Moving to the Northeast

Archived Responses: 

Possible move back East

July 2002

Well- this seems to be a more common posting on this list serve. My husband and I are actually entertaining the idea of moving out of the Bay Area to Portland, ME. Does anyone know anything about living in Maine?? Quality of life, ethnic diversity, most common jobs, liberal attitudes, etc. Of course, this goes without saying, we LOVE the Bay Area and are very sad to even think of leaving.

The only reason(s) we are considering this move are a) the costs of living and housing here are beginning to seem a bit out of our reach (we want to buy a modest size home without having to overbid $100k) and b) we want to live in an area where the PUBLIC schools are decent.

Of course, we want to find an area that has the wonderful qualities/diversity the Bay Area has to offer: the racial and ethnic diversity (we are a bi-racial couple and it goes without saying that acceptance of this - and our bi-racial child- is probably the MOST important deciding factor in where we would move to), the sense of community (I actually grew up in small town MA until I was a teen and remember how hard it was to be a newcomer to New England- it takes a long while to be accepted), the wonderful, organic, high quality grocery stores (like Berk Bowl, Andronicos and Whole Foods) and restaurants (where I was from in MA - burritos were consider exotic and hard to find!), (also: is it possible to be a vegetarian back east?), the educated and liberal attitudes and general feel that we, here in the Bay Area live outside of the mainstream.

Any input on what it would be like moving to small town New England after living 10+ years in the Bay Area would be appreciated! Thanks Anonymous and reluctantly undecided

Hi, I grew up and went to college back east. Try looking in college towns. For example, Northhampton MA has several colleges in or nearby (Smith, UMass, Amherst) has a very liberal feel to it, lots of bookstores and organic food and cooperative farms. Maine is probably a bit harder, but check around Bowdoin College. cheers anon

Gosh, no, there aren't any vegetarian on the East Coast, you can't get burritos, and people aren't progressive. And you can't get New York Style Pizza , Maine Lobster and there aren't any seasons in California. I went to school in Ithaca, NY, on the East Coast and it was in fact MUCH more progressive and vegi-friendly than San Francisco. There were lots of cultural opportunities, not as many as in SF, but then again it's a much smaller city than SF. You can buy a house for a lot less, but you can't get a job that pays as well, and the taxes are higher and you pay for heating oil. All life is a trade-off, so you make decisions based on your particular circumstances. East Bay Mom

to the ''anonymous and reluctant'' bi-racial family thinking of moving to New England ... I don't know much about New England, but have you considered Denver? It is a pretty diverse city, with good job opportunities and decent public schools. They have some sort of local initiative that when the budget has to be trimmed, schools are EXEMPT from being cut; but whenever there is a surplus, public schools get 1% of the surplus. So their schools are in good shape. Also, they are building new, and affordable, housing at the site of the old Stapleton airport (see URL).

I grew up in Denver, so if you want to ''talk'' more, you can write to me directly. -- Mary Carol

I have lived in the Boston area for the last five years. In that time, I have heard a lot of positive buzz about living in Portland, ME, from people who have lived in New England for a long time. I've also visited it a couple of times and walked around and enjoyed some of its dining establishments. As you know, it will probably feel smaller and more quaint than what you're used to on the west coast, but relative to other New England towns, it has a lot going on. There are a number of interesting as well as upscale restaurants. And, yes, vegetarians are thriving there. One of its most famous restaurants has been called ''the Chez Panisse of the east coast.'' There is also a neat market hall (similar to the one on College Ave. near Oliveto) that you can walk through and find a variety of food stuffs to eat on the spot or take home. Portland is also pretty accessible to Boston (1.5 hours), so you will have good access to bigger city life if you want it. I have heard people draw parallels between Boston and San Francisco--a city that's close to the water, mountains, skiing,islands. The biggest adjustment for me and my husband, coming from NYC and Chicago respectively, was cultural. People were generally more reserved and take longer to warm up to others. But over the years, the friendships we made were deep ones--Ones we will miss a lot now that we've moved out here to the Bay Area! I meant to post last month but had to take care of my own relocation from Cambridge, MA, to Oakland, CA! Shirley