The Post Where I Announce We’re Moving to Portland

by Barb Ross

Yes, we’re going to be full-time Mainers! Both Bill and I are excited about this next chapter. The plan (there’s always a plan) was to sell our house in Massachusetts (check–you can read about it here), and then come up to our home in Boothbay Harbor and stay until we leave for Key West mid-December. We weren’t going to rush into anything. We definitely weren’t.

But I was keeping tabs on the Portland real estate market, just to educate myself, I said. Bill and I went to a few open houses whenever we were passing through. Casually, I told people, we’re exploring.

Then, in mid-June, when our whole family was up in Boothbay for the weekend, I found a place online that seemed perfect. Our home wasn’t even on the market. It was too soon. Nonetheless, I shot an inquiry off to the listing agent, could we maybe see it on our way home to Massachusetts?

That didn’t work out and between putting our house on the market and helping our son and his family move from Connecticut to Virginia, we didn’t make it back to Maine until after July 4th, the Friday before Books in Boothbay, in fact.

We looked at the place on our way up and, surprisingly, it was even nicer and more perfect for us than the photos. Even more compelling, given all we had been through in the spring, it needed almost no work, not even paint. We drove around the neighborhood, which we kind of, sort of, knew and liked it. (It seems to be in an area of shifting designations, most recently I think it has been called the India Street neighborhood.)

I was still burbling about it the next day when I saw Lea and Kate.

By that point our house in Massachusetts was under contract, but it hadn’t closed, which meant we didn’t have the money in our pockets to go around buying condominiums in Portland, or anywhere else. So though we loved the place, we waited. But both of our thoughts kept returning to the house.

Finally, everything came together. (Knocking wood furiously. We don’t close on it until this Friday.)

Barb’s study, where the magic will happen, starting fall 2017

It’s a four story townhouse, with an elevator, handy because the kitchen is on the third floor. My favorite part is that Bill’s study is on the first floor, and mine will be on the fourth. I love him, but… No water views, sadly, though last time I was there I glimpsed a tiny sliver of Casco Bay through the chimney tops.

Bill’s study, where the magic will also happen, three floors away from Barb, a relief to them both

It all feels a little impulsive and crazy, but also thoughtful and well-considered. We’ve always loved Portland, since we started coming there in the late eighties when we used to camp at Sebago. Portland’s future was just a glimmer at the time, but we still thought it was cool. Also, we’re city people at heart. Neither of us has ever had dreams of quiet country nights.

The kitchen and dining areas. By the way, the rooms in all these photos were professionally staged. Enjoy. They will never look so polished again.

But, it will be an adjustment, no doubt. We’ve never lived in a house less than 100 years-old, this one was built in 2007. And we’ve never lived in a condominium association. Because there are some ongoing issues, we were given all the minutes of the past year’s meetings prior to close. There were some passages I found hilarious, but maybe I won’t when I’m in the middle of it?

So, we’re going to be Portlanders, or is it Portlandites? Surely not Portlandians, that’s the other coast, right? So much to learn! I’ll have to rely on my Maine Crime Writers friends to find dentists and doctors, hairdressers and mani-pedi places. Things I haven’t changed in years. It’s a little daunting. But as my business partner used to say, you should always be moving toward something, not just away from something, and that’s what it feels like to us.


About Barbara Ross

Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries. Her books have been nominated for multiple Agatha Awards for Best Contemporary Novel and have won the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. She lives in Portland, Maine. Readers can visit her website at
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54 Responses to The Post Where I Announce We’re Moving to Portland

  1. Gayle Lynds says:

    Congratulations and welcome, Barb! We’re delighted you’ve joined us hereabouts. May you have many happy years of writing and living in your beautiful new digs!

  2. Carol-Lynn Rössel says:

    Welcome “home” Barb. What a treat for you (and for all of us)! I’m an hour and a half north of Portland (it’s “Portlanders”) so I miss out on lots & my Portland Museum of Art membership languishes. Your new digs look loverly!

  3. Peg Reeves says:

    It looks so lovely and open and you will enjoy the quirks of a condo association you just take the fuss with a grain of salt. I love your books

  4. Congrats! Portland is the best- art, music, food, culture, and great people, and just a quick pop down to the Boston area to see all of us. They have an observatory! Ignore the murders that happen when Kate Flora, Gerry Boyle, Bruce Coffin and I write about it- all fiction. And be sure to visit the Cryptozoology Museum (only one in the world) in their new digs and say hi to Loren Coleman for me.

  5. Gram says:

    Congratulations. I love the kitchen!

