Though it is one of the largest counties in Maine, I run into folks all the time that have no idea how to pronounce it or where it is. For the most part, I spent the first seven years of life in Maine living, shopping, working and playing in Penobscot County, around the Bangor area. I had very few reasons to EVER head north towards Dover, unless I was going to the hospital (never a good thing…). So, a little over a year ago, when a door closed for me in Bangor and another opened for me in Dover for work, everything shifted. I was hired as Senior/Vault Teller for Camden National Bank, and enrolled my two teenage daughters in the Dover-Foxcroft School system.
Every day I met residents, business owners and employees of Piscataquis County at my window, and became immediately aware of all that makes Piscataquis special. After almost exactly twelve months, another divine door opened and I was offered the position of Executive Director for the Chamber of Commerce. It was an exciting transition; knowing I had the ability to truly make a difference for the businesses and communities in the county was so thrilling for me!
I began driving through the county and meeting members of the Chamber to determine what we could do to help them accomplish their goals. I knew it would be essential for the Chamber to take a more active role in advocating for our local economy. From member to member, I became more and more taken with the people who live in this county and the uniqueness of the businesses they operate. Some brand new, some in operation for many generations, ranging from large businesses and small micro-enterprises that have a global impact to shops that offer unique Maine-made products and above-the-norm service. It’s easy to find a great deal or a priceless one of a kind gift. A local food movement continues, with great restaurants all throughout the county, from casual cuisine to fine dining, sweet breakfast places and wonderful bakeries, there is something for every palette! I couldn’t help but wonder – why didn’t more people know about them?
Driving to appointments gave me a wonderful opportunity to take in the beauty of the county. As summer transitioned to fall – I couldn’t wait to drive over Charleston hill each morning heading in to Dover to admire the foliage and the magnificent canvas of colors. Doing so without driving off the road was a chore.. but I managed most mornings. I can brag about Piscataquis’ beauty for at least 50 blog posts – but I really want to answer one big question I get all the time: “what’s there to do?”
So, here’s my commercial: Within our borders, residents and visitors find a myriad of opportunities to enjoy the landscapes and activities here. Summer and winter each impart their own adventures. We have beautiful rivers and ponds, and majestic lakes that seem to call out for fishermen, kayak lovers and swimmers throughout the summer, then freeze over for avid ice-fishers, snowmobilers and skaters when the temperatures drop. With most of our county deeply forested, habitat for animals of all sizes is plentiful. Hunters are likely to spot moose, deer, grouse, wild turkey, and smaller game, and possibly Maine black bear! Our ATV trails are buzzing with activity for most of the year, and snowmobile trails seem to get more traffic in the wintertime than most of our snow covered roads. Cross country skiing is popular in the winter, and in warmer months hiking, camping and biking are also favorites; many visitors are surprised to find the stunning views our trails provide. Up to one hundred waterfalls have been discovered in the Southern Piscataquis region alone! For those who just want to sit back and enjoy quiet, peaceful beauty, a summer cottage along Sebec Lake may be just what the doctor ordered.
For those who do not prefer the outdoors, you may be surprised to learn our county is very active in the arts. Residing here are deeply talented musicians, artists and actors, often showcased at Center Theatre in Dover Foxcroft, providing a wonderful venue for local and outside talent to share their gifts with us. For this reason, local talent will also be showcased through this blog , including performance reviews, upcoming plays and concerts, interviews, and LOTS of photos.
Last but certainly not least, Piscataquis holds county-wide community events which keep us all connected and provide opportunities to celebrate all that makes us unique as a county. Popular events such as the Whoopie Pie Festival and the Piscataquis Heritage Balloon Festival are both held in Piscataquis County and draw crowds from all over New England and Canada.
OK, commercial is officially over.. thank you for hanging in there with me! It was more of an infomercial, I suppose.. but I thought it would be nice to give you a window into what you might find when you read this blog – You WILL know where to find us, what to do when you get here, and why it’s worth the trip.
Till next time, thanks for taking a Peek into Piscataquis.