Maine retirees themselves are building the institutions that attract others to the state.By Jeff Clark
When Bland Banwell and her husband, John, were considering retirement locations after spending their working lives in the United States, England, Africa, and India, they chose Belfast. One of the major attractions was the Camden Conference, the annual foreign affairs symposium founded in 1988 by a group of retired Foreign Service officers who had settled in midcoast Maine. The conference was, she says, exactly the sort of amenity that two world travelers would seek in retirement, and the irony of its origins among other retirees wasn't lost on them.
Today Bland Banwell, now widowed, serves as president of the Camden Conference's board of directors, itself dominated by a large and active majority of retirees. Reading the brief biographies of those members at the conference Web site turns into a laundry list of involvement in other agencies and activities, from college trustees to museum boards to local zoning panels. Retirees also dominate the ranks of docents who volunteer at historic organizations such as Portland's Victoria Mansion. They energize philanthropic organizations and choral art societies. They provide the expertise and enthusiasm for organizations ranging from the Portland Symphony Orchestra to the University of Maine Board of Visitors.
It's an exercise in circular reinforcement. Retirees in Maine are helping to create the cultural quality of life and volunteer opportunities that are attracting more retirees to Maine and persuading retired Mainers to stay rather than make the traditional move down south. " `Retiree' isn't really the word you want to use anymore," observes Rebecca Welsh, a member of the Maine Arts Commission. "They're too busy to be retired. Older activists are playing a very significant role in the arts in Maine."
Welsh, of Rumford, has spent her working career inside Maine's arts community, working for organizations such as PCA Great Performances in Portland. Now, as she and her husband, John, chief executive officer at Rumford Hospital, approach retirement themselves, they're talking about "transitioning into becoming professional board members" and joining the retirees they have worked with for so long. "I think retirees have always been an important and active part of the nonprofit scene in Maine," she notes. "As Maine attracts more of that demographic, they'll play even larger roles."
If you peel back the surface of just about any cultural or charitable organization in Maine, you'll find a lot of people from away who moved here in retirement," says Robert Wolterstorff, director of the Victoria Mansion. "Retirees are having a huge impact on us in multiple ways, and they're drawing other retirees [to Maine] in the process."
Of the seventy or so active volunteers at the mansion, "I would say 70 to 80 percent are retired," says Tracy Quimby, the mansion's director of education. Wolterstorff says that retirees also make up the vast bulk of the fifty to seventy people who each year go through the Portland History Docents program, which trains docents for five historic sites and organizations in the Forest City. Of them, he estimates half have recently moved to Maine from outside the state.
Retirees also make up half the mansion's board of directors. "When I first came here seven years ago, the acting director was a board member who had been a career banker in New York City," Wolterstorff recalls. "He could have lived anywhere, did research throughout the world, and discovered that coastal Maine wasn't substantially colder than Long Island, so he moved here."
There's a third and perhaps surprising category of retiree having a major impact on Victoria Mansion. "Until a few yeas ago, summer was our busy season," Wolterstorff explains. "But now September and October are our biggest tourist season, and that's definitely tied to retirees traveling here on vacation and visiting from the cruise ships that are visiting Portland so frequently now. The cruise ship business is having an enormous financial impact on us."
John Wilcox, of Falmouth, retired eight years ago from a career as an electrical engineer. Today's he's still working up to forty hours a week as a volunteer for at least five different organizations, from a group helping a hospital in Haiti - "I just spent a week down there helping with their power and water supply situation" - to the Choral Arts Society, which he helped found in 1970.
"That's the new secret to life - never sit down, stay on the go, keep your brain busy," he declares. "I think it's a great thing that's happening, all those people volunteering to keep busy after they retire."
Donna McNeil, director of the Maine Arts Commission, notes that retirees have revitalized cultural efforts throughout Maine. "A member of the commission, Hugh French, retired to Eastport from Annapolis, Maryland, and he's been responsible for spearheading all sorts of cultural events and organizations in Down East Maine," she explains. "And it's making Eastport more attractive to other retirees."
If there is a downside to the influence of retirees in Maine's cultural life, it's the possibility that they will come to dominate, rather than simply enhance, the arts and other organizations. "Their view of the arts and culture may not always support emerging artists or artistic efforts, especially the use of technology," muses McNeil. "But it's exciting for elders to enter a conversation with young people. If we foster that conversation it benefits both sides. Art is a vehicle that transcends everyone."
"You see a little bit of the people who want to bring in big-city ideas, add some glitz and glam," adds Wolterstorff. "The wonderful thing is, they push the envelope and make us view things in a different way."
There's a totally different attitude toward retirement now than you saw twenty years ago," adds Banwell. "People are thrilled that even though we're living in a small community - often after many years of living in some of the most sophisticated cities in the world - we're still connected through cultural events and lots of opportunities for interaction."
The Camden Conference itself continues to grow. In its early years it barely drew enough people to fill the Camden Opera House. This year the conference, which will explore Religion as a Force in World Affairs (February 22 - 24, visit www.camdenconference.org
for more information), will still be based in the opera house, but will use streaming video of the lectures and presentations to connect with three offsite venues in Belfast, Rockland, and Portland. In addition, the conference has spun off a stand-alone annual energy conference and a year-round schedule of panel discussions and lectures in venues across Maine. "It's impossible to say that something like that doesn't attract people to Maine," Banwell says.
With just a single employee, the Camden Conference relies on its volunteers, adds Judy Stein, the conference's previous president. The Belfast resident moved to Maine full time in the early 1990s with her husband, Michael, after a career on Wall Street and Yale University. "It's a working board of directors. You have a whole lot of previously very highly paid people doing the same thing they used to do, but now they're doing it for free," she says with a laugh. "I would joke that I don't even have a secretary anymore."
