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Old 01-21-2020, 02:49 PM
 
2 posts, read 2,706 times
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Hello!

My husband is considering a job in Bangor. We would be moving from New Jersey/NYC area with our 2 toddler aged kids and are looking for surrounding areas to settle down in. We've only been to Portland once and loved the vibe, food/drinks scene but will be visiting Bangor in the next month and eager to see what it has. We are used to having access to great restaurants, shopping, theater living near NYC but are frankly getting priced out of the area. We are looking for a small family friendly town outside of Bangor, preferably near the coast with a great sense of community and also the following-

- charming "walkable" downtown with locally owned restaurants, shops
- target/walmart equivalent and grocery store etc nearby (~ 15-20 min drive)
- lots of activities for kids like YMCA, public library
- great public and private school options, can also include boarding schools that have day student option

I am reading a lot about Ellsworth and Belfast- are these commutes to Bangor doable? We are coming from a very congested and traffic ridden area and my husband is used to 1 hour + commute but not sure how the snow and traveling in the winter will affect these commutes on the daily. Also if you can provide towns that don't "shut down" during the winter as I'm reading that is common and we def want to be in an area that is "open" year round. And yes, we will def be renting for the first 6m-1 year so we can figure out where we want to be and if it's a good fit for us.

Many thanks for your time and input!
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Old 01-21-2020, 08:46 PM
 
Location: Deep in the Heart of Maine
321 posts, read 389,835 times
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Ellsworth and Belfast are great choices given the criteria you’ve mentioned. Ellsworth especially ticks all of your boxes. Neither town “shuts down” in the winter, though there are certainly more people passing through in the summer.

Commuting to Bangor is possible from both places, but you might not like it very much during and after a snowstorm. That said, there are only a few storms each year that could cause you problems, and increasingly, people who have office jobs are able to work from home when the weather is bad.

The commute from Belfast to Bangor will take a little bit under an hour when the weather is good. Note that this commute is not on an interstate highway, so getting stuck behind a school bus or other local traffic happens. Also, there can be a lot of traffic near Belfast during the summer.

The commute from Ellsworth takes about 35-40 minutes, and while portions of the road are wide open (many believe too wide open; many people fly through the middle part of the trip), it’s possible to get stuck in the Acadia/Bar Harbor traffic in the summer.

The bottom line is that neither commute is short and painless, but they are both doable, especially if your point of comparison is big city traffic.

Another option to consider is living in a nice community just south of Bangor. That way you could take advantage of the larger job market and greater amenities in Bangor, and you’d have somewhat easy access to the coast on weekends or even after work. Hampden is a family-friendly south suburb of Bangor that’s about a half hour drive from the coast. Orrington is across the river and seems to be a good place to raise a family.

Bucksport is not really a suburb of Bangor but has some advantages. It’s only about a 20-25 minute commute to Bangor, and it’s closer to the coast. It’s also somewhat close to both Ellsworth and Belfast. The town does not have as many amenities and probably does not offer as many families activities, but it could be worth a look.

Finally, while you mentioned a desire to be close to the coast, if your budget permits, you could buy a house on a lake just outside of Bangor. You would pay somewhat of a premium for lakefront real estate, but nothing like you’d be faced with in many other parts of the Northeast. There are several lakes right around Bangor, and some of them are near vibrant town centers.
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Old 01-22-2020, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
32,492 posts, read 52,882,202 times
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We really enjoy living in the Bangor 'region'. There is a lot of things to do in this region.

https://bangordailynews.com/2020/01/...ou-get-there/?


https://bangorgreendrinks.org/

Greendrinks puts on an event every month, featuring local small businesses.

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Old 01-22-2020, 03:42 PM
 
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Thank you so much for the replies! We are def not ruling out Bangor either- just doing our due diligence and researching all options.

And regarding snow +commute , my husband's job unfortunately does not allow him to work remotely. But hopefully if there's a bad snowstorm he can plan accordingly and potentially stay overnight in the bangor area if he has an hour commute ahead of him.
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Old 01-22-2020, 04:31 PM
 
Location: Newburyport, MA
4,176 posts, read 1,924,336 times
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I'd echo a lot of the comments made by Brodels. Although they are both great towns, personally, I'd think twice about doing a daily commute from Belfast or even Ellsworth to Bangor, and would first try to see if you can find a Bangor suburb or nearby town that you can be happy with, just to make that weekday routine easier.
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Old 01-26-2020, 05:12 PM
 
63 posts, read 45,171 times
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Default Belfast Housing

I moved to Belfast last fall and am currently renting a small condo "in town" but actually outside the Rt 1 beltway. I'm renting until I decide where/what I want to buy. Rentals in Belfast are scarce and often they're found 'word of mouth' rather than craigslist or zillow. It took me three months to find something that suited me. I am now continuously checking the 'houses for sale' databases looking for a place to maybe purchase. Belfast is a tough market which is why I've expanded my looking to a much wider area. Employment and schools aren't issues being considered because I'm old and retired (not too old, and single)

Last edited by LarryLogger; 01-26-2020 at 05:16 PM.. Reason: spelling error and added a few words
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Old 01-28-2020, 04:14 PM
 
