It was during the countless drives back home to Massachusetts that I realized I was not a city — or even a suburban — girl. I remember experiencing a sinking feeling, deep in my stomach, as we headed south through New Hampshire. I grew more and more depressed as the traffic increased, not because I didn’t like my life in Massachusetts, but because I absolutely hated leaving Vermont. My aunt reminds me of how I would “hide” in my grandparents’ closets so that my parents would leave me behind. On several occasions it actually worked.
Flash forward to my early twenties. Shortly after my husband Ed and I met in Boston, we realized that we both longed to be somewhere else. Somewhere cleaner, calmer, and wilder. Ed had friends in southern Vermont, and I had all my family connections, and so we decided to look for a business there. At the last minute we also contacted a business broker in a state where we knew absolutely no one — Maine.
Why Maine? We’d taken a spur-of-the-moment vacation to an empty cottage in Corea, a tiny Downeast coastal town, and magical things had happened. I’ll go into that in another post, but that’s the short answer of how Maine came to be in the running for our new home. A love of the ocean was another draw.
That we picked Maine over Vermont twenty-six years ago had more to do with the size of our bank accounts than anything else. Real estate in Maine was less expensive, and so we found ourselves purchasing an old Victorian in Camden, opening an inn, and rooting ourselves to a different part of Northern New England.
A funny thing happened the first time we traveled back to the coast from a trip to see relatives in Vermont. I braced myself for that sinking feeling, so much a part of every previous journey, and instead I felt — fine. Happy, even. Glad to have visited Vermont, but just as glad to be returning to Maine. As I write this I have tears in my eyes at the memory.
I’m grateful to beautiful Vermont, birthplace of my mother, grandfather, and scores of my loved ones and friends. I’m thankful for the way that state helped chisel me into who I am. I realize that it’s thanks to Vermont that I’ve built such a satisfying life in Maine, finding my own small town with its welcoming Main Street, as well as a mini version of the “Farm” where I can enjoy nature or read a musty Ian Fleming.