Saturday, August 8, 2009

Breakfast Ride Report - Winthrop

It was an exceptionally crisp and clear morning last Friday when half-a-dozen riders set off from Readfield Center in search of breakfast and some fine early morning cycling. Traffic was light - to the point of nonexistent. We marveled at riding from the Readfield Depot to the Maranacook Boat Landing in Winthrop with nary a single call of "Car Back." We exchanged morning greetings with a few joggers and early risers out for a walk. It was a very pleasant way to start a weekday.

We stopped in Winthrop at the "Full Court Deli" on Rt. 41 - a popular place, judging by the bustle of activity inside. The parking area was filling up with cars though we found ample space for bike parking near the entrance. For those of us who are not fully functional before 10 AM, the overhead menus at the counter (where one places one's order) were a bit confusing. Lots of interesting options - too many, perhaps - I opted for a straight cheese omelet with homefries, toast & coffee, rather than hold up the line. We found an empty table and a couple of extra chairs, and talked about cycle tours while we waited.

The restaurant decor resembled that of a sports bar, with posters, photographs, and memorabilia of Boston Celtics stars, past & present. This seemed more than just odd in a breakfast setting - having the likes of Larry Bird staring down at you while you're buttering your toast might put some diners off their appetite - but having ridden 8 or 10 miles in the morning air that was not a problem for us. I looked around half-heartedly for Bill Walton, if for no other reason that I could mention that he was an avid cyclist in his playing days, but I saw no representation of him from where we were sitting.

The breakfast was excellent, and the place has a wide selection of coffees. I tried a blend called the "Blueberry Cobbler" which turned out to be pretty good. Since I had hurriedly ordered something mundane, I was pleasantly surprised when the food was anything but. The homefries in particular were intensely flavorful, with lots of onions & garlic & spices. Serious homefries indeed. Have to spend more time looking at the menu next time.

On our return route we headed north on Rt. 41 before veering off on an earlier roadway that once ran between local mill districts. Sturtevant Hill Road still winds its way past some historic old farms and climbs up to a long ridgeway with spectacular views. Best of all, we found the northern half of the road to be freshly paved, providing a smooth, fast descent off the ridge. Arriving back in Readfield, we took a detour along the sites of some of the bustling mills that once packed the streams running into town. It seemed a shame to have such a pleasant ride end before 10 AM, but as it was our timing could not have been better. The clear sky and calm weather did not last, and a thunderstorm rolled through not long after we had disbanded.

Plans are underway for a breakfast ride to the Hi-Hat in Gardiner - stay tuned for more details.

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