Why we live here

By PORTLAND PHOENIX STAFF  |  April 22, 2009

090424_Leischen

I wound up in Portland mostly because it was a central location to the people in my life — just about three hours from family in Vermont, central Maine, southern Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Close enough to make it an easy drive for a weekend visit, but not so close that dropping by was convenient.

But I must admit, I didn't love Portland at first. I didn't know anyone when I first moved here and Portlanders seemed like a fairly exclusive bunch (although I think that's a New England trait more than a Portland one). Plus, I couldn't find a job. After a few months of searching, I finally got a job working in a restaurant for the summer (which turned into a two-year gig) and experienced my first summer in Portland getting thrown around by tourists. If you don't know what Campers Weekend is, consider yourself lucky.

And while I've since moved on to life as a nine-to-fiver, my restaurant stint continues to keep me connected to the thriving food scene here (as much as anything can thrive in this economy, that is). Life as a weekend warrior has expanded the people I can hang out with and in the last year I've discovered that Portland, and Maine in general, has pretty much everything I want.

Living right in town has given me access to all the things I want in terms of city life: I can pretty much walk or bike to bars and restaurants, but don't have to deal with typical city hassles like long commutes and traffic jams. And the best part about Portland is that it's easy to escape from. I can jump in the car and find all sorts of outdoor adventures from skiing and hiking to canoeing and just lounging on the beach. It's the combination of all those things that keeps me here and while the onslaught of summer tourists can be frustrating at times, I guess it's only fair that I share a little.
_Leischen Stelter

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