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Padelmarvanc :)

Razors Edge

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Adventure Cycling posted their latest route - a Philly to NC path through DE, MD, and VA.  Map two - from Felton to Currituck looks neat.  Might check it out - it is likely pancake flat!

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The Delmarva Bicycle Route creates another route option parallel to the Atlantic Coast Route between Philadelphia and the Outer Banks town of Currituck, North Carolina along the historic and scenic Delmarva Peninsula. Just a short distance from one-third of the nation’s population you can explore almost 600 miles of the peninsular region that includes Delaware, the eastern and western shore of Maryland, and a small strip of Virginia separating the Chesapeake Bay from the Atlantic Ocean. The toponym "DelMarVa" is a clipped compound of three state names: Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. Delaware, as it so happens, not only offers world-class biking but is also the last of the lower 48 states in the U.S. to include a route mapped by Adventure Cycling.

While the main route adheres to early American history hotspots and extensive sand beaches on the eastern coast of Delaware, a separate alternate route option is available that eschews the summer vacation traffic and meanders down the Eastern Shore of Maryland along the Chesapeake Bay. On this side things are a bit quieter, long sand expanses are replaced by green coastal marshes and waterways, and the rich cultural/natural landmarks of Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park and Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge are worth slowing down for.

Starting at the art museum in Philadelphia at the intersection of the Atlantic Coast Route and Chicago to New York City Philadelphia Alternate Route, cyclists follow the Schuylkill River Trail to the South Street Bridge and enter the University of Pennsylvania campus, where bikes must be walked on weekdays. Beyond campus, the Baltimore Pike Bike Route helps cyclists maneuver through the epicenter of the Philadelphia-Wilmington metro area. Entering Delaware, the urban riding continues to the terminus of the Jack A. Markell Trail in Wilmington, a separated paved-and-sometimes-boardwalk bike path along rivers and over marshland bridges south to the historic village of New Castle on the banks of the Delaware River.

At the small hamlet of St. Georges, reached via the smooth pavement of the Michael Castle Trail paralleling the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, the 193.5-mi. Chesapeake Option departs the main route under the U.S. 13 bridge. Southward, the main route quickly leaves the U.S. 13 corridor, utilizing secondary state and county roads through a bevy of state and federal wildlife areas to the state capital in Dover. Near the section-end town of Felton, the route joins Delaware Bike Route 1 and closely follows until the Georgetown-Lewes and Junction and Breakwater Trails deliver the rider to the famous beach boardwalks of Rehoboth Beach. Traversing beach barrier islands becomes the name of the game along SR 1 for several miles to the south, across the Maryland border and ultimately all the way to Ocean City. You'll be sharing this stretch of highway with traffic in summer months, but cycling accommodations in the form of signage, painted shoulders/sharrows, and numerous bike paths should help ease the passage.

Back on the mainland, the route soon brings a rider within striking distance of a pair of quintessential barrier island ecosystems: Assateague Island National Seashore and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. An excursion of several miles off route is required to reach either, but the intrepid traveler will be repaid with an almost 40-mi. long strip of sand beach offering oceanside primitive camping, and most famously, herds of feral ponies descended, as legend would have it, from survivors of wrecked 17th century Spanish galleons off the Virginia coast.

Further south, the water closes in on both sides as the route follows the narrow "tail" of the southern peninsula. Although U.S. 13 provides a thoroughfare striking through the center, cyclists will be heartened to deal with the bends and turns of parallel SR 600 instead of dodging heavy highway traffic. In Capeville, more riding joy is found on the Southern Tip Bike and Hike Trail which provides a separated, multi-use path all the way to the north toll gate for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel near Cape Charles. After a shuttle deposits you at the south toll gate in urban Virginia Beach, the white-knuckling is kept as brief as possible. Residential roads and bike paths circumnavigate the busy part of U.S. 60 along the beach, and then lead directly to First Landing State Park, where English colonists landed in 1607. Navigating the southern outskirts of the city, you'll soon find yourself on the North Carolina state line negotiating a narrow causeway through the wild and watery Mackay Island Wildlife Refuge to Knotts Island. A short ferry ride will land you at the dock in Currituck, at route's end. If it suits your fancy, hop on the intersecting Outer Banks Alternate on Atlantic Coast Route Section 4 to continue your beachy sojourn.

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