Acadian Village in Van Buren
Activities: Maine history, historic tours, historic homes and architecture.
Region: Aroostook County
- General Public: mid-June to mid-September
- Special Tours (10 or more people): May 31 to October 31
Admission: Adults: $5; Students: $2.50
An Immersion Into the Past
Discover the daily customs and cultural heritage of the Acadians, descendants of the French who settled in Acadia (a colony of New France in northeastern North America, including parts of present-day Maine) in the 17th and 18th centuries. Owned and operated by Notre Héritage Vivant/Our Living Heritage and on the National Register of Historic Places, The Acadian Village offers a glimpse into the lives of those Acadians who settled in the St. John Valley during the mid-1700s.
Its location in border-crossing town Van Buren means you are right at the cusp of being in Canada. And its placement along the picturesque St. John Valley Cultural Byway/Fish River Scenic Byway allows for plenty of historical landmark sightings and panoramic vistas to enjoy during your trip.
Exploring the Acadian Village
The village’s 17 buildings overlooking the St. John River beckon to a different time, showcasing both replicas and original structures moved on-site. There’s a reconstruction of an early 18th-century log church with one of the oldest bells in the valley, an original schoolhouse from 1875, a country store selling local arts and crafts, and more. Wander into the interior of the Morneault House, one of the oldest homes in the St. John Valley, and you can easily picture a cauldron bubbling in the old stone fireplace. Historic architecture buffs will note the classically Acadian nautical construction and other 19th-century structural details. A great opportunity for adults and kids alike, the experience is as educational as it engaging to the senses.
The Acadian Legacy
Descending from the French who settled in Acadia, the Acadians initially settled at Port-Royal and gradually grew to occupy adjacent areas, relying on mixed farming, livestock and marshland crops. Their deportation by the British from 1755-1778 defined the history of Acadian people and forever changed the human geography of Canada’s Maritime Provinces. Today, Acadians live predominantly in the Canadian Maritime provinces, parts of Quebec, Canada, Louisiana and Maine, including present-day St. John Valley. Since 1994, The Acadian World Congress has worked to unite Acadian people, preserve their rich history and commemorate those lost during the deportation. The next Congress will take place in Nova Scotia in 2024.
Lodging Near Van Buren
After a day exploring history, bring yourself back to the present and take respite in a nearby town. Just a half-hour drive away is the city of Caribou, offering plenty of charming inns and bed-and-breakfast establishments. Presque Isle can be reached in 45 minutes and offers hotels, inns and a convention center.