Stein now serves on the advisory board of the Hutchinson Center in Belfast [Down East, October 2006], a satellite campus for the University of Maine and the site of the second-largest Senior College in the state. "We don't have the membership that Portland does," Stein notes, "but then we don't have its population, either. But here is this education program going year-round with courses and cultural events aimed specifically at retirees.
"I think people do choose to retire here because of the Camden Conference and the Senior College, the bookstores and the harbor," she continues. "The Camden Conference has certainly drawn people to attend or to participate who ended up settling here because there is so much going on in the area of foreign and public affairs. It's our belief as we talk to people that the Hutchinson Center has made a big difference because it adds to the intellectual life of the area."
The trends will likely continue. "As the boomer generation approaches that retirement milestone, we certainly are not interested in the traditional retirement of the past," says Rebecca Welsh. "We're looking to get involved, and Maine offers a lot of opportunities to do that."Ars Gratia Artis
Most people who move to Maine are surprised at how many cultural events are going on across the state, even during the dead of winter. This sampling of the many exhibits currently on display should be enough to keep the most dedicated culturati wide-eyed until the crocuses are in bloom.
Bates Museum of Art
Taking Different Trails: The Artists' Journey to Katahdin Lake. This exhibition features the work of twenty contemporary artists and their views of and from Katahdin Lake in Township 3, Range 8. All of the participating artists are part of the Katahdin Lake Campaign that helped conserve the pristine Katahdin Lake area, a view that has inspired generations of artists. Free. 75 Russell St., Lewiston. 207-786-6158. www.bates.edu/museum.xml
Center for Maine Contemporary Art
Frances Hodsdon and Friends. Hodsdon has been a highly admired teacher and printmaker ever since she moved to Maine in the 1970s. Frances Hodsdon and Friends will honor Hodsdon's influence on printmaking by combining her work with that of ten of her artist friends: Anne Ayvaliotis, Leonard Craig, Nancy Freeman, Allison Hildreth, Dahlov Ipcar, Fred Kellogg, Bill Martin, Natasha Mayers, Martha Oatway, and John Wissemann. Through Feb. 23. n Michael Waterman. Waterman has been immersed in art from an early age as the son of Portland artist Alfred Waterman and his paintings have a sense of timelessness in style and subject matter that has no parallel. Through March 15.
n Benjamin Rush: Wrestling with the Angel. Emerging photographer Benjamin Rush has been exploring the less attractive side of urban America. While these images may appear documentary in character, Rush's work is really about the struggle of discovery and of knowing a place. Through March 15. n Portals: Art and Spirit. This exhibition features nineteen artists who openly address spirituality in their work, which represents a spectrum of attitudes, both sincere and searching. Through March 22. $5. 162 Russell Ave., Rockport. 207-236-2875. www.artsmaine.org
Colby College Museum of Art
Currents4: Amy Stacey Curtis. The fourth installment of the museum's annual emerging-artist exhibition presents work by Maine-based installation artist Amy Stacey Curtis. Curtis, who has been working in abandoned industrial sites throughout the state for the past seven years, creates interactive displays that examine our interconnectedness through themes of chaos, order, and repetition. Through April 13. n Highlights from the Lunder Collection. Selections from Peter and Paula Lunder's promised gift of more than five hundred works of art are on view in the museum's galleries. Works on exhibit include American painter John La Farge's hauntingly beautiful canvas Agathon to Erosanthe from 1861, Alex Katz's 1974 painting Canoe, a collection of rare and beautiful etchings and lithographs by James McNeill Whistler, the ideal figure Undine by Joseph Mozier, sculptures by Elie Nadelman, Paul Manship, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Donald Judd, and Jenny Holzer, as well as important examples of early Chinese ceramic art. Through June 15. Free. 5600 Mayflower Hill Dr., Waterville. 207-872-3228. www.colby.edu/museum
Farnsworth Art Museum & Wyeth Center
A Gathering of Contemporary Glass: Artists from Haystack and Pilchuck. This exhibition of contemporary glass includes works created by artists who studied or taught at either Haystack or Pilchuck. Artists include Dale Chihuly, James Carpenter, Eric Hopkins, Howard Ben, Jr., Sonja Blomdahl, Dante Marioni, Richard Marquis, and Lino Tagliapietra, among others. Through Feb. 17. n Kosti Ruohomaa Photographs. This exhibition features the black and white photography of Kosti Ruohomaa. When Ruohomaa died in 1961, he left behind a large body of work, much of it published in Life, Time, National Geographic, and Down East, as well as other publications and books. His pieces form a panorama of American life from Maine town meetings to the Rose Bowl, Maine fishermen, Ozark farmers, Native Americans, and portraits of artists such as Thomas Hart Benton, Andrew Wyeth, and Andrew Winter. Through March 9. $8-$10. 16 Museum St., Rockland. 207-596-6457. www.farnsworthmuseum.org
Maine College of Art
Winter Exhibition Series. Three exhibitions that explore time through historical, spiritual, and physical lenses. In the William Sloane-Jelin Gallery, Lisa Young's "Transcendence and Temporality"; In the Evans Hunt Gallery, "Revisioning Portland" by Mark Klett and MECA BFA photography students; and in the Lunder Gallery, Arthur Ganson. Jan. 25 - March 16. n Linear Perspectives. Organized by Bruce Brown, curator emeritus for the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, this show presents paintings, works on paper, and three-dimensional objects in which the use of line is predominant. Participating artists include: Alan Bray, Siri Beckman, Sam Cady, Diana Cherbuliez, Kendra Ferguson, Anna Hepler, Cassie Jones, Ted LaFage, Nicholas Lamia, Daniel Minter, Joseph Nicoletti, George Pearlman, Danica Phelps, Benjamin Potter, Robert Solotaire, Michael Winkler, and John Wissemann. Feb. 1 - 29. Free. 97 Spring St., Portland. 207-775-3052. www.meca.edu
