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JDC

Portland: Convincing someone to relocate there

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I grew up just south of Boston, graduated from Bridgewater State, and then headed south with my girlfriend to Durham, NC. We like it here for now, and were even able to buy a condo after less than a year in the workforce (housing prices here are clearly much lower than Greater Boston). We both want to eventually move back to New England, and I'm very much interested in Portland (though I've spent very little time, there, mostly in high school). How do you convince someone that it's a good idea to move there?

We're driving up this Christmas to see our families and will check out the city as well. What should I show her that might get her as excited about it as I am?

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You have to really like winter to get excited about Portland at Christmas time. The city is very walkable, but you'll obviously be bundling up in December, and the vibe of the city slows considerably in winter. People hunker down for the winter. That's not to say there's nothing to do, you just won't see as many people on the streets. The city itself is stunning and has plenty to do for such a small town, but the real selling point is its proximity to the natural beauty of Maine. It's minutes from Old Orchard Beach, Route 1 all up and down the coast is simply stunning, if you like to shop, hit Freeport north of Portland and Kittery down on the NH border. Acadia National Park is just up the coast, Baxter State Park is up a ways, but closer than it is for the rest of us in New England. You can be in Boston quickly and easily on the Downeaster, and Portsmouth is a good diversion when you get a little stir crazy in Portsmouth. Taking the Cat Ferry over to Nova Scotia is a treat too. The charm of Portland is its natural beauty and it's laid back pace of life (though it's the state's urban heart, so that laid backness is mixed with a little pep).

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Could you possibly make it up during the fall? Maine and New England as a whole is in its glory then. Portland is a beautiful compact city but it can get bitterly cold in the winter with its strong seabreezes. But Cotuit is right, Maine has some great coastal towns near Portland. I'm most familiar with the southern ones, York, Ogunquit, the Kennebunks, all are quite touristy and affluent, but they really are beautiful places. Portsmouth and the Mountains are only an hours drive, and Boston isn't much further.

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