Last week, I ventured almost four hours north to a part of Maine known as the county, for the annual Potato Blossom Festival.
If you've never been to northern Maine (and I mean past Bangor, and Houlton, and even Presque-Isle) you may have heard that it's primarily trees, potato farms, with a population of moose greater than people, and a lifestyle that is completely different from what we know today.
While it is true that there is no lack of trees or moose, there is a lot more to discover.
Northern Maine is well-known for its potatoes, but also, for its beauty and tranquility. I know people who would never trade the peaceful lifestyle for anything.
Second, there is a sense of community and culture that runs deep. Many people from the county share common roots from the French Acadians, who originally settled the area years ago. French cooking, traditions, and speaking are a big part of the culture.
Dedication to hard work is a key characteristic of people in the county. With a close look, you can see the time, energy, and effort spent in creating communities to be proud of.
While home, I connected with the Hebert family, who turner their family hobby into a family business. Au Jardin, or The Garden, demonstrates the hard work ethic that still thrives in the county. Robb and his family grow a variety of fruits and vegetables including strawberries, potatoes, onions, corn, peas, tomatoes, and much more. The long days and the hard work don't stop the family from pushing on. This shows the dedication that still lives in northern Maine.
While it is a common misconception that life in northern Maine is vastly different from southern parts of the state, this just isn't the case. I am proud to call northern Maine my home, and there is nothing like going back and reconnecting with old friends, family, community and culture. There will always be those familiar things, those traditions, to bring back memories of where we come from, and who we are.