Portland Museum of Art
Lola Alvarez Bravo. Bravo (1903-1993) is widely recognized as Mexico's first woman photographer. A pioneering figure in the rise of modernist photography in Mexico, she was a profound humanist who used the camera to chronicle the people and places of her beloved country over a remarkable six-decade career. Through March 16. n Brunswick artist John Bisbee must buy bandages by the case, since getting pricked is all in a day's work when you fashion sculptures from nails, brads, and spikes. This winter the museum presents Bright Common Spikes: The Sculpture of John Bisbee, an exhibit of his metallic creations including a video diary that demonstrates the frenetic and, at times, very comical realities of an artist's life. Jan. 24 - March 23. n New Natural History. The twenty-five works selected for this exhibition are inspired by science. From Mary Hart's representations of the natural world in exacting detail to Lauren Fensterstock's works made from butterfly wings to photographers Gary Green and Tom Birtswistle's ironic eye toward the traditional form of natural history. Feb. 23 - May 11. $4-$10, and free Fridays 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. 7 Congress Square, Portland. 207-775-6148. www.portlandmuseum.org
The University of Maine Museum of Art
A Legacy of Collecting: The Vincent A. Hartgen Years, 1946-1982. Vincent Hartgen arrived at the University of Maine in 1946 as the founding member of the Department of Art as well as the Museum of Art (then known as the Art Collection). Today's museum acquired 3,900 works of art in Hartgen's thirty-six years as director. The museum's collection includes work by Giovanni Battista Piranesi, the Wing Sisters (Adeline and Caroline), Rockwell Kent, Andrew Wyeth, Edward Hopper, Marsden Hartley, and Winslow Homer. Through April 5. Norumbega Hall, 40 Harlow St., Bangor. 207-561-3350. www.umma.umaine.edu
University of New England Art Museum
Photographs of Abelardo Morrell. This retrospective of Cuban-born photographer Abelardo Morell includes works from his early oeuvre, as well as selections from his book project, camera obscura, time and motion, and children's toys. Through Jan. 27. Free. 716 Stevens Ave., Portland. 207-221-4499. www.une.edu/artgallery
Journeys West: The David and Peggy Rockefeller American Indian Art Collection. This exhibition features Pueblo paintings, Navajo blankets and silverwork, embroidered Dakota leatherwork, Nez Perce weavings, basketry from several tribes, and Hopi and San Ildefonso Pueblo pottery. Important Native American artists represented in the exhibition include ceramist Maria Martinez, sculptor John Louis Clarke, and painter Tonita PeA±a, as well as works by painters in the Taos Society of Artists, Joseph Henry Sharp and E. Irving Couse. Through June 15. $2-$6. 26 Mount Desert St., Bar Harbor. 207-288-3519. www.abbemuseum.org
Maine Maritime Museum
Legacy of Ships: 400 Years of Shipbuilding in Maine. This exhibit tells the story, starting with the 1607 Virginia, of shipbuilding and boatbuilding in the state that built more wooden vessels than any other. Through May 4. $7-$10. 243 Washington St., Bath. 207-443-1316. www.mainemaritimemuseum.org
Maine State Museum
Cabinet of Curiosities: The Museum, Science Collections, and You. This exhibit, curated by the museum's co-chief scientists Paula Work and David Work, shows the many facets of the museum's science collections, including animal mounts, unique rocks, study skins, mineral specimens, and mushrooms. Part of the exhibit includes the locked antlers and heads of two bull moose found in 1938 near Second Roach Pond, and moon rocks collected by Apollo 11 astronauts during the first manned moon landing in 1969. Through April 2009. $1-$2. 230 State St., Augusta. 207-287-2301. www.state.me.us/museum Still Maine
Change is coming to the Pine Tree State - and that's both a curse and an opportunity, according to a new report.By Joshua F. Moore
You don't have to be a policy wonk to see that Maine is changing - but it sure doesn't hurt. Which is why when the Brookings Institution paid a visit to the Pine Tree State and held a series of round-table discussions they documented some things that many Mainers might only have guessed. The pace of change we're witnessing these days is far more rapid than anything our parents might have seen, and there's little doubt that the country's northeasternmost state has reached a critical juncture in charting its future. "After decades of industrial restructuring and drift, the pace of transformation is quickening, and the slow replacement of the old order is yielding a new one that may bring better lives for Mainers," the report says. "New population growth is bringing new people and new wealth to the state."
But that's not the half of it. While Maine's population virtually stopped growing in the 1990s, since 2000 the state's annualized growth rate has nearly doubled, catapulting from a dismal forty-sixth place to twenty-sixth. Every county in Maine witnessed net gains of people moving here from away between 2000 and 2004. If nothing else, the Brookings report shattered the idea that Maine's population is a number frozen immobile like a leaf in a February pond.
Perhaps even more interesting, and in many ways alarming, were the details that the report shared about exactly where these new Mainers were moving to. Just 23 percent of Maine's growth in the new millennium has been in regional hubs, with the vast majority taking place in surrounding towns, newer communities, and even in the once-vacant rural countryside. This "suburbanization" of the state - between 1980 and 2000, some 1,300 square miles, or a chunk of land the size of Rhode Island, was altered by the influx of new residents - poses the greatest threat to the Maine way of life, the report declares.
