Best Places to Retire: Portland, Maine

You will find articles about places to retire in many newspapers, magazines and books.  Here’s an idea from the Wall Street Journal: Portland, Maine.

It’s been years since I have been in Portland, but here are some of the highlights from the article.

Portland has turned into an attractive city with an ample offering of music, art, education, cuisine, health care and historical architecture. In 2006 the Tysons bought a condo in downtown Portland, where they now spend five months of the year, close to the art museum, symphony orchestra and restaurants.

“We feel very fortunate to have landed where we did,” says Mr. Tyson, age 70, a semiretired landscape architect. The Tysons spend the other seven months in Naples, Fla.

Portland is attracting other retirees as well. The city juts into Casco Bay, with promenades on both ends of the peninsula. It has an active waterfront, stunning views of islands, quaint shops, many housing choices and a major hospital, the Maine Medical Center. Winters are cold and taxes steep, but there isn’t much traffic or crime.

The downside?  Cold and “social problems.”

“It’s not for everybody, because it is cold, and the biggest downside is the wind,” says Leslie Anderson, 63, who worked in software marketing before retiring to Portland from Somerville, Mass. “That wind whips, and in the winter it’s raw.”

Social problems spill into the streets in the form of homeless people, transients and panhandlers. The Bayside neighborhood, in particular, remains an eyesore with fenced-in empty lots. But a Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have located there, and the city has long-term redevelopment plans for the area.

Portland is only two hours by car from Rockland, Maine, home of the Maine Lobster Festival held at the beginning of August.  It’s worth a visit to sample thousands of lobsters and see the picturesque sights of old Rockland.  if you go there, stay in one of the quaint Bed & Breakfasts.

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