Need information on Maine : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I'd like to hear from those of you who live in Maine -- especially anyone in the far northern parts of the state. We've been investigating every place where land prices are reasonable, and found that northern Maine has very good prices for bare land, and probably a more suitable climate for us than some of the more southerly states. But what we need to know is the 'climate' for living and homesteading, especially for starting from scratch with no electricity or plumbing. And the political climate, though living 'next door' so to speak, in NH, and getting Maine radio stations gives us some idea of what is going on there. If anyone can help us out with information, we'd appreciate it -- Brad, I know you are in Maine, but in the southern part, right? Anyway, thanks in advance.

-- Kathleen Sanderson (, September 18, 2000


Hello Kathleen! I'm in Central Maine (near Bangor) so I can't be too specific about climate and politics way up north. I do know you want to keep an eye on the Federal park situation: Visit the newspaper websites to learn more. We get the Bangor Daily and there are articles every day on it in there. Outhouses and homesteading are common up here, and I would imagine even more so up north. The further north you get, the more leary of people "from away" they are as well. Been here for six years and I'm still called a flatlander. They pretty much leave ya alone, though. I'll do more research for ya if no one on the board is further north.

-- Epona (, September 18, 2000.

Kathleen, used to live in mid-Maine (Farmington) as well as Presque Isle...and Portland...brrrrr...had to throw my two cents in because we were considering Maine before we remembered that we HATE cold weather...on the net there is a realtor named Downeast Realty..they will be happy to send you local papers,maps,etc..everything you would need to look at their area (Eastport North)..also a place called Greene Realty..they were both a tremendous help to us.Homesteading is still quite popular Upstate,yet they are getting a little "testy" about all the new retirees moving there from Mass and New York city..if you are not a Yuppie (and I know you are not), you should be welcomed anywhere in Northern Maine....I LOVE MAINE, but hate the cold so it's just not for us..Good luck and God Bless....

-- Lesley (martchas@, September 18, 2000.

Kathleen: How far north are you looking? Aroostook County, which is essentially the top half of the state, has an active homesteader network that dates back to the early 1970s. Go to (Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association)and get its list of certified organic growers. There are several up north.

There's also a fledgling Mennonite/Amish community in the Houlton area and across the border in New Brunswick, Canada. I don't want to get into an argument about the park proposal, but if your interest is more toward the argicultural areas of northern Maine it's not something to worry about or to anticipate. Downeast Real Estate is more oriented toward the eastern coastal region, Washington County. Farmland in northern Maine is mostly abandoned potato farms, and they are very reasonably priced compared to other parts of New England. It really is a buyer's market right now, altho that might change now that two major new potato processing plants are scheduled to be built up there.

The population decline in northern Maine has slowed and -- depending on who you listen to -- reversed in the past year. The weather has moderated somewhat (global warming? who knows), but the winters are still long. Parts of the County had a light frost the first week in September this year, but then I also know people who consistently grow ripe melons north of Caribou. There are seasonal farmers markets in Caribou, Presque Isle, Houlton, and other towns.

The folks at MOFGA are good people and might be able to help, but wait until after fall equinox weekend to ask. They're straight out right now with the Common Ground Fair, which happens 9/22-24 this year. In fact, if you can get over to Maine for that (it's held in Unity these days, east of Waterville off I-95), you might find some good leads for on-the-ground information. Just don't expect a midway or horse racing, and bring your own coffee and chocolate. ;-)

Hope this helps: Cash

-- Cash (, September 18, 2000.

Thanks, all, for your answers. Yes, we are looking at on-line real estate ads for mostly Aroostook County. As I mentioned when I e- mailed Epona, having been raised in Alaska, cold winters don't bother me a bit -- and even here in Central NH we have been known to get a frost in the first week or so of September -- I think we've already had one this year! As long as we can keep the house warm, I don't care how cold the winters get!! :-) I suspect that much of the least expensive land is wooded and has never been farmed, but a few of the listings that I saw said the land was part of an old farm, and a couple have hay fields on them. Some are on major highways (good for having a farm stand) and a surprising number have access to electricity and telephone. Sounds good so far!! Hopefully the economy will hold up through the winter so we can sell our house here for enough to start over -- that's a nagging concern I have, that we'll wait too long.

-- Kathleen Sanderson (, September 18, 2000.

We used to get the ferrier from that very 'Amish' community, if you're talking about the Christian Community, (there is also a new order Mennonite group here in New Brunswick). He taught my brother how, so he doesn't come anymore. They're movin' on in October. Don't know where... I occasionally listen to Maine radio stations. We're 5 10 minutes from Maine, if you travel through bushes, streams and fences and 15/20 minutes by road. The weather is wonderful!!! This summer was wierd, (it was a bit chilly in August). I love the Winters, (now that our barn yard pump doesn't freeze), but Autumn is best! Hope you get lots of information on the area you're looking at, sorry I can't help much =<:o)

-- Abigail F. (, September 19, 2000.

