#1 Motorcycle cruise for all of you motorcycle enthusiasts: Nova Scotia’s Cabot Trail was voted #1 by USA Today readers and there is a great way to see Maine and Nova Scotia while saving some of the driving: Nova Star Ferry.
A June 2014 poll by USA Today readers selected the 10 best places to go cruising on a motorcycle and Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia earned top honors. This ride can seem a bit daunting as it takes a full day’s ride over and then another full day when you are ready. Well, not any more. The Nova Star leaves out of Portland, Maine and cruises, overnight, to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, saving 715 miles of ride time. If you are looking for a great scenic ride, here is one Robin recommends.
Clearly, you can start your ride anywhere. We think that starting in Maine is a pretty great choice. Some great rides to enjoy either before or after your Nova Scotia leg include Route 1 up the coast, and Highway 201, also known as Benedict Arnold Highway. While we found it odd that someone thought to name a road after one of our most infamous traitors, Arnold would have been proud of this ride. For some 52 miles from the town of Moose River to Solon, the route cuts through thick spruce and fur like Paul Bunyan. The road looks like a big, black slice through the wilderness.
The Kennebec River and scores of streams and ponds flank the Benedict Arnold, which will feel like a personal paradise for riders who like an impromptu summer dip. Just watch out for the moose, and maybe an occasional bear or Bigfoot. A few miles north of Moose River is the Canadian border. Beyond the 30-minute customs stop, the road turns to rolling farmland. You can clear customers and keep going or head back to James Place Inn for some rest and relaxation.
Leaving from James Place Inn after a good night’s rest is one of Robin’s all-time favorite rides, Kancamagus Highway. You will leave Freeport and head to the White Mountains on the Maine & New Hampshire border. New Hampshire’s White Mountains are some of the prettiest 34 miles you’ll ever ride, lying between Lincoln and going east to Conway.
The gorgeous curves of Kancamagus Mountain follow the Swift River. Not only is this one of the world’s great fall foliage destinations, but an unforgettable summer escape for motorcyclists. The Kancamagus stretches across old Indian hunting paths, logging roads and dense forest.
Visit Clark’s Trading Post near Lincoln, which is not only an eclectic shop but a museum. Other attractions include the Conway Scenic Railroad and Loon Mountain. Enjoy your day and head back to James Place Inn for a good night’s rest and a great breakfast in the morning, before heading out to catch Nova Star Ferry.
You will say good-bye to James Place Inn and Freeport, for now, before going to Portland to catch the ferry to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. The ferry departs from Portland in the evening and arrives in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia in the morning. Cabins are available for the overnight (much like a hotel) as are assigned seats that recline. Once landing in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia your next riding adventure awaits. Hugging the coast of Cape Breton, the Cabot Trail offers 187 miles of stunning mountain and sea vistas, fishing villages and delightfully twisty pavement. Off the bike, the island offers a rich Celtic heritage (complete with foot-tapping tunes) and an excellent series of hiking trails to explore. Take in the sites of Prince Edward Island (PEI), Nova Scotia, and the Bay of Fundy. Head back into Maine to revisit favorite spots from before, or reverse this trip and start in Portland to pick up the ferry to Yarmouth, dropping into Maine and James Place Inn as you outpost. No matter which way you choose to do it, this is sure to be a trip you’ll remember.