For the month of September (one of the best months in Maine), we had the good fortune of spending it living in a grand Victorian on the Eastern Promenade of Portland.
Displaced, between the sale of our home of 25 years (some emotion there) and our new build (i.e. retirement home – emotion there, too), a kind friend said she’d be “thrilled” to have us rent her coveted 2-bedroom overlooking Fort Gorges and Cutter Street which leads to East End Beach.
Offering us her “family & friends rate” made it possible.
The Prom is not what it once was forty years ago, back when we were at Portland High School and several of our friends lived in these grand dames as single-family homes. Size was needed because they had lots of kids. They were Italians. Catholics. Irish.
The majestic Eastern Promenade addresses are now over-run with building and upgrading into million-dollar condos. Our old friends have all moved outside the downtown.
I’ve known some to complain that all these prestigious properties are being bought up by “outsiders,” folks coming from New York or New Jersey…using these gems only for weekends.
That may be true.
But this is nothing new for me, so the blow isn’t more than a pinch.
I watched my Aunt + Uncle’s dreamy lake-front camp in Raymond, down a quaint dirt road of other patchwork camps, get bought up by “outsiders” from when I was a teenager. This isn’t a new phenomenon for Maine.
Frank and I had hoped to buy my Aunt’s camp on Crescent Lake one day, but as Mainers, we couldn’t swing the price. I’ve accepted that we should be thankful that outsiders are buying up these properties, fixing them up, thereby increasing the value of our properties, enjoying them, and bringing more folks to Maine. (If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.)
Yes, I wish we Mainers could buy these properties ourselves, but that’s a complicated political conversation about enticing businesses to Maine, paying good wages, having housing prices and property taxes that are reasonable. Suffice-to-say, it’s complicated, and my writing doesn’t attempt to solve political quagmires.
My writing is to show you the beauty of our state.
And hopefully always looking at the glass half full.
I hope to nudge you to escape all the “real-world” stuff, take a break, take a breath.
I’ve accepted that we don’t need to own it to “go inside and touch the drapes” as my father used to say to me.
Every Mainer is so blessed to have the opportunity to enjoy all that is available and free to us in this giant state, so much of it still wilderness.
Who gets to see the ocean everywhere they go? Me.
Who can zip up to Acadia National Park, with 3.5 million visitors coming from all over the world, but in later fall or spring or during the solitude of winter? We can. And to me, it’s more beautiful when it’s not overrun with people.
To me, everything is more beautiful when quieter, less busy.
On our last weekend on the Eastern Prom, at 5:45 a.m. on a Sunday morning, I listened, with eyes closed, as Frank stumbled around our rented bedroom looking for his Levis, his long lens, and his Champlain College sweatshirt since it was already down to 48 degrees at daybreak in Maine.
Without a word, I knew he was heading out to capture sunrise.
And let me share his pictures with you here.
They can’t be beat.
And this is where we, Portlanders, call home.
The colors were stunning across the bay, looking at island cottages, sailboats moored, Fort Gorges.
Good fortune indeed.
We Mainers are truly a blessed lot. Although Maine lacks certain amenities, it sure offers so much that is real, that is honest, that is calming.