Maine Acadian Culture

Overview

Maine Acadians share beliefs and experiences tying them to a river, the land, their families, and to their common religion, languages, and history. The land borders the St. John River, flowing between the United States and Canada, and extends away from the river to the "back settlements." Here people speak Valley French, a mixture that includes old French, Quebecois, and English terms sometimes mixed within a sentence. Maine Acadians' French ancestors settled during the 1600s in what is now the Maritime Provinces, Quebec, and Maine. Both France and England claimed this territory. In 1755 the English government deported thousands of French neutrals from present-day Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, then known as Acadia. Spurred by the Acadians' refusal to strengthen their pledge of allegiance to the British Crown, the authorities shipped most of them to British colonies. Some fled to Quebec. Others, today's Cajuns, sought a new start in Louisiana. The majority maintained their Acadian identity. During the 1780s Acadians settled Malecite homelands in the Saint John Valley, and here they were joined by settlers from the St. Lawrence River valley.

Map

Seasonality / Weather

The National Park Service does not operate any sites as part of Maine Acadian Culture. Many of the attractions in the St. John Valley are privately operated by non-profit organizations that are part of the Maine Acadian Heritage Council. The information contained here is intended to give you a rough idea of operating hours and seasons. Many sites are open only during summer months. Please verify hours directly with the managing organizations and check with chambers of commerce for more information about these or other sites.

Open daily 12 to 5 p.m. from June 15 to September 15. For more information, call (207) 868-5042 during the preceding operating hours.

Directions

Driving: 

The Saint John Valley is located in northern Aroostook County, Maine, 200 miles north of Bangor at the northern terminus of U.S. Route 1. It is best reached by private vehicle. From Interstate 95, use exits at Sherman or Smyrna Mills for Route 11 to Fort Kent, or the exit at Houlton for U.S. Route 1 North.

Flying: 

* Northern Maine Regional Airport at Presque Isle. Flights and rental cars are available.
* Frenchville Airport (Maine): Rental cars are available at the airport by reservation only, as vehicles are not based at the airport.
* St. Leonard Regional Airport (Canada): Charter or private airplane services only. There are rental cars available at the airport.