"Widespread suburbanization and sprawl are driving up costs and may well be damaging the state's top calling card - its scenic beauty, the feel of its towns, its quality of place."
Not all change is bad, of course, and the report emphasizes that many downtowns decimated by the decline in the timber and paper industries have been revitalized by new people moving in. "Population growth is in some cases restoring life to towns and regional centers that have been sagging for decades," the report says. These success stories should serve as the model for smart growth in Maine, as every new home in the countryside carries with it hidden costs, from the need for new schools - more than a dozen were built within the past decade, at a cost of $200 million - to greater demands on road crews and emergency services. Unfortunately, many existing building codes in Maine cities and towns are so stringent that they discourage new residents from converting a third-floor office space into a residence or finding a new use for a falling-down warehouse. "Maine's crazy-quilt of differing local and state building-code regimes, the orientation of most codes toward new construction, and the variable quality of code interpretation virtually guarantee that most development veers away from the state's traditional centers," the report says.
The Brookings report, though hardly perfect in its assessment of Maine's situation, differs from some policy papers by offering a variety of prescriptions for guiding the state through the changes ahead. Investment, in the form of a $190 million "Quality Places Fund" and a $200 million "Innovation Jobs Fund" could help preserve our prized landscape and foster the types of businesses that can support the next generation of Mainers, though coming by the money in today's economy is admittedly a challenge. Reorganization plans for school districts - a hot-button topic that the legislature has since passed, though recall petitions are in the works - could reduce education costs, thus lowering the property tax burden. In addition, taxes could be lowered for Mainers by raising the sales and lodging tax and by lowering the top income-tax rate.
The most important prescription the report offers, though, may be its guidance for future development: improve and support the state's new model building and rehabilitation codes, create and disseminate a new model zoning ordinance that enhances the value of downtowns and deters "suburbanization" of the countryside, and foster more regional planning so that each town is not going it alone. These types of proposals are sometimes the most difficult for our fiercely independent communities to accept, but they are perhaps the most important for them to consider if, as the report urges, Maine people are to "achieve a good measure of what they so earnestly desire."
BY THE NUMBERS
20 Number of places Maine moved up in its population growth rank since 2000.
5 Maine's rank on the rate of per-capita net domestic in-migration since 2000.
869,000 Number of acres converted from rural to suburban use between 1980 and 2000.
2 Maine's rank among states on the loss in share of rural land in the 1990s.
32,000 Net number of people who moved to Maine from out-of-state between 1999 and 2004. More than half came from Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
$13,000 Difference in average annual wages between higher-paying business services jobs and the average Maine wage.
7 Maine's rank on K-12 expenditure as a share of total personal income.
9 Maine's rank in administrator-teacher ratio.Get Away with the Grandkids
Greater Portland is the perfect place to while away a winter's day with your favorite youngsters.By JOSHUA F. MOORE
If you move to Maine, there's one thing you can almost certainly count on: guests. Friends and relatives that you never even knew existed will start booking a spot in your guest room almost as soon as your lease is signed, but if some of your visitors happen to be half-pints, then head to Maine's largest city for a day or weekend of youthful frolicking.FOOD
The way to a happy child is through his stomach, and if you're not up for a trip to the golden arches drop by O'Natural's
(83 Exchange St., Portland, 207-321-2050, www.onaturals.com
) for a grilled cheese flatbread instead of a Big Mac. For dinner, you might enjoy a cold beer from the taps arrayed at Ricetta's
(29 Western Ave., South Portland, 207-775-7400, www.ricettas.com
) while the young ones will be transfixed by the wood-fired brick ovens that also produce some tasty pepperoni pies. You and your young sleuths will need to put on your detective caps to find Silly's
(40 Washington Ave., Portland, 207-772-0360, www.sillys.com
), but this little hole-in-the-wall on Munjoy Hill will keep your tots satisfied, whether they choose the scrumptious milkshakes or the Kids Tubes.ACTIVITIES
You can't have lived in Maine for very long if you haven't heard of the Children's Museum of Maine
(142 Free St., Portland, 207-828-1234, www.kitetails.com
), a three-floor bonanza of miniature delights (what boy doesn't want to get behind the wheel of a fire truck?). And here's a hint: a few grownups have been known to pop into the Portland Museum of Art
next door while their significant other minds the children. If your young charge decides the museum's panoramic camera obscura doesn't let him see far enough, head over to the Southworth Planetarium
(96 Falmouth St., 207-780-4249, www.usm.maine.edu/~planet
), where you'll all learn the difference between a supernova and a black hole. If you're really looking to tire out the tykes, buy a couple of passes to the Family Ice Center
(20 Hat Trick Drive, Falmouth, 207-781-4200, www.familyice.org
) and see if you can remember some tricks from your hockey or figure-skating days. And since every little boy loves trains, roll by the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Company and Museum
