This past spring I met and fell in love with a girl my age. We were married within the first two months. A hasty decision but for two people that had already experienced much in a short time in our lives we knew we were a match. Till this day neither of us has ill feelings of the decision. Because of these changes in our lives we wanted to make a home for ourselves that was truly our own and that could be safe for our children (we have 2, my wife is due for another in Dec.).
Many reasons affected our choice in choosing Maine as our home. My home state Massachusetts is ranked among the highest states in cost to live in the entire United States. Dubbed “Taxachusetts” due to the policies of former Governor and Presidential hopeful Michael Dukakis to raise every fundamental tax in the name of the Democratic party. Maine’s income tax is on par with Massachusetts but their general fees and license costs are much lower. My wife’s home state of New Hampshire, the most fiercely independent in the country has no taxes at all in sales or income. The downfall of New Hampshire is the burden of the money not generated by the taxes as Massachusetts and Maine. The economy is in a total downfall in New Hampshire. The area “Past The Notches”, a term referring to a region North of the White Mountains, is at a economic standstill. The town of Berlin has had a depression ever since its paper mill closed a few years ago.
To us Maine had the features of both of our home states, mountains, seacoast, woods. Of all the New England states none is as protected and serene as Maine. The storied history of Maine has many volumes. Once Maine was ranked as one of the largest ship building capitals in the world with Bath being one of the largest ports on the Eastern seaboard. The states timber production at one time was one of the leaders in the U.S. and still plays a vital role today. The Northern Aroostock County has a vast agricultural region which produces a variety of crops including potatoes and blueberries. The states motto “I Lead” shows the spirit of the Easternmost state, truly a leader in many ways. Maine was an obvious choice to me.
My wife being from New Hampshire is somewhat already adapted to the “North Country” of New England so it was easy to convince her. It meant being somewhat closer to her family and an environment that was very familiar to her. I had grown up and lived in Massachusetts almost my whole life but had traveled frequently through northern New Hampshire and parts of Maine. I had always been drawn in by their rich pine forests and mountainous regions. Thoreau’s Maine was always my idea of paradise and the gateway to my favorite area, the Canadian Maritimes. Maine’s size could fit most of southern New England in to it so I am never bored with running out of places to visit and explore. It has thousands of miles of untouched wilderness like a book waiting to be read.
I grew up in the woods on a lake. It can only be described as the best way to grow up. Countless afternoons I spent by the lakeside playing and exploring. It shaped the person I am today. The lake teaching me all about fish and water envirionments and the state forest that was in my town afforded me knowledge of hiking, camping and survival. I feel these traits are lost by a large majority of kids growing up in urban areas all over the country. My only hope is to give my children at least that in their lives and learn to love the environment around them. Maine is a land of contrasts and thus is a great learning tool, from the seashores of Down East Maine to Baxter State Park, home of Mt. Katahdin. Nothing quite compares to the unotouched by time old New England towns that it hold within it’s borders. I hope to instill in my family all of those things that are so elemental in life yet so many kids grow up without. That is why I choose Maine for our life. I chose it because Maine is a blank page to be written for me and my family that offers so much promise. Our family accepts the challenge and are looking forward to it, here we come.
Filed under: Maine, My Epic | Tagged: Acadian, Aroostock, Bath, Canada, childhood, Down East, environment, family values, forest, kids, Maritimes, moving, new hampshire, relocation, wilderness, woods, youth | Leave a Comment »