Thousands move each year. For some, it’s practical. For some, it’s a dream realized.

Next month, after 11 years of surviving Maine winters, Lisa Arens and her husband are following a well-trodden path.

They’ve boxed up what they want to keep, and on May 11, they will leave Maine for Florida, bound for retirement in the Sunshine State.

“I’ve sold my house, I’m having a huge garage sale and then I’m outta here,” said Arens, of Falmouth. “Maine has been very good to us.”

Andrew Zarro’s dream is just the opposite.

Priced out of the housing market in a gentrifying neighborhood of Boston, Zarro and his partner have shipped north to Portland, drawn by the land and the Maine way of life.

“We came here for the quality of place,” said Zarro, 26. “We wanted to be in a place where we could make changes and live in an environment that we could call home.”

Arens and Zarro are among the thousands who each year migrate to and from Maine, and according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, they are representative of larger trends in where people are moving.

In recent years, a slightly higher number of people moved out of Maine than moved in.

In the three-year period ending in 2013, the most recent data available, a total of 97,233 Maine residents moved away from the state, while 95,223 moved in from somewhere else.

Florida topped the list of destinations for Mainers moving out of the state, with 15,032 people migrating there.

Many, like Arens, are soon-to-be retirees.

After Florida, the second-mostpopular moving destination for Mainers is Massachusetts, which drew 12,842 Maine residents; followed by New Hampshire, which received 12,276 Mainers.

Zarro, meanwhile, is an example of the fluid movement of people between northern New England states. Of the residents of other states who moved into Maine, most came from Massachusetts – 13,482 in that three-year period. New Hampshire is next, with 12,446 of its residents moving to Maine.

For Arens, it was a business opportunity that brought her and her husband north after spending years bouncing from Alabama to Georgia to Florida while he worked for a car distribution company.

When the chance to open his own car dealership arose, the couple jumped, she said. They now own Patriot Subaru in Saco, which, after more than a decade of work, “is running beautifully, like a fine well-oiled machine,” she said.

Now they are building a retirement home in Lake Worth, Florida, a wealthy community along the intracoastal waterway.

Zephyrhills, Florida, is also a frequent destination for Mainers, including John DeLorenzo, head of the local Lions Club there.

DeLorenzo grew up in York, moved around New England working as a disc jockey and a truck driver, and eventually settled down in Zephyrhills, a community northeast of Tampa.

“I got tired very easily of the New England weather,” said DeLorenzo, 71. “I mean, there’s no place like New England in the summer, fall and spring, but those damn winter months!”

Now, he’s coming up on 15 years in Florida.

There are so many Mainers in the Zephyrhills community that every February, the Lions Club hosts Maine Day, he said. Organizers divide the event hall into areas by Maine county, and all of the exiled Maineiacs get to meet, share a few laughs and reminisce about their previous lives.

“They have a hell of a good time talkin’ in the same language, because you gotta admit, the further north you go, the tougher the accent is,” he said.

Still, others aspire to Maine residency, like Zarro, who was attracted to Maine’s rural, outdoorsy character, and to Portland’s growing status as a desirable place to live.

Anne Spelman, 63, of Fairfield, Connecticut, is also chasing the Maine dream.

Since Spelman was a child, Maine was more than a family vacation destination. Her mother, a Bostonian, was a “huge believer that saltwater was the cure for everything.”

The state, with its bountiful coastline and charming towns, came to symbolize a better way of life that her parents always aspired to. Now, after dealing with the recent death of her father at 91, moving to Maine will be an emotional completion of a move her parents never had a chance to make.

“I’ve been taking care of other people all my life,” she said. “This is the first time I’m doing something for me.”

Staff Writer Matt Byrne can be reached at 791-6303, or at:

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