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  The Ride to Great Island
The Ride to Great Island

What to Bring

Helmet   Gloves
Safety lights   Biking pants
First aid kit   Sunglasses
Windbreaker   Backpack
Repair kit   Water


From Boston, take Route 1 North, then
Route 128 North
Take Exit 20A for Route A North (direction Hamilton)
Go past the mall and Wenham Lake (on your left)
Turn left at the Wenham Church on Arbor Street
Park in front of, or beside the Church
  Good to know in advance
There are a nice playground and a small
field behind the church – interesting if your significant other and the kids prefer to have a picnic lunch rather than going with you on the ride

Buy a road map to get oriented more easily: Rubel BikeMaps "Eastern Massachusetts" – $4.95 in most Boston bookstores

Biking can be dangerous – always wear a helmet (mandatory under 12) and make
safety your priority
Bring your trash with you and leave no
trace where you stop

ID Card

Overall rating: Four-Star Rating Four-Star Rating Four-Star Rating Four-Star Rating
Difficulty: 2/5
  Time from Boston: 1 hour
  Duration: Half day


  Main activity:


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Here is a nice little loop of about 26 miles (or 17 miles without the extension to Great Island) that will make you forget the stress of the big city.

The countryside around Ipswich is still preserved from development, and you are unlikely to see much traffic on these roads. The area you’ll ride across could be called horse country, and chances are you’ll see more than a horseback rider training on the many farms that dot the area. The extension to Great Island will bring you to an often-overlooked beach over the Ipswich River, directly across Crane Beach. In just one ride, this is a chance to go from deep green to deep blue, and without wasting too much of your energy since the ride is almost flat.
At average speed, the complete loop should take about 4 hours including stops.

Here are the detailed ride directions:
From Wenham Church, take left on Route 1A for one third of a mile
Turn right on Larch road, which becomes Essex Road
At an intersection with sign for Route 22, turn left on Woodbury Road (no street sign)
Turn right on Bridge Street after short descent
Turn left on Sagamore Street (visible, old-fashioned street sign)
At the end of Sagamore Street (golf course on left), turn right on Route 133
Half a mile down Route 133, turn left on Northgate Road (this is a dangerous intersection; stop on the road shoulder to check traffic before turning)
At next intersection, turn left on Argilia Road. Less than a mile later is the small Hamlin Reservation on the right. This is a nice place for a rest stop or a short walk in the nearby Great Marsh
At the stop sign, turn right and go straight on Jeffreys Moore road. If you do not want to visit Great Island, which adds 9 miles to the ride, go right at the stop sign, stay on the main road turning left, and take left at the next large intersection on Topsfield road
If you go to Great Island, continue straight until you reach the island, actually a narrow peninsula in the marshes ending in a large hill; stay on the right until you reach the beach (obvious parking lot in front of you); the road ends a few yards on the right at a private housing community. The beach slopes down to the Essex River opening out to the ocean, with great views of Crane Beach on the other side of the bay.
From the beach, take right on Bayview road and always stay close to the water; at a fork, take right down and cross a short valley under a large rectangular building on top of a hill.
You will soon reach Jeffreys Moore road again; ride back the way you came towards Ipswich; before reaching the town center, turn right on East Street after a short climb (large tree and small wooden garage shack at the intersection), then immediately left on North Main Road
At the main intersection down in Ipswich, go straight on Topsfield Road
Turn left on Mill Street (large traffic sign); From this point, the ride is mostly in the woods and very shady. You will also ride past Appleton Grass Rides (on the left side, sign and parking lot), a very nice reservation that is a great place for a walk.
Stay on Mill Street until you reach your departure point at the Wenham church.
Paddling Biking Mountaineering