Today we uprooted from our New Hampshire digs for our upcoming week’s stay at Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine’s Carrabassett Valley. In winter, Sugarloaf reigns as the biggest ski area in New England. In summer it’s much more quiet, but perfect for us as a nexus for exploring the state’s Lakes and Mountain Region.
Properties in this part of Maine are considerably more remote than the coastal places we saw two years ago. They are also farther north than any other place we’ve visited, about as polar as Montreal and well more north than Toronto.
Our job is to see how much of that latitude and remoteness is a plus and how much is a minus.
New Hampshire Impressions
We left New Hampshire with a better impression than we started with. The White Mountains as a whole are gorgeous, and while not every town within them is for us, we could imagine finding ourselves at home near here someday.
Properties within White Mountain National Forest – or any national forest, we’ve come to learn – are especially attractive to us. We like mountains, it turns out (except for this one.)
And the locals, like yesterday’s deceptively knowledgeable tour guide Patrick, mostly have the unhurried and unharried demeanor that we’re actively cultivating.
It’s All Local
Driving north from Conway to Carrabassett Valley, we wove back and forth across the state line between New Hampshire and Maine and then paralleled the Androscoggin River for an hour, the same river we canoed yesterday.
Despite similar geography, places even ten minutes apart held entirely different appeal.
Small city Bethel: charming. Small city Rumford: the opposite.
Barely-a-town Dixfield: dreadful. Barely-a-town Phillips: delightful.
Sometimes the difference is only a few coats of paint or a tidier town square. Sometimes it’s much more than that. But all of this is reinforcing our opinion that when it comes time to plant roots, it’s all local.