This part of the sky was the big dipper, which is one of the easiest constellations to find. No telescope required! I hope to learn more about classic astronomy, but we all have to start somewhere, right?
First, I'll tell you about the picture, and then I want to point out a couple of things.
These stars were the brightest, but there were many others that showed up, even though they were not as bright. I found that distracting, so to minimize the clutter, I copied the photograph, and on the second image, I blacked out most of the stars, and then made a composite of the two.
After that, I searched online to find the names of these stars and voila! I discovered that what I always assumed was one star in the handle was actually two! The second spot from the end of the big dipper's handle is a binary cluster of stars that is difficult to discern from any area where we do not have enough darkness in the night sky. Did you already know about those two stars? Their names are Mizar and Alcor, but sometimes they're called the Horse and Rider. It is said that ancient Romans used Alcor to test a warrior's eyesight. (For me, this "Horse and Rider" was the single most exciting thing about this pic.)
On the opposite of the Big Dipper's handle, we can use the last two points, Merak and Dubhe to point us in the direction of the North star (Polaris). The distance from the constellation is approximately five times the distance between the optical space between these two stars. Here's another easy way to find it: stretch yout your arm and open your hand wide; the distance between your thumb and pinkie is about the space between the lip of the Big Dipper and the North star.