Hampden Visitor Center off I-95 Celebrates 20 years 

Catherine Pegram

A rest stop in Hampden that’s helped hundreds of thousands of people figure out “how to get there from here” is celebrating 20 years of service.The Hampden Visitor Center off I-95 North hosted a party today to mark the occasion. Since the north and south bound rest stops opened in 1990, they’ve welcomed more than 3.2 million visitors. Some come in simply for a break from the road. Others map out their visit to Maine, with the help of local guide books and even computers that are now set up at the center.Tourism officials say the center off the north side of the highway helps direct people to Downeast Maine, the mountains and the County.Vaughn Stinson with Maine Tourism Association says, “Then southbound, we’re very fortunate, it’s a great stop for our Canadian visitors. They’ve crossed the border, it’s a good place for them to stop and rest their legs, get information on shopping and attractions in the area. So it’s an ideal setup with both of them, the way we have them. “Stinson adds the Hampden Visitor Information Center plays an important part in the tourist industry, which brings in about $6.7 billion a year to the state. He also say the most recent numbers, which are for July, show a 13-percent increase in visitors over the same time last year.