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Old 08-25-2012, 03:25 PM
 
2 posts, read 2,467 times
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Our family has recently moved to Asheville, NC from Port Townsend, WA and after 8 months here have decided that our quality of life has declined. As painful as it is to pick up and move again, we think it better than to put down deeper roots here.

The life we left in Port Townsend was amazing, but for the fatal flaw of regularly overcast, hopelessly mild weather and multiple non-summers. Rarely above 70 and never more than 55 at night. We lived in wool and never owned a pair of shorts. Some folks no doubt love this maritime mild climate but we found it to be oppressive year after year, season after season. We left with the hope that other people out there love their towns as much as we loved Port Townsend and that we could find as intact a community that enjoyed better weather.

We have found that even with all Asheville has to offer, it is fairly unwalkable, our daily lives necessitate freeways and billboards and sucking exhaust. It feels as though there are people everywhere and for all the hype that Asheville puts out, it is actually way behind on sustainable infrastructure and lacks much real progressivism, and is far too influenced by consumer culture. Our motto for what we want has always been "Port Townsend with better weather", so we're seriously searching again.

The Northeast, especially coastal Maine, possibly Vermont, keep coming up as options. Neither of us has ever spent any time in the Northeast so we are seeking counsel and considering coming up to investigate, possibly even doing a winter rental somewhere. We'd love your advice on what small to mid sized towns might have the particulars we're looking for:

-Being "intact" - ie not trammeled by roads and strip malls and other uglinesses of modern life - and having a real identity and sense of place.

-Walkable, walkable, walkable. Meant for people first and cars second.

-Plenty of amenities (co-op, cool theaters, unique restaurants, publicly accessible open spaces, plentiful lake, river, and/or beach access), but remains vital year round, not just a tourist trap in summer and dead in winter.

-Influenced by an artist mindset and craftsmanship, which tends to lead directly to an emphasis on aesthetics/beauty.

-Good food availability (co-ops, local farms, fish) and gardening culture.

-Reasonable access to airports for regular travel. We are very fortunate to be able do most of our work through the internet and over the phone.

-Like minded people, but a diverse community economically and ideally racially (we are Caucasian and our son is African American), though we know that's tough in New England. (We don't ask for much, I know...)

Thank you in advance for any insight you can give.



Morgan
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Old 08-25-2012, 04:12 PM
 
Location: Maine
15,142 posts, read 19,784,335 times
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In Maine: Brunswick, Topsham, Bath.

In New Hampshire: Concord (too big?), Littleton, Keene

Vermont: Burlington

Upstate New York: Plattsburgh, Pottsdam

The best thing you can do is do your research beforehand, then come for a visit. Research will help you plan your itinerary, but no amount of websites, books, and brochures will give you the real feel of the place. We made our list, then made the visit. Places we thought we'd love, we didn't. Places we thought we'd hate ended up being a lot nicer than we'd expected. And we ended up moving to a town that hadn't even made our original list.
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Old 08-25-2012, 04:13 PM
 
17,217 posts, read 22,254,666 times
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Maine is over 90% trees-the most forested state

it is one of the safest states in the u.s.

we have 4 seasons

sounds like you would enjoy portland, our largest city- plenty of culture and most of everything else you wrote
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Old 08-26-2012, 11:59 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in deep in Maine
3,493 posts, read 2,552,792 times
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RE:

it is actually way behind on sustainable infrastructure and lacks much real progressivism, and is far too influenced by consumer culture. Our motto for what we want has always been "Port Townsend with better weather", so we're seriously searching again.

You won't find Port Townsend unless you are in Port Townsend. Trying to make other places like the place you came from will probably not work. Maine is like Maine, not like Washington.

The Northeast, especially coastal Maine, possibly Vermont, keep coming up as options. Neither of us has ever spent any time in the Northeast so we are seeking counsel and considering coming up to investigate, possibly even doing a winter rental somewhere. We'd love your advice on what small to mid sized towns might have the particulars we're looking for:

-Being "intact" - ie not trammeled by roads and strip malls and other uglinesses of modern life - and having a real identity and sense of place.

Most of Maine is devoid of this in the small towns, but you may not like the tourism in the coastal areas in the summer, particularly in August.

-Walkable, walkable, walkable. Meant for people first and cars second.

Not sure what you mean by this. You have to drive most places in Maine to get to anything, unless you have the unlimited funds necessary to buy a property in the middle of all your shopping needs.

-Plenty of amenities (co-op, cool theaters, unique restaurants, publicly accessible open spaces, plentiful lake, river, and/or beach access), but remains vital year round, not just a tourist trap in summer and dead in winter.

This is going to be a problem. You want a quiet walkable place with no cars or consumer culture but then you want lots of cool theaters and restaurants, which are only somethign that stays in business when there are lots of people around to facilitate them.

-Influenced by an artist mindset and craftsmanship, which tends to lead directly to an emphasis on aesthetics/beauty.

Not sure what you are talking about here.

-Good food availability (co-ops, local farms, fish) and gardening culture.

Maine is not a huge farm state, and the areas that do have this tend to be very very conservative(not progressive) and violate the need for plenty of amenities.

-Reasonable access to airports for regular travel. We are very fortunate to be able do most of our work through the internet and over the phone.

There are airports but the further you get away from Boston, the more expensive they become. I was looking to fly to Chicago from outside of Ellsworth, and the cost was nearly $550 round trip per person, from Augusta, and Bangor. Portland was $275. Out of Boston, it was about $225.

