Get A Taste of Maine
With over 3.5 million acres of undeveloped land and towns that mimic those found in a storybook, you’ll love falling off the beaten path in Aroostook County, Maine. Known simply as “The County” or “Crown,” life in this northernmost region is a grandiose fusion of old-world charm blended to perfection with contemporary appeal. You’ll feel a bit like a time traveler as you enjoy amenities that are every bit present-day, while exploring quaint villages and years-old cultures that make it seem as if you have stepped back in time.
Begin your journey with a stroll through the St. John River Valley, home to the Acadian-rich towns of Saint Agatha, Frenchville, Van Buren, and Sinclair. The Valley offers a bonanza of indoor and outdoor attractions that will delight your senses and enrich your mind. See history come to life with a visit to the Acadian Village, a museum setting that beautifully tells the story of the area’s first settlers. When you’re done, stop by one of the many local diners for a plate of ployes (buckwheat pancakes) layered with creton (a rustic pork pate) or a bowl of chicken stew, one-of-a-kind French-Acadian dishes. You might even spot a moose or bald eagle while traveling down one of Maine’s scenic routes such as the Fish River Scenic Byway (State Route 11) and St. John Valley Cultural Byway. Have your camera ready to go!
The area is also known for its many opportunities to get wet or just make a splash from a distance. That’s right! The region is a water utopia, home to the vast unspoiled Allagash Wilderness Waterway, the mighty St. John River, and more than 2,000 other lakes, streams, and ponds. The Valley is at the heart of this adventure, so be sure to grab your fishing poles or strap on your canoe before heading out the door.
If water is not on your to-do list, but you still want to experience the great outdoors,hiking, camping, bird and wildlife watching, and other recreational and sports opportunities abound as you descend upon smaller mountains, endless four-season camping areas and more in the towns of Island Falls (a favorite getaway for Theodore Roosevelt) and Eagle Lake (home to the Eagle Lake 100 Sled Dog Race featuring top mushers from around the world), among others. Plan a stop by The Deboullie Caves, ideal for spelunking and science enthusiasts, or view a treasured sculpture, “The Boy with the Leaking Boot,” in Houlton.
Visiting when there’s snow on the ground?Don’t miss out on Aroostook County’s 2,300 miles of groomed snowmobile trails and family skiing and snow tubing facilities.Caribou is the epicenter of this snow lover’s paradise, home to the annual Ski Dash and Youth Ski Festival, and featuring the third highest rated snowmobile trails in the nation.
But snow and the great outdoors do not have to command a visit. Caribou is also the place to discover the Nylander Museum of Natural History, exhibiting collections of regional fossil and mineral specimens and native archaeology finds. Honoring the importance of lumbering in Maine’s culture, a logging museum that features a working blacksmith shop and machine sheds housing artifacts and exhibits can be found in neighboring Ashland.
Looking for a unique, family-oriented adventure? Aroostook County is the destination for an array of fairs and festivals throughout the year. The Maine Potato Blossom Festival in Fort Fairfield tempts the taste buds, while Presque Isle’s Crown of Maine Balloon Fest is a true feast for the eyes! From agricultural to artistically-styled, there are endless jubilees and festivities awaiting your arrival.
Finish off your visit with a shopping spree, Aroostook style! Leave the mega-malls behind and discover an infinite array of one-of-a-kind shopping venues including corner bookstores, country/primitive gift shops, specialty food products and farm stands, and more! In Fort Fairfield, a Community Market is open May through October offering locally grown fruits and vegetables, organic pork products, flowering plants, jewelry, baskets, woodworking, and baked goods made by members of the local Amish community. Be sure to pick up a jar of Maine-made maple syrup or honey!
Or you might prefer the many antique shops found in and around the towns of Fort Kent. Here you can find relics and collectibles from Maine’s potato growing industry or original Native American artifacts and handmade novelties such as woven baskets and carved items. You can also escape to the Aroostook Centre Mall in Presque Isle for a more modern shopping experience.
Did you know ...?
- The League of American Cyclists has ranked Maine, including Aroostook County, as one of the top 10 most bike-friendly states in the country.
- The Northern Forest Canoe Trail extends more than 700 miles, beginning in Old Forge, New York and ending in the Aroostook town of Fort Kent.
- Geographically, Aroostook County is the largest county east of the Mississippi—larger than the States of Rhode Island and Connecticut combined.
- Named from a Native American word meaning “Beautiful River”, Aroostook County is home to the Mi'kmaq and Maliseet tribes.
Set your own pace to explore and enjoy all the beauty and adventure of Aroostook County, “The Last Frontier of the East”.
My favorite spot in Aroostook County is the Million Dollar View on Rt. 1 in Weston. It overlooks the East Grand Lake and the Canadian landscape. Beautiful and impressive. This summer, I stayed at the First Settlers Lodge and the accommodations were excellent! This area defines the State of Maine. Living life as life should be lived is found in this vast area of Aroostook County.
–Linda P., Greenwich, NJ