(58 Fore St., Portland, 207-828-0814, www.mngrr.org
), where starting in mid-February you can hop a ride every hour.SHOPS
Want to show the children that letters can be used for more than instant-messaging on their cell phone? Drop by Curious City
(118 Emery St., Portland, 207-699-2755, www.curiouscity.net
), "where kids and books meet" and young people can develop a wonder for words. If you dare to carry your role as teacher even further, the Apple Bee Company
(370 Fore St., Portland, 207-772-8940, www.applebeecompany.com
) can provide flashcards, workbooks, and educational placemats covering everything from Clifford the Big Red Dog to the old lady whispering "hush." When you and the kids have had enough of such soul-enriching spots, enrich their need for sweets with some apple pie fudge from the Old Port Candy Company
(422 Fore St., Portland, 207-772-0600, www.oldportcandyco.com
). What could be more blissful than a kid in a candy shop?RETIRING IN MAINEA Special Guide by the Editors of Down EastThe Hospitals of Maine
If you're thinking about retiring to Maine, you can be fairly well assured of finding top-notch medical care wherever you settle. In addition to the major medical centers of Portland, Lewiston, and Bangor, dozens of excellent smaller facilities dot the state.Augusta
MaineGeneral Medical Center
6 East Chestnut St., Augusta, ME 04330, 207-626-1000, 287 acute care beds, www.mainegeneral.org Bangor
268 Stillwater Ave., Bangor,
ME 04402-0422, 207-973-6100,
100 acute care beds,http://acadiahospital.org
Eastern Maine Medical Center
489 State St., P.O. Box 404, Bangor,
411 acute care beds,
St. Joseph Hospital
360 Broadway, Bangor, ME 04401,
82 acute care beds,
Mount Desert Island Hospital
10 Wayman Lane, P.O. Box 8, Bar Harbor, ME 04609-0008,
25 acute care beds, 207-288-5081,
Waldo County General Hospital
118 Northport Ave., P.O. Box 287, Belfast, ME 04915, 207-338-2500,
25 acute care beds,
Blue Hill Memorial Hospital
Water St., Blue Hill, ME 04614,
25 acute care beds,
Southern Maine Medical Center
1 Medical Center Drive, Biddeford, ME 04005, 207-283-7000,
150 acute care beds,
St. Andrews Hospital
6 St. Andrews Drive, Boothbay Harbor, ME 04538, 207-633-2121,
20 acute care beds, www.standrewshealthcare.org
10 Hospital Drive (off South High St.), Bridgton, ME 04009,
16 acute care beds, www.bridgtonhospital.org Brunswick
Mid Coast Hospital
123 Medical Center Drive, Brunswick,
ME 04011, 207-729-0181,
73 acute care beds, www.midcoasthealth.com
Parkview Adventist Medical Center
329 Maine St., Brunswick,
ME 04011, 207-373-2000,
55 acute care beds,
Calais Regional Hospital
22 Hospital Lane, Calais, ME 04619, 207-454-7521,
25 acute care beds,
Cary Medical Center
163 Van Buren Rd., Caribou, ME 04736, 207-498-3111,
23 acute care beds,
Miles Memorial Hospital
35 Miles St., Damariscotta, ME 04543, 207-563-1234,
35 acute care beds,
Mayo Regional Hospital
897 West Main St., Dover-Foxcroft, ME 04426, 207-564-4342,
25 acute care beds,
Maine Coast Memorial Hospital
50 Union St., Ellsworth, ME 04605,
64 acute care beds, www.mcmhospital.org Farmington
Franklin Memorial Hospital
111 Franklin Health Commons, Farmington, ME 04938,
70 acute care beds,
Northern Maine Medical Center
194 East Main St., Fort Kent,
ME 04743, 207-834-3155,
48 acute care beds,
C.A. Dean Memorial Hospital
364 Pritham Ave., Greenville,
ME 04441, 207-695-5200,
14 acute care beds,
Houlton Regional Hospital
20 Hartford St., Houlton,
ME 04730, 207-532-2900,
25 acute care beds, www.houlton.net/hrh Lewiston
Central Maine Medical Center
300 Main St., Lewiston,
ME 04240, 207-795-0111,
250 acute care beds,
St. Mary's Regional Medical Center
Campus Ave., P.O. Box 291, Lewiston,
233 acute care beds,
Penobscot Valley Hospital
7 Transalpine Rd., P.O. Box 368, Lincoln, ME 04457, 207-794-3321,
25 acute care beds,
Down East Community Hospital
RR 1, Box 11, Machias, ME 04654,
25 acute care beds,
Millinocket Regional Hospital
200 Somerset St., Millinocket,
ME 04462, 207-723-5161,
15 acute care beds,
Stephens Memorial Hospital
181 Main St., Norway,
ME 04268, 207-743-5933,
50 acute care beds,
Sebasticook Valley Hospital
447 North Main St., Pittsfield,
ME 04967, 207-487-5141,
25 critical access beds,http://sebasticookhospital.org Portland
New England Rehabilitation Hospital
335 Brighton Ave., Unit 201, Portland,
ME 04102, 207-775-4000,
100 acute rehab care beds, www.mmc.org/mmc_services/rehabnewenglandrehab.htm
Maine Medical Center
22 Bramhall St., Portland, ME 04102, 207-871-0111,
605 acute care beds,
144 State St., Portland,
ME 04101, 207-879-3000,
200 acute care beds, www.mercyhospital.com Presque Isle
Aroostook Medical Center
140 Academy St., Presque Isle, ME 04769, 207-768-4000,
105 acute care beds, www.tamc.org Rockport
Penobscot Bay Medical Center
6 Glen Cove Drive, Rockport,
109 acute care beds, www.nehealth.org/penbaymedicalcenter Rumford
Rumford Community Hospital
420 Franklin St., Rumford,
25 acute care beds, www.rumfordhospital.org Sanford
25 June St., Sanford, ME 04073, 207-324-4310,
55 acute care beds, www.goodallhosp.org Skowhegan
Redington-Fairview General Hospital
46 Fairview Ave., P.O. Box 468, Skowhegan, ME 04976,
25 acute care beds,
200 Kennedy Memorial Drive, Waterville, ME 04901, 207-861-3000,
45 acute care beds,
MaineGeneral Medical Center
(Seton and Thayer units), 149 North St., Waterville, ME 04901, 207-872-1000,
350 acute care beds,
40 Park Rd., Westbrook, ME 04092,
30 acute care beds, www.mercyhospital.com/affiliated/
Spring Harbor Hospital
123 Andover Rd., Westbrook, ME 04092, 207-761-2200,
100 acute care beds, www.springharbor.org York
15 Hospital Drive, York, ME 03909, 72 acute care beds,
Read All About It
Good newspapers capture the spirit of the communities they cover, often providing insights and information lacking in promotional brochures. Many also offer trial subscriptions with discounted rates.
