I went to Maine. Why? My husband transferred here for his job in 2013. We moved from Long Island, New York. We have lived here since.

Katherine Dunton of South Portland holds out a hermit crab for her slightly hesitant daughter Maria Condon, 3, to behold Aug. 2 in a tidal pool at Willard Beach. Easy access to nature and the outdoors is something that New York transplant Michelle Conners enjoys about life in Maine. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

It is indeed “north,” about a five-hour drive from Long Island to York County, Maine, when you plan your trip properly and don’t leave during the life-draining rush hour.

I love Maine’s dress code. It is casual and relaxed. People can go to work and feel comfortable without spending a month’s pay on an entire outfit just to impress and climb up the ladder to the next job that will require even more expensive clothing.

I remember my grandfather’s closet. I was always confused why everything looked the same and why my grandma spent so much time ironing and going to the dry cleaners. He worked hard, six days a week. He took the train and the subway into work for years at Cartier on Fifth Avenue. He’d leave before we awoke and he’d be home at 8 p.m., making a modest income. He spent his Sundays off at the beach.

For grad school, I took the train and bus to Queens College. There was always congestion, always anger, always people never quite satisfied with life.

In school, I was a number. I’m back in school again at the University of Southern Maine and people actually know my name. It’s also a casual drive from home, and when I get to school, there is actually parking.


Beer? Yeah, I like beer. I think I consumed the most amount of beer around and on the Great South Bay. (That’s in New York.) I still like beer. I actually have a kegerator at home. My kegerator, vacations, a reliable vehicle, investing in a retirement account, these are all things I likely wouldn’t have been able to afford in New York if I were buying fancy clothes.

I don’t miss the popularity of my hometown, Massapequa Park. You may know the name. Their baseball team was recently in the Little League World Series. There is a laundry list of famous people from Massapequa that is so long it requires its own Wikipedia page. Or you may have heard it mentioned in a variety of movies or TV shows. There’s even a Friends episode, “The One in Massapequa.”

You’re just a number in Massapequa, a number that needs nice clothes to stand out. But I’m not here to bash New York, my hometown, or Mrs. Adams of the New York Post. I do miss the memories, I miss the food, I miss the diversity, I miss family and friends, and everyone is entitled to their opinion.

However, I am here to defend Maine. In one day, I can be on the ocean in the morning, hike in the woods in the afternoon, have dinner in Portland and be back home for the evening. I am glad to drive to work without stress in a car that I know won’t break down. I am thrilled I could afford a house and property. I love that my kids were born here, and I am proud to call Maine home.

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