Good Heavens! It is NOT cold in Maine! Though there are some that say we only have 2 seasons - Winter and the 4th of July! I"ve lived in balmy Alaska (seriously, SE Alaska is pretty temperate) and Northern Greenland. Greenland is indeed a bit brisk. However, I have also live in equatorial Maryland, and can honestly state that God never intended that intelligent lifeforms live that far south in the Northern hemisphere. It is quite evident that He (OK, She) was right. But I digress. Northern Maine, ie. Aroostook County, known hereabouts as simply "the county" does indeed have some fine bargains as concerns real estate, both bare land and with houses/buildings. We are to the west of Portland about 15 miles, and in an area of increasing real estate values. But what is your desire? The county has very limited employment opportunities. Teacher, nurse, doctor, etc can be accommodated, especially teachers, but at a lesser salary than elsewhere, although commensurate with the locality. No particular skill? Not your first choice. Other parts of Maine do well in the income/affordability index. If you get farther than the accepted commuting distance from the population centers, about 45 minutes, then prices become reasonable to bargains. Give me some specifics and I'll try to help. By the way, here 15 miles inland to the west opf Portland, we have good soil, a very nice town, good schools, police etc, and prices are only now getting silly. Last frost in spring is about 15 May, and first frost in fall is @ 15 September, although we have not had one yet his year. Still picking tomatoes! GO! Global warming! GL!

-- Brad (, September 20, 2000.

Hello from Hodgdon,Maine. About 15 minute drive from Houlton, the countyseat of THE COUNTY (aroostook). We have Blackfly-season, the Fourth of July and Winter. We don't lock our doors or our cars, and land is cheap here.If you are handy, there are a lot of old homesteads, that have houses and outbuildings, that need work, sometimes a lot. I'm always sad, when I see the fire-department burn down another solid old house, so some potato farmer can get the surrounding fields for cheap.Happens all the time. Here in Houlton there are two major realtors. At least one of them is on the net.Mooers Realty. If you can't find it, give me a holler, and I go and check what their e-mail address is.There are also the Northern Aroostook Homesteaders, a group of likeminded people, that are affiliated with Heifer Project International. We're members there, but we also know of a lot of Homesteader-type people around here that aren't.Newcomers are always looked at a little funny, but if you look like you work hard, keep in touch with your community, you'll eventually meet people that are on the same wavelenght. My only word of caution is this. There are no jobs around here, and the wages are lower, then most other places. Storebought stuff is a little higher then other places,we're always told, that's because they have to truck it up so far. If you have any more specific questions, e-mail me, I'll be glad to try and answer them.

-- karin morey (, September 23, 2000.

We enjoy four seasons and friendly honest neighbors in a laid back setting. No crime, No traffic, no problems. No better place to raise a family! We grew up on a farm and know that all land is not created equal. Owner financed farmettes...creative land purchases our specialty! Check our site at Thanks for stopping in!

-- Andy Mooers (, January 08, 2001.

Well, folks, Andy is the realtor my husband visited when he went up to Houlton back in October -- don't know if he realized that when he checked in on this thread. He does have a lot of land for sale at very good prices, but know what you are looking for and don't let him sidetrack you to smaller parcels, as he tried to do with Greg!! He says hay is so cheap up there that we wouldn't need to have enough land to produce our own, but I've checked on that and it's still $2 a bale for *good* hay, which really isn't cheap. So we'll still be looking for forty to eighty acres!! But do look at his website if you are interested in that area.

-- Kathleen Sanderson (, January 08, 2001.

Kathleen, have you picked up any of the local papers -- Houlton Pioneer Times, Presque Isle Star Herald, Caribou Republican? Also, the weekly Uncle Henry's (it has a website, don't have the url right now, do a Google search) has lots of land ads for northern Maine. You might try just stopping by a country store or the local Irving station and sort of casually ask if anyone knows of a place for sale. I've found that the best deals are often the ones you have to look a little harder for. Good luck!

-- Cash (, January 08, 2001.

I've e-mailed Cash privately, but just wanted to add a little here. Greg did visit the Houlton area briefly near the end of October, and liked the area sufficiently to decide that when this place sells, that's where we will be moving. For anyone else who might be interested, here is a little of the information we've gleaned (you know, stuff that is relevant to us homesteaders!!). Water is supposed to be readily accessible and of fairly good quality, though we will have our well tested as the potato farmers use a lot of chemicals. But (according to Andy Mooers, not yet verified from a disinterested source) wells usually cost under $2,000 to put in, which is pretty reasonable. The soil seems to be pretty good, rocks are present but are shaley rather than the granite we have here. Growing zone should be about the same as we have here -- probably a slightly shorter season than most of central NH, but our place is at a fairly high elevation, and on a north-facing slope, so if we can get a south-facing slope there at a lower elevation, we will at least come out even! After talking to Karin Morey, we've pretty much decided to build earth-bermed with a sod roof, and will make sure to plant a wind break if there isn't already a woodlot on the place in the right location to serve as one. I just looked at the Mooers website again, and he's got a new listing in the area we want (Hodgdon, which is where Karin lives, because it's near the church we want to attend) -- it's 100 acres with price reduced to $12,500 -- we can afford that (if this house sells!!!) if it is good useable land!! So something to check out, and think about. We'll get the road address and directions from Andy, and check it out with terraserve first --- that's an amazing service!

For those who were concerned about it, (and I may have already talked to you) we are in the mixed blessing position of having some unearned income coming into the family, because of our daughter who is autistic, and once all our bills are paid and the land paid for, we will be able to get by without outside income from jobs until we have something from the farm that we can sell. Thanks to the internet, that type of marketing need not be restricted to the immediate area. So, we are in the fortunate position of not needing to worry about looking for work in the area that we move to -- there'll be plenty of work on the farm!! However, if we did need to work for a small income, we probably could both find part-time work at the local hospital -- I've been checking their website off and on. The key is getting out of debt and staying out, then you aren't nearly so dependent on an outside job. (If we repeat that often enough, eventually it will sink in and maybe someday do you suppose we can put the credit card companies out of business?)

-- Kathleen Sanderson (, January 08, 2001.

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