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Thinking about moving to Maine from Alberta.

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by okotoks guy, Jun 25, 2011.

  1. okotoks guy

    okotoks guy New Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2010
    Messages:
    118
    Loc:
    Alberta
    My wife and I are considering a move to Maine. My wife is a Registered Nurse and is going to look at
    Maine to do a travel assignment. We have 2 young daughters aged 19 months and 4 years old.

    Can anyone suggest what city or cities would be best to look at with regards to low crime,friendly
    people,good schools etc. Also,are there any cities to avoid?

    Thanks in advance.

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  2. peterc38

    peterc38 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    Messages:
    270
    Loc:
    Maine
    There aren't any big cities per se. Portland is the biggest city (pop, 60,000) and Augusta is the capital (pop. 30,000). In my opinion, Maine people are more friendly than other places I have been to. In regards to crime, obviously there are no guarantees anywhere these days, but Maine has very low crime. If the wife is a nurse, Maine medical center in portland is a world class hospital. You can easily find a place within 25-30 minutes of Portland in a rural, quiet setting. For the most part, Real estate is cheap by New England standards (not including waterfront of course) and you can still get a good sized piece of land. Taxes are high though, but in my opinion, Maine does a decent job with your tax dollars in regards to roads, schools, etc. If you have a question about a specific area, you can PM me and I'll let you know what I think.
  3. rottiman

    rottiman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2009
    Messages:
    1,102
    Loc:
    Ontario Canada
    You might want to check into the immigration rules side of this move. It may not be as simple as loading up and moving. It is a whole lot easier moving from the U.S. to Canada. going the other direction is more restrictive in terms of requirements.
  4. summit

    summit Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2008
    Messages:
    1,903
    Loc:
    central maine
    I'd look at the Sidney area. It's a nice in-between from Augusta and Waterville (which both have fairly large hospital campus). The area there is far enough outta town to have alot of nice countryside and access to lakes - especially those in the Belgrade area - but close enough that travel to and from work is minimal.
    The coastal areas are nice, but taxes and home prices are higher than inland... plus you gotta deal with all the tourists during the summer months, and some pretty restrictive building codes. If the coast is for you, check out areas in Lincoln county/Damarscottia area. It's a nice 1/2 way point to inland central as well as midcoast area where property can still be had reasonably, and it's not too built up.
    I'd stay outta Lewiston/Auburn.... thats the armpit of the state IMHO. There are some bigger hospital systems in L/A, but if your wife wants to look for employment there, I'd stay outta the L/A metro area, look at a spot like Poland Spring, which is a nice jaunt out in the country away from L/A, but still close enough to commute.
    Bangor area is a fairly large metro area, but has alot of availiable property outlying. It's a ways inland, but if you are a big country forest kinda guy, there is plenty of it up there. It's not too far of a drive north of Bangor to find some nice isolation... where the towns have numbers like T5 R7 instead of names...
    Portland area is ok, but it's built up alot, taxes are high, and more like living outside of Boston than living in ME.
  5. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2009
    Messages:
    1,621
    Loc:
    NW Indiana
    +1 to that. Look @ the immigration side first even though it's not nearly as fun as dreaming About where to settle. Your wifes job can really help you but it's not exactly a golden ticket.
    These quickest n easiest way I know of to get in is for one of you to get a TN-1 temporary work visa through an employer. That's how I got in the door. They used to be only good for a year, so I'd have to do a border run to renew. Now you can get 3 years I think. You still need to plan In Advance how you'll be able to get a Green Card. Know all the req's and processes beforehand 'cause you can screw yourself by how you do the initial crossing... Seriously consider using an immigration Service. I'm married to a citizen, which makes it as easy as possible, and had a Service submitting everything and it still took 18 months of hoop jumping to get the card. Not trying to talk you out of anything, the process isn't THAT bad, you just need to know & follow the rules.
  6. okotoks guy

