You may know us as the Pine Tree state, the chickadee state, or the lobster state, but wildlife changes drastically depending on where you are in the diverse Maine landscape. You won’t see any moose running in downtown Portland, but outside of urbanized areas, there are plenty of white-tailed deer, brown bears and other wildlife to see. Maine is home to a large and varied wildlife population, with 58 species of wild mammals and 292 species of birds for your favorite birdwatcher (last we checked).
Maine boasts some of the top public and private institutions in the country. With 31 different institutions and thousands of programs to choose from, there is no shortage of growth potential should you wish to progress your higher education in Maine. Maine has the most substantial proportion of percent of people with an Associates or greater degree in New England. From the University of New England’s medical school to the University of Maine School of Law, there’s a diverse array of educational institutions available. The University of Maine Graduate and Professional Center offers many additional post-graduate programs and certifications, so there is always room to grow.
Portland was named the 2018 Restaurant City of the Year by Bon Appetit for a reason. With more restaurants per capita than any city in the country, Portland prides itself on being a mecca for all things food. From the Holy (potato) Donut to freshly caught lobster on a toasted roll, there is no shortage of places to go and food to eat. While the industry continues to grow and stretch far beyond the Portland peninsula, Maine also has a long agricultural history which continues to be incorporated into the now famous restaurant scene and Maine culture. This farm-to-table rotation is a large part of our state economy.
As an example, 2019 marked the first ever Seaweed Week in North America, consisting of a week-long event celebrating the sustainable superfood and the Mainer’s who grow and harvest it. Many restaurants and chefs around Maine partook by integrating seaweed into pizzas and ciders and thousands of other inspiring dishes, which further solidified the relationship between the emerging kelp industry and Maine eats. You should come hungry.
Within the last few years, Maine has seen significant positive changes in salary trends. The Bangor Daily News recently released an article stating that “Maine’s average personal income grew faster than the national average in 2017. The average personal income of Mainers rose 3.7 percent from 2016 to 2017, according to statistics released in November by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis”. BDN also relayed that “Personal income in Maine rose 5.4 percent in the first quarter of the year, the third-biggest increase nationwide and “Overall, personal income nationally increased 3.4 percent during the first three months of the year, the bureau said. Regionally, Maine’s income growth was the fastest in New England”.
There’s nothing like the Maine wild to make one feel removed from the tediousness of everyday life. As wild as we may seem, Maine is just a couple hours north of Boston, approximately six hours from Portland to the heart of Manhattan and five hours or less to Montreal. In recent years, Portland has expanded their International Jetport, which now sees millions of visitors a year, offers a host of airlines and has direct flights to the major airport hubs in the United States. In 2019 PWM received multiple Airport Service Quality Awards from The Airports Council International. Bangor International airport offers many of these same routes and connects to many airports that offer direct flights to Western Europe. The Amtrak Downeaster train offers affordable round-trip rates from a multitude of coastal Maine towns to New Hampshire and Massachusetts. As well, Concord Coach Lines provides easy and comfortable travel by bus and connects central and coastal Maine to New Hampshire, Massachusetts and New York. With borders on Quebec and New Brunswick, we are a beautiful drive away from expansive Atlantic Canada.
In 2018, Maine Listings reported a total of 17,864 homes sold with an average statewide median sale price of $215,000. This boasted a 1.3 percent increase in homes sold from the previous year, but more importantly, the value of Maine homes raised 7.5 percent of the prior year. While the Maine housing market remains on an upward trend, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and the Maine State Housing Authority offer many subsidized and public housing services, including a Property Tax and Rent Refund for eligible Maine residents, and a first-time homebuyer program to assist new homeowners in purchasing the homes they want.
While Maine winters may seem daunting, it’s in the Maine spirit to pull on some long underwear and head outside, where there is no shortage of snow-based activities. Maine is home to 15 different downhill ski resorts scattered throughout the state, the biggest of which is Sugarloaf USA with 12 ski lifts 1,056 acres of extensive terrain and glades for all abilities and an award-winning slopeside village brimming with activities, restaurants, shops and resort lodging. If downhill skiing isn’t your thing, almost any of the many golf courses in Maine double as cross-country ski and snowshoe trails when the snow falls. Maine has several sledding areas with tube lifts; however, you can make do with just about any hill and your own two feet. Additionally, Maine has many indoor and outdoor ice skating rinks as well as pond hockey leagues. While you’re out there, take a stab at ice fishing in a quiet little hut. Snowmobiling is another popular winter activity with 14,000 miles of groomed snowmobile trails in Maine to explore. In winter, the full-time residents of Maine ban together to create close-knit and supportive communities throughout the state.
