Thursday, September 4, 2008

On-Road Biking in Newington, NH

We wanted to plan a bike ride in the Portsmouth area for Labor Day and after consulting pedaling.com, settled on a route near Pease Tradeport (the former Air Force base). It was a beautiful day for a ride and actually a nice choice for an on-road route.

My inspiration for this ride was a 14-mile route I found on pedaling.com. Using Google maps, I tried to shorten the route to about 10 miles. Not sure how well I succeeded since we missed a turn and I didn't have a working odometer. But all in all, it was a very pleasant country ride with few hills and very light traffic, taking us mostly through Newington. Our reward at the end was a stop at Redhook Ale Brewery located in Pease Tradeport.

So here's the route we took:
We started at the Park 'n Ride on Grafton Road (off Route 33) in Portsmouth, located inside Pease Tradeport.
1. Turn right out of the entrance onto Route 33.
2. At .4 mile, turn right on Portsmouth Avenue (unmarked), across from the Sunoco station.
3. At a little over one mile, turn right on Newington Road, which eventually becomes McIntyre Road.
4. After about 5 miles, turn right on Little Bay Road.
5. Take a right on Nimble Hill Road and then left on Arboretum Drive, taking you back into Pease.
6. Follow Arboretum Drive (which becomes New Hampshire Avenue) to a Right on Grafton Road. This takes you back to the Park 'n Ride.

The most scenic part of the ride was on Newington Road. It's a typical New Hampshire country road with apple orchards, cows, horses, and corn fields. Quite pretty and very relaxing.

You could actually ride your bike to Redhook Ale Brewery if you were to stay on New Hampshire Avenue which curves around to become Corporate Drive -- but it would probably add another 1-2 miles to your excursion. We chose to drive for that cold brew and mid-afternoon lunch, enjoyed al fresco. It was a refreshing way to finish the ride!

Things to Know Before You Go: The Great Bay Wildlife Refuge (1,054 acres) is also located on this route. While we rode along the wooded refuge, we never actually saw the entrance and didn't take a side trip. I understand there are a number of walking trails there.

Directions: I recommend doing a 'mapquest' or GPS entry to 185 Grafton Road, Portsmouth, the address for the Park 'n Ride.