Portland (Maine)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


I've been thinking a lot lately about my penchant for swooning over other towns. Despite pondering over this matter, I'm not sure if it is because I am so incredibly over the town I currently live, and itching for a new start; or simply because there are so many great places I am open to living one day. Places to have a second home! That's it! Finish grad school, Sarah, and a vacation bungalow can be yours! Mario actually asked me the other day where I'd like to live after Portland, Oregon. Clearly I'm not the only one feeling the rut; even I, oh restless one, hadn't gone quite that far in my thinking.

Because New England believes that children should be in school well into June (July if the snow days keep piling up), the last week of February was Kiddo's winter break. (There is a Christmas break, winter break, and spring break you see.) Mario was teaching a class up in Portland, Maine so we decided to hitch a ride and enjoy a change of scenery. Gosh. I love Portland. Mario kept saying things like "I could live here.", "I love it here." and "Would you live here?". The truth is I would. Portland has the funky, hip vibe we crave. Which is probably why we are also attracted, and thus moving, to the other Portland. This Portland is nautical and historic. Every time we are there we spend at least one afternoon walking around downtown. The shops are unique and less touristy than most New England towns of its kind. Perfect strangers smile as you pass them on the street, which hasn't happened since we left St. Louis.

A lot of young, career-driven professionals have moved to Portland from New York and Boston. Tech, biomedical... all kinds of industry has moved in. In Portland you can get the earthy, small(er) town vibe and still pursue success. Portland is a have your cake and eat it too kind of town. As I drove down the main stretch I watched people my age walking to the local coffee shop and co-op restaurant on their lunch breaks. I wanted it to be me with all my being. I want the office and career and coworkers and local hydroponic lettuce salad on my lunch break. I had my finger on the let's move to Maine... it would be so much easier trigger. (A 150 mile move vs. a 3000 mile move is tempting for sure.) But I didn't pull. Mostly because I need a bigger change. Something unfamiliar and new. It helped that at this juncture I can't imagine living through another New England winter without a break. A long break. Had it been June, I might have caved. Portland is definitely at the top of my vacation home pipe dream list. 

"This is an ACTUAL piece of the wall, Mom!"

We MUST place a lock on this fence before we leave.
The first place we picked our own lobster, sat on the deck in the sunshine and ate it fresh.

This is hands-down one of my favorite toy stores in the world. It's like a mini Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium. I enjoy spending time there as much as Kiddo. Maybe more.
This is Walter. He came home with us.

Kiddo and I sat inside Starbucks and warmed up while casually watching the hustle and bustle outside.

During our first house-hunting trip to New England, we bought lobsters here and brought them home in a box on the plane. As checked luggage. True story. We then had a lobster boil with our neighbors in St. Louis. That particular trip sold us on New England.
On this trip there was also the obligatory jaunt up to Freeport to visit the L.L. Bean flagship store. Kiddo got his first Swiss Army tool and I bought my wishful-thinking flip-flops as I have done every year we've lived here.

I often wonder how our experience would have differed had we moved to Portland instead of rural New Hampshire. Perhaps my career will bring us back to Maine. Or Mario's will. Who knows what the future holds. My gut, heart, and every other clairvoyant organ knows we are making the right move. But we will always have Portland. Maine, that is.


  1. I, too, am just so sick of where I live. I keep thinking of all the other places in the world I would move to, but I really don't know. Your description of Portland sounds amazing!

    1. I totally get it, Cole. I do believe you can find happiness wherever you are, with the right mindset, but it's a whole lot tougher when your surroundings aren't jiving with your life (or where you want it to go). Portland is a rather wonderful place... I really could see myself there one day.


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