Friday, July 30, 2010

Maine Minutiae : Presque Isle - Peninsula City

Aroostook County is an unspoiled diamond on what is called 'The Crown of Maine". That's waaaaaay up north for the uninitiated. Aroostook County is a large area, bigger than Connecticut and Rhode Island combined. Presque Isle is the major city in The County, as it is sometimes called. The city gets it name from the French word meaning peninsula. You see, Presque Isle is a peninsula formed by the Aroostook River and Presque Isle Stream. For a period of time, nobody was even sure if the town was in the USA or Canada, but that was settled the good old fashion way - war! Wikipedia states : "Originally known as Fairbanks for its founder Dennis Fairbanks, it was settled in 1828 in land that was unknown to be Canadian or American. The Aroostook War broke out in 1838 because of boundary disputes with Canada, which were resolved in 1842 by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty. The township was incorporated from Plantations F, G and H on April 4, 1859 as Presque Isle.." Today, being firmly ensconced in the US, Presque Isle is a bustling city of 9500 and a center for commerce and business. You'll also find the University of Maine- Presque Isle and Northern Maine Community College as well as a nationally recognized K-12 school system. There's a chance that the potatoes you had for supper last night came from Presque Isle or The County. To get a bit more on the history of Presque Isle click here. By the way, here's a note for you Mainers : the Northern Maine Fair gets underway today and runs for the next 8 days! Have a great weekend!

Texas Tidbits : Woodville - Where Fish.Fear.Me.

I have been around the coffee cup hunting the handle. I'm certainly not the most well-traveled guy in the metaphorical room, but I've been fortunate enough of to have seen much of this country from coast to coast, north to south. This is especially true of my beloved Texas. If you had a map of Texas, looked at El Paso and followed I-10 to San Antone, then I-37 all the way to Corpus Christi, the area below and left of .the Interstates is the only area of Texas I have not seen, but I'll conquer that part of the state soon. Long story short (I know; it's too late for that), as far as the Lone Star State goes, I've been there, done that. One place consistently stands out in my mind in the approximately 200,000 square miles of Texas I've seen. The 3.2 square miles that is Woodville. Woodville has no 100,000 seat football stadium or behemoth amusement park to attract visitors or tourists. To me, it has some things much more valuable and welcoming, its people and the gift from God of the land that surrounds it. The scenery and natural beauty around Woodville offer a guy like me, thankfully, something that can't be unseen. I haven't been there but once in the last fifteen years, but my friends and the places in Woodville are as fresh and vivid as if I were there a few minutes ago. Martin Dies State Park, home of Dam B (B. A. Steinhagen Lake), is a great place to camp and fish. I will point out to you that when you see a sign in the park that says something like "Beware of Alligators", they mean beware of alligators! Dam B and the surrounding countryside are home to some of the best fishing I have EVER experienced. Ivanhoe Lakes, south of town on Hwy. 69, is a residential community with several private lakes on the property. These lakes harbor some huge bass. I was lucky enough to know some folks who lived there, and at Ivanhoe Lakes, Fish.Fear.Me. On the north end of Dam B is the confluence of the Neches and Angelina Rivers. (In the Angelina link, Sam Rayburn Lake is on the right and the river is below the dam) The spot where the two rivers merge into Dam B is a sight to behold. The Neches is muddy and brown, while the Angelina is almost Royal blue - the contrast is amazing, as if the Good Lord got out His Heavenly Paint Pallet and decided to make a colorful imaginary border between the two. South of Woodville is Village Creek and the State Park named for it. The creek is so wide that is almost a small river and it is loaded with bass, crappie and catfish. Village Creek and the Angelina rate as my two favorite fishin' holes out of the literally thousands I have decimated. Fish.Fear.Me. Just ask the ones in Village Creek. :) On the outskirts of Woodville are many small communities - Warren, Fred, Spurger, Village Mills and more - that play host to dozens of creeks that run like aquatic ribbons throughout the area. I was kind enough to leave a few fish to repopulate the local watershed, so you, too, can enjoy what has brought me thousands of hours and hundreds of days of what I call "goin' to Church" - just me and God. I talked, He listened and I was Baptized in the Spirit. Thank you, Lord for this piece of Paradise and giving me the privilege of reaping its Bounty and becoming Your son and you my Father. Amen.

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