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So, what do we need to know about travelling the coast? Weather conditions? Tips and tricks to make the most of the trip?
We're coming to locate the "perfect" town to relocate our family mid-year 2008. We have a list that we're looking at, but could sure use some "March in Maine" travel advice. We're travelling with our 3 small children and want to fully prepared. Thanks!
March and April are real "swing" months along the coast. Traffic will be light and include "normal" daily travel without the huge numbers of tourists who will start to arrive right after Memorial Day. In addition, consider that most of the seasonal businesses will be closed, and you will find less and less commercial seacoast activity the further east that you go.
I think the advice to start in at the end and head southwest is probably not bad. If you take Interstate 95 all the way to the Canadian border, turn right and travel down Route One to Eastport, then turn right again and follow the coast southwest to the New Hampshire border, you will see the Maine coast and what it offers. Plan on around three weeks, stopping for some days along the way to explore what is in the area.
Your description is so open, that if you plan in one trip to find exactly what you are looking for, you will have to plan on that trip being very long. For example, if your definition of the "coast" is open ocean, there are relatively few towns along the coast that are actually "on the ocean". Most towns are actually up rivers some distance, and sometimes the open ocean is ten miles or so from the town center. Exploring the area will take time and be a wonderful experience.
If you are looking for a town near a city, then you will be looking in the greater Portland and greater Bangor area. Bangor is on the Penobscot River, and east of Bangor is Ellsworth, itself on the Union River and a short two miles or so to Union River Bay. Portland is a deep sea port, right on the ocean, and is (for Maine) a big city. The second largest city in Maine is Lewiston which is on a river, but it is furthest from the ocean. In between are numerous small towns.
Whatever you are looking for is probably here, and it sounds like you will have a great long road trip searching it out.
Weather conditions in March can be wildly variable. We sometimes have heavy snow storms in March, and other times it can be very spring like. Watch the weather forecast when you stop every night, and be prepared to spend more than one day in any one location, especially early in the month. But even if there is a major spring storm, you won't be more than a day before travel is "normal". Maine does a great job of snow removal, and the worst that I have ever seen in my 30 years here, is a day of somewhat restricted travel.
If you want to post some more specific questions, you will receive a lot of information from those of us who are here, and your trip might be smoother as a result.
Good info. We're staying the first night in Portland, then heading up the way into Bangor. Our longest stay is in Belfast, as that is the mid-area we'll be investigating. We don't want to settle near Portland. Lived in Houston WAY too long! We're leaning toward Bangor. I think we'll find the lifestyle we're looking for further north in the state. We hate the rat race. We're looking for peace and serenity in a small, family oriented town. We love the feel of "community". Not readily available when your metropolitan "community" is home to 5.3 million people!
DH is a medic/fire-fighter and has been researching the various paid departments throughout the area. There are plenty available to him within an hour of Bangor. I work from home and can earn from Anywhere, USA.
From what I read, you guys don't seem to like to travel to work very far. It's always been a way of life for us around Houston. It's nothing for someone to drive and hour and half one way to work downtown. That's just the norm here, so I'm anxious to see how that plays out in Maine. We're talking to folks about how the road conditions change throughout the year, which, I'm sure, greatly affects commute times.
The specific towns we're anxious to get the feel of are:
I've been researching population, housing, taxes, education, community and work conditions in these places, and I like what I see on paper. Of course, it's all so subjective. We'll know much more when we actually get there to visit.
We have determined the best course of action being to rent our first year there, while we get the lay of the land, in case our first choice doesn't make a proper fit for our family. We all know that visiting and living the daily life in a place are SO different!
One thing I need to address is finding out how to equip ourselves for the road trip when may encounter bad weather conditions. Is there a list that we can go by while packing? Flashlight, spare tire, tool kit, blankets, food, water - all givens...what else? Remember, we're whimpy Texans! Our COLD day in January, we got all the way down to 29 degrees!! We even had some sleet!!!
... One thing I need to address is finding out how to equip ourselves for the road trip when may encounter bad weather conditions. Is there a list that we can go by while packing? Flashlight, spare tire, tool kit, blankets, food, water - all givens...what else? Remember, we're whimpy Texans! Our COLD day in January, we got all the way down to 29 degrees!! We even had some sleet!!!
Thank you so much for the valuable information!
Just good tires.
I do have a spare tire, in each of our cars, a fire extinguisher, jumper cables and tow rope. But that is it.
Bring a hat, sweater, and an over coat. If it rains your good, and if it turns cold your good.
The chances are better than even that you will have mostly dry roads, although you could run into cold rain, and even snow. If your van is in good condtion for the long trip, and the tires are in good condition, too....plenty of tread, you shouldn't have any problem at all. Don't worry about being stranded, because unless there is a terrific (and very rare) huge snow storm, the chances of your having any travel problems are slight.
Be prepared to dress warmly compared to Texas. Temperatures will probably be mostly in the forties or so in the daytime and it will be cooler at night. The trip destinations that you have listed are all within the most civilized and populated area in the state.
Incidentally an awful lot of folks travel an awful long way for work. An example is that people who work for the Jackson Laboratory (biological and genetic research) in Bar Harbor travel from Orono and Old Town and further. If you do a simple search you will see that in miles it isn't so far....but those straight line miles mean you cross Frenchman Bay, so by car it is well close to 100 miles each way. (Jackson Lab runs a bus schedule from Old Town/Orono, and in the summer there is a passenger ferry from Winter Harbor to Bar Harbor that is useful for people near there.)
Have a great trip. If you settle in Belfast, my daughter has a house to rent/sale in Morrill which is a nice town about ten miles from the center.
This is an old post, but I felt the need to respond. Growing up in coastal Maine, I'd say you should only visit Maine in March if you're going skiing and you know the snow is good, or if you're planning on moving here and want to see how the winter feels.
Truthfully, in March most of us are still sick of being cooped up with the winter blues and are longing for a trace of springtime. We might be irritable. We might be 5 pounds heavier than when you meet us in summer.
The light is getting better, but come after Daylight savings time (thank god they changed the date, although it drove the office computers crazy).
Sometimes we get springtime soon, sometimes we get more snow through April. Sometimes the winter sports are still great, sometimes there is just enough noontime warmth to melt the ice and snows and start the mud season.
If you come, be on the lookout for special events geared toward locals trying to get themselves out of the house and have some fun!
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