Barbara Parent: From Newark to Presque Isle and Back Again

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United Airlines flies into Presque Isle International Airport out of Newark daily, arriving give or take the wind speed, at 10:20 p.m. The plane gets to spend the night on the tarmac and is ready for passengers to board the 6:45 a.m. flight back to Newark.

Our Cross Lake neighbors Alan and Sherry Hitchock flew from their home in Punta Gorta, Fla., into Washington DC and boarded United to Presque Isle. I do not know the particulars of their itinerary or the United flights from D.C. Perhaps the time of arrival isn’t as late as that from Newark, but since Newark is of more interest to our family members, United’s flight schedule is what we adhere to.

This may sound quaint and all to those who are seasoned flyers and are off to destinations all over the country or the world for that matter, but here in Aroostook County, we treasure the airport in Presque Isle. Its ambiance reminds me of the television sitcom, “Wings” and the lack of hustle and bustle, large crowds and long lines at security snaking along in a roped off area to reach TSA agents as if waiting on a ride in Disney World.

When we bought our camp in 1997, we felt a sense of security because of Northern Maine Regional Airport at Presque Isle, as the airport, a former Air Force base was known at the time. 

If circumstances meant getting to Connecticut quickly, we would be able to eliminate the nine hour drive.

Over the years there have been various carriers flying into Presque Isle and contracts come and go. There was a time flying into Presque Isle meant a layover in Boston. Our Florida family would schedule their connecting flights allowing for a day or two in the city, whether to catch a Red Sox game, tour the Freedom Trail and visit some fabulous restaurants.

Newark seems to work better for them, as a flight from West Palm Airport leaves in the late afternoon and arrives in Newark with a layover, granted but they board the same day and within less than two hours arrive in Presque Isle. Visitors to Cross Lake value the number of days they can spend here.

Our son Chris in south Jersey hit the jackpot with United, just an hour drive to Newark, and in no time, he’s in Presque Isle. Beats a 14-hour drive from his home to camp.

One might say the late arrival time of our visitors might be a nuisance as Ron and I make the 50 minute ride into Presque Isle from camp to pick them up. And, yes, there are rental cars available at the airport, but the way it works here our visitors don’t have to pay to rent a car as they really have no need of a vehicle while at camp.

Our Chevy Silverado seats six and its bed has ample room for suitcases although family prefers carry-ons, since a good share of what they will need here is in the drawers in their rooms. 

And where do we go when we’re at camp? Well, the lake is our front yard.

Kayaks, a canoe, the Jon boat, the Jet Ski and the Maxum, and the Bobbie Jean if Jake has a notion to row wait at the shore.

We rarely leave camp and really, why should we? This place is where we hear the loons and catch the osprey diving for breakfast and oh, the eagles are plentiful this summer. Just yesterday, three circled the lake, slowly, their magnificent wing span capturing our undivided attention.

The crows are noisy as ever causing one to wonder if there are offspring in one of the trees on our North Shore. The crows are huge and I wonder if one or two might be a raven. Ron rejects those in our yard as such yet he has spotted ravens in the fields along our ride to Lakeview Restaurant in St. Agatha.

He has explained the distinctions in the two and if I should by chance encounter a raven in our yard, well, would I not blurt out in greeting, “Nevermore?”

You knew that was coming now didn’t you.

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