    okotoks guy New Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2010
    Messages:
    118
    Loc:
    Alberta
    I should have mentioned that the wife has done travel nursing assignments in the past. These travel
    companies look after all the paperwork and general red tape that goes with working in the US as a
    Canadian. She spent 4 years before we met in Charlotte and Wimington NC and she also did 3 month
    assignments in Indy and 3 months in Fresno. We are trying to think of a new place that would best suit
    our situation. I was thinking somewhere around the Smoky Mountains would suit me just fine and she
    was thinking Colorado. I happened to throw Maine out there as a possibility and we did some(very quick)
    research. I would like to live in a clean place where there are good schools,low crime. A place with fishing
    and hunting. The house would also need to be affordable. Some of the places in Maine seem to fit the bill.
    There were homes (again, just quicky internet research) that seemed very nice with 5 acres of land.

    Thanks for the advice all. Don't be shy if you have great things to say about the Smoky Mtns. as I could
    show the wife that it's not just an inbred place infested with banjo playing gimps!
  7. Wallyworld

    Wallyworld Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2009
    Messages:
    205
    Loc:
    Downeast
    I realize Traveling Nurses travel but where in Maine would she be working? What do you guys like to do? I wouldn't get very excited about any crime north of Augusta with the exception of far Down East Maine, Washington County has a lots of Oxy Contin addicts who like to steal. The Mid Coast area is nice, Rockland is a working mans town but one of my favorite places would be Brunswick, college town, close to Portland, close to the coast. Further North, another college town, Orono, lots of stuff to do being a college town, expensive taxes but little towns around Orono aren't so bad. Far north is desolate, cold but a paradise for hunting, fishing, snowmobiling etc. Ellsworth area is also nice. Growing, lots of transplants, the coast, way busy in the summer with tourists. You figure out where you might be stationed and I'll give you some more opinions.

    Edit,you can buy a nice house in Millinocket Maine, for next to nothing, Mill town that is slowly dying. Houses that would go for over 100,000 in so. Maine are going for 40,000
  8. Mt Ski Bum

    Mt Ski Bum Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2011
    Messages:
    507
    Loc:
    Big Sky, Montana
    Nope... that's pretty much what the smokies are like... just a bunch of banjo-playin' hillbillies...

    Montana, especially the south-western corner, is pretty nice... friendly people, beautiful scenery, not nearly as many people as Colorado... just stay away from eastern Mt... unless you want to live with a bunch of inbred rednecks, walleye-fishing freaks, & grumpy old farts... LOL... I'd reccommend NW Montana also, but there's too many neo-Nazi & anti-gov't groups that spring up in that area...
  9. okotoks guy

    okotoks guy New Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2010
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Alberta
    Whoa,Whoa,Whoa there................................................just a minute. Did you say Walleye fishing?????? LOL!!!
    Who really cares what the hospitals are like or how many GSW's they see on a typical Saturday night. Do they hit
    well on live bait or artificial? What cranks and what depths are they hitting best at?

    On a serious note. Is there really neo nazi GROUPS still around? We get the odd skinhead up here or a little gathering
    once a year just to get on the news and when they know the cops are there to protect them. I don't even think they
    know what they are mad at. They just hate the world. That's the last sort of BS I need to try and explain to my daughters
    or even care to see myself.
  10. Mrs. Krabappel

    Mrs. Krabappel Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Messages:
    1,568
    Loc:
    Blue Ridge Mountains NC
    Umm, you're joking, right?

    I have spent a lot of time in Maine and love it there, but chose to live here instead because I can live in a beautiful place with plenty of outdoor opportunities, but there's still easy access to a progressive culture.
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    46,729
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    I would pick the North Carolina hills in a heartbeat. Between Boone and Asheville there is great country and good people.
  12. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,276
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    Heck, NC is the home of the original Mother Earth News. That makes it a Mecca.

    Folks are moving into the Asheville area from just about everywhere...lots of folks who went to FL first and then got quickly tired of the heat and/or crime.

