KENNEBUNKPORT — When Kennebunkport resident Sarah Dore read Facebook posts Sunday by people in Portland calling the weekend snowstorm a “bust,” she thought at first they were joking.

Dore was looking at nearly 2 feet of new snow and a giant pile behind her Union Street house that had grown to about 18 feet in height from all of this winter’s storms.

“I grew up here, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Dore said, laughing as her husband, Nate Brough, and their 4-year-old daughter, Roxy, slid down the snow mound together. “It’s been fun. We just go out and play in the snow.”

Less than 30 miles away in Portland, residents brushed off just inches of new snowfall. But along the southern coastal towns of York County, it was a different world of plow trucks, snowblowers and shovels.

In Kittery Point, Dan Rawling usually has sweeping ocean views from his deck but found Sunday that he had to dig through the snow to reach his usual vantage point.

“The backyard and deck are really something. It’s up to my chest,” Rawling said as he shoveled Sunday afternoon.

Kittery was among Maine’s hardest-hit towns with an official tally of 18 inches, but the wind had blown drifts overnight nearly twice that high.

Rawling said he had shoveled out once Saturday night, but by Sunday everything was buried again in drifts and a deep heap that had been pushed by plows off Pepperrell Road.

Frank Frisbee, the former owner of Frisbee’s Market in Kittery, drove up in his plow truck as Rawling dug his way out and offered to help clear the driveway when he got a chance.

Frisbee, 84, said it had taken him most of the day to dig himself out, and he had used his truck to “break out” a few others in town.

“This is going to be an all-day thing,” Frisbee said of clearing the snow. “I don’t know what we’re going to do with it.”


Just as the snow totals varied drastically, so did people’s reactions.

Outside OhNo Cafe in Portland’s West End, Chris Beth, who co-owns the popular breakfast sandwich shop with his wife, Lori Eschholz, cleared something closer to a dusting of snow than the 2 feet he had expected.

“When I woke up early this morning, I looked out and said, ‘Well I guess I can take my time,'” Beth said, pausing with his shovel. “What, maybe 3 inches? That’s definitely a bust.”

Beth said this winter’s back-to-back snowstorms have taken a toll on local businesses, too, because fewer people are driving to destinations owing to parking bans and difficulty navigating narrowing streets.

“The parking ban all day today, that’s tough. We’re lucky because we have a lot of local people who can walk here,” Beth said.

Beth said the biggest problem Sunday morning was that OhNo’s bagel order didn’t come in. Fortunately, they had plenty of English muffins for the cafe’s popular breakfast sandwiches.

At Joe’s Super Variety on Congress Street, Ralph Skillings Jr. made quick work of the layer of snow on the sidewalk outside the store, where he’s been shoveling on a volunteer basis for eight years.

“I’m glad it went out to sea, to tell you the truth,” Skillings said of the storm.

Skillings, 64, said this winter has been the worst he can recall since he was a little kid, so he welcomed the break of a few inches compared to the piles of snow he expected.

“This winter, Mother Nature has been very rude,” Skillings said.

Not everyone was relieved the snowstorm skirted Portland.

Billy McDevitt, a taxicab driver for ABC Taxi, stood outside his idling car on Congress Street downtown clearing ice from his windshield.

“I was expecting not to work today,” said McDevitt, who has driven for the company for 25 years.

He said his morning fares were all people who had to work, too. One woman had to get to work at Mercy Hospital, and a McDonald’s employee got called in early in anticipation of a rush of customers who wouldn’t otherwise have come out in a blizzard.

“No relief for me,” McDevitt said, lifting a windshield wiper to clear more ice.

Chip Roche of Yarmouth started getting skeptical about the blizzard when by Saturday afternoon there still hadn’t been any snowfall.

“By that point I was starting to think they were talking too much about it,” he said. When he woke up Sunday, “there was practically nothing.”

Roche was at Winslow Park in Freeport with his dog, Marnie, for a walk at noon Sunday. There was almost no new snow, although the wind made the chilly air feel even colder.

Roche said it was colder last Monday when he was out with his dog.

“It was snowing and blowing and we were the only two out here. It was cold.”

Dave Bernstein and Kate Dorsey took their dogs, Tuxedo and Pearl, for a walk at Winslow Park. Pearl was bundled up in a little coat to make up for her short fur and old age. Dorsey said she goes to school in Fort Kent, so she wasn’t too worked up about the impending blizzard Saturday. She was disappointed Sunday morning when there was almost nothing to show for it.

“My mom flew out today. She was thinking she was going to have to stay home” instead of going to Florida.

“We’ve had storms for the past three weeks, but they make them out to be so bad that you start to ignore them,” Bernstein said.

Buxton residents who expected to wake up to a foot of snow instead found only about 4 inches. Few people were out around town, where most stores had already decided to stay closed because of the predicted heavy snowfall.

In Saco, city officials reported no major problems in Camp Ellis, where there is often flooding from coastal storms. There was some minor splash over at the most vulnerable spots, said Pat Fox, director of public works.

“The winds shifted ahead of the high tide this morning, so we were spared any significant damage,” he said. “The biggest challenge was that the snowfall along our immediate coastline was significantly more than across the rest of town.”

Biddeford was quiet at midmorning Sunday, with only an occasional plow moving through downtown. Many businesses had signs taped to the doors announcing they would be closed Sunday. Church parking lots, normally packed for morning services, were occupied only by plows and front-loaders moving snow piles.


In Brunswick, which received just an inch or 2 of snow after bracing for up to 24 inches, several shops on Maine Street that would normally be open on a Sunday remained closed. But many others – and particularly eateries – were open and starting to see customers after town officials lifted a parking ban at noon rather than the planned time of 7 a.m. Monday.

Big Top Deli in the downtown was doing a steady business just after noon. Owner Tony Sachs said the deli tries to stay open during storms, knowing that many other places will close, and even continued to serve up sandwiches during the late January blizzard, which dumped roughly 2 feet of snow on the town.

“It was not heavy business, but those who got here appreciated that we were open,” Sachs said.

Aaron Park, the head chef and co-owner of the restaurant Henry and Marty, was grabbing a quick lunch at Big Top Deli before heading across Maine Street to prepare for the dinner crowd. Park said his decision about whether to open or close during storms often hinges on whether Brunswick has banned parking on public streets and in municipal lots. So he keeps in close contact with the town’s police and roads departments.

“I called them up this morning at 9 and they called me back at 10 and said they were going to lift the ban at noon,” Park said. “As soon as I knew that was the case, we were going to open. Because people are stir-crazy. They want to get out … and we need the business.”

Park said the restaurant has been forced to close three times this winter. Luckily the storm held off on Valentine’s Day – typically the busiest night of the year at Henry and Marty – and they were able to keep the restaurant full between reservations and a lengthy waiting list of people willing to fill any cancellations, he said.

Elsewhere in Brunswick, gusting winds that drove the “feels-like” temperature to zero or below kept most people inside. The outdoor skating rink on the downtown Mall – normally a popular spot on sunny weekend afternoons – was wind-swept and deserted. A piece of aluminum siding on a downtown business that had partly torn away in the wind was rattling and clanging in the breeze while a downed tree branch temporarily blocked part of Jordan Avenue.

Staff Writers Gillian Graham, David Hench and Kevin Miller contributed to this report.