Millinocket, Maine Vacation Guide
The Katahdin area is one of the most remote sections of the Maine Highlands. Its crown jewel is Baxter State Park and its signature peak, Mt. Katahdin. The first Europeans arrived in the area in the mid-1700s. It wasn’t until the mid-1800s when the lumber industry discovered this rich source of timber. The mills moved in, followed by people and then towns. The creation of the Debsoneag Lakes and Appalachian Mountain Club 100 Mile Wilderness Areas, the Nahmakanta Public Reserved Lands and the state park insured that much of this area stayed wild.
The conservation efforts were more than successful. This area is home to more moose and birds than people. It offers countless lakes providing fishing opportunities year-round, a fall color show to rival the most colorful painter’s palette and a wilderness that begs to be explored by almost any means possible. The towns of Millinocket, East Millinocket and Medway add charm, class and just a hint of civilization, creating an unforgettable vacation experience.
The town name means “many islands” in the language of the Abenaki, one of Maine’s Native American peoples. Millinocket is aptly named; it does have many islands, created by its many lakes. Just west of downtown is South Twin Lake, North Twin Lake, Pemadumcook Lake, Ambejejus Lake and the largest, Millinocket Lake. Add to this a number of hidden coves, smaller lakes and ponds and connecting waterways. It is easy to see why this area is the delight of fishermen, boaters and outdoor lovers in general.
In winter, when the area is covered with a blanket of snow and the waterways freeze over, it’s time to get out the skis, snowshoes and the ice fishing gear and get in some quality outdoor time. Camp in the snow or head back to your rental cabin, either way you are in one of Maine’s prime winter wonderlands.
Millinocket is also the closest town to Baxter State Park and its iconic Mt. Katahdin. The availability of accommodations, restaurants and supplies make this the perfect stopover on the way to explore one of Maine’s jewels. Mt. Katahdin is the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, so those heading for this equally wild space also stock up in Millinocket. The mountain itself, at 5,267 feet, is a challenging climb, with a panoramic view of the Maine Highlands from its peak. Open year-round, the park allows winter camping at some sites.
The town also boasts two museums. One is operated by the Millinocket Historical Society and features treasures dating back to before the town’s incorporation in 1901. Displays include items from the Great Northern Paper Company, the firm that helped put the town on the map, as well as artifacts from the early Native American residents.
The Antique Snowmobile Museum displays early machines from the 1960s, as well as an Eliason Motor Toboggan dating back from 1943. Yes, that is an oversized sled with a motor. Carl Eliason invented this precursor to the snowmobile in 1924, using parts from Model T cars. The museum is run by Northern Timber Cruisers, a local ski/snowmobile club. Visitors are welcome to join and get the inside scoop on trails, rentals, guides and other useful information about Baxter State Park and the wilderness surrounding the Millinocket area.
Millinocket also has a number of art galleries featuring local works, ranging from wildlife photography to original oils. Most shops are in and around Central Street. Find everything from equipment outfitters to quaint boutiques. Restaurants are clustered around this same zone, as are a few accommodation choices. The Appalachian Trail Lodge is a combination of both, offering transfer services to Baxter State Park, hostel accommodations and a café. They also offer a mail-drop service for those hiking the Appalachian Trail and shuttle services to Bangor International Airport and beyond, by reservation. Millinocket is also the site of the Trails End Festival, held every fall.
The Millinocket Municipal Airport is on the south side of town and the Millinocket Regional Hospital is just west of downtown. Route 11 runs through the center of town, and connects to Interstate 95 to the east.
Located off of Route 11, west of Interstate 95, East Millinocket is a destination in its own right. Roughly half the size, population wise, as Millinocket, this rural town fronts the eastern edge of Dolby Pond and the north bank of the Penobscot River. Its motto is “The Town That Paper Made” and that is quite true. The abundance of water and trees inspired the Northern Development Company, which became the Great Northern Paper Company to start building mills. The first ones went up in Millinocket and they eventually expanded to East Millinocket. Before the paper mill, the entire area belonged to two farming families. By 1907 the population warranted a town and East Millinocket was born.
This is still a rural community with a small town feel, most evident each July when Summerfest is celebrated in the town’s Opal Myrick Park. Events include a Town Yard Sale, Children’s Parade, Magician, Children’s Old Fashioned Games, Clog Dancing, concerts and fireworks. The weekend ends with a Public BBQ under a giant white tent, just like they did 100 years ago. Also of interest is the East Millinocket Veterans Memorial Park, listing the names of those lost in conflict along with some antique military memorabilia.
Most accommodations are in Millinocket, but the Nesowadnehunk Campground, on the lake of the same name, is within town limits. The campground has tent and trailer spots as well as cabins for rent. Restaurants and pubs are in town.
Medway straddles Interstate 95, just east of East Millinocket and thanks to the Penobscot River, also owes its beginnings to a sawmill. Incorporated in 1875, the town is home to the Congregational Church of Medway, circa 1874 and on the National Register of Historic Places. The only accommodation in town is the Katahdin Shadows Motel but Medway is only a few minutes drive from Millinocket and East Millinocket. Just like these two locales, Medway is also close to Baxter State Park and the Appalachian Mountain Club 100 Mile Wilderness Conservation Area.
Millinocket – Katahdin Area Directories
Visit the following directories to find lodging, dining, attractions, shops, services and recreational activities in the Millinocket, Maine area.