    The tough part for us is that if you have been raised relatively close to big water, it's tough to move too far inland!
  13. Wallyworld

    Wallyworld Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2009
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    205
    Loc:
    Downeast
    Pretty expensive real estate in that area, everyone wants to live there
  14. Tinsnip

    Tinsnip New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2011
    Messages:
    25
    Loc:
    Central Maine
    I'll add an opinion and say that the Bangor area has some excellent opportunities for your wife in terms of employment and is situated mid-state, providing closer access to some great fishing and hunting just to the north. Nice people, pretty quiet and safe, and lots of small towns in the area that provide good buys on homes and land. There's a bit more "culture" further south in places like Portland, but that comes with lots more population too. I would rate Maine very high as a place to live. However, it's not for everyone. If you think you need and enjoy a simple rural life, Maine will feel familiar and comfortable (especially in the winter).

    Best of luck to you no matter what you decide.
    Tinsnip
  15. Mrs. Krabappel

    Mrs. Krabappel Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    1,568
    Loc:
    Blue Ridge Mountains NC
    Depends where you are. You can drive 15 miles and the homes are half the price. It's much more affordable here than most places in New England and the eastern seaboard, including more civilized parts of Maine. Property taxes are very low.
  16. Mrs. Krabappel

    Mrs. Krabappel Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Blue Ridge Mountains NC
    In a round-about way, that's how I ended up here. My good friends moved here from Chicago to work for Mother Earth News. They branched off to run their own magazine. http://backhomemagazine.com/
    Check it out! It's an excellent magazine. I came to visit them and loved the area. When I moved back from Hawaii I couldn't afford anyplace in New England it was top of the list if I could get a job. I could. Love it here.
  17. okotoks guy

    okotoks guy New Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2010
    Messages:
    118
    Loc:
    Alberta
    I just want to throw a quick Thank You in here to everyone for their info so far. I am checking on
    all the tips and input given so far. It's the little tidbits that you are providing that I can't get off Google.

    Info such as prices in a certain area are "A" but if get a house that is 10 minutes away,you will get a bigger,
    nicer house in the Country +5 acres of land for A-$30,000. Stuff like that can only come from personal knowledge
    and you guys are providing it in spades. Thanks,and keep it coming LOL!
  18. Mrs. Krabappel

    Mrs. Krabappel Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    1,568
    Loc:
    Blue Ridge Mountains NC
  19. Mrs. Krabappel

    Mrs. Krabappel Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    1,568
    Loc:
    Blue Ridge Mountains NC
  20. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    14,948
    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    While I realize that your criteria for good hunting and fishing may be different than your wife's . . . I can perhaps give some insight to nursing in Maine as my wife is a RN who has worked in hospitals in Waterville (both of them), Bangor (both of them) and Belfast . . . along with many different nursing homes.

    As for hunting and fishing . . . it's hard to find a spot in Maine that doesn't offer decent hunting and fishing with a 20-45 minute drive . . . a lot depends on what you want to hunt and fish . . . if you're into moose up north and downeast is good, central Maine offers fantastic deer and turkey hunting . . . and then there is the salt water vs. fresh water fishing debate. Really . . . it's hard to not find a place where you can't find something to hunt or fish.

    Crime . . . happens everywhere and nowhere is immune. In general it seems as though the further south you go the more violent crime you hear about . . . although lately Bangor has had a spate of killings with . . . uh . . . how should we put it nicely . . . the lower strata of society. I think in the past four weeks there have been two murders and one bad attack when a guy pushed a fella out of the second floor window. If crime were an issue I would probably avoid most of the "big cites" (big being relative since Portland is the biggest city, followed by Lewiston-Auburn -- aka LA -- and then Bangor at 33,000.) We don't see too many suburb cities here . . . usually if you go out 15-30 minutes you can be in a small town or in the country.

    Schools . . . again, like anywhere there are good school systems and bad . . . I suspect most school systems do well enough. I know I graduated from a podunk small town school built in a former cow field where there were 11 towns that sent their kids to school . . . thought it was pretty hickish . . . until I went to college and realized that my education was actually quite good compared to many other freshmen in college.

