Moving to Maine?


Original Post
Willis K · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 40

Hey guys - I'm one of the growing hordes of CO natives moving out of the Front Range, and I'm thinking about moving to the Portland, Maine area. It seems like it has most of what I'm looking for - a thriving arts scene, a population of young people (I'm 23), climbing within reach, and a more laid-back atmosphere than a lot of East Coast cities. Things I'm worried about: that it's headed the same direction as Boulder/Denver (i.e. expensive and crowded), and that it's not very diverse.

I trust the climbing community a huge amount, so do you all (locals, visitors, anyone) have any thoughts on the area? Any advice, or reasons why I absolutely shouldn't go? Climbing or otherwise? The other place I'm considering is the Charlotte/Asheville area, in NC.

Thanks in advance.

john strand · · southern colo · Joined May 2008 · Points: 1,640

Weather is a biggy.

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 525

NE climate and the fact that the spectrum of climbing opportunities is nowhere close to the Front Range.

I'd advise a serious visit before committing to that change.

john strand · · southern colo · Joined May 2008 · Points: 1,640

I was in Asheville recently,the motto is BYOJ bring your own job. it's fun place but getting very popular. The weather sucks IMO

portland can be similar, it's expensive (not Boulder money..yet) and a bit limited . There's tone of cool climbing near portland but NH is better( a bit of a drive)

I would take a serious look at cash flow

jdejace · · New England · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 10
Willis K wrote: It seems like it has most of what I'm looking for - a thriving arts scene, a population of young people (I'm 23), climbing within reach, and a more laid-back atmosphere than a lot of East Coast cities.
Yes, absolutely.

Willis K wrote: Things I'm worried about: that it's headed the same direction as Boulder/Denver (i.e. expensive and crowded)


It'll be a while, but yeah the hipsters are here with their parents' money.

Willis K wrote:it's not very diverse.
No argument there. Not much different than Boulder though. Granted, Denver is closer than Boston would be.

If rock climbing is your life I don't think anyone would tell you to move to the East coast based on weather alone. No 300 days of sunshine here. Rainy weekends happen. The Northeast does have some gems when the weather is nice, and Portland has two brand new rock gyms.

Do you like ice climbing? Winter more than makes up for rock season to me. I have a 2-year contract in Portland and I'd stay here forever if I could. Small town on the ocean, nice people, great food, outdoor opportunities abound.
Nick Votto · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 320

Portland is awesome, arguably the best food scene on the east coast. Tons of water activities like kayaking, surfing, sailing, etc. It's not even remotely expensive as Boulder but also has a totally different style.

If you're willing to drive 2 hours to climb there's tons of stuff in that range, not much good stuff closer than 1.5 hrs though. Same goes for ice. I love Portland, but f climbing is your top priority I'd go for Asheville.

sclair · · SLC, Ut · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 30

I moved from Portland 3 years ago to a top secret location that people should never move to, though I'm sure that will happen.

I miss Maine terribly, but it is not the same as when I left. Do you know what's happening to Portland, OR? Because that's what's happening to Maine (and I bet a ton of other cities I have no information on).

The food is worth the move, to be honest. I miss the food dearly.

I love my distant climbing community, they are still my favorite partners/mentors/motivators. I loved the long days it took to climb, whether it was a short drive to North Conway or a long drive and nice hike to areas in Evans Notch.

Portland might be growing in a way that fits you, but from what I understand it is SUPER expensive lately. If you want to get in contact with Maine climbers and they don't see/reply to this post, shoot me a message.

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
rgold wrote:NE climate and the fact that the spectrum of climbing opportunities is nowhere close to the Front Range. I'd advise a serious visit before committing to that change.
+1
I was born and raised in NJ, learned to climb in the Gunks, moved to CT after college and spent 22 years there. The Gunks and the NE areas were my home crags. I moved to SLC 16 years ago. I can never, ever imagine living east of Denver ever again.
Sure, miss some things - don't miss a whole lot more (bugs, humidity, lots of crappy weather, sub-standard skiing most of the time, et al).
keithconn · · LI, NY · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 35

Marc. amen. Lived on the east coast my entire life and take adavantage. Surfing sailing climbing mtn biking etc... but nothing compares to the years my wife and I spent living in the west.