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Yes, it is possible to commute to the Bangor area from both Ellsworth and Belfast. My husband worked in Belfast for about 6 years and did that commute; however, he got really sick of it after a few years, so that's something to keep in mind. Both Belfast and Ellsworth (due to its proximity to Bar Harbor/Acadia National Park) are both huge tourist spots in the spring and summer, so the traffic congestion from that can add a fair bit of time to the commute during those peak seasons. They can also be pretty tough drives in the wintertime. The commute from Belfast to Bangor has a lot of back roads and the drive from Ellsworth is just plain miserable in the winter. I honestly think that you would be better off a bit closer to Bangor, if not right in Bangor. As far as neighborhoods, I grew up in the Fairmount neighborhood of Bangor and my husband and I are currently in the process of moving back there after living in the suburb of Hampden for the past 13 years. In fact, the house we are moving to is right across the street from my parents. I may be a bit biased since that is where I'm from and have so many fond memories there, but it really is an excellent neighborhood. It's very family-oriented and is fairly quiet. It's right near the Bangor Municipal Golf Course and a large park. It's also very convenient to everything in Bangor since it's right near the interstate and is less than 10 minutes from downtown and about 5 minutes from the waterfront. There are usually quite a few houses for sale in that neighborhood as well.
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Old 01-28-2020, 05:02 PM
 
Location: Newburyport, MA
4,176 posts, read 1,924,336 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwathas View Post
Yes, it is possible to commute to the Bangor area from both Ellsworth and Belfast. My husband worked in Belfast for about 6 years and did that commute; however, he got really sick of it after a few years, so that's something to keep in mind. Both Belfast and Ellsworth (due to its proximity to Bar Harbor/Acadia National Park) are both huge tourist spots in the spring and summer, so the traffic congestion from that can add a fair bit of time to the commute during those peak seasons. They can also be pretty tough drives in the wintertime. The commute from Belfast to Bangor has a lot of back roads and the drive from Ellsworth is just plain miserable in the winter. I honestly think that you would be better off a bit closer to Bangor, if not right in Bangor. As far as neighborhoods, I grew up in the Fairmount neighborhood of Bangor and my husband and I are currently in the process of moving back there after living in the suburb of Hampden for the past 13 years. In fact, the house we are moving to is right across the street from my parents. I may be a bit biased since that is where I'm from and have so many fond memories there, but it really is an excellent neighborhood. It's very family-oriented and is fairly quiet. It's right near the Bangor Municipal Golf Course and a large park. It's also very convenient to everything in Bangor since it's right near the interstate and is less than 10 minutes from downtown and about 5 minutes from the waterfront. There are usually quite a few houses for sale in that neighborhood as well.
I think you're making a lot of valid points. I mean, yes, people routinely commute 1-hour-plus into NYC and other big cities. But in those places, ordinary people have no other choice - it's too expensive to live closer, that's why they move out so far. In this area though, there's no issue whatsoever with affording a closer location. And those 2-lane local access roads to Bangor, especially when you're tired and it may be dark or rainy or snowy, require a lot more attention and cause a lot more stress than just cruising on a big limited access interstate "on autopilot" doing that daily grind. Not arguing it's just black and white a mistake, but to me you'd want to first verify that closer places won't work for you before signing up for that long daily drive, when you can freely choose any place to relocate to.

Last edited by OutdoorLover; 01-28-2020 at 05:21 PM..
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Old 01-31-2020, 09:16 PM
 
3 posts, read 2,707 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OutdoorLover View Post
I think you're making a lot of valid points. I mean, yes, people routinely commute 1-hour-plus into NYC and other big cities. But in those places, ordinary people have no other choice - it's too expensive to live closer, that's why they move out so far. In this area though, there's no issue whatsoever with affording a closer location. And those 2-lane local access roads to Bangor, especially when you're tired and it may be dark or rainy or snowy, require a lot more attention and cause a lot more stress than just cruising on a big limited access interstate "on autopilot" doing that daily grind. Not arguing it's just black and white a mistake, but to me you'd want to first verify that closer places won't work for you before signing up for that long daily drive, when you can freely choose any place to relocate to.
Exactly. Those drives to and from Ellsworth and Belfast do require a lot more attention and a much higher level of alertness! That kind of commute can be absolutely brutal in the winter and even when the roads are wet and slick from the rain. Plus, lots of people drive like idiots. TONS of accidents happen on those roads during inclement weather. Also, like you said, if you've been at work all day and are tired, this is not the time to zone out and go into autopilot mode on your drive home. I personally HATE those roads, even when the weather is fine! Personally, I am fortunate enough to work from home full-time, so I don't have to worry about a commute, other than from my bed to my desk! If you're going to be working in Bangor, it's definitely much more practical to find a home either right in Bangor or in one of the nearby suburbs that are anywhere between 5 and 15 minutes away, such as Hampden, Hermon, Veazie, Brewer, etc. I definitely wouldn't want to live in either Ellsworth or Belfast.
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Old 04-16-2020, 03:51 PM
 
Location: Maine
15 posts, read 11,891 times
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Considering your list, is there a possibility you could look at Portland over Bangor? There's more of what you're looking for there. While Belfast is a sweet little town, I guarantee your husband would tire of a winter, mud season commute to Bangor. Bangor has shopping and lots of restaurants, actually several good ones. It's art community has grown and there is a theatre in town. If your children ski, there is a great family ski area in the next town: Hermon. Because Bangor has a big medical center and several colleges and a university you can meet a very diverse population of people. There isn't anything comparable to living outside of NY and moving here takes a big adjustment. Maine is a very poor state and regardless of where you settle you'll see poverty. You need to enjoy small town living. Take a look at Hermon, Hampden and Newburgh.
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