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Day 7 – St. Agatha to Presque Isle – September 15
“Navigating the Lakes of Aroostook”
The last morning of BikeMaine 2018 begins with a beautiful ride along the western shore of Long Lake and through the town of Guerette, which is nestled alongside the eastern shore of Cross Lake. Heading southeast, we pedal through St. Etropus Cemetery (where we’ll have the road to ourselves!) and enjoy some rolling hills as we approach the northeastern shore of Madawaska Lake. From there, we continue riding southeast to New Sweden, a Swedish colony established in 1870, Caribou, and back to where we started . . . Presque Isle, Maine, where a farewell luncheon awaits.
Presque Isle, derived from the French term for peninsula (presqu’île), as the courses of the Aroostook River and Presque Isle Stream form a peninsula, is considered the hub of Aroostook County, the largest county in Maine, and the geographically largest east of the Mississippi River. With just fewer than 10,000 nighttime residents, Presque Isle is the largest city in “The County” and swells to over 25,000 residents during the day, as neighboring community and Canadian residents (only 20 minutes away) travel to the Star City to work, shop, dine, use the regional airport, or attend one of three institutions of higher learning.
The village was founded in 1828 by Dennis Fairbanks and was originally known as Fairbanks Mills, with deep-rooted traditions in forestry and agriculture. Maine produces 4% of the national potato crop and Aroostook County produces 96% of that. In fact, the very first acre of potatoes planted in Aroostook County were planted in Presque Isle.
The city is situated along the edge of the Presque Isle Stream and the Aroostook River and boasts outstanding outdoor recreational activities including biking, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, camping, hunting, fishing, ATV riding, skiing, and snowmobiling. The Nordic Heritage Center offer free cross country skiing and mountain biking trails and has hosted numerous world-class International Biathlon events. Other sites of interest in Presque Isle include the Northern Maine Museum of Science, the Maine Solar System, the Mark & Emily Turner Memorial Public Library, Mantle Lake Park, and the Presque Isle Bike Path – a 4-mile paved, lighted pathway through and around the city for bikers, walker, and joggers.
Presque Isle is home to a nationally recognized Native American Tribe, the Aroostook Band of MicMacs, and has strong Acadian French and Swedish communities and culture nearby.
The area is rich in cultural and historical activities. Presque Isle boasts the first state park in the State of Maine, was the site of the 1978 lift-off of the first successful transatlantic balloon flight, and was the location of the nation’s first Intercontinental Ballistic Missile – the SNARK. Presque Isle Historical Society offers several guided walking tours, a guided tour of the 1875 Vera Estey House Museum, the Maysville Museum, and Molly the Trolley. Other cultural heritage offerings in the city include the MicMac Museum and the Air Museum.
Welcome to Presque Isle!