Aroostook, The County

starch-factory-aroostook

Starch Factory-Library Of Congress

“The County,”  is known for potatoes and its abundant ways to recreate.

As Maine’s northernmost county, its northernmost town, Estcourt Station, is therefore also the northernmost town of New England and of the continental United States, east of the Great lakes

Aroostook County is known for its potato crops, as well as its French culture. In the northernmost region of the county, which borders Madawska County, New Brunswick,  a majority of residents are bilingual. The county is a hub for wind power, with so much being produced that the county will soon have excess to sell once it connects to the New England Power Grid.

Maine’s largest county (and largest east of the Mississippi) Aroostook takes up 6,671 square miles - 73,938 people live here. Agriculture has a strong presence here, in both livelihood and culture. Fields of potatoes create the landscape, changing from green in spring to pink and white in summer to dusty brown in fall. Festivals celebrate the blossom season in July, and school calendars adjust so that all hands can help harvest in September.

Winter lasts a long time up here and snowmobiles are put to use both for recreation and transport. Snowmobilers use the Interstate Trail System, which zigzags throughout the County and connects Maine to Canada.

Rivaling Acadia National Park and Baxter State Park as protected areas of great beauty is the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. Established in 1966, this route of lakes, streams and ponds begins in Telos Lake, just north of Baxter State Park, and runs 92 miles almost all the way to the town of Allagash, where the Allagash and St. John Rivers meet. Canoeing, either the Allagash or the St. John, is considered a “must” by outdoors enthusiasts. Special arrangements between logging companies and the state allow for recreational use, giving visitors access to an area of wilderness that is becoming more and more rare in the northeast.

More hikers are beginning to wander through the southern part of the County, as an effort to stretch the Appalachian Trail to its geographic end gathers steam. The International Appalachian Trail, as it’s called, goes from Katahdin through Mars Hill and on to the Gaspe peninsula.

The towns in the county offer a glimpse of culture and history. Check out the historic buildings in Houlton, scenic drives between Caribou and Presque Isle, a Scandinavian enclave in New Sweden, and the strong Acadian culture in Fort Kent and Madawaska (don’t miss the ployes, filling buckwheat pancakes, or tourtieres, meaty pork pies).

www.visitaroostook.com

Aroostook Country Region from Maine Office of Tourism on Vimeo.

Caribou Maine     www.cariboumaine.net

Fort Fairfield     www.fortcc.org

Fort Kent      www.fortkentchamber.com

Houlton         www.greaterhoulton.com

Limestone     www.limestonemaine.org

Madawaska      www.greatermadawaskachamber.com

Presque Isle     www.pichamber.org

Saint Francis    www.stfrancismaine.org

Van Buren     www.greatervanburenchamber.com


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