Aroostook County in two days of cold rain and snow

subtitle: Eat and drive

So. I wrote a whole long post about our vacation trip up to the county. And I thought I posted it, but instead, I guess I deleted it. Crazy! I didn’t have the heart to write it again, so I didn’t post anything. There, I showed WordPress! But it doesn’t help me post the trip notes!

I can’t recreate it, but I can give you the highlights of the trip. First – well, it was cold. Snowing in fact, in Fort Kent. Like, they had to plow kind of snowing. And we traveled up on a Sunday. Nothing was open. I mean NOTHING. We went up on the road less traveled (Rte 11) and got all the way to Fort Kent before we found any place to stop and eat and stretch our legs. It was a beautiful ride, I have to say, incredible empty landscape.

Fort Kent was somehow smaller than I imagined, which is strange, not sure what I expected, but I have enough experience with Washington County to know what rural towns are like. Hmmm. Anyway, we lucked out that Roc’s Diner was open. We had read about it in Down East Magazine this month, so we decided since it was open, and we had a good review of it, we would stop for some lunch. The food was good and hot and the server was cheerful and quick. Couldn’t ask for more!

Took photos by the Rte 1 terminus sign, of course, like good little tourists, and then headed south on Rte 1 (there is no other way to go on Rte 1 in Fort Kent!).

So. Still cold. Now sleeting/raining. Still Sunday. Everything still closed. Everyone still home keeping warm and dry. Saw that Madawaska has what looks like a nice downtown with real shops owned by people not stockholders, but all closed, so we kept driving. In Van Buren, we found an open Rite Aid, so we stopped and walked the aisles to stretch our legs and get warm. Then back in the car.

We noticed that all the towns have big elaborate roman catholic churches – kind of reminded me of France with the cathedrals in the tiny towns.
Kept driving. Got to Caribou. Had to go explore a bit, so we headed for the “business district” Man, more cold wet closed buildings. It all looked very depressing,and we truly were starting to wonder WHY we were doing this! I mean, if we wanted cold wet and depressing, we could have toured towns much closer to home.

We got to Presque Isle around 3. Still cold, still raining, but our hotel was open – yippee! Also, more signs of life, in that they have chain stores which were open. In among them, we found a gem of a fabric/yarn store, locally owned. The prop gave us lots of info about where to eat, and what to do before we left town. We learned that there are THREE yarn stores in Presque Isle. Wow, a wealth of shopability.

We tried to find one of the restaurants she told us about but as it didn’t have a sign, we finally gave up and went to a pizza place. Good pizza, of course, since it was Pat’s – same as at home. At least it is a Maine chain….

The next morning, L and I went for a swim in the pool before breakfast, after which we cleaned the slush off the car and began our tour of PI. We stopped at one of the yarn stores which also turned out to be a scrapbook store – those county shop owners sure know how to get my heart pounding! and then went in search of things for A to do as it was her birthday trip, after all! She was excited to find a tractor Supply store, so we went in there and toured the place, got some random things, including some see potatoes. Can’t go to the county and not come home with potatoes!

From there we headed to UMPI to see the sun – the start of the solar system model. Then we drove to Houlton, stopping along the way to photograph the planets. We never found Mars, though. Stopped int eh rest area to get photos of PLuto, and then we went on to find our lunch place – Grammy’s restaurant, outside of Houlton and SO worth the trip. Unbelievable amounts of delicious food – and whoopie pies the size of layer cakes – for three dollars! Holy cow, did A have fun.

Then back over to Rte 1, heading south to Danforth, then over to Lincoln the turnpike to home.

So we spent two days in the car, in the cold rainy weather, just driving to our next meal. But we saw a lot of the county, and I would go back there again, it looked like there were some interesting things to see and do. But not in April. Not on a Sunday.

(A plus? I made two hats while A drove.)

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