LORA'S EASTPORT STORY
Photo Courtesy of Tarah Waters
Journalist and writer
Originally I moved to Eastport from another region of Maine to take a job that did not involve telecommuting. Now I do telecommute from my home office to my place of employment, the regional community newspaper The Quoddy Tides, a very short telecommute indeed. However, it’s a trend that other businesses in the area are beginning to use to allow their key staff to work remotely and enjoy the benefits of a flexible work schedule. Axiom Technologies is one such company in Washington County that uses this model.
When I first moved here I was anxious about the long winters and short days of light. Other than my dog and cat, I didn’t know a soul and anticipated a whole lot of alone time. I stocked up on craft projects to keep myself busy. Over a decade later those craft projects are still awaiting my attention. You can be as busy or as quiet as you want, but there is no lack of projects and community work if you enjoy working with others, short- or long-term.
The winters are actually quite beautiful, and the area has a wealth of cross-country skiing, snow shoeing and ice skating possibilities in state parks, the national refuge, land trusts and private properties. My husband and I try to get into the woods at least once a week for a ski or a skate. I’ll never forget one time skating when a bunch of ice-fishing was going on, with some excellent fishing taking place. The ice gets so thick that ice huts and vehicles can move onto the lake. As we were skating way out there were cheerful intermittent honks carrying over the ice as fish were landed. Another time we saw two youngsters skating with a sheet between them creating a sail effect. With the way the winds pick up on lakes in the early afternoon, they were having a grand time.
We bought our house, a 500 foot fixer upper, because we could see it as a very livable and affordable project to tackle over a few years. We’ve since made it much more energy efficient and added an addition to bring it up to about 750 square feet of one-story living. Easy to maintain so we have the free time to enjoy getting out and paddling a lake, motoring to an island in the bay, or taking a hike: We like that! The yard is a good size for gardening, something that I love to do, but also a sensible size so that we’re not spending all our free time keeping up with the weeds.
Healthcare is accessible right in Eastport, and in nearby Calais, Lubec and Machias. Major hospitals and healthcare specialists are located in Ellsworth and Bangor, both a little over two hours away. If you have specialized medical needs, it’s a good idea to talk to the local healthcare centers to make sure you receive and have access to the care you need. The healthcare centers will also know about special support groups and resources for specialized needs that can be hard to find out about as a newcomer to an area.
I grew up in a major metropolitan city. Shopping withdrawal will happen for people who move here from places where they’re used to easy access to anything they could possibly want. Obviously, the Internet allows shopping access for just about anything, but I’m not the only one here who has found the move to allow for space to reflect on consumerism and needs versus wants. That said, I’ve found that most of our needs can be met with local or regional shops. Our business and nonprofit community work hard and deserves our support. Sometimes all it takes is to ask if something can be special ordered, and our nonprofits arts and cultural organizations offer world-class exhibits, music and more for all ages.
Island living can feel small at times, and when it does, most people whether they grew up here or not, head out of town for a break. We’re no different. We’ll take a trip to Bangor, Portland or Fredericton, N.B., enjoy the restaurants and cultural offerings. After stuffing ourselves with delicious ethnic foods and overloading our brains with art, we’re more than ready to cross the causeway and return to our island life.