  6. Heidi Wilson says:

    Congratulations! And don’t worry about that condo association. It will provide years of comedy, malice and nonsense that you can mine for your books. I see a title… “The Killing at the Condo”….

  7. Tina Swift says:

    Congratulations! It’s a beautiful house! (Condo, house … place where you want to live.)

  8. Congratulations and welcome!

  9. Lea Wait says:

    Will miss your being just down the road in Boothbay Harbor … but Portland is just down another road! Love that you’ll officially be a Mainer. (My first joyful task when I moved here full-time was to get new license plates. Maine!) Welcome … and celebrate (again!)

  10. Paul Doiron says:

    Welcome, Barb! What a beautiful house, too. Portland is such a great city, spoken as a Portlander in exile. I grew up there essentially, went to high school, spent most of my 20s, and it was a fun place then. But what it has become is really astonishing. I know you and Bill we be happy there.

  11. Congratulation! We are delighted you will be here full time (except for Key West months). Portland is a fabulous choice – welcome!

  12. Lee says:

    What a gorgeous place, so full of light! Congratulations and welcome!

  13. Cheryl says:

    Barb, Welcome as a full-time Mainer!!!! Your new home is beautiful and you’ll get used to the quirks of condo living. It may become fodder for a whole new series…we’ll all look forward to that. Happy writing, happy life as a Portlander.

  14. That looks like the perfect setting for you and Bill to continue your creative passions! I can see the two of you having meetings in the kitchen. Congratulations and enjoy.

  15. Ruth Nixon says:

    Congratulations on finding such a lovely new home. When I was looking at the posted pictures it made me excited to see it when you really make it your home. Love the windows and the kitchen Looking forward to seeing Bill’s wonderful pictures on the wall. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Congratulations, Barb!

  17. Amanda L says:

    It looks lovely! I’ve never been to Portland, but I love southern Maine and would love to live there (or at least closer) someday. Good luck with the closing and the move!

  18. Beth Clark says:

    I am sure magic will happen in a study like that!

  19. Carolyn Vandam says:


    You & Bill may be Portlanders or Portlandites but most of all, you’ll be Mainiacs! And still be Yankees where you will still root for the home teams – especially the Patriots and Red Sox, just like your new neighbors.

  20. WOW! Fabulous. Congratulations! xoxooo Wonderful photo ops for Bill, and great for your writing. And we can ALL come visit!

  21. Dru Ann Love says:

    Congratulations on your new home. Love that the place has an elevator.

  22. Ruth S Roper says:

    When a place feels immediately like HOME, and the stars are aligned, how can you not jump? Glad for you. We’re of the age when 100+ year old houses tilt into being a liability. (Well, they always were, but love is blind when you’re young.) BTW I think it must be “Portlandlords and Portlandladies.” Best of luck. Hope our paths cross more than they did in the last few years when we lived a mile apart!

  23. Margo Carey says:

    Congratulations Barb! Seems like this place waited for you–meant to be. And, it’s gorgeous. Your study is awesome. Perfect place for your down-home magic. Enjoy!

  24. Suzanne Pouliot says:

    OMG Barb, you are one of my favorite authors. Having read all of your books so far, I think, It’s a comfort knowing that you are staying in New England. Many of the authors whose works I read have sadly moved away to other areas of the country and have found new material to bolster their creative juices, but it just isn’t the same. When I read Maine Crime Writers literature I don’t read a book, I see and feel the book. I am writing a cozy mystery, cross your fingers for me. I have written three stage plays that were produced and have decided that it’s now or never. I live on the southern Rhode Island coastline, can’t you just smell the ocean air, and love it. Not ony have I read your books on Kindle Fire, I also own your hardcovers. I never write to anyone, but had to this time just to let you know I think you’re the best!

  25. Grace Topping says:

    What a gorgeous place! Congratulations on selecting a new home. Moving from your home has to be hard, but it looks like you have something terrific to move to. We went to Portland a year ago by ship and toured the city. After several visits to Maine, we’ve fallen in love with it. For the time being, we’ll be remaining in Virginia. Will you still be going south for the winters?

  26. Simply Doug says:

    It looks like a great place for a murder!

  27. congrats Barb and Bill–it’s stunning! and I loved this line especially: It all feels a little impulsive and crazy, but also thoughtful and well-considered.

  28. Sandra Neily says:

    Yes, Barb, congrats added! And I agree with previous comments on Condo Association giving you fabulous material. Have been in one for over 30 years and one could just not make up the strange and unexpected stuff (often so tiny the issues need a microscope) that set people alight. But then there are great neighbors, just steps away, usually with a spare bottle of chilled something. Enjoy!

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