We’ve lived in Maine almost 9 years, and yet somehow we’d never made a trip up to the Northern half of the state. (Bangor always felt like the Northern half of the state, but if you look at the map, it’s really pretty much right smack dab in the middle. Why haven’t we explored it?
Because it takes a long time to get there, and there hasn’t seemed like any real reason to go.
However, we did have friends move there two years ago, which was the first reason we might consider exploring the place, and then I had a library meeting scheduled in Presque Isle, which is the best sort of motivating reason to go to a place. (Getting paid to go to a place usually does that for a place.) So since our friends were also up there, I asked Denisa if she wanted to give it a shot, and she said yes.
We drove up Thursday morning and down Saturday afternoon. And as expected, it was a fairly long drive. 3.5 hours, which was still a half hour shorter than what Google thought it would take me. (And I’ll say that on the way down, it felt much shorter. Typical.) Getting to northern Maine involves driving through many trees. and little else. Once you get past Bangor, you don’t see much in the way of civilization until you get off the freeway at Houlton. Presque Isle is forty minutes north of that.
I was surprised at how much farming you see there. Lots of potato fields as opposed to the thick woods I generally associate with the state. It looked a lot more like Pennsylvania than I expected, in other words. (And they have a large Mennonite/Amish community too.)
Overall, I really liked the area. Sprawling and largely empty, which is about how I prefer my areas to be. Presque Isle had a good downtown area, with a variety of businesses. Bigger than where I live, though it’s also the one real town for miles around, so that makes sense. Sort of the hub for the area. (And they had a very tasty ice cream shop, which is important.)
But the extra two hours beyond Bangor really does make a difference. Not that it’s in the middle of nowhere. That would be more somewhere between Bangor and Houlton. (Nowhere.) So this is more the outskirts of nowhere. 🙂 But I can definitely see why people like it, and if I never had to fly anywhere or take trips off to who knows where, then I think I’d be very happy there indeed. But in the end, I think I live about as remotely as I want to live.
Nice to know there are more remote options, though.
We had a really nice time up there. Great to see old friends again. Went on a great short hike. Ate good food. Denisa and the kids saw two moose (their first moose in the wild sightings). A coworker ran into a bear on his morning job (both bear and coworker are fine). All you could ask for a quick vacation. I think we’ll be back, at the very least as we drive through to explore New Brunswick.