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Old 09-16-2012, 07:25 PM
21 posts, read 69,548 times
Reputation: 55


Our family relocated to Portland Maine from Portland, Oregon in Feb. of 2010 and I continue to get a lot of messages from users wanting to know how the move has gone, what our experience has been, etc. After getting three messages alone this weekend, I thought I'd post a followup for those curious.

You can check out our previous posts for the backstory but after almost three years in Portland Maine, we'd make the move again. Here's my synopsis, partially in reply to Eric, Emily and Deirdre this weekend:

Southern Maine has really been a beautiful experience for our family. We bought our house in Feb of 2010 and honestly, haven't looked back. I grew up in the bay area and lived in Portland, Oregon where my husband is from for 14 years so I know a thing or two about overly, crunchy granola towns. I really see several advantages to Maine over the west coast cities.

- Housing is very affordable if you're looking to buy. It's mind boggling to me after all my years out west, the quality of homes available for under 400k. Close in, historic, city homes on large lots. Plenty for much less than that. Big plus.

- It's safe. After Portland, Oregon, where shootings, drugs and petty crime are rampant, it's really refreshing to live someplace where the morning news stories are a fallen tree or drunk fisherman.

- The food scene is excellent. The city of Portland has an amazing weekly farmers market with dozens of local organic vegetable, dairy and meat farmers. We have a big natural grocery store chain (Whole Foods), a lovely little grocery co-op (Lois') and several really sweet specialty food stores. Lots of clean, healthy food which was important for us.

- The buy local scene is robust and there are many interesting shops, boutiques, eateries, indy bookstores, tea shops, etc. People are committed to supporting the local economy and there is a true sense of camaraderie here that I just didn't experience back in Oregon or Cali.

- It's beautiful. The city is a peninsula and you're surrounded by ocean everywhere you go. In Downtown Portland, a ferry terminal sits that takes you on roundtrip jaunts to a host of local islands. I can't tell you how fun it is to bike along the ocean from our house to the ferry with our kids, hop a boat across with bikes in tow and then cruise around an island for a short ride and picnic. Just did this last week on a balmy 75 degree day. Moments like this are common. Your freeway onramps are on the ocean, for christ's sake. It's surreal.

- The Winter is really not that big of a deal. Obviously, I grew up somewhere very warm and then lived in Portland, Oregon where the rain never quits. I just don't find the snow in southern Maine to be very bothersome. We usually don't see snow until the week of Christmas or so and depending on the year, the snow is wrapped up by March end, with the occasional dusting in April. And it doesn't snow constantly. It snows, it thaws, it snows again. I won't lie, it's cold but not nearly as much as I perceived Maine to be. A big plus: the sky is always blue and sun shining. So you might be freezing your ass off but at least the sun is shining. There are times when we get a good foot high dump but the city is so dialed in, it's just not a nightmare like snow is out west. The roads are plowed, you buy a good pair of boots, a patagonia jacket and get on with it. You'll get the message on the topic of weather when you see people jogging around the bay in January. People are active here and the weather isn't slowing anyone down.

- Your school options are quite good in a variety of Portland neighborhoods, ranging from private to montessori to public. We also have a bunch of colleges within a quick drive, including USM right in the center of town.

- The culture is pretty liberal, though all of Maine is not that way. Southern Maine is traditionally more cultured, progressive and liberal but drive up north and you're certain to encounter some die hard conservatives in a big way.

- The city is small, certainly smaller than Santa Cruz and WAY smaller than Portland, Oregon but the size feels right for us. Our grocery clerks, etc. know us but I feel like it's large enough I can get lost, wander around without always bumping into someone, etc.

- There is so much waterfront and green space. You will never get sick of all the boating, skiing, running trails, canoeing, cayaking, sandy beaches, rocky beaches, etc.

- We have a good holistic base here. Plenty of good doctors, acupunturists, homeopaths, yoga studios, naturopathic docs, etc. No trouble finding good choices.

All told, I wouldn't change our decision if I could. This community has embraced our family and small business, we love our home and have really developed a balanced, happy lifestyle here. It's a beautiful city and we have so many magical moments.

I hope I've helped and definitely let me know if other questions come up or you make it out for a visit. We'd be happy to point you in the right direction for places to visit, things to see, contacts for what you might need and help with any details that might make it easier.
Good luck!
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:04 PM
Location: Oregon
56 posts, read 106,723 times
Reputation: 48
Hi Nicole,

I currently live in PDX. Actually in the suburb of Beaverton. I am sick of all the freaking rain we get. It is down right depressing. Although right now we are having wonderful late summer weather. Lots of sun and warmth. But I know within 2 months the rain and overall dreariness will return.

I am hoping we can move to Maine. I visited there a few times in the past and nearly moved there. As I had said in another post the biggest reason for moving is the overcrowding in the schools. 37 kids in my daughters class. No librarians, they have a technology teacher who does the library functions. They have cut so much it is truly disturbing.

We live in a really safe and but no so friendly area. We rent in a good sized apartment complex but we don't know many of our neighbors. It seems like people just aren't that outgoing. The thought of living in a small community is so intriguing to me. I think if my hubby tried he could find a decent job. He works in the computer industry. I am a full time mom and self employed as a writer. I wouldn't be against getting some kind of part time job if I needed to.

