More and more, Deering Center seemed suburban to us. We coveted the in-town Portland technicality, but were acutely aware that this was a former town of its own (Deering) that had been swallowed up by urban sprawl. Indeed, the very charm of the area is the village feel of Stevens Avenue from Woodford Avenue to the Cemetery: the combination video store/ice cream parlor/post office, the coffee shop, the butcher, the cobbler, the small market and restaurants. There are three old but lively brick schoolhouses, a historic public library and streets full of classic victorian homes stretching away from the main drag. What's not to like?
Nothing, really. At least nothing we could put our finger on. We embraced the new location, settling in and filling up the new house with trips to IKEA, the bountiful neighborhood yard sales, and of course Craig's List items. The girls ran through the sprinklers in the big fenced-in back yard, we bought a big gas grill and some lawn furniture.
But something was missing.
When I moved to Maine it was from NYC to Munjoy Hill. I was living in Red Hook, Brooklyn which was an outpost at the time (now there's an IKEA there). Red Hook was quiet, distant (getting there from Manhattan required bus AND subway rides), it had charm but was rough around the edges. It was old, salty, nautical, and authentic.
The harbor traffic was audible, including fog horns and tug boats. Seagulls were omnipresent and the water was never more than a few minutes' walk. Red Hook had a rough-and-tumble past and mentioning the neighborhood as home elicited wide eyes from New Yorkers who hadn't been out that way in a while. There were several housing projects in the neighborhood but also some trendy bars and shops. The fancy new Fairway grocery store had just opened on the pier.
In short, it was a maxi-