If you aren't ready give up pedaling your bike for the year, there's no need to. There's at least a month of wonderful bike riding left before it starts to get really cold and you run the risk of hitting snow on the roads or bike trails.
In late October, my sweetheart, Marilyn, and I took a trip to Cape Cod with our tandem bike to explore more of the cycling around Falmouth and Martha's Vineyard. It was the first time in many years we'd gone to the Cape in October; we'd forgotten how lovely it is at this time of year.
Back in June, before the tourist season really got going, we'd done a four-night inn-to-inn bike trip in this area, starting in Onset (just over the Bourne Bridge), pedaling to Falmouth where we stayed overnight. From there, we rode in a downpour to Woods Hole, where we caught the ferry to Vineyard Haven and stayed overnight. The next day, we pedaled (under sunny skies, Yay!) to Oak Bluffs and stayed overnight with more riding out to Edgartown and Katama.
Then it was back to Woods Hole, where Woods Hole Inn (woodsholeinn.com) owner Beth Colt told us she was developing a number of biking options, including guided tours to get you off the bike trails to see more of Falmouth and Martha's Vineyard. Before we left to ride back to our car in Onset, we signed up for the October adventure.
The getaway began with a Friday afternoon drive to the Cape. Hell in summer, easy in October. We settled into our room in the lovingly refurbished Inn, strolled through downtown Woods Hole to watch the light fade, ate dinner with some very nice folks visiting the inn from California, went to sleep in a comfy bed and awoke on Saturday eager to fuel up with the huge breakfast at the inn for a day exploring by bike.
At breakfast, we met our fellow bikers, including Tom and Julie Leblanc from Dalton, who, it turns out, are loyal readers. They had been enjoying biking around the Berkshires all summer, had read about the weekend in this column, and decided that "Life isn't a spectator sport." They wanted to try a cycling-centered weekend getaway. They don't consider themselves to be serious cyclists and were concerned about keeping up. But they signed up anyway and had a blast.
We also met our guide for the weekend, Rob Miceli of Cotuit Cycling Tours (cotuitcyclingtours.com). Rob is a personable bike fanatic, who takes true pleasure in helping other people enjoy cycling, which makes him a terrific tour guide. He also knows the routes, knows the history and people of the area, and is eager to share.
We've biked a lot in this area, but it took less than 5 minutes on the bike for Rob to show us places we'd never visited, sights we'd never seen. The first leg of our journey took us out past stately churches and amazing waterside mansions to a panoramic view at Nobska Point, then more back roads to the views over Quisett Harbor. From there, we rode along the familiar Shining Sea Bikeway (woodshole.com/documents/bikewaymap.pdf) to the cranberry bog (#15 on the map), which was being harvested. From there, we rode the Shining Sea back to Woods Hole (with one detour out to Chappaquoit Point, which we'd never discovered before.
Wonderful first day of riding, which left us plenty of time to explore more around Woods Hole and savor the lobster tacos (yes, they are as good as they sound!) from Quicks Hole, which we ate on the deck of the Woods Hole Inn, listening to a great band playing in the parking lot below. Woods Hole is a happenin' place on Saturday night and lots of fun.
The next morning, after another spectacular breakfast, we caught the early ferry to Vineyard Haven and biked (again on back roads we'd never discovered before) out almost to Menemsha. This is hillier country and we collectively decided to cut our ride a little shorter than originally planned. In all, we pedaled just under 50 miles in two days, mostly easy biking, all in beautiful surroundings. The roads on the Cape and Martha's Vineyard are much quieter in October, making this the perfect time to explore by bike. Maybe we'll see you there the next time we go! As Tom and Julie discovered: Life isn't a spectator sport. Get out and enjoy!
Ski season begins
The 2013-14 ski season has officially begun. Killington (killington.com) in Killington, Vt., started turning their lifts for season pass holders on Friday, Oct. 25. On Saturday, both they and Sunday River (sundayriver.com) in Newry, Maine, opened for the general public. Then, on Wednesday, Oct. 30, Bretton Woods (Brettonwoods.com) became the first in New Hampshire to open offering free top-to-bottom skiing.
Killington's still open daily, while Sunday River and Bretton Woods have shut back down to focus on making more snow when temps again allow (looks like Sunday night).
If you want to read a first-hand account and see some photos and videos of opening day at Sunday River, go to easternSlopes.com. Nick Marcisso was there and had a great time. He says the snow was in better condition than his legs.
Anytime you can be skiing in New England before Halloween, you know you have the makings of a great season coming. Stay tuned for more.
There's snow on the slopes. What are you waiting for?