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Old 04-11-2014, 07:52 AM
 
Location: Dallas, TX
20 posts, read 35,114 times
Reputation: 16

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Im currently living in Dallas TX, I've been here for about 3 years. Im originally from NC. Im graduating next spring with a bachelor's in chemistry and I am looking for a new place to live. I really miss the outdoor recreation that NC had to offer.

1. Is it easy to find people that also enjoy hiking, biking, backpacking, kayaking, snowboarding, etc.?

2. What is the cost of living like up there? Im looking to rent for around $800-900/month.

3. How are the summers there? Winters? Dallas is brutal in the summer. Over 110 in August. NC wasn't as bad but it was pretty humid.

4. Are there plenty of local businesses in Portland or is it mostly corporate chains?

Thank you for any advice or information.
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Old 04-11-2014, 11:25 AM
 
Location: Maine
18,569 posts, read 22,360,746 times
Reputation: 22441
Quote:
Originally Posted by cxm123130 View Post
1. Is it easy to find people that also enjoy hiking, biking, backpacking, kayaking, snowboarding, etc.?
Yes.


Quote:
Originally Posted by cxm123130 View Post
2. What is the cost of living like up there? Im looking to rent for around $800-900/month.
Depends on what you want. A studio? 1 bedroom apartment? 2 bedroom house? Neighborhood also matters. Best places to look for rentals is craigslist and the classifieds section of local newspapers.


Quote:
Originally Posted by cxm123130 View Post
3. How are the summers there? Winters? Dallas is brutal in the summer. Over 110 in August. NC wasn't as bad but it was pretty humid.
It varies from year to year, but generally Maine has 3 distinct seasons and 1 mini season:

Winter. Cold with lots of snow. Most years, we tend to get our first significant snow around Thanksgiving, and it keeps snowing through February. Some years it starts earlier. Some years it ends later.

Spring is the mini season. It’s glorious and short. It seems like we’re shoveling snow, and then 2 weeks later I’m wanting the AC.

Summer is hot and can be humid. But it is nothing like the brutal heat of Dallas/Ft. Worth or the muggy humidity of the Carolinas. I’m really only uncomfortable from about late June through mid-August. It’s not impossible for temperatures to climb to 100, but it is rare. The closer you go the coast, the more moderate the temperature.

Autumn is the best reason to live in New England. Most days, you can still go outside without a jacket, but evenings are cool and crisp.


Quote:
Originally Posted by cxm123130 View Post
4. Are there plenty of local businesses in Portland or is it mostly corporate chains?
You’ll find both.
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Old 04-11-2014, 12:28 PM
 
Location: East Boston, MA
9,286 posts, read 17,326,904 times
Reputation: 10925
Quote:
Originally Posted by cxm123130 View Post
1. Is it easy to find people that also enjoy hiking, biking, backpacking, kayaking, snowboarding, etc.?
Yes. The Portland area has a large percentage of people who are outdoorsy. When you're there, check out LL Bean. The complex in Freeport often has group outings, clinics and lessons for every type of activity you mentioned (and more). It's a great way to meet people with similar interests.

Quote:
2. What is the cost of living like up there? Im looking to rent for around $800-900/month.
You'll find COL to be higher than DFW. Rents may be similar, but you may be surprised to find your $900 doesn't go as far as it did in Dallas. Dallas has tons and tons and tons of new and newish apartment complexes. With a few exceptions (and most of those are quite a bit older than what you'd find in Dallas), those aren't the norm in the Portland area. Expect to find that most of the rental units are part of smaller 2,3,4+ unit buildings. Often times, a unit for rent is the top floor of a 2 family home. Almost all of the time, the unit is well worn (not dirty, but definitely well lived in) and appliances, counter tops and furniture (if applicable) are older as well. This is often times a big adjustment for people moving to New England (it's the case all over the region) from the South, Southwest, or West Coast.

Expect $800-900 (plus utilities) to get you a studio or 1 bedroom in a decent location. You may find an occasional 2 bedroom in that range, but not quite as readily. While neighborhoods are important, I wouldn't say you need to be concerned as much as you would be in Dallas. For starters, Portland is small and the urban part is pretty compact (all near the Peninsula). So if you're working downtown (or just want to leave nearby), anything in Portlands urban neighborhoods (East End/Munjoy Hill, Downtown (Arts District/Old Port), West End, Parkside or Bayside will put you within walking distance. Deering and Back Cove are older suburban neighborhoods and are within biking distance (or walking depending on where in the neighborhood you are) to downtown. North Deering and East Deering are a little ways from downtown (too far to walk, really but bikeable if you like to ride). Portland has some less desirable neighborhoods, but none so bad that you'd want simply steer clear of. In terms of crime, there's nothing on par with the worst of Dallas or the bad urban areas in NC.

You'll find that groceries are higher and I'd assume (I've never registered a car in TX) car ownership costs are higher. Utilities tend to be higher, but I've never paid for utilities in Dallas so I'm not sure. You won't pay high electric costs for an AC in Portland, but you'll swap that out with heating costs in the winter (higher floors are often more affordable to heat because... science). Booze is more expensive. That's a big downer for some coming from outside of the region.

Quote:
3. How are the summers there? Winters? Dallas is brutal in the summer. Over 110 in August. NC wasn't as bad but it was pretty humid.
Summers are pleasant. There's definite humidity, but not even in the same stratosphere as NC. Temps in the summers are mostly in the 70s and low 80s (some peaks and valleys exceeding those numbers), so even with the humidity, it's more comfortable. The sea breeze cools Portland (and all of the coastal towns) a bit more than the inland areas too which is nice. Winters are colder than anything you've experienced in TX or NC. However, Portland is in Southern Maine and it's along the coast (which warms it slightly in the winter) so it's not as brutal as people often make "Maine Winters" out to be. Expect plenty of snow (there's usually at least a few inches on the ground permanently from late December into late March or even a little later), temps ranging from the low/mid 20s to the low 30s on average with dips into the teens (or lower) and peaks into the high 30s low 40s not uncommon. It can be windy in the winter which can make 32 feel like 15. It can also be nice an sunny on a 25 degree day making it feel closer to 40. It'll be an adjustment.

Fall is beautiful in New England and Maine's no exception. It's my favorite time of year for hiking. Spring essentially doesn't exist. I hated Spring in Maine. It was a muddy, rainy, bipolar few weeks of a season. Emphasis on a few weeks. It's not a long season. The beginning of April can feel like winter and by late May, temps are at or approaching summer levels.

Quote:
4. Are there plenty of local businesses in Portland or is it mostly corporate chains?
Compared to DFW, Portland seems much more local business-centric. Dallas felt (to me) like a city that revolved around corporate chains with a smattering of neat, small businesses. Portland's the opposite. Portland embraces independent businesses while welcoming a smattering of corporate chains. If you're hoping for all of the familiar chains from home, you won't find most of them. If you're looking to get to know new local businesses, you'll like Portland.

Last edited by lrfox; 04-11-2014 at 12:40 PM..
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