Seeing through a visitor’s eyes

Kimberly Smith, Special to The County
7 years ago

I recently had the pleasure of escorting a two-time Emmy-award-winning videographer around our community as he shot film footage to be used by the Northern Maine Regional Airport to attract more air traffic into Presque Isle.

This gentleman is from a large metropolitan area on the West Coast and is a married father of two young children, ages 10 and 7. During our travels, I asked him if he and his family would be interested in vacationing here and how he saw our community. He said he and his family would love to return here for vacation, that there was so much to do. In addition, he felt that many of the options were so unique, which made it so interesting to families such as his.

This was his second visit here, having come in January to film winter vignettes. During the winter trip, he visited the Nordic Heritage Center and was amazed at this world-class cross country skiing and biathlon venue that residents can use at no cost. While here, he visited the Aroostook Band of MicMacs Museum and was fascinated with the beautiful hand-crafted baskets and the cultural heritage of this nationally recognized tribe.

Another feather in our cap was all of the options available for a “day trip” such as the World Pond Hockey Championships held right across the border in Perth-Andover and the Can-Am Sled Dog Races in the Valley. All of these things were free to see and do.

For the summer trip, the videographer attended a tractor pull just outside of Woodstock, N.B.; visited the Lumber Museum and Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument down in the Patten area; hiked the Aroostook State Park; drove with me through the back country woods marveling in the beautiful patchwork of fields colored by the wide variety of agricultural crops; stopped in at a local malt barley farm and took a taste test at their malt house; watched potato chips being manufactured right here in Mapleton; went mountain biking at Nordic Heritage; attended the Rocking on Riverside concert; kayaked on Monson Pond; was fascinated by the Loring Land Speed Trials; awed by the beauty of the Allagash; drove a golf cart around the Aroostook Valley Country Club, marveling in the history of the prohibition which allows a golf course to be partly in the US and partly in Canada with truly breathtaking vistas; and enjoyed several events during the Maine Potato Blossom Festival.

Our newfound fan from Oregon couldn’t believe how many unique festivals are held in our area, from the Midsommar Fest to the Crown of Maine Balloon Fest to the Bluegrass Festival to Brew Fest. He believes there is something for everyone to enjoy here, even if it is simply to go outside and participate in all of the wonderful outdoor recreation opportunities. The area is also rich in cultural heritage tourism with the Presque Isle Airbase Museum, the 1875 Vera Estey House Museum and the newly opened Maysville Museum right here in Presque Isle; the science museum in Easton; the Southern Aroostook Agricultural Museum in Littleton; and the interesting cultural museums located just up the road in the Valley.

Perhaps because we live here and see these things every day, we forget how beautiful our area is and truly how much there is to do if you take just a few moments to investigate what is out there. Martha Buck of Buck Farms in Mapleton said it perfectly as we toured their farm: “Maine’s slogan is ‘Maine — the way life should be’. That is really how it is here in Aroostook County — and we love to show it off!”

Kimberly Smith is the grant writer/public information officer for the city of Presque Isle. She can be reached at 760-2722 or via email at