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Old 11-22-2009, 08:44 AM
Location: Boston
7,336 posts, read 15,302,120 times
Reputation: 8622


Originally Posted by Nea1 View Post
My husband recently had an interview in Boston, but another opportunity has come up that would put us in Bangor. Well I know nothing of the area so I was hoping you here could give me some insight. We area family of 5, I have three kids and then there is my husband. We are outdoor people, love hiking and taking in what the area has to offer. We love to be involved in town activities and we love the four seasons and wildlife.
I have two kids in high school and one in elementary. We love older homes and my kids love sports.

Any suggestions on areas to live and what the schools are like?
It's a tough choice. Both cities (Bangor and Boston) are very different. Bangor has much more of a small town feel (this has been established). It gets "country" within the city itself. You do have better access to vast open land than you would in Boston. Despite Bangor's diminutive stature, it's a regional economic center for Central (and to a degree, Northern) Maine. As such it has more activity in the way of shops, restaurants, etc than you'd see in a similarly sized city elsewhere. It's also pretty affordable when compared to Boston. I don't know what your housing budget its, but you'll absolutely get quite a bit more for your money in Bangor than you would in Boston.

Some towns I'd look at around there are Bangor itself (you can find plenty of older houses in various environments within the city limits), Hampden which has good schools and a nice community feel (I have family there), Winterport which is a cute town along the river with a variety of housing stock.. many older and beautiful, Orono which is home to the University of Maine but has some interesting shops and a good proximity to Bangor, and Old Town which has a cool town center with some nice historic homes.

On the other hand, Boston isn't a bad choice. Yes, it's a big metro area and there are elements that will be proof of that. It's pricier than Bangor, traffic is generally worse, and it's a heck of a lot more thickly settled. However, it still offers everything you mention your looking for.

Boston actually has (in my opinion) as good, if not better access to the outdoors for the typical recreational nature lover (i.e. hiker, biker, skiier, etc). Boston and it's metro area are located ON the ocean and near some excellent beaches. You'll be able to swim much longer in the Boston area as the water is quite a bit warmer (particularly on the Southcoast where waters are warmed by the tropical Gulf Stream and are always 10 or more degrees warmer than the ocean water in the warmest spots in Maine). Even the suburbs West of Boston are closer to more beaches than anywhere in the Bangor area. Boston isn't a much further drive to most good hiking areas than Bangor is. Boston has some within its metro area that are better than what most big cities have too (check out Blue Hills or the Arnold Arboretum).

As far as ski areas go, Boston is actually closer to more of the best ski areas than Bangor is. Bangor is 2.5 hours from Sugarloaf while Boston is 4.5, however, Boston is 3.5 hours from Sunday River in Maine and Bangor is 3 (not much difference), other than those two, Boston is MUCH closer to any of the major ski areas in the Northeast (i.e. Attitash, Loon, Cannon, Wildcat, Bretton Woods, Killington, Stowe, Okemo, etc). Boston has some smaller ski areas right outside of town too... Blue Hills has a few trails as does Nashoba Valley. Wachusett is actually decent for its proximity to Boston and even has a Ski Train leaving from Boston's North Station all throughout the season which offers great, affordable access to the mountain all day (and night... night skiing until 10:30). The closest major ski area to Bangor is Sugarloaf at 2.5 hours while Boston has a good number of major ski areas within 2.5 hours including Cannon, Waterville Valley, and Loon.

Metro Boston has some of the best public schools systems in the country for your children. They also have an expansive supply of older homes. You can find some gorgeous old Victorian homes in various neighborhoods within the Dorchester section of Boston as well as Hyde Park, Roslindale, West Roxbury, etc. Nearby towns like Melrose, Lexington, Concord (yep, the same two from the Paul Revere days), Winchester, Newton (very expensive), Brookline (also very expensive), Milton, Westwood, Hingham, Weymouth, etc all have plenty of historic homes at varying price ranges to choose from.

Boston is no doubt without its flaws (no location isn't without them). Perhaps the hardest hurdle to get over is the price range. It's incredibly expensive. However, if you can overcome the price, it's hard to argue that metro Boston doesn't offer some of the best quality of living in the U.S. Newton MA (pop 80,000) is the safest city in the United States in terms of crime. Just about all of the other towns are that safe too. The schools are excellent, public transit is great, and there are wonderful (diverse!) communities all around. Boston's suburbs are unique in that many of them developed BEFORE Boston expanded meaning that they are historic and different and maintain a sense of identity as opposed to many cities where the suburbs are a generic expansion of the primary city). Moreover if it's shopping you need, Boston is among the tops in the nation when it comes to a world class selction. From Newbury Street and the Natick Collection to Wrentham Village or Patriot Place at Gillette Stadium and Downtown Crossing (and dozens more), you will find everything you could ever want in that regard.

I would visit both and determine which better fits your lifestyle wants/needs. It's really like comparing apples and oranges as they are so different. Best of luck!

Last edited by lrfox; 11-22-2009 at 08:57 AM..
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Old 11-22-2009, 03:23 PM
Location: Bangor Maine
3,442 posts, read 5,430,139 times
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I just wanted to correct the impression of one poster that said we have a nice "little" airport in Bangor. Bangor International has one of the few runways in the US that is long enough to have accomodated the "Concord" and the 747s. It is also the starting and ending point for many of our troops from all over the US going to Iraq and Afghanistan. BIA was, for many years, Dow Air Force Base. We also have the huge refuleing tankers practicing here. So I guess you might think it was little by the size of the terminal but we do have both domestic and overseas terminal.
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Old 11-22-2009, 04:14 PM
Location: Boston
7,336 posts, read 15,302,120 times
Reputation: 8622
^Good point. The Runway can accommodate some of the heaviest aircraft in the world. In that respect it's anything but "little." I'm pretty sure the runway is one of the longest in the U.S. This is in part due to the fact that it was a military air strip before it was a public airport (it's still used jointly by the military which is why those tankers and other larger aircraft land there). It's also a "diversion" airport and one of the most important. It's the first significantly size runway that almost any North American bound transatlantic flight approaches upon crossing the ocean. Therefore, if a flight needs to land for a mechanical problem, no-fly list issue, bomb threat, etc, Bangor is generally the first opportunity. Flights diverted here aren't uncommon at all.

However, in terms of passenger commercial traffic, it's pretty tiny. It's served only by Delta Express, U.S. Airways Express, and Allegiant Air. It's "international" in that it can accommodate international flights but it doesn't have any commercial international arrivals or departures (not even to Canada and I don't think there's ever been commercial services anywhere outside of the U.S.). It serves Philadelphia, Boston, Orlando, Detroit, Atlanta, New York and Cincinati (basically, "hub" airports). It's a nice little airport (certainly no trouble getting in or out or finding parking), but it's pretty small when you consider what most people use an airport for. Many travel to Portland, Manchester, or Boston where there are more flight options at less of a cost and more flexibility (due to the frequency of flights at larger airports... many Bangor services are seasonal and NOT daily).

It's an asset for not only Bangor, but Central/Northern Maine. However, it's not a big passenger airport by any standard.
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Old 11-24-2009, 03:28 PM
Location: some where maine
2,059 posts, read 3,642,159 times
Reputation: 1240
maine is like montana only better.why is it better ?because i live here.
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