Come stay with us at the Inn of Acadia in the town of Madawaska, Maine. You'll find us at the northeastern most point of the United States, next to our Canadian neighbors in New Brunswick and Québec. Fondly called "the Valley," the region is home to about 14,000 people, mostly of French heritage. The Inn of Acadia is located in the heart of the region across the St. John River from the vibrant town of Edmundston, New Brunswick.
The St. John Valley is a beautiful river valley with stunning vistas. The region is renowned for its authentic and distinct cultural heritage, and also for its pristine waterways, plentiful forests, abundant wildlife, and rare flora. The St. John River, the longest free-flowing river in the northeastern United States, forms the international boundary. As you drive along the winding river, you'll be embraced by rolling hills, fields and forests. Explore the plateau with deep-water lakes and fertile soils that yield crops of oats, buckwheat, and potatoes.
For thousands of years the Valley has been home to Maliseet, a group of the Wabanaki people. By 1785 French-speaking Acadians emigrated here from southern parts of present-day New Brunswick, soon joined by nearby French-Canadian relatives in today's Québec. By the mid-1800's, Scots-Irish families settled the far western parts of the Valley.
This was once a united territory, divided into two countries in 1842 when the dispute between the British and Americans was settled with the "Bloodless Aroostook War." The St. John River became the international border.
The Acadians who settled the Valley were related to families that endured "Le Grand Dérangement" (the Great Deportation) in Nova Scotia in 1755, mythologized in Longfellow's poem "Evangeline". Many were exiled to places throughout the world, including Louisiana, where the Acadians became known as Cajuns.
Today, the Valley is a blend of Old Québec, Old Acadie, and New Maine, which we call Our Acadia, where French is spoken daily, interwoven with English, and home to Native Americans, Acadians and Québecois, Scots-Irish, and many people from around the world.
Whether you have a day or a week, there's something special for you to explore and enjoy. Every season promises a rich variety of experiences, including local museums, historic churches and sites, festivals, nordic and down-hill skiing, birdwatching, golfing, cycling, boating, and countless other cultural and recreational activities.
Enjoy the Voici the Valley Cultureway, an experience of the culture and place of the international region, with an 80-minute audio documentary and guidebook. The Valley is also home to two state byways - the Fish River Scenic Byway and the St. John Valley Cultural Byway. Visit local museums and historic sites (many on the National Register of Historic Places) like the nearby Acadian landing site in Madawaska, and only 15 minutes from the Inn, the Musée culturel du Mont-Carmel in Lille. Plus, within a half-hour drive, you can visit the Fort Kent Blockhouse, an original military fort built in the mid-1800's. The region offers many events and festivals, like the Acadian Festival, Muskie Festival, and the Can-Am Crown Sled Dog Races.
Make sure to enjoy delicious home-cooked meals at our local restaurants and especially taste some of the traditional Acadian and Québecois dishes, like chicken stew and "ployes" (buckwheat pancakes), "boudin" (blood sausage), and "poutine" (french fries with gravy and cheese). Ask our staff for choices of restaurants in the region.
Just up the hill from the Inn at the Four Seasons Trail, you can take a hike, mountain bike, or in the winter, cross-country ski and snowshoe. You can also ski on Olympic level nordic trails at the Maine Winter Sports Center in Fort Kent, one of the top nordic skiing centers in the world. For downhill skiing, check out Lonesome Pine Trails in Fort Kent and Mont Farlagne across the border in Edmundston.
On the periphery of the great North Maine Woods, the Valley is a paradise for wildlife lovers. It's also a top destination for snowmobiling and four-wheeling, linking up to 250 miles of groomed trails; for fishing thousands of acres of the Fish River Chain of Lakes; and for canoeing countless lakes, the St. John River, Northern Forest Canoe Trail, and the world-famous 92-mile Allagash Wilderness Waterway. Enjoy cycling the many loops throughout the Valley and Aroostook County, mountain biking on world-class IMBA certified single track trails and motorcycling (Madawaska is one of the four corners of the United States, celebrated at the Four Corners Park). Take in a swim at Birch Point Beach on Long Lake and golf at beautiful courses, including a championship course 10 minutes from the Inn in Edmundston.
Only an hour away in other parts of Aroostook County, there's an abundance of cultural, community and eco-recreational opportunities, like the spectacular Crown of Maine Balloon Festival in Presque Isle, 800 acres of Aroostook State Park, and the New Sweden Historical Museum in the bucolic community of New Sweden.
Across the border in New Brunswick, enjoy a stroll in Fraser Park or through the beautiful botanical gardens at the Jardins Botaniques. A 40-minute drive will bring you to the spectacular 90-foot falls at Grand Falls, a natural wonder of the region. You can take day trips from Madawaska to charming towns in Québec. In only an hour you can go whale watching on the St. Lawrence River, and in another two hours, experience the UNESCO heritage city of Québec City.