To celebrate we decided to head to Canada for a much needed vacation. When we married we did so quickly - we were young and eager. That meant we didn't have a lot of time or money to spend on a honeymoon so after three days, we headed back to work. We also wanted to see places we hadn't seen before and have lots of adventures. I'm not a huge fan of trying new things so the whole trip was way out of my comfort zone and thus one large adventure, but I was determined to have a good time...and I did.
Our first adventure started the very first day. Maine is a large state. It takes at least six hours to drive from the top near Madawaska to the bottom near Kittery. We started from our home around 10am on Saturday, the 13th of July and headed north. The largest county in Maine is Aroostook and commonly called "The County." I've only been there once before and hubby hadn't ever been.
What one should know at this point is where we were headed this first day...Quebec City. What one should also know is that Quebec is only about four hours from our home. We were on the road much longer than four hours though...much longer.
Once you pass Old Town, which is north of Bangor, on I-95, the speed limit jumps to 75mph. This was a nice perk to being on a little traveled road - even if it was a highway!
And this is how I spent a lot of the time on the road. While we used a GPS, it was nice to use actual maps to verify we were going the right way and how much further we had to drive. We also used the maps to see what else was might be in the area for us to go explore.
One very fun thing we noticed along the way was the Maine Solar System model. This was built with help from high school students (they helped build the actual models) and maintained by students at the University of Maine at Presque Isle. I had heard about the model years ago and we stumbled upon some of the giant planets, but missed all the rest.
There was a recent write-up about it as well in one of the local papers with some more info and even plans to extend the model into Canada which would be very neat!
Aroostook County is very famous for potatoes. In fact, school children used to start school in The County in early August so that they could have time off from school to help with the harvest. While some schools still follow this model, not all do since the advent of more modern farm equipment. However, seeing acres and acres of potatoes while we drove by was pretty fascinating. To hear about something is one thing, to see it brings it to a whole other level.
Another reason my hubby picked this particular driving route was to also see as much of the St. Lawrence River as we could. He was really hoping we would be driving along it the whole time from our border crossing in Madawaska until we arrived in Quebec City. However, that was not the case. We never even got a glimpse of the mighty river until we had already been in Canada for a few hours - right at sunset - and we were still pretty far from it.
Cell phone photo snapped while driving at dusk.
I was attempting to capture the absolutely gorgeous sunset but didn't have the right camera for the job.
We finally arrived at our hotel in Quebec City at almost 11pm. It was a 12 hour day of driving, but we did take our time and enjoy all the new sights. The hotel we stayed at was located in the business district of the city. The old city - where we would spend the entire next day - was about a 10 minute drive from the hotel.
Next up....our adventure in Quebec City....