After months of frantic preparation, a move to a temporary living space followed by a huge move to a permanent home, our relocation to Maine is complete. We are now citizen of the greater Portland area.
My wife had a great opportunity through her job to come up here. I’m fortunate in that I can continue my professional career, while beginning the slow transition to a next phase; a dedicated studio for production of music and internet media.
Its been a long and interesting transition to here from New Jersey. I get to experience almost daily culture shock; some negative, but overall vastly positive.
The people are extremely warm and welcoming. Its likely because, being one of the most sparsely populated states, it has been spared the over crowding and daily soul-crushing traffic of New Jersey. A 20 minute commute is average, and traffic is non-existent by comparison to New Jersey.
Food and Drink. Portland Maine is widely regarded as the best city for foodies in the country. Not New York. Not San Francisco. Portland Maine. I have yet to find a cuisine that Portland doesn’t have. Even at the lower-end of the price scale, there is amazing food. Even though I miss the mom and pop Jersey pizza joints, especially those of my youth that were staffed with first and second generation Italians, we’ve already become regulars at Portland Pie, a small chain pizza pub that offers a delicious food with a Maine flair. In the scant couple months we’ve been here I’ve had amazing pizza, burgers, sushi, steak and the best lobster I’ve ever done eaten (that happened to be at a roadside shack)
As for drink beer rules in Portland, and the majority of taps at nearly every local establishment pour drafts made within 20 miles.
The national farm-to-table movement may be seen as an edge for most restaurants because it increases quality while offering a marketing angle. Unlike adopting a trend, Portland has a long tradition of sourcing local ingredients. It definitely lends itself to Maine’s sense of community and pride to rely on fellow Mainers and not out-of-state fare hauled in on a refrigerator truck. Also, being the last major city on I-95 North (no offense Bangor) until one hits Canada, we’re not a waypoint on the route to a larger market, so its cost effective.
And if you can’t get fresh seafood from the north Atlantic, you ain’t even trying.
Of course there are numerous other advantages over New Jersey. Primarily cost of living, quality of life and lessened bureaucracy.
Things move way slower here though. Dealing with contractors, I’ve had to temper my expectations of turnaround. People here take immense pride in their work, but completion and turnaround is measured in weeks as opposed to New jersey where its measured in hours to days.
But so far I’ve seen a moose (in a zoo) seen three bears (a few pens down from the moose) eaten amazing lobsters, took in a Portland Seadogs baseball game, visited lighthouses, taken in some great entertainment, and enjoyed some of the local parks. I look forward to exploring the natural offerings of Maine, getting to some Hockey games, enjoying the 2nd tier artists that tour here, and eating more lobster.
But ask me again how I like it here around January 7th.