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Gentrification. When most hear that word, they think city — people getting kicked out of apartments they've lived in for 30 years to make way for luxury condos. But gentrification can also be a rural phenomenon.

Such is the case in Monson, a tiny town with a population of less than 700 located along Maine's Moosehead Trail. It's about 90 minutes northwest of Bangor and two and a half hours northeast of Portland.

A nonprofit called the Libra Foundation has been making a significant investment in Monson, buying up several buildings around town. Their goal is to create an artists' colony out of the dilapidated houses and shuttered businesses.

In 2017, a small team at NEWS CENTER Maine planned a Maine road trip to top all road trips. The result is Maine by the Mile, a seven-part series highlighting unique places in Maine that aren’t the first ones you’ll find in guidebooks but are definitely worth checking out.

Welcome to Moosehead Trail.

(app users: Maine by the Mile: E5 'Moosehead Trail')

Fast facts ✓

- Moosehead Lake is the largest body of fresh water in Maine

- It's also the largest mountain lake in the eastern U.S.

- Mt. Kineo is nearly 1,800 feet high with 700-foot cliffs

- Native Americans once traveled many miles to Kineo for rhyolite rock

- Mount Kineo State Park can only be accessed by water

- It's believed Mount Kineo Golf Course is New England's second-oldest

- Seven people were killed in a 1963 B-52 crash on Elephant Mountain

- Monson is considered the gateway to the Moosehead Trail

- Slate from Monson makes up the Kennedy headstones in D.C.

Episode locations 📍

- Trebor Mansion Inn (Guilford)

- Mt. Kineo State Park (Moosehead Lake near Rockwood village)

- Pete's Place - Not Your Average Egg (Monson)

- Monson General Store (Monson)

- Sheldon Slate (Monson)

» Five things to know before you go 💡


Road trip gallery 📸

(app users: Photos: Maine by the Mile | E5 - Moosehead Trail)

Get there from here

By car 🚗:

- From southern Maine, take I-95 north to exit 157 in Newport, head north on Route 100/11 toward Route 7 through Corinna, turn left onto Route 23 north in Dexter, turn left onto Route 6/15 just after Sangerville in Guilford and continue through the Moosehead Trail

- From eastern Maine, head west on Route 189 or north on Route 191 to Route 1 in Machias, turn right onto Route 192 north, turn left onto Route 9 in Wesley and continue to Route 178 in Brewer, turn right onto Route 2 through Bangor, continue on Route 15 north to Dover-Foxcroft, head west on Route 6/15 and continue through the Moosehead Trail

- From northern Maine, head south on Route 11 or I-95 to Stacyville, continue on I-95 to exit 217 in Howland, head southwest on Route 155, turn right onto Route 6/15, travel past Dover-Foxcroft and continue through the Moosehead Trail

- From western Maine, take Routes 234, 201A, 201 and 16 to Route 6 north or take Route 6 south and continue through the Moosehead Trail

By bus 🚌:

- Locally, 100 Mile Wilderness Adventures and Outfitters in Monson, managed by Phil Pepin, provides reservation-recommended shuttles to and from Bangor International Airport (BGR) or area bus stations and pricing is reflected by round-trip mileage and travel time

By plane ✈:

- Two Falls Airport (FAA LID: ME25) located in Willimantic, less than eight miles east of Monson, is a private use airport managed by the Bayerdorffers (207-997-3625)

- Avery Field (FAA LID: ME22) located in Rockwood on the west side of Moosehead Lake is a private use airport managed by William Avery (207-280-0205)

By train 🚆:

- No service available

Lodging options

Dining spots