s tranquil and lovely.

With over 280 acres, there are plenty of paths to explore, both marked and unmarked (with a very helpful map provided by the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust). I got lost somewhere after Alice’s Spillway. It didn’t matter. It’s a pleasure to get a little lost among the glades, the ferns, the rocky outcroppings, and the wide bridle paths soft with fallen pine needles. And there’s so much more to see. I want to go back and find the abandoned farmstead and the old cemetery. I want to witness the abundance of pink lady’s slipper flowers in one of the glades in May.

I’m considering trying mountain biking after chatting with a couple of friendly bikers on the trail. According to the New England Mountain Bike Association website, “if you are looking for very technical and challenging trails, then this is not the place for you, but if you are looking for a fun, easy to moderate ride with nice scenery, then this is the place to come.”

Fun? Easy? Scenery? Yes. Look how fun it looks – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvuFX0casV0

Mountain biking in Destruction Brook Woods…that’s going on the Almanac’s To Do list.

The woods lived up to its reputation. I understand why so many love it. But it did not live up to its name. Because it turns out that Destructive Brook Woods is not scary at all.

 

For more information on Destruction Brook Woods, including location and parking, see http://dnrt.org/destruction-brook-woods/

 

 

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