-Like minded people, but a diverse community economically and ideally racially (we are Caucasian and our son is African American), though we know that's tough in New England. (We don't ask for much, I know...)

Mainers don't really care about these racial issues on the coast, or generally. But as you move to the interior, there are less people who are different, and thus humans just tend to be suspicious of outsiders. A bi-racial family might be a an issue, unless you adopted your son. This is horrible to say, but sadly true.

But the part that you didn't even mention is how you can maintain a living. Maine has very few jobs, and unless you are bringing in a pension and SS, or are independently wealthy, all these needs will be sublimated by finding a place to live that is near the place to work.
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Old 08-27-2012, 06:25 AM
 
1,361 posts, read 1,862,400 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mainebrokerman View Post
Maine is over 90% trees-the most forested state

it is one of the safest states in the u.s.

we have 4 seasons

sounds like you would enjoy portland, our largest city- plenty of culture and most of everything else you wrote
Mainebrokerman and slyfox2 have pretty much summed it up. Please pay close attention to their comments. I understand why some refer to coastal towns as tourist traps. Roads tend to fill with traffic during July and August....have to allow extra time to reach your destination. I don't really like the term tourist trap even though there are lots of tourists every year and have been for over a hundred years. I don't have the exact statistics but many coastal areas such as MDI have an increase of at least 10,000 people in the summer and you could say the same about Sebago Lake. Some are summer people or snowbirds who stay all summer maybe even until October. Then there are tourists who come and go within a week or two. Tourism is a major part of Maine's economy.

Of all cities/towns in coastal areas or anywhere else in Maine, Portland is the one that sees the most year round action and that may not be saying much relatively speaking. Maybe I should mention the Augusta civic center. Depending on where you might decide to live, I hope you like to shop online or drive a significant distance. There are plenty of grocery stores and gas stations but other types of shopping may require a bit more effort. If you choose Maine, Reny's could become your new favorite store.

We both appreciate at least one of Maine's characteristics ...a place without numerous superhighways....I-95 is about as super as it gets. There is currently some discussion on the forum and elsewhere about an east-west highway....time will tell.
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Old 08-27-2012, 06:46 AM
 
Location: 3.5 sq mile island ant nest next to Canada
3,015 posts, read 4,881,493 times
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I would guess Camden or Belfast area. Seems like good, walkable towns. Best idea for you though, is to visit. Moving to a new place and finding out after that it isn't your cup of tea stinks. However, if you neglect any ros colored glasses that may be laying aroound and visit the area or state helps you find a place, better/easier . It beats a hasty choice and then ruing that choice once you've lived there a while.
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Old 09-01-2012, 03:30 PM
 
Location: Bangor Maine
3,442 posts, read 5,443,810 times
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I already live in Maine but if I could move I think I would pick the Bath - Brunswick area. It's on the coast, walkable, lovely college town (Brunswick has Bowdoin college) and it's a reasonable distance to Portland for good shopping a good variety of restaurants and airport to anywhere you might want to go. It's also a reasonable drive to Boston. I like where I am but just wish it was a bit closer to some things. Brunswick also has a great selection of restaurants. When you visit Maine you might want to stay for a bit in Brunswick. There is a great Inn right there on the village green.

Last edited by Newdaawn; 09-01-2012 at 03:32 PM.. Reason: addition
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Old 09-02-2012, 04:13 AM
 
Location: 3.5 sq mile island ant nest next to Canada
3,015 posts, read 4,881,493 times
Reputation: 2127
Quote:
Originally Posted by slyfox2 View Post
RE:

You won't find Port Townsend unless you are in Port Townsend. Trying to make other places like the place you came from will probably not work. Maine is like Maine, not like Washington.

A very good point. A wise man once told me "There are no geographical solutions to the majority of troubles."
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Old 09-03-2012, 08:07 AM
 
Location: the wilds of southwestern Maine
44 posts, read 86,676 times
Reputation: 65
I love living in Maine and have for most of my adult life, but have also lived in Burlington VT, and it has much if not all of what you're looking for. You might want to start there. I went there for a great job but was stunned by its beauty (the landscape, not the job). Lots of Lake Champlain access (and it's beautiful!) There are many small towns outside of Burlington that are wonderful. Lots of diversity, open mindedness and plenty to do year round in the Burlington area.

Makes me a bit nostalgic for the place talking about it, especially now that it's Fall.

Plus it's only 90 minutes from downtown Montreal, a fun day trip.

Let us know what you decide.

Last edited by bluemute; 09-03-2012 at 08:22 AM..
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Old 09-03-2012, 02:55 PM
 
Location: Rhode Island
308 posts, read 439,649 times
Reputation: 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluemute View Post
I love living in Maine and have for most of my adult life, but have also lived in Burlington VT, and it has much if not all of what you're looking for. You might want to start there. I went there for a great job but was stunned by its beauty (the landscape, not the job). Lots of Lake Champlain access (and it's beautiful!) There are many small towns outside of Burlington that are wonderful. Lots of diversity, open mindedness and plenty to do year round in the Burlington area.

Makes me a bit nostalgic for the place talking about it, especially now that it's Fall.

Plus it's only 90 minutes from downtown Montreal, a fun day trip.

Let us know what you decide.
The views on 89 from Royalton to Burlington are breathtaking too. The first time I made the drive I amazed at the beauty of the green mountains.

Also, I think bluemute is spot on with Burlington meeting your criteria.
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