I moved from PA in 1988 and I am ready to go back east again. Oregon is nice and we are close to the mountains and the ocean but I hate all the rain and I would love to have 4 seasons again!

Right now it's a dream but I am keeping it alive inside of me.

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Old 10-03-2012, 02:48 PM
Location: Newport News, Virginia
368 posts, read 934,297 times
Reputation: 280
Thank you so much for posting this. My husband and I have been living in VA (after various jaunts--either independently or together, in NY, TX, CO, NC, and CA). We've never found the place that's seemed right to us. Lately, after a too hot, too buggy summer, we're both feeling ready to move our family somewhere cooler, smaller and more northern (in both latitude and attitude). I've been to Portland and loved it, but never actually considered living there. This might be a new place to consider! Thanks again.
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Old 10-21-2012, 10:51 AM
Location: Lafayette, La
5 posts, read 18,751 times
Reputation: 12
Corey and Nicole. Thanks you so much for that wonderful post. We visited Portland last June and we absolutely fell in love with it and the discription you described is just what we felt. In fact, I am currently looking for a job in Portland as we decided we want to move there. We are tired of the heat and humidity and the ultra conservative culture of south Louisiana and simply are ready for a change. I do vocational rehabilitation counseling and just applied for an opening there so I hope that goes well. My husband works from home so he can work from anywhere. Of course , I will competing for the position with others that already live in the area so that makes it difficult. I may just have to go spend a little time there and look for work while I am there.
We enjoyed the ferry ride to one of the islands and had lunch at a beautiful restaruant overlooking the water. I can't remember which island it was. Everyone we met was so friendly and eager to give us information or direct us in the right direction. We have excellent food here in south Louisiana so we know good foo. We found all the restaurants we tired in Portland were great. We stayed close to the west end and I loved going out to look at the water along the promenade and watching everyone enjoying the day on bikes or with their dogs.
We currently live in a 3,000 sq ft home but with no kids or parents living with us any longer we definitely want to scale down. We will be looking for something small, maybe even a condo or patio home and hope we can find something around $250,000. Do you think that is possible in Portland. I checked out a real estate magazine when we where there and it did look pretty reasonable as far as prices go.
Thanks again and I am really jealous but I hope we can follow in your footsteps.
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Old 10-22-2012, 04:52 PM
Location: Maine
2,272 posts, read 6,326,761 times
Reputation: 2542
You should be able to get a condo for $250 k in Portland, depending on which area. Or a small home in one of the towns nearby.

I think you may be right in your thinking you may have to move here first, then find a job for yourself. If your husband makes enough money to allow you to do this, it may be your best bet, as it can be difficult to gain employment here from out of state.

I grew up in the area, and couldn't wait to leave, and I did for many years, but then I grew up and realized that Portland has all I want and need. I hope everything works out for you!
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Old 10-24-2012, 12:09 PM
Location: Downeast, Maine
164 posts, read 336,527 times
Reputation: 78
Hi, We have lived all over from NM to Seattle, South florida amoung other places...we are both from the NE. One day while I was sitting on our boat and husband at work, I realized I did not want our kids to go to college or even meet their "love" in florida. My husband came home from work, I asked him to please find a job in Maine (lucky that he has good skills). Our son was asked where he wanted to go, he choose Idaho (relatives live there). We packed a truck for him gave him most of our furniture and away he went that was Aug. 2009. by Nov. 2009 we and our two daughters settled in Portland. We had to move away for jobs for a short time, but kept both of our girls here, because not only was it safe it was home to them (and us)...we would have dragged them screaming and kicking. We are now living downeast and would never even think of leaving Maine...our grave will be somewhere on this beauitful rock. My husband did have a job before we moved here and in Maine or anywhere that is a plus.
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:02 PM
1,962 posts, read 4,513,438 times
Reputation: 1817
Gigglesj, where downeast are you located?
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Old 10-27-2012, 03:45 PM
Location: Downeast, Maine
164 posts, read 336,527 times
Reputation: 78
MDI...where are you
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Old 04-04-2013, 11:39 AM
21 posts, read 48,878 times
Reputation: 21
@coreyandnicole This was the most informed and intelligent response that I have seen on these forums! Thank you so much for being so in depth in your description! You answered almost every single question that I had about relocating to Portland, ME, and quelled almost every worry. Thanks again!!
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Old 04-05-2013, 11:41 AM
Location: New Britain, CT
1,572 posts, read 1,266,941 times
Reputation: 511
I myself wouldn't mind living in Maine again. However, I would only live in Portland itself this time. Wells (1974-77) and Old Orchard Beach (1985-87) were fine in their own right growing up. However, I need to be in a city, close to bus routes, Concord Coach/Amtrak, PWM (airport) and The Maine Mall. Wells is too far and O.O.B. is limited with seasonal Amtrak service. I've only been north of Portland 3 or 4 times in my whole life (I live in and am from central Connecticut).

I'd like to live in a place like Back Bay Tower on Cumberland Avenue. I've heard not-to-pleasant things about Franklin Towers. I know very little of Portland east of Franklin Street Arterial (US Route 1A), Munjoy Hill or on the west/northwest sides of Back Cove.

In closing, it's nice to read your story about the "other" Portland...PDX and not PWM.
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