Please, southern maine families, tell me why you *love* your:
- Kids' school (esp. public but want to hear about all the options)
- town or neighborhood
- fave crunchy & kid-friendly businesses
- places to meet other families that are at least sorta AP, bfing, healthy eating, less/no TV, etc. and even better, LGBTQI-friendly!
My wife and I just moved our family to Maine from California to be closer to family. She grew up here but I never lived here before, and we've been in CA together for the past 15 years. Her sister's family lives in Portland, we are now staying with her folks in Naples. I am looking for a job and we will try to find out own place (to rent) once I have a job - We want to live within an hour of both of the above, which pretty much narrows it down to Southern Maine locales - Portland or surrounding towns? We'll probably base our home search primarily on finding a decent school since our oldest is 5 and will be starting kindergarten. Are there any public schools out there that still value play/developmental kindergarten? don't give too much or any homework in the early grades? have a loving community with discipline policies based on encouraging self-regulation and intrinsic motivation (e.g. not rewards/punishment). Ideally, socially/culturally diverse/somewhat liberal where our two-mom family won't be a big deal? ... a tall order, I know.
Any advice is very very welcome!
Ours is a mixed race family and after moving to Maine and settling in Saco 9 years ago, I would highly recommend Portland. It's more expensive than many areas but IMO it really is the best place to be as far as accessing crunchy/kid friendly places. My youngest just finished kindy in Saco and overall it wasn't bad no homework at all though the emphasis on math was off putting at times.
Best suggestion is to just go out and explore various towns, only reason we settled where we are is because I landed a job here but the quality of life as someone who spent 30 years in Chicago is meh...
thanks for the reply, shayinme!
I do think it'll be easier to find the things I mentioned above in Portland, but my wife really wants to live more rural, i.e. woods adjacent to the house! So maybe the edges of portland? (westbrook, s.windham, falmouth?). No idea what we'll be able to afford yet, either - still looking for work. Who knows, we may end up neighbors if I get a job in Portland, scarborough, Old Orchard, or S.Portland - we do have at least one kid the same age.
Too bad there aren't more Maine mamas on here ... I did find a Portland/southern Maine Holistic Moms network chapter and joined that. You should check it out sometime!
You probably have found a place already but I'll add in my opinion.
I grew up in Portland and still don't know of anywhere to meet famiies that are AP. I think most of the Greater Portland is pretty LGBTQI friendly/welcoming. There is the occasional odd look but for the most part we have a strong queer community.
I currently live in South Portland, close to Southern Maine Community College. I don't drive so teh bus lines are convenient but there is the Green Belt and Willard Beach that offer lots of exploration oppurtunities. I haven't really found a crunchy store or group of parents yet besides the Holistic Maine Moms but financially can't justify the $ right now.
My older daughter starts kindergarten in the fall so I don't have any recommendations other than the fact that Springpoint Childcare Center is pretty fantastic.
Mallory married to Aaron. Mommy to Caitlin and Olivia
I'm one of the co-leaders for the Portland HMN Chapter and encourage you to check out the Moms in Need program which offers financial assistance for memberships! Come on out to the February meeting on 2/8 at Greenlight Studio on Forest Ave at 6:30p (you do not need to be a member to come to a meeting to see if its something you like!) - the topic of the month is "Building Connections, Growing Community" and its going to be a really low key causal night with fun "get to know you/ice breaker" questions.
I think its a really fun group - our Holiday Party was a blast with a "regifting" gift exchange (you can see pics on our Facebook page) where someone brought some eggs from her chickens and they were stolen - per the rules of the exchange - and it was hilarious! We're a very welcoming and diverse group (well, as diverse as we can be in Portland, ME) and we like to have fun at our meetings - while bringing topics of interest to members. We also are growing in our monthly activities with weekly get togethers and at least one moms night out a month.
If you want more details on anything, please feel free to email me directly at thecrunchymom at gmail.com :)
Hope to meet you sometime!
(Hi Rachel! How's the new place? Looking forward to seeing you in February again!)