Researching retirement locations

Photograph by Kathryn Severns Avery

“Why are people who retire here so surprised that our winters are cold?” my realtor friend asked me the other day at coffee in Rockland. “Do they not do their research?”

The answer is many of them do, but maybe not enough to understand all the factors one should consider in a relocation decision.

Retiring to Maine’s Midcoast seems idyllic –beautiful scenery, interesting shops and galleries, relaxed lifestyle and other appealing characteristics. Yet many prospective retirees base their decisions to move here on their summer experiences. That’s great, but there are three other seasons they should experience before deciding to sell their home, pull up stakes, and come to Vacationland.

My husband and I decided to stay here through the winter so I could continue my research on the Age Wave and the effects of this phenomenon in Maine. Having grown up on the east coast we thought we knew what we were likely to experience in all four seasons. For the most part the reality met our expectations. We were grateful for a relatively mild winter. But there were two things we couldn’t know without experiencing them first-hand – how early it gets dark and how many activities there are in winter in which one can participate.

Chris and I experienced our first Pies on Parade in January and had a wonderful time tasting our way through town. Walking through Merryspring Nature Center on a crisp, cold morning and joining friends for meditation was something I’d never done before. Watching children sledding on the hill in Snow Marine Park in the south end reminded us of how much fun you can have after a storm. Was it cold? Yes. But that’s what layers of clothing are for and more than one night I blessed the man or woman who invented the electric blanket.

Now that winter has given way to spring, I get to experience how quickly the days lengthen and the extra hours of daylight that are already apparent. I had never been to a sugar house and seen how maple syrup is made. I can check that off my bucket list. The ospreys are back along with robins and others harbingers of warmer weather. Having been here before in late spring and summer, I know what delights await us.

To anyone considering relocating to Maine or any other locale, make sure to sample the various seasons for more than a long weekend. What you discover may (pleasantly) surprise you.

Photograph by Kathryn Severns Avery

Kathryn Avery

About Kathryn Avery

When Kathryn Severns Avery’s husband, Chris, began contemplating retirement in 2014, she knew they had to quickly come up with a multi-faceted plan. They spent the next year discussing, sometimes heatedly, what they would do once he stopped working. On paper their plan looked exciting. They would head from Colorado to the 1891 sea captain’s house they bought and renovated in Rockland on Maine’s midcoast. But the reality of planning and implementing retirement was much different than expected. Kathryn has worked in radio, television, marketing, and public relations. She is the author of five books and has written articles on interior design and crafts for national and regional publications including Romantic Homes, Log Homes Illustrated, The Rocky Mountain News and Colorado Homes and Lifestyles.