274 Western Ave., Augusta, ME 04332. 207-623-3811. www.kjonline.com
BangorBangor Daily News
P.O. Box 1329, Bangor, ME 04402. 207-990-8000. www.bangornews.com
P.O. Box 627, Biddeford, ME 04005. 207-282-1535. www.journaltribune.com
BrunswickThe Times Record
P.O. Box 10, 6 Industry Rd., Brunswick, ME 04011. 207-729-3311. www.timesrecord.com
P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243. 207-784-5411. www.sunjournal.com
PortlandPortland Press Herald
390 Congress St., Portland, ME 04104. 207-791-6650. pressherald.mainetoday.com
WatervilleCentral Maine Morning Sentinel
31 Front St., Waterville, ME 04901. 207-873-3341. www.onlinesentinel.com
P.O. Box 2788, Augusta, ME 04338. 207-621-6000. www.courierpub.com
Bar HarborThe Bar Harbor Times
P.O. Box 68, Bar Harbor, ME 04609. 207-288-3311. www.courierpub.com Mount Desert Islander
P.O. 509, Bar Harbor, ME 04609. 207-288-0556. www.mdislander.com
P.O. Box 705, Bath, ME 04530. 207-443-6241. www.coastaljournal.com
P.O. Box 327, 71 High St., Belfast, ME 04915. 207-338-3333. www.courierpub.com The Waldo Independent
P.O. Box 228, Belfast, ME 04915. 207-338-5100. www.courierpub.com Village Soup Citizen
48-4 Marshall Wharf, Belfast, ME 04915. 207-338-0484. http://waldo.villagesoup.com
BethelThe Bethel Citizen
P.O. Box 109, Bethel, ME 04217. 207-824-2444. www.bethelcitizen.com
BiddefordBiddeford-Saco-Old Orchard Beach Courier
P.O. Box 1894, Biddeford, ME 04005. 207-282-4337. www.inthecourier.com
Blue HillThe Weekly Packet
P.O. Box 646, Blue Hill, ME 04614. 207-374-2341. www.weeklypacket.com
Boothbay HarborThe Boothbay Register
P.O. Box 357, Boothbay Harbor, ME 04538. 207-633-4620. boothbayregister.maine.com
BridgtonThe Bridgton News
P.O. Box 244, Bridgton, ME 04009. 207-647-2851.
P.O. Box 829, Bucksport, ME 04416. 207-469-6722.
CalaisThe Calais Advertiser
P.O. Box 660, Calais, ME 04619. 207-454-3561. www.the-calais-advertiser.com/index.html
CamdenThe Camden Herald
56 Elm St., Camden, ME 04843. 207-236-8511. www.courierpub.com The Village Soup Times
21 Elm St., Camden, ME 04843. 207-236-8468. camden.villagesoup.com
Cape ElizabethCape Courier
P.O. Box 6242, Cape Elizabeth,
ME 04107. 207-767-5023. www.capecourier.com
CaribouAroostook Republican & News
P.O. Box 608, Caribou, ME 04736.
P.O. Box 205, Water St., Castine, ME 04421. 207-326-9300. www.castinepatriot.com
CutlerThe Downeast Coastal Press
2413 Cutler Rd., Cutler, ME 04626. 207-259-7751.
DamariscottaLincoln County News
P.O. Box 36, Damariscotta, ME 04543. 207-563-3171. www.mainelincolncountynews.com
DexterThe Eastern Gazette
P.O. Box 306, Dexter, ME 04930. 207-924-7402.
P.O. Box 30, Dover-Foxcroft, ME 04426. 207-564-8355.
EastportThe Quoddy Tides
123 Water St., P.O. Box 213, Eastport, ME 04631. 207-853-4806. quoddytides.com
EllsworthThe Ellsworth American
P.O. Box 509, Ellsworth, ME 04605. 207-667-2576. www.ellsworthamerican.com
317 Foreside Rd., Falmouth, ME 04105. 207-781-3661. www.theforecaster.net
P.O. Box 750, Farmington, ME 04938. 207-778-2075.
P.O. Box 401, Gorham, ME 04038. 207-839-8390. www.gorhamtimes.com
GrayThe Gray News
P.O. Box 433, Gray, ME 04039. 207-657-2200. graynews.maine.com
P.O. Box 400, Greenville, ME 04441. 207-695-3077.
HoultonHoulton Pioneer Times
P.O. Box 456, Houlton, ME 04730. 207-532-2281.
IslesboroIslesboro Island News
P.O. Box 104, Islesboro, ME 04848. 207-734-6921. www.islesboronews.com
KennebunkYork County Coast Star
P.O. Box 979, Kennebunk, ME 04043. 207-985-2961. www.seacoastonline.com/
P.O. Box 616, Kingfield, ME 04947. 207-265-2773. news.mywebpal.com/ index.cfm?pnpid=282
P.O. Box 35, Lincoln, ME 04457.
Livermore FallsLivermore Falls Advertiser
P.O. Box B, Livermore Falls, ME 04254. 207-897-4321.
LubecThe Lubec Light
R.R. 2, Box 380, Lubec, ME 04652.
MachiasThe County Wide
P.O. Box 497, Machias, ME 04654. 207-753-0919.Machias Valley News Observer
P.O. Box 357, Machias, ME 04654. 207-255-6561.
