All things Maine: how to relocate?
April 26, 2021 10:07 AM   Subscribe

I am moving to Maine to start a job in the fall. I am looking for tricks, tips, and advice.

I am moving all the turtlefus to the Waterville area and need to be there sometime mid to late August (but would be willing to move sooner.) I don't seem to be finding any Nextdoor communities or Facebook groups, so finding rentals seems really hard (As much as I would like to buy, we likely will not qualify for a mortgage until September/October.) I am looking for suggestions on how to get connected and how to find a rental. Without the social media groups, how might I find the best dentist, a hairdresser and all the things? Any general advice about Maine is appreciated.
posted by turtlefu to Grab Bag (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
While not monolith, citizens of Maine have earned their reputation for being socially very cold; it can take a very long time to make social inroads with both individuals and groups. This does not come across from folks as rudeness, but a matter fact observation that you are “from away,” an outsider, and will be dealt with as such for a long long time.

Even apartment hunting in Portland, Maine was difficult through normal internet resources. Word of mouth, contacting property management companies and driving around yielded far more results that using the Internet (this also applies to services like de trusted, doctors, all that).

It is a very beautiful, but very hard place to live. Having employment lined up helps, but by and large once you get north of Portland, it’s just a difficult place to operate.
posted by furnace.heart at 10:45 AM on April 26, 2021

Best answer: I think that for Maine, and many states where things are more spread out you need to look for regional groups. For instance, I just searched for Kennebec County, Maine, which is the county where Waterville is located, and that brought up a number of groups on Facebook, including an Maine Rental group. I also searched Colby College, and that also brought up a number of Facebook Groups including one called "Our City ~ WATERVILLE."
posted by momochan at 11:07 AM on April 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: citizens of Maine have earned their reputation for being socially very cold; it can take a very long time to make social inroads with both individuals and groups. This does not come across from folks as rudeness, but a matter fact observation that you are “from away,” an outsider, and will be dealt with as such for a long long time

Counterpoint: I am from away and have lived 1/2 hour south of Waterville for more than 25 years and this has not been my experience at all. Most people are very nice, and occasionally you meet jerks, which I'm pretty sure is true everywhere.

I am not very social media oriented, so when I need a plumber or a roofer or whatever, I ask my coworkers for recommendations. The Yellow Pages are also still a thing here, which is how I found my dentist, eye doctor, and lawn guy. One thing you might want to keep in mind -- there are still lots of people here who don't do email or text (or if they do, they don't really, as in you send an email and it'll never get answered), so if you're not used to making phone calls for stuff you may want to get in practice again! (On the other hand, my plow guy communicates ONLY by text.)

For housing, the last time I did rental housing was when way back when there were still lots of listings in the newspapers, so I can't be as helpful here. Craigslist does have rental listings, and they seem fairly legit. But lots of the area realtors also do property management, so I would call around and see if one or more of them can help you. Just as an example, these folks handed my sister's home purchase, and they were great. And if you're going to be buying soon, they'll have that much more incentive to help you with a rental.

Feel free to memail me with other questions! And welcome to Maine! I love it here!
posted by JanetLand at 11:47 AM on April 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

Mainers are New Englanders, so they have a reputation as stand-offish. My experience of moving to Portland almost 20 years ago was that folks are happy to meet you and not at all cold once you engage with them. There's a fair amount of walking fast and not smiling that goes on, but that's just surface-level. My neighbors don't drop by unannounced, but are happy to chat when we run into each other. And everyone offered to loan us tools and help with things if we ever needed an extra set of hands.

My main (ha) piece of advice is that winter lasts a while, so do your best to set yourself up to enjoy it. Not knowing where you're from, you may already have what you need, but layers, good jackets and snowpants, etc. are a must.

You should be able to lean on local organizations like the library for occasional events if you like that way of engaging with the community. Waterville has a community theater, which looks like it has programming planned for this summer and fall.

For doctors, dentists, hairdressers, etc. I would suggest leaning on your new/future colleagues. And you can always switch if you're not thrilled. Waterville is big enough to have plenty of services; I don't think you'll struggle to find options.

And get used to all your local service businesses being called Mainely Things. It's omnipresent.
posted by that's candlepin at 1:15 PM on April 26, 2021

If your job is at Colby, use their relocation resources and internal networks. If the job is not at Colby, contact them and see if they will share with you. As a college town, Waterville has more "new" people than most Maine towns. It should be easier to find a social circle than in most of Maine. BTW, "new" in Maine means your parents or in some places grandparents did not come from the town or a neighboring town.
posted by hworth at 6:30 PM on April 26, 2021

Every community of any size has a preferred vehicle for advertising stuff for sale, rooms to let, etc. Ask anyone running a business with a general clientele, like a newsagent.
posted by SemiSalt at 5:13 AM on April 27, 2021

I forgot yesterday to link to Uncle Henry's.
posted by JanetLand at 6:45 AM on April 27, 2021

I moved to Maine (Farmington, so smaller community than Waterville) 10 years ago (and back to Masschusetts 6 years ago, so some of this has probably changed.)

My then boss was up front about the fact that (at the time: I believe it's improved, but maybe not as much as you might hope) that if I wanted good Internet access, being close in to town was essential.

I went with an apartment rental agency for my first year there, and then found a private rental through a listing in the paper. Definitely look at the county-level groups, the local newspaper, and then once you get connections to local stuff, use that. My boss, who'd moved in about 8 years previously, was really up front with resources for what worked, but asking to be connected to someone at your new place of work who's moved in is a great idea, and people are pretty likely to help. People were very generous with recommendations and ideas whenever I asked.

And when movie theatres are a thing again, Railroad Square Cinema was fantastic.
posted by jenettsilver at 9:07 AM on April 27, 2021

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