Montana isn’t the only state that has “big sky country.” Aroostook County, at the northern tip of Maine, is known for its vast, open spaces and long views that will take your breath away. A virtual recreational paradise, The County, as it’s called by Mainers, is the destination for travelers looking for year-round fun in a great place to get away from it all.
Geographically, Aroostook County covers a footprint larger than that of Rhode Island and Connecticut combined, and the North Maine Woods consists of some 3.5 million acres of undeveloped wilderness. A stretch between Danforth and Orient features Maine’s “Million Dollar View”—Peekaboo Mountain and Mt. Katahdin to the west and a chain of sparkling lakes to the east. Altogether, there are more than 2,000 lakes, streams and ponds crisscrossing the region.
Residents of Aroostook County represent a diversity of cultures with largely agrarian roots. Chief among these are French-Canadian and Swedish. Together, they form a welcoming mix of communities at the ready to share traditional foods and festivals, and to pass on their spoken history from days long past.
A things-to-do list for the visitor to The County might include a range of activities from spelunking (cave exploration) to hot air ballooning on the wilder side, to hiking or snowmobiling among the more conventional pursuits. On the must-see list would be the International Sled Dog Races (Fort Kent, March); the Maine Potato Blossom Festival (Fort Fairfield, July); the Acadian Festival (Madawaska, August); and the Ploye Festival and Muskie Fishing Derby (Fort Kent, August). Popular attractions include the Ashland Logging Museum, the Presque Isle Air Museum, the Maine Swedish Colony, the historic Acadian Village, and Houlton’s very own version of the famous “Boy with the Leaking Boot” sculpture.
After a full day of sightseeing, you can relax at one of Aroostook County’s many quaint B&Bs or commercial hotels. Rest assured, either will be staffed by innkeepers who pride themselves on being open and friendly. You’ll also have no trouble finding fine vittles at restaurants that offer cuisine as diverse as the people who live here and prepare your food.