MadawaskaSaint John Valley Times
P.O. Box 419, Madawaska, ME 04756. 207-728-3336.
202 Penobscot Ave., P.O. Box 330, Millinocket, ME 04462. 207-723-8118.
New GloucesterNew Gloucester News
P.O. Box 102, New Gloucester, ME 04260. 207-926-4036.
P.O. Box 269, Norway, ME 04268. 207-743-7011. www.advertiserdemocrat.com The Bear Facts
P.O. Box 718, Norway, ME 04268. 207-583-2851.
Old TownPenobscot Times
P.O. Box 568, Old Town, ME 04468. 207-827-4451.
PortlandMaine Sunday Telegram
390 Congress St., Portland, ME 04104. 207-791-6650. pressherald.mainetoday.com
Presque IsleThe Star-Herald
P.O. Box 510, Presque Isle, ME 04769. 207-768-5431.
P.O. Box 542, Rangeley, ME 04970. 207-864-3756.
RocklandThe Courier Gazette
P.O. Box 249, Rockland, ME 04841. 207-594-4401. www.courierpub.com The Free Press
6 Leland St., Rockland, ME 04841. 207-596-0055.
www.freepressonline.comThe Village Soup Times
235 South Main St., Rockland, ME 04841. 207-594-5351. rockland.villagesoup.com
RumfordRumford Falls Times
P.O. Box 490, Rumford, ME 04276. 207-364-7893. www.rumfordfallstimes.com
SanfordThe Sanford News
P.O. Box D, Sanford, ME 04073. 207-324-5986.
27 Gorham Rd., Suite 3, Scarborough, ME 04074. 207-883-3533.Leader
180 Main St., Biddeford, ME 04005.
South ChinaThe Town Line
P.O. Box 89, South China, ME 04358. 207-445-2234. www.townline.org
P.O. Box 36, Stonington, ME 04681. 207-367-2200. www.islandadvantages.com
WestbrookThe American Journal
4 Dana St., Westbrook, ME 04092.
WindhamThe Lake Region Surburban News
P.O. Box 790, Windham, ME 04062.
P.O. Box 429, Wiscasset, ME 04578. 207-882-6355. wiscassetnewspaper.maine.com
P.O. Box 6, York, ME 03909.
207-363-8484. www.yorkindependent.net The York Weekly
P.O. Box 7, York, ME 03909.
New Homes for New Lives
Adult communities are attracting empty nesters looking for luxury and convenience.
BY ELIZABETH POPE
Four years ago, Sally and Jim VonBenken of Sudbury, Massachusetts, toured Highland Green in Topsham, one of Maine's first communities designed specifically with active, older adults in mind. The sales agent drove them down the old logging roads that were being turned into trails in the development's Cathance River nature preserve. "The golf course wasn't the draw," says Sally VonBenken, a former education consultant and an avid hiker. "It was those miles of walking trails. The next day they had our down payment."
From Kittery to Moosehead Lake, builders are designing s [for the rest of this story, see the February 2008 issue of Down East]
mall communities for fifty-five-plus empty nesters looking for luxury amenities and minimal home maintenance in a condominium-style ownership arrangement. Most include clustered housing of multi-unit apartments, townhouses, and stand-alone cottages, often with a clubhouse, fitness center, and storage for kayaks, canoes, and bicycles. Highland Green, for example, offers on-site golf, tennis, swimming, and hiking. Other developments depend on a waterfront or wooded location for year-round outdoor activities.
Developers are capitalizing on the Maine "brand" of clean air, clean water, and pristine landscapes to draw seasonal and full-time buyers. Many of the new residents have a connection to the state, either as college alumni, summer camp owners, or regular vacationers. Most hail from New England and the upper East Coast - "within fifty miles of I-95 north of Washington, D.C., that's the caravan route into Maine," says John Wasileski, developer of Highland Green. No shuffleboard or bingo for them - they want proximity to museums, theaters, restaurants, sports, and airports.
Maine has the fifth-highest net in-migration - more people moving into the state than leaving - in the country, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and midlife and older adults are a large part of the reason. Since 2000, half of those newcomers have been from Massachusetts and New Hampshire, says developer John Pavan, of Northbridge Companies, a fact that influences both the design and pricing of his projects. Stroudwater Landing in Westbrook, the company's latest community, will have a Maine cottage theme in a wooded setting but be close to the Portland Jetport and priced to appeal to baby boomers with second homes.
Maine's real-estate prices remain a bargain compared to many parts of the country. Prices at Arrowhead Ridge in Vassalboro start at $209,000 for a 1,200-square-foot condo. "A fellow from Westchester, New York, was here the other day and told me he couldn't even buy a garage there for a quarter million dollars," says the developer, Mark Paine. Arrowhead Ridge's wooded location lured Waterville native Rita Chamberlain back from Florida. "I don't even play golf," she says, "but I wanted to be closer to my family, and they all play. Besides, I love looking out at the trees."
Southern and coastal Maine have long been magnets for newcomers. As the baby boom generation starts to prepare for retirement, those numbers are growing, says economist Charles Colgan, of the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School of Public Service. "The sheer scale of people moving into Maine has caught the attention of developers who are doing planned communities as opposed to single houses," says Colgan. "That's an important difference over the last decade."
These newcomers often have deep pockets, high energy, and a strong commitment to culture and community involvement, Colgan adds. "You wouldn't see the Camden Conference without them," he notes as an example. And as new residents build, renovate, furnish, and landscape new dwellings, they provide an economic boost to the state, says Laurie Lachance, director of Maine Development Foundation. "By Maine standards they tend to be affluent and cause a lot of quiet re-spending," she explains.
