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Bike touring Boston / Martha's Vineyard / Nantucket Island / New York City

Old 04-15-15, 11:02 AM
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B200Pilot
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Bike touring Boston / Martha's Vineyard / Nantucket Island / New York City

Hi everyone,

I'm planning a bike tour this summer around July / August for about 7 days. I can easily do 80 - 100 km per day. I'll be driving my car to Boston, MA and from there, I'll start biking South toward Martha's Vineyard. Now I have to choices from there:


1. Go to Nantucket Island and just continue my tour around that area, including Newport, Providence and back to Boston
2. And up going to New York City.

Well I have some questions:

a. Can you camp on Martha's Vineyard?
b. Can you camp on Nantucket Island?
c. Can you take a ferry from Martha's Vineyard to Block Island?
d. Can you take a ferry from Block Island to Long Island?
e. Do you recommend that I camp or should I just use hotels / motels? That would make it easier with less gear to carry around, but obviously more expensive.
f. What other places should I visit? What would you recommend?

If I end up going to New York City, I will leave my bike there (in storage or with a a hotel) and take a train to Boston, then drive my car back to New York to pick it up and continue my trip home to Ontario, Canada. (This will only add about 130 km to my trip, so not too bad. I already checked with AmTrack and I can't carry-on my bike like I can in some European trains)

Thanks
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Old 04-15-15, 11:34 AM
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I work in Boston and live North of there. Get some Rubel bike maps, great for the state of MA. Camping and Ferry info you should be able to google. Try MA DOT. You are in High season, all available hotels and camping grounds are filling up. From Boston, I pedaled and camped at Miles Standish state park about 60 miles or so. It is in Plymouth. I then pedaled and stayed at Nickerson State park in Brewster. It is right on the Cape Cod rail trail. Goes almost all the way to P town. VisitNewEngland.com for ferry info.

Last edited by Leebo; 04-15-15 at 11:43 AM.
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Old 04-15-15, 11:44 AM
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Thank you Leebo!

I tried searching on the internet about camping sites on Nantucket Island. It doesn't seem like they have any camp sites there. Do you know anything of it?
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Old 04-15-15, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by B200Pilot View Post
Thank you Leebo!

I tried searching on the internet about camping sites on Nantucket Island. It doesn't seem like they have any camp sites there. Do you know anything of it?
I've been to Nantucket numerous times, and there is no camping. Hotels are very pricey. There is a campground on Martha's Vineyard for about $20 a night. I'm doing a similar ride in June from Boston to Provincetown (via ferry) to Nickerson to MV to Myles Standish and back to Boston. As Leebo recommended, make your camping reservations now at the state parks. The MV campground is privately owned, and they promised they would have plenty of room for a cyclist with tent mid-week, so I didn't make a reservation.
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Old 04-15-15, 02:27 PM
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Maybe make Nickerson or P Town your base camp. Do day tours by bike of the islands?
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Old 04-15-15, 03:09 PM
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American Youth Hostels has hostels on both Nantucket and Martha's Vinyard. There are three others on Cape Cod as well. Don't know if you need to be an AYH member to use them; check the website.

Regarding ferries: I don't think there is a ferry from Martha's Vinyard to Block Island, but:
- There may be some ferries from Martha's Vinyard to Newport, RI. Google.
- There is a ferry from Newport, RI to Block Island and another from Block Island to Montauk, Long Island.
- There is also a ferry from New London CT to Orient Point, Long Island.
- There is a ferry from Boston to Provincetown
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Old 04-15-15, 03:21 PM
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Only ferry to and from MV is to Falmouth or Hyannis. You will need to go to RI to catch a ferry to block island.
Sounds like a great ride! Enjoy!
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Old 04-15-15, 03:32 PM
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I'd skip Nantucket. As stated by others, there's no public camping on Nantucket and while it's a beautiful island with gorgeous beaches, there's maybe 30 miles total of paved road to ride on, and that's at the end of an $80 - $90 round trip fee, passenger and bike. MV is larger, there's more to see, it's $25 RT for passenger and bike from Woods Hole.

There is no ferry from Martha's Vinyard to Block Island. You can go passenger ferry from MV to Quonset, Rhode Island, then same ferry company at Quonset to Block Island.

https://www.vineyardfastferry.com/index.htm

Then Block Island to Montauk Harbor, NY

VikingFleet.com Interstate Fast Ferry Information

Note that the ferry fee's do add up just to get some quick and short tours of some small summer resort islands.


From Montauk Harbor it's then 8 miles to the public campground at Hither Hills State Park, though I'd call or e-mail to ascertain if they keep a site for late arrivals on bikes, as they get filled up about every day in the summer months. There's also a campground at Cedar Point County Park, north east of downtown East Hampton. It's about 25 miles from the ferry to Cedar Point.

Then bike west to NYC, if you need routing, post again.
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Old 04-16-15, 08:56 AM
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Sandwich has a state park with camping, not far from the canal. 1 campground near Falmouth near the Shining Sea bike trail. RI has a campground near Newport and Burlingame on RT1a and fisherman's memorial on RT 108
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Old 04-16-15, 08:58 AM
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Look into Warmshowers. Org for hosters
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Old 04-16-15, 06:07 PM
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Being a local this is where my first 100 tours took place. When you say you are driving to Boston, I hope you mean "near Boston" and have a spot for your car. If not feel free to park at my home about 30 mi west of Boston and ride from here. Touring on the Cape and Islands has some challenges , camping on the cape is not so hard out on the Islands much more so without a private host. There is a Hostel on the Vineyard that I used a lot, The one on Nantucket less so. Both of these book up solid during the season so early preparation is paramount. Myles Standish park on the "approach" ride is just plain awesome nice roads, great campsites and good availability, even with last minute planning Ive never been refused a site coming by bike. I would recommend taking the ferry from Woods Hole instead of Falmouth and putting MV/Nantucket at the start of the tour, just seemed to work better that way. You can get to Provincetown via boat as well and ride westerly (with the prevailing wind) to the other points mentioned here, also a great ride.

