After five years of suburban living in central New Jersey my husband and I were hankering for a change. And this time we wanted no part of city life. His folks had a small home on a pretty lake in
a bit south of Columbia County , and we set our sights on re-locating near there as soon as a job opportunity presented itself. One evening in the late spring of 1977 he came home all excited. The company had openings in two places, one in Albany and one in Columbia, Maine. Wow, Maine. The rock bound coast, lighthouses, cranberry bogs and lobster. They all came to mind and the idea of moving there had a sort of romantic aura about it. As much as we loved the idea of Albany, New York , we began to investigate the Albany possibility with an adventuresome spirit. Maine
“I’ll get as much information from work as I can,” said husband.
“And I’ll see if I can get a hold of some real estate information,” I answered back. It wasn’t long before we were poring over newspapers and real estate listings from the area where we’d possibly be living. We were a growing family with three small boys, and like most young couples we had to be price aware. We’d have a tidy chunk from the sale of the
Jersey house, but we hoped the very rural location in would get us something a little nicer than what we were leaving. Maine
“Oh, here’s one,” I said, “only two bedrooms but it’s on forty acres!” I kept reading, getting excited now. “Here’s another on ten acres.” Oh, to have land!
My husband had the Atlas in hand and we got our bearings in relation to the
coastline and the nearest big city. He ran his finger up past Portland, past Brunswick and Augusta. When he reached Bangor and traced the road east to Columbia his eyebrows shot up. “Good grief, there’s not much out there.” Maine
“This brochure says the population is about 400 hundred people,” I said. Now it was my turn for raised eyebrows. “Are you sure you have the name of the town right?”
“Yeah, I do,” he said thoughtfully. “Hey, Hon, look at this one.” He showed me another listing and we read it together, swallowing hard when we saw, easily accessible by snowmobile.
I had visions of myself, three kids and a load of groceries dashing through the snow on the backside of a Ski-doo. Probably trying to outrun a bear in the bargain. I laughed. “Well, I guess that one’s out.”
Unfortunately in our price range the more we looked the worse it got. Many houses boasted, with electric or near phone lines. Such a bonus! One listing even highlighted a small airstrip. But I think the one that made us realize we’d probably forgo our Maine adventure and stick with the other, more familiar Columbia, was the country cottage that included a year round road. Gosh, it had sounded so perfect otherwise.
We eventually found a 200 year old home in
, on four acres (land!), and have remained there for almost 34 years. I recently did an Internet search for Columbia, Maine. Seems there’s been a population boom over the years—about sixty new citizens. Even thirty four years later I think I’m glad that doesn’t include us. Columbia County, New York
The picture you see up there is from a Father's Day picnic in 2010 in our side yard. I think we chose well.