Some towns already see an uptick in their bottom lines from new active-adult communities. "The property valuation for Shepard's Cove is eight million dollars and climbing," says Jon Carter, town manager of Kittery. "Many of these folks volunteer in the town, and they don't put any pressure on the school system or the police department. The property is tucked away so we don't even know they're there."
On the downside, Carter adds, conflicts can develop within communities once the builders step back and homeowners associations take over management. "These are high-end people, and sometimes they work well together and sometimes they don't," he offers. Most disagreements involve minor matters like landscaping and scheduling meetings.
Affluent fifty-five-plus adults who pay high property taxes may be sensitive to what services their tax dollars pay for, adds Colgan. "There have already been contentious school budget battles in Windham, where many retirees from Sebago Lake reside," he points out.
Others disagree. "It's a myth that these people come in and vote down school budgets," counters Lachance. "They are well-educated themselves; they put a high value on the educational system and don't want to see it suffer."
If these new retirees become politically active, there's potential for conflict with local populations, says Colgan. "Sometimes people who come to Maine have a picture-postcard view of the state's perfection, and they don't want to see changes, like a Wal-Mart or new bottling plant," he explains.
Other potential trouble spots could arise from active-adult communities' restrictions on children under eighteen living there full-time, a federal housing regulation on officially designated fifty-five-plus communities. In other states, homeowners associations have filed lawsuits against grandparents who have taken in a grandchild and violated the ban. So far, that hasn't happened in Maine, and quiet, kid-free communities with brief visits from beloved grandchildren appeal to many active-adult residents. The limit is three weeks at Shepard's Cove, says Sandra Quinlan. "And when my daughter visits us from France with two-year-old twin boys, three weeks is plenty!" she adds with a laugh.
Maine's rapidly aging population - by 2025, one out of five Mainers, or 21 percent, will be over sixty-five - has caught the attention of town officials like Kittery's Jon Carter. "We already feel the demographic changes of the aging population," he says. "Down the road there will be a need for more senior transportation, Meals on Wheels, nursing visits, and other services for elders. We've got our eye on it."
Housing in Maine's newest active-adult developments is twice the size of older Sun Belt-style models, which were typically "cookie-cutter" units built on a slab, says Jane O'Connor, a housing specialist based in Hawley, Massachusetts. "The latest places are designed with a New England vernacular of gables, shingles, open porches, and basements," she explains. "Why would someone moving to Maine be interested in southwestern flair?"
Dean and Sandra Quinlan's duplex at Shepard's Cove at Spruce Creek, in Kittery, measures nearly four thousand square feet. "That's larger than most four-bedroom homes and bigger than our old condo," notes Dean Quinlan, a retired businessman from Middleton, Massachusetts. The Quinlans converted their basement into a combined activities room/guest room with a full bath, pool table, TV, and sofa beds for visiting grandchildren. They customized the kitchen with high-end appliances and granite counters to suit Sandy, a retired gourmet caterer. Every year, the Quinlans "lock and leave," spending a few months in Florida with no worries about plowing snow or frozen pipes. "After a couple of weeks [in Florida], we always say, `Wouldn't it be great to be home sitting on the deck and watching the sun set?' " says Dean Quinlan. "When the creek's frozen over, it's beautiful here even in winter."
The range of housing available extends well into the upper end of the market for residents who are leaving behind large mansions but don't want to skimp on space and upgrades like built-in cabinets, fireplaces, heated garages, and art walls to display antiques or artifacts from foreign travels, says housing specialist O'Connor. On their first trip to Maine, Californians Lee and Janine Hague fell for a well-appointed 12,000-square-foot, twenty-four-room house on fifteen acres, part of the newly-built Eagles Trace community in Acton.
"We were sick of hundred-degree temperatures and two seasons, hot and hotter," says Lee Hague, a retired software engineer. "My wife is Dutch, and she missed the four seasons. So we came for a visit and wound up buying a house."
Many fifty-five-plus residents like the Hagues still work or telecommute, and high-speed Internet access and cell phone capability are a must. " My wife is an eBay powerseller with online home decor stores in five countries, so we have cable," says Hague.
The Pine Tree State boasts no Leisure Worlds or Sun Cities, those vast gated communities in the Sun Belt featuring year-round golf and man-made lakes. "Land prices and housing stock are more expensive here, and anti-sprawl restrictions are stiffer," explains O'Connor. "And Mainers don't like the whiff of exclusivity that comes with a gate."
Instead of a gate or a fence, developers in Maine often use the state's natural topography, employing creeks or forests as a buffer or natural perimeter around a property. Highland Green took that a step further, putting almost one-third of the seven-hundred-acre development into permanent conservation as part of a land-use agreement between developer Wasileski and local environmentalists. That compromise turned into a marketing plus, attracting people like the VonBenkens.
Sprawl isn't an issue as long as active-adult communities are built within areas served by hospitals, stores, libraries, etc., says Lachance. "When well planned, these developments can be a wonderful green industry with no undue burden on the infrastructure," she notes.
"The environment was number one for us," says Sally VonBenken, a board member of the Cathance River Education Alliance, Highland Green's nonprofit aimed at using the watershed as an educational resource for students and teachers. VonBenken helps clear and maintain trails and leads school children on nature walks, pointing out the beaver lodge and porcupine den - "always a guaranteed crowd pleaser."
VonBenken's daily five-mile hikes, perhaps with a chance encounter with a fox or a buck, are a long way from suburban Boston's traffic congestion, big-box stores, and road rage. "The pace of life is slower here, and our neighbors are wonderful," she says, "Sometimes, we look at each other and wonder how we got so lucky."