"Stay west young friend"

Tim Lau · · Hendersonville, NC · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 20

As said above, BYOJ is a definite must for Asheville unless you're ok a with Service industry work. You could look at Greenville, SC for employment as it's just 1hr from Asheville.

Willis K · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 40

Thank you for all of the replies. I really appreciate the insights.

I went to school in northwest MA, so I'm at least minimally used to the NE winters. I view that as a downside, but not necessarily a dealbreaker - I was climbing at Farley well into December one year. I'm hoping as long as there's a decent gym nearby that I'll be okay.

The cash-flow/expense/incoming-hipster problem is definitely a downside. I've looked into a couple of decent job options, but if the cost-of-living is too astronomical it might be a struggle.

I haven't yet tried ice climbing (mostly 'cause I can't afford fancy boots and tools yet) but I would love to learn!

And yes, I do have doubts about heading back east. Tucson and Ogden were also on my list, but somehow moving to Arizona or Utah doesn't seem quite right, based on my (limited) experiences there. And Boulder just doesn't quite feel like home anymore. That said, my love for the west is deep and undying, so if I found the right place I would certainly stay.

Thanks again for all the help. You all are the best.

J Magness · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 35

The cost of living in Maine doesn't even come close to that of the Denver Boulder magalopolis

JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 95

If I were thinking about moving east to escape the Boulder/Denver scene and cost of living, I'd look at Chattanooga. Great climbing, great community, up-and-coming city culture, and very low cost of living. The summers, though...

john strand · · southern colo · Joined May 2008 · Points: 1,640

Portland ain't cheap.

Joe M. · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2008 · Points: 9,580

Portland has great beer!

Bissell Brothers, Foundation, Allagash, Main Beer Co., etc...

Jayson Nissen · · Corvallis, OR · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 273

I recently moved from Maine to Oregon

The thing that I have most enjoyed about living in the west compared to the east is free camping. I found free camping in the east, but I had to work hard to find it, whereas out west free or cheap camping is the norm.

In Maine this meant that my limited funds kept me from making too many road trips to great climbing areas since I didn't want to end up dropping a hundred bucks on 3 or 4 nights of camping. I'm sure that the much higher price of gas just two-four years ago also had an impact.

I would definitely invest in ice climbing. I've climbed rock every month of the year in Maine, but not every year. There is lots of great ice within a day trip of Portland.

Russ Keane · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 140

Asheville has bad weather?

Hmm... I suppose the summers are hot. I live in Asheville now. I find the climate to be a wonderous journey through all four seasons but gentle and slowwwwwww in each season.... So mellow. It's really nice, you get about 9-10 months of temperate, comfortable weather. The forest/wilderness here is outstanding. And the amount of climbing within 2-3 hours is really high quality and diverse.

Peter Beal · · Boulder Colorado · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 1,740

I grew up in Maine and have lived in Boulder for 20+ years. I would definitely advise against living there if you are serious about climbing. Full stop. The weather is really not conducive to climbing (brutal winters), driving to decent crags is a pain (slow 35mph backroads, speed traps), and there is really not a lot of climbing that isn't in New Hampshire, meaning minimum 1-2 hour drives. Furthermore, Portland ME is poised to become a mini-Portland OR in the next 10 years with skyrocketing real estate prices, congestion, etc. If you have a toehold in the Front Range and are a serious climber, you will regret moving east, no question about it. Don't do it.

petzl logic · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 0

I like Maine. Lots of recreational opportunities, but they come at the expense of the climbing season. Ice is better than the front range, skiing will have a few very good days a year and there is more culture. No place is perfect except for salt lake, everyone should move there immediately. :)

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
Russ Keane wrote:Asheville has bad weather? Hmm... I suppose the summers are hot. I live in Asheville now. I find the climate to be a wonderous journey through all four seasons but gentle and slowwwwwww in each season.... So mellow. It's really nice, you get about 9-10 months of temperate, comfortable weather.
You're forgetting about the abysmal humidity in the East. Well, abysmal to those of us who moved away to where a damp day is 25% RH.
petzl logic · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 0

Asheville is pretty cool though with its "elevation". I don't think the average humidity would bother me even in July compared to much of the coast. And it certainly won't get as hot as Denver either.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Post a Reply

Log In to Reply