Newport, Providence is a good option as well albeit with limited camping, the East Bay Bike Path runs from Providence to Bristol along some seriously nice bay views. Block Island off the south coast of RI is also a great day trip with the ferry connecting Providence, Galilee in southern RI and Newport. Fantastic riding on lock Island but no legal campsite or decent "stealth" sites so a B&B, Hotel , WarmShowers or day trip is the only viable option.

Per your original post:

On the Islands use Hostels/WarmShowers if available.
On the cape, camp.

Following info is from 20 years of memorys, please check internet for current schedule but this is it in a nutshell:

No ferry from MV to Block Island
No ferry from Nantucket to Block Island
Ferry to Block Island leaves from Galilee RI
Ferry to Montauk Point NY (Long Island) leaves from Galilee RI

If I had 7 days to do this I would:
Start in southeast Massachusetts
Day 1
Ride to Woods Hole and ferry to MV
Day 2&3 Ride the Island
Day4 Ferry to Provincetown
Day 5-6 Ride/camp west back to SE Mass
Day7 Daytrip Block Island

Last edited by Bicycle365; 04-16-15 at 06:19 PM.
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Old 04-22-15, 07:38 PM
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That's pretty good advice above. If you want to start and leave a car in SouthEast, Mass, you can do so at my house. I am in Dartmouth MA, and you can take a high speed ferry from New Bedford to MV or ride to Falmouth and take a ferry. The Cape is a bit challenging to ride, traffic wise. You want to use the bike paths as far as you can, even though it may not be the direct route. The Rubels bike maps, while they are slightly out of date, are your best bet. I can provide a Cape Cod route.
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Old 04-22-15, 07:42 PM
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I should add riding into Newport is not recommended, there is basically no safe way to do it. I commute there every day (by car) and every so often I try to come up with a route that works for a once a week bike commute. No matter what, you are forced onto a narrow 4-lane road with no shoulders and no sidewalks. IF you are set on doing it, I can work out a convoluted route to keep it as safe as possible, but there will be some bad spots no matter what.

EDIT - I am talking from (or to) Bristol or Tiverton RI. From the South, you have the bridges to deal with - see below.

Last edited by transporterjr; 04-23-15 at 12:16 PM.
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Old 04-23-15, 08:16 AM
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^^^^^ I was thinking about trying to pedal through Newport this summer. Two of the bridges are off limit to bikes? And you need to take a ferry?
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Old 04-23-15, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Leebo View Post
^^^^^ I was thinking about trying to pedal through Newport this summer. Two of the bridges are off limit to bikes? And you need to take a ferry?
You cannot bike from the Jamestown side, bikes are not allowed on the Jamestown-Verrazzano or Newport Bridges. You have to hitch or use the bus with racks - which don't run on Sundays. see http://www.bikeforums.net/northeast/...bridge-ri.html <---that thread mentions, you can take a ferry from Newport to Jamestown, but that solves only the Newport Bridge problem - but I am doubtful, you could take a bike on that passenger ferry, but it might be possible.

It is now legal to ride over the Mt Hope Bay Bridge from Bristol RI, and it has for a while now. The new Sakonnet River Bridge from Tiverton actually has a separate bike path.

Yeah touring from my house -- Boston to the North, these two bridges to the south...sounds like a Johnny Nash song. Oh yeah, ocean to the east.
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Old 04-23-15, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Leebo View Post
^^^^^ I was thinking about trying to pedal through Newport this summer. Two of the bridges are off limit to bikes? And you need to take a ferry?
If you are going through on a weekday. With adequate notice, I could pick you up at the start on the Newport one and drop you off at the end of the Jamestown one on the mainland (in a bike friendly spot). I work a few miles from the Newport Bridge. If interested, let me know and I'll supply contact info.
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Old 04-23-15, 12:19 PM
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Good to know, thanks for the offer. Right now I'm looking at the nice bake paths going to Providence and then west to CT. So that route would bypass those bridges. Most of my trips I will plan out the first day and then wing it afterwards. Not that much firm planning ahead of time, just general directions.
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Old 04-23-15, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Leebo View Post
Good to know, thanks for the offer. Right now I'm looking at the nice bake paths going to Providence and then west to CT. So that route would bypass those bridges. Most of my trips I will plan out the first day and then wing it afterwards. Not that much firm planning ahead of time, just general directions.
Yeah, you can ride from Mass into RI, over the Sakonnet River Bridge new bike path, over the narrow Mt Hope Bridge, into Bristol and pickup the bike path right into Providence. Then it's finding the way west to someplace to camp. I am thinking of the same route, leaving from my house.
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Old 04-24-15, 04:52 AM
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The Mt. Hope bridge is a little spooky for me. Take a whole lane. Once over this bridge head for the East Bay path towards Providence. Order the R.I. from the DOT. Its got all the RI paths
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Old 04-24-15, 10:04 AM
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this sounds like such a cool trip following, as it may end in New York. i've been looking at long trips that go upstate to peekskill and fahnstock, etc. am curious, haven't done it~
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Old 04-24-15, 10:15 AM
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if you end up in Springfield Ma im on warmshowers and can get u into NYC via back roads & rail trails
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Old 04-24-15, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by bktourer1 View Post
The Mt. Hope bridge is a little spooky for me. Take a whole lane. Once over this bridge head for the East Bay path towards Providence. Order the R.I. from the DOT. Its got all the RI paths
Map on order, CT site is down?
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