Pairing big-city amenities with a small-town vibe and a relaxed atmosphere, Maine combines the best of all worlds. Low crime rates, congestion-free roadways and reasonable cost of living combine with world-class cuisine, attractions and outdoor activities to offer residents an outstanding quality of life.
Contributing to Maine's charm is its friendly business climate, which welcomes entrepreneurs and companies with open arms.
Based in Portland, Maine & Company helps expanding and relocating businesses find their footing in the state, and offers free consulting services. The private, nonprofit corporation is funded by a board of directors that comprises senior leaders of top organizations.
“Maine is unique in that we have CEOs who have put skin in the game to recruit new companies,” says Peter DelGreco, president and CEO of Maine & Company. “We have an interest in seeing this state succeed.”
Focused on connecting clients with professional opportunities, Maine & Company's services include real estate site searches, data collection and analysis, incentive program and financial resource identification, workforce analysis, and site visit coordination with public and private sector representatives.
“More and more, success in the business world is dependent on connections and relationships, and it's just something that happens here,” DelGreco says.
DelGreco also notes that the state's location lures business owners, thanks to easy access to major centers of commerce.
“We're fairly close to the greater Boston area and we have great access to Canada, including the cities of Quebec and Montreal,” he says.
Arts Communities Thrive
Throughout the state, the arts are attracting tourists and new residents alike – for both business and pleasure.
Maine's largest city is home to Creative Portland, a nonprofit organization that supports and works to grow Portland's arts economy through programs and events. The group's LiveWork Portland initiative promotes the area as a great place for creatives to build a life, and in 2012, the organization launched a professional development series geared towards artists, artisans and creative entrepreneurs.
“Yes, we have lobsters and lighthouses, but we also have a growing entrepreneurial community comprising artists, IT professionals, writers, photographers, designers, inventors, marketers and more,” says Jennifer Hutchins, executive director of Creative Portland. “Many choose to come here because of the laid-back lifestyle, but also because it’s not far from major transportation hubs, has high 'cultural density' and has resources for businesses to succeed.”
Creative Portland also hosts the city's First Friday Art Walk, the state's largest free monthly cultural event, which enables attendees to tour art galleries, studios and museums. The city also includes attractions such as the Portland Museum of Art, the Portland Symphony Orchestra and Portland Stage Company, the state's largest nonprofit theater.
Additional top arts destinations in the state include the Maine Discovery Museum and the University of Maine Museum of Art in Bangor, the Public Theatre and Bates College Museum of Art in Lewiston, Collins Center for the Arts in Orono, the Grand Auditorium in Ellsworth, and Maine State Museum in Augusta.
The Great Outdoors
Primarily located on Mount Desert Island, Acadia National Park, Maine's only national park, covers more than 35,000 acres and includes Cadillac Mountain, the tallest mountain on the U.S. Atlantic Coast. The park has at least 33 miles of trails perfect for hiking, biking and horseback riding, and also offers opportunities for fishing, swimming and boating.
More than 60 lighthouses dot the Maine coast, including West Quoddy Head Lighthouse in Lubec, the easternmost lighthouse in the United States. The coast includes miles of beaches, too, such as Old Orchard Beach, Goose Rocks Beach and Colony Beach in Kennebunkport, and Long Sands and Short Sands beaches in York.
“You can find whatever it is you're looking for here,” DelGreco says. “We have tremendous outdoor activities all seasons, with boating and whitewater rafting in the summer and skiing and snowmobiling in the winter, as well as world-class fishing and hunting, and hiking on the Appalachian Trail.”