    Affordable Homes . . . city conveniences of full-time police, firefighters, well funded schools, free trash pick up, etc. = higher taxes and often higher prices on homes. Waterviews along the coast or any water way also equals higher priced homes. That said, most folks who move from here from away say the prices are good for what you get.

    So . . . back to your wife . . . what is she looking for . . . does she want to work at a larger hospital that may be a little more cutting edge (nothing is too cutting edge up here though) -- in this case, generally the further south and larger hospitals are your best bet. Does she want a slower pace and more of a community hospital experience -- a small city hospital may be the better choice.

    I personally am quite partial for where I live . . . although my wife sometimes wishes the winters were not as long . . . if you draw a line between Bangor, Waterville and Belfast I'm about in the middle . . . the middle of everywhere and nowhere since there is nothing right there . . . but I can be up in The County for great ATVing, sledding or hunting in 3 hours . . . or close to Boston in 3 hours . . . or even across the border to visit New Brunswick or Campobello Island in Canada in 3 hours . . . and I can be in the "city" of Waterville, Belfast or Bangor in a half hour to 40 minutes.

    Any more questions . . . feel free to post.
  21. steam man

    steam man Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2008
    Messages:
    652
    Loc:
    Northern Maine
    I live close enough to firefighterjake and know Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor quite well. My cousin was a traveling nurse from down south who worked there and loved it. Though they have had some labor problems recently the people are pretty decent. Smaller city, great hospital, and any wildlife/outdoor stuff you want.
  22. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    14,948
    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    My wife has a different opinion of EMMC . . . nurses were great, but administration plays a lot of "games." Some folks may or may not like the Unionized aspect of nursing . . . my own feeling is neither for or against . . . I did however dislike many of the things that I heard about EMMC though.
  23. okotoks guy

    okotoks guy New Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2010
    Messages:
    118
    Loc:
    Alberta
    Thanks Jake. Lots of great info you posted there.

    I guess as far as schools go, I don't need private school for my girls. I just want the "typical" school for them to attend.
    Hopefully a school that 6 year olds don't need to go through metal detectors at the front "gate."

    Wife's work. She like's the action. She has worked adult but much prefers PICU and NICU. Children's Emergency would
    be good too. Skateboards,snowboards and trampolines keep them busy!

    Me. Work will be me putting on the Mr. Mom hat. It will take a while before I can get a working visa. I am also having some
    back issues. I am going for an MRI this week to hopefully find the cause of crippling sciatica that I have been going through
    for the last 4 months. I am not able to work as a result and have no money coming in at present. I know that pain is just
    weakness leaving the body but this is really taking a toll on me.

    Could you tell what the employment situation is like in the area for a 40 year old guy with 20 years of shipping/receiving,
    forklift operating experience? Is there much in the way of warehousing anywhere close to the area. If I had to drive 45
    minutes to work,that would be fine.

    Fishing/Hunting. I would basically love to hunt everything except bears. My preferred fishing is for Walleye. I also enjoy Bass
    and pike fishing. I have only ever fished Saltwater for Salmon on guided trips but would love to learn to fish on my own for
    whatever species there are.(I have absolutely no idea what a guy can catch in the area.)

    Overall,my ideal home would be located in an area where I can't hear my closest neighbours dog barking or diesel truck
    idling. The home would be within 20 minutes of grocery shopping and various other ameneties. Kids playgrounds,community
    pools etc. would be fairly close as well. I guess I want my cake and would like to eat it too!
  24. kettensäge

    kettensäge Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
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    441
    Loc:
    N.E. PA.
    I vacationed once near Waterville. Week long fishing trip, stayed at a camp with authentic log cabins from the '20's. Awesome. Seemed like the people were so laid back in Maine that I thought I was in a different country.
  25. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    You want to see really laid back you should head to the County . . . not lazy up there at all . . . but definitely a whole other breed of Mainiacs . . . they would give their shirt off a back to a stranger if they thought he needed it more than they did.

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