The End of Maine
Posted on October 19, 2014
It’s possible to think that you are at the end of Maine when you pass all the normal signposts coming from the south such as Portland, Camden, Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor and even tiny Lubec, with Canada oh so close.
But Maine stretches on for what seems like endless miles due north to French speaking Aroostook County, which touches Quebec and where potatoes are king. US Route 1 takes you there, all the way from Key West, Florida.
As we left the Atlantic coastal region, the weather grew warmer and the trees took on more color. At times we travelled along high ridges which allowed us broad views over the countryside. Clearly autumn color was on the way.
There was no end of glacier formed lakes along the way, and marshes where we understood moose were to be found.
In one small town along Route 1 we were lucky enough to see one small herd of moose. Here they are.
For whatever reason, the retreating glaciers, which so formed the topography of Maine, left ridges of fine topsoil which are perfect for growing potatoes. Here was the only place in Maine where we saw actual planted fields of any size. Big trucks zoomed to and fro filled with potatoes heading to market, or storage. We often saw potatoes for sale along the road in small stands. Payment was by the honor system.
Rather like our staying in Lubec because of it’s association with Eva’s home town in Germany, we ferreted out Martin’s Motel in Madawaska for a few days stay. It was a good choice.
Along the way, in the next town of Fort Kent, we found a perfect place for breakfast, a down-home diner catering to old French speaking locals with time on their hands.
Directly across the street was a monument declaring this to be the very beginning of US Route 1, that wends its way all the way to Florida. I bet lots of local folks drive all that distance every winter. We talked with people who do.
The time came to leave the town stuff behind and head out into the countryside, heading eventually to Brunswick, and home. We followed the only other north-south route in the state, State Route 11.
As soon as we were away from the settlements right along the Canadian border, we were immediately out of French speaking territory. The Acadians here, though, are very proud of their heritage and cling to their traditions. The younger generations are not so willing to follow.
Now we must say goodbye to Maine. In the north we caught the peak of autumn color. Just the goal of intrepid leaf peepers.