Population: 9,253
Land Prices in Presque Isle: $60,000 pays for 44 undeveloped, treed acres with 1,000-feet of lakeside shoreline.
Why we love it: In addition to the Aroostook County potato, a spud prized not only for its important place in Maine’s economy, but also as a savior of open space (this is the only county in the U.S. where students are released from school to help bring in the harvest), there’s “The County’s” 2,000 lakes and the fabled North Woods.

The Maine Woods have inspired everybody from Henry David Thoreau to Roxanne Quimby, co-founder of Burt’s Bees. This vast wilderness has provided a source of revenue and recreation for generations of Mainers and today is the locus of both controversial development and much-debated conservation.

Presque Isle is the largest town in Aroostook and is noted for its access to Nordic and downhill skiing (at Big Rock, 30 minutes away), snowmobiling trails and proximity to Canada. There’s a fine satellite campus for Maine’s flagship university here—the University of Maine at Presque Isle, The Crown of Maine Balloon Festival (to honor the first transatlantic balloon crossing in 1978) and nearby Aroostook State Park, with its groomed cross-country ski trails and trout-stocked Echo Lake.

Why you’ll love it: As Henry David Thoreau put it: “This was primal, untamed and forever untamable Nature…We have not seen pure Nature unless we have seen her thus.”

Aroostook County is Maine’s largest and most northern county, where the trees blaze red in autumn and winter snows can be hip deep. This is a land of almost unlimited natural resources, where rolling farmland shoulders thick fringes of forest and bright lakes wink at the sun. There are cycling and snow mobiling trails galore, generous hunting and fishing options, and a delightfully low cost of living.


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