As can be seen in the state budget, Maine is dedicated to providing quality education to students of all ages and abilities in 620 public institutions across the state. The Maine Department of Education states that we strive “to ensure that Maine schools are inclusive, healthy, safe, and supportive communities where every student thrives. The goal of the Maine Department of Education’s Office of School and Student Supports is to coordinate resources and programs that promote psycho-socially, physically and environmentally healthy school communities for all”. Maine offers high caliber programs for adult education and offers excellent programs through the Office of Special Education, which is “committed to ensuring the provision of a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment for children with disabilities (ages 3 to 21)”. In 2017, the Maine Department of Education reported that there were 15,222 teachers in the public schools, about one teacher for every 12 students, which is lower than the national average of 1:16. Additionally, Maine shows it has 92% percent high school graduates or better, which shows the lasting commitment the state has towards educating generations of Mainers.
There’s a reason they call us Vacationland. Maine is lucky enough to see all four seasons, and our snowy winters and beautiful sunny summer make for endless in-state adventures. With winter, we see a plethora of outdoor activities such as downhill and cross country skiing. If you’re looking for a warm-up, visit the Portland Museum of Art, to see an extensive collection of nationally renowned exhibitions. Spring brings beautiful new green growth, and you can catch the beginning of whale watching season or visit the multitude of Maine lighthouses before the summer crowds. Summer brings millions to the stunning Maine beaches, such as the famous Old Orchard beach and pier. The gorgeous summer weather also allows for exploration of Maine’s incredible national and state parks, such as the 47,000 acre Acadia National Park, which is just outside of the quaint seaside town Bar Harbor. Autumn also allows for wild outdoor activities, such as the hike along the 100-mile wilderness, to find yourself at the end of the Appalachian trail on Maine’s highest peak, Mt. Katahdin. If hiking isn’t your thing, join the thousands of leaf peepers who drive through Maine to view the changing foliage every fall. The turning of seasons will continue to allow new exploration to unfold.
While Maine has long been recognized as a producer, growth in new industries has confirmed a shift into those that provide services. The Maine Workforce Outlook for 2014-2024 states that “Three-quarters of jobs are in healthcare, government, retail, professional services, hospitality or manufacturing,” which is similar to those statistics of the nation. Maine has also long since been a leader in the generation of clean energy and has been gearing up for tremendous growth in the wind and solar industries. The Maine Workforce Outlook also states that “In addition to health care and social services, earnings in forestry, fishing, and related activities; accommodations and food services; and retailing all posted strong growth [in 2018]…”
Maine is home to a large and growing number of immigrants from all over the globe. Maine leads many states in refugee and asylum seeker integration programs, which are made possible the immense support of many Maine communities.
Maine also shows support for its young minds by offering the most generous student debt relief program in the Nation. Opportunity Maine (opportunitymaine.org) reimburses student debt payments for qualified individuals who live and work in Maine - regardless of where you went to school.
We are a vast state that relies on its communities to champion each other to the point where we truly become a state full of neighbors.
While it may seem like all fun and games here, most Mainers are working 40-hour weeks with an unemployment rate of only 3.4%, which is lower than the national average. Mainers are dedicated to having a healthy work/life balance, which is displayed in our extensive and competitive compensation and benefits packages offered to Maine employees that includes childcare reimbursement, vacation leave, sick leave, and retirement planning. We tend to escape to the ocean, lakes, and mountains whenever we get the chance because we have the state’s support to lead full and healthy lives. The “Maine Benefits Package” is a reference to the quality of life that Mainers get for free by living here. In most places, you can’t even buy the quality of life Mainers have if you wanted to. Maine offers great career opportunities, access to the great outdoors, safe communities, and quality schools, that are all huge benefits of being a Maine resident.
In recent years, Maine has become a startup hub, and many have come to grow their own business in this beautiful state.
StartupMaine is a volunteer-run organization that was founded in 2014. They offer programs and a flagship conference once a year to assist startups and creators in applied learning and exchange of ideas. StartupMaine states that “leaders are emerging throughout the state as professionals and companies no longer need be tethered to large cities and central offices.” The award-winning Maine SCORE chapter, also based out of Portland, serves as a resource partner for the U.S. Small Business Administration and offers mentorship programs and free resources and services for those seeking to grow their small business.
But, those are just two examples of a plethora of resources available - in fact, Maine is known for the volume of resources available to startups. One way to checkout this long list is by browsing the Maine Startups Guide at this link: