By Michael Donahoe
Full disclosure, I am not a native Mainer. I moved here as fast as I could, but no matter how long I stay, I will always be a foreigner to the true people of Maine. One thing about these residents is they place a lot of value on native status. There is an odd little analogy heard throughout the state that goes, “Just because a cat has her kittens in the oven doesn’t make them biscuits.” Mainers can be pretty territorial, but they’re also the warmest people you’ll ever meet.
I have been here for 17 years and picked up some wisdom along the way that new Mainers may find helpful. If you are new here, chances are that you have newfound freedom to breathe in the fresh air and no longer live in a congested urban center. Maine is a wonderful place to relocate—so congratulations and welcome! Here are some tips to genuinely enjoy your time here and adjust to the Mainer lifestyle.
Understand the Seasons
The joke is that Maine has two seasons: winter and the 4th of July. It’s not quite so bad, but it helps to consider the seasons based on what it’s like here versus referring to a calendar. During the months of December through April, we experience frigid winter temperatures. Around this time, we’re typically hunkering down, enjoying a warm fire, or taking up a winter activity like skiing or snowshoeing. Some of us might even travel to a warmer climate to escape all the snow and ice.
When May and June roll around, we get to experience a short-lived spring season that only lasts for about 8 weeks. It’s a great time to take a vacation and do some spring cleaning as you wait for an even warmer summer. July and August is typically the time that most Mainers stay home and experience the outdoor activities such canoeing or kayaking out on the water. This is around the time when many tourists flock to the state. From September to November, Mainers can enjoy local travel now that tourists are gone, and they can also enjoy the fall foliage as winter comes back around.
Although Maine’s winter can be pretty brutal, the state is one of the best places to be in the summertime, with temperatures staying around 70 degrees during the day and leveling off even cooler at night. This explains why we get so many tourists!
Enjoy the Elbow Room
What makes Maine such a charming place is you don’t have to compete with your neighbor. Things like traffic, long grocery store lines, filled parking spots, and competing with your fellow man for everything from a place in line at Starbucks to a parking space at the drugstore don’t exist here. Take a deep breath. Let that other car into your lane so they can make their exit. You won’t fit in if you still behave like you are in Manhattan.
Despite the vast amount of land and space we have, there’s a sense of community in Maine that encourages you to look out for your neighbor. We care deeply about our community and the wildlife so we make sure to protect and respect them.
Let Maine Be Maine
Maine is unique and authentic, and it’s definitely not for everyone. I once heard, “The best thing Maine has going for it is that it doesn’t have a lot going for it.” The economy here is driven by small businesses and self-employed people. There are not a lot of corporate centers or chain businesses compared to many other places. We mostly like it this way and try to support local businesses.
Take Good Care of It
The natural beauty of Maine is incredible and well preserved. But it’s an uphill battle to keep it this way. Please do your part by being conscious of your environmental impact. You won’t impress too many Mainers by driving a Hummer and having ChemLawn visit your home every week. Ease up on consumption that hurts the environment. The more you take care of the environment here, the more you’ll be able to enjoy it.
We Want to Extend a Warm Welcome to You
If you’re new to Maine or need a friend to help you adjust to your new lifestyle, reach out to us. We at Harvest Asset Group want to help you get settled and offer a helping hand. Call us at (207) 775-1151 or email us at email@example.com.
Michael Donahoe is the founder and principal of Harvest Asset Group, LLC, an independent, fee-only financial planning and investment management advisory firm in Portland, Maine. Michael enjoyed a successful corporate career in marketing and sales before transitioning to the financial planning profession, founding his firm in 2012, where he now leads the client services team and serves as the firm’s chief compliance officer. Michael earned his MBA degree from George Washington University and completed his educational requirements to earn the CFP® mark of distinction at the University of California, Berkeley. He is a Fee-Only and NAPFA registered financial advisor, a designation which followed the completion of rigorous continuing education requirements. Michael has lived in the Portland area since relocating from San Francisco in 1995 to be closer to family. He is active in community affairs and spends his non-working time enjoying the natural beauty of Maine.