Maine is a state of breathtakingly beautiful vistas: mountain ridges that reveal sparkling lakes below; glimpses through the pines of tranquil, rock-lined coves; acres of crimson blueberry fields, stark and austere. It's also a place where, just around the corner, you'll find a neglected trailer with a never-ending yard sale, a dilapidated barn ready to collapse in the next blizzard, or a working gravel pit. When you live here, you realize that conformity isn't what makes Maine special. Whether because of attitude or finances, things aren't "prettied up," and people hold their property rights and individuality close to their hearts. Sometimes out-of-staters look askance at what Laura Read calls "local flavor" and wonder whether any zoning laws apply.
"[House seekers] should keep in mind that most villages on the coast are still active fishing communities," says real estate broker Laura Read. "I live and work in Kennebunkport. This summer, I had a half-million dollar house on the market in Cape Porpoise. It was a pretty yellow Cape with four bedrooms and plenty of yard for kids to run around in. However, to get to it, you had to drive through a lobsterman's yard, full of traps and discarded rope and lumber and buoys and plastic buckets and recycling cars. It took me forever to find a buyer. Everyone loves to eat lobster and to see the boats in the harbor, but they don't want evidence of the trade in the backyard. I finally did get a buyer from New Jersey who liked the local flavor and they are happily settled in."
Excerpted from the second edition of Moving to Maine: The Essential Guide to Get You There and What You Need to Know to Stay
by Victoria Doudera, published by Down East (2007)