A quiet respite 56 mi/90 km northwest of Portland, Paris, Maine, is home to one of the largest lilac collections in New England. The breathtaking flowers grow in McLaughlin Gardens (http://www.mclaughlingarden.org). Just down Highway 26 is West Paris, where you will find Perham's, a mineral and gem museum and gift shop worth visiting.
Below Paris is South Paris, a town full of historic charm. Hannibal Hamlin, Abraham Lincoln's vice president, lived in the town. His former home is now a private residence on Paris Hill. Beside Hamlin's home is the Hamlin Memorial Library (http://hamlinlibrary.org), housed in a stone building that served as the county's first jailhouse. A small museum on the second floor of the library contains a collection of local gems and historic artifacts. Two houses down from the library is the old county courthouse, now a private residence. Paris Hill is full of sprawling federal-style houses that are not to be missed. They display a period in history that has been carefully preserved by the residents of the town.
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