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Presque Isle, ME

About Presque IsleWhen Maxie Anderson, Ben Abruzzo and Larry Newman climbed into the gondola of the Double Eagle II on Aug. 11, 1978, they began an adventure momentous in the history of aviation. Six days later they landed in a field in France, having completed the first successful transatlantic hot air balloon flight. A replica of the balloon, at Double Eagle II Park on Spragueville Road just beyond Echo Lake, indicates the starting point of the flight.

The Maine Solar System Model, the world's largest complete 3-D scale model of the solar system, begins on the campus of the University of Maine and runs 40 miles along US 1 to Topsfield. The model includes the sun, nine planets, seven moons and three dwarf planets.

For the most part, however, Presque Isle's interests are more down to earth. The city is the chief industrial and commercial center of Aroostook County. Nearby, the University of Maine's 375-acre experiment station explores improved methods of growing and marketing potatoes as well as other crops. The university's Reed Fine Art Gallery, at 181 Main Street, serves as a cultural resource for the community and features works by local and regional artists; phone (207) 768-9442.

Recreation is available year-round at Aroostook State Park, 4 miles south on US 1, then west and south via a park road. In the winter snowmobile enthusiasts enjoy over 1,600 miles of groomed trails in the area. Cross-country skiing, other recreational activities and winter camping also are available.

Visitor Centers Central Aroostook Chamber of Commerce 3 Houlton Rd. Presque Isle, ME 04769. Phone:(207)764-6561

ShoppingThe Aroostook Centre Mall, 830 Main St., offers roughly 15 stores, including JCPenney.

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Presque Isle, ME

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Hampton Inn by Hilton Presque Isle

768 Main St. Presque Isle, ME 04769

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