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Old 05-27-2009, 11:40 AM
 
Location: Southern CT
7 posts, read 17,685 times
Reputation: 11

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We live in CT and are thinking about moving north. We have three school-aged children. I am not looking for the best 'scoring' school system - I'm looking for a great school community. We are planning to visit this summer - but I won't be able to get a feel for the school systems - any comments or thoughts from those who live there would be appreciated.
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Old 05-27-2009, 12:49 PM
 
Location: East Boston, MA
11,366 posts, read 19,952,372 times
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It would help to elaborate on what you're looking (i.e. style/age of homes) for and under what price range. Regardless, I think you'll find that housing costs in the Portland area are SIGNIFICANTLY lower than anything in Southern CT... particularly Southwestern CT. I'm willing to bet you can find a good home for your money here. Check out GreatSchools - Public and Private School Ratings, Reviews and Parent Community for rating info. Also, do you have a job lined up? What's the plan for work? Portland isn't the easiest area to find a job, especially if you're looking for a job requiring a degree. It's often best to have work taken care of before committing to a move.

Cape Elizabeth is a wonderful little town. It has an excellent school system and a good community feel. It also has a beautiful coastline. It's often portrayed as the "snooty" suburb of Portland but I've never felt that way. I came from out of state (Massachusetts) and I'm guessing it's a matter of perspective. Cape Elizabeth's average household income is similar to what you find in many middle and working class towns throughout Southern New England and the Tri-State area, but it's the highest in Maine. The best way to get a feel for it is seeing for yourself.

Scarborough propably has the best newer housing stock in the area. It also has more of the look and feel of a typical low-density metorpolitan suburb... something that isn't common in the Portland area (and most up there feel that they are better for it... I agree). As such, it has a more generic feel through much of it (particularly along Route 1). West of Route 1 in Scaroborough, it gets rural and fast. If you want more seclusion, head that way. East of Route 1, you get closer to the ocean and Scarborough's beautiful beaches and Coastline... this is what keeps it from falling under the category of generic suburb. Around route 1 are the cul-de-sac neighborhoods. Scarborough's schools are probably the best in the area, you can't go wrong in that regard.

Cumberland, Yarmouth and Falmouth are the other 3 primary suburban Portland towns. South Portland is a little more heavily settled and commercialized/industrialized (the same can be said for much of Westbrook). Cumberland, Falmouth and Yarmouth are all lovely and have great schools.

If you're looking to have good schools and be in a more suburban environment, check out the five previously mentioned towns (Scarborough, Cape Elizabeth, Yarmouth, Cumberland and Falmouth). You can certainly find rural, VERY quiet parcels of land in each of those communities (Portland is a very small metro area), but they're essentially Portland's immediate 'burbs.

Now, if you want a little more distant and secluded, check out Gorham, Buxton, Windham, etc. These towns are much more out of the way (but still 20 or so minutes from Downtown Portland) and offer the real rural feel but still have good schools and a great community atmosphere (hopefully elston can come on here and describe Gorham).

Places like Saco, Westbrook and South Portland will have more of an older housing stock and be a bit more thickly settled (I wouldn't say "urban" though). Each has their own charm, but may or may not be what you're looking for. Saco's schools are very good. Westbrook and South Portland a bit less so, but not terrible.

anyway, hope this gives you something to work with!
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Old 06-03-2009, 09:20 AM
 
29 posts, read 71,699 times
Reputation: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTSeeShelle View Post
We live in CT and are thinking about moving north. We have three school-aged children. I am not looking for the best 'scoring' school system - I'm looking for a great school community. We are planning to visit this summer - but I won't be able to get a feel for the school systems - any comments or thoughts from those who live there would be appreciated.
I moved here from Mass when my kids were in 6th and 9th grade. I will tell you that Windham would not even compare to Cape for schools, plus it is far out. Cape Elizabeth is a wonderfully community. I have recently found out that my job is leaving the area and I may need to move to PA and I am distraught. I love it here so much. The people in my town and neighborhood have reached out to me to help me get my house ready to sell and also have been sendning my resume all over to people they know. In fact, a realtor who I called about listing my house said to wait.. because she might have some contacts for me. What is your price range? I do know that right now there is nothing on the market for what I plan to list my house at so hopefully I will get some good views.
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Old 06-13-2009, 09:52 AM
 
Location: Southern CT
7 posts, read 17,685 times
Reputation: 11
Thanks so much for your input. We are planning a weekend trip to Cape Elizabeth this summer to check things out. I have been looking on www.jobsinme.com to get an idea what and where there would be jobs for us. Our price range would probably be under $250k because we don't want to strap ourselves. Our plan though is not to buy a house right away, probably rent at first -- although there doesn't seem to be alot of rents in Cape Elizabeth. I was also looking into Scarborough and glad to see it mentioned in Irfox's reply.

It sounds like Cape Elizabeth would be like CT's Westport - and I think that is one of the reasons why I'm drawn to Cape Elizabeth as it would be affordable, as long as we could find good jobs. I'm going to also look into the others mentioned.

Thanks again for your insights and wealth of knowledge! Good luck Curly in your move.
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Old 06-13-2009, 11:34 AM
 
Location: Florida (SW)
46,289 posts, read 21,038,395 times
Reputation: 47047
Thanks Irfox

I moved to Gorham last year from S. California. My family is originally from Maine and MA and I had lived in Northern New England for most of my life.....(California was a bad idea that I had when I retired...but it all worked out ok). I'm back and happily settled in Gorham.)

Gorham is a nice little town....a college town. I find that it feels like a "home town". It has a town center...with a grocery store and hardware and pharmacy etc and several resturants and a nice coffee shop, a real barber shop (as opposed to a salon) and a brew pub. In the summer the shady tree lined streets are hung with American flags and the steeple of the Congregational Church dominates down town; the library is a beautiful old building....schools are reportedly good and life is relatively quiet and laid back. I don't know what it says about where I have lived previously.....but I find the kids, including teen agers, I run into are very nice and polite.

It isnt much of a tourist town. It is rural....pretty....and very friendly. It is about 25 mins from down town Portland....maybe a half an hour from the coast and from Lake Sabago.....and really pretty country roads. People grow lilacs, and have peonies in their yards and smile and acknowledge one another...it isnt hard to fit in.........I would say life is slow paced and very pleasant. This is not a picture post card town.....it isn't wealthy or fancy.....it is a thoroughly pleasant place to live..it has the original houses dating from the 1700's, and then some nice old victorians and then developments with newer houses.....I consider myself very fortunate to be here. There isnt much I would change, and I have no desire to live elsewhere. I can visit the ocean or scenic wonders...but then I am coming home to Gorham.

Last edited by elston; 06-13-2009 at 11:46 AM..
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Old 06-14-2009, 04:13 PM
 
7 posts, read 29,870 times
Reputation: 16
Default Windham...

Hi, as far as towns that surround Portland, we live in Windham and think it's just great. We have 3 kids that went through the Windham school system. My youngest will be a sophomore next year and we have nothing but rave reviews. Class A sports, great coaches, good rec sports, travel teams and wonderful community support system. I can't speak for Cape Elizabeth, and I'm sure it's nice, but the homes are very pricey. Windham is a growing community that is close enough to Portland to access easily but far enough away... from most parts of town, Portland is about 1/2 hour drive to get right down town.
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