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Madawaska, Maine, the state’s northern-most town, has been tied to the St. John River for centuries. The river brought Native peoples to the St. John River valley, where they lived, hunted and fished. Later, the first Acadians came to what became Madawaska. The Acadians – French settlers of early Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island – faced prejudice and even exile from the dominant British. In 1785, a group of Acadians decided to find a new home. They paddled up the river, chose a spot, and landed. Their children have flourished in the St. John Valley ever since. Many folks there still speak French. The town is a border crossing to Edmundston, New Brunswick.
Things to Do in Madawaska
To learn more about the ongoing Acadian experience, visit the Acadian Landing & Tante Blanche Museum. It includes a large cross, erected at the spot where the first Acadians landed at the riverside, and a museum complex including historic buildings and artifacts. In the nearby village of Lille is the Musée culturel du Mont-Carmel, a magnificent restored church, which is now a museum and performance center. You can also explore the Acadian heritage of the Madawaska region by driving Maine’s St. John Valley Cultural Byway.
For some fun with today’s Acadians, stop by in August for the annual Acadian Festival. The festival includes food, music, family gatherings, arts and crafts and a parade.
Madawaska offers long-range motorcyclists a rare treat – a park. Madawaska Four Corners Park is devoted to long-distance touring. Ride in and check it out.
For skiers, snowshoers, hikers and mountain bikers, there’s Four Seasons Trails. This trail network includes 14km of Nordic trails and 12km of snowshoe trails. The network also has its own lodge.
Where to Stay in Madawaska
Restaurants in Madawaska
Looking for a place to eat? Check out Orchids, in Madawaska; The Voyageur at the Inn of Acadia in Madawaska, Chez Helen, in Madawaska; Dolly’s Restaurant, in Frenchville; and these suggestions. Also, scroll down the list of regional businesses below.