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Visit Calais, Maine, and you can even cross the border into New Brunswick, Canada.
 
 

 

Calais (rhyms with "palace"), Maine, is right on the St Croix River, the border between the USA and Canada.

Calais has several motels for travelers, and there are even more hotels in St Stephen and in the resort town of St Andrews, across the border in New Brunswick, Canada.

For breakfast or lunch, there's Karen's Diner & Korner Pub, a classic American diner with quick, friendly service, hearty food, and budget prices.

For insights into the history and arts of Washington County's indigenous peoples, have a look at the Wabanaki Culture Center in the Maine Visitor Center at 39B Union Street (tel: +1-207-454-2211) in Calais (map).

St Stephen NB across the St Croix River from Calais, Maine
View of St Stephen, New Brunswick, across
the St Croix River from Calais, Maine....

A Bit of History

Residents of Maine and New Brunswick, while the best of friends, cling to memories of their 18th-century ancestors' fervent support for, respectively, George Washington and George III.

With the success of the American Revolution, United Empire Loyalists flocked across the frontier into Canada so as not to be disloyal to the monarch.

But things are different in Calais, and its neighboring city, St Stephen NB (map). Folks in these two towns, cheek-by-jowl on the St Croix River, make a point of telling visitors how they ignored the affinities of both sides during the War of 1812, and St Stephen even supplied powder-poor Calais with gunpowder for its Fourth of July celebrations.

In fact, by the time the war came, families in the twin towns were so closely intermarried that no one wanted to take the time to sort out who should be loyal to whom.

These days residents celebrate this unique plague-on-both-their-houses philosophy with an International Festival in the first week of August. The two bridges over the river between the towns are thronged with merrymakers moving back and forth—through the watchful but benevolent eye of customs and immigration authorities, of course—and Canadian and American flags fly everywhere.

When you return home, however, you'll know what the maritime forecasters mean when they predict weather for the coastline "from Eastport (on Cobscook Bay) to Block Island (RI)."

—by Tom Brosnahan


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Wabanaki Culture Center, Calais, Maine

The Wabanaki Culture Center and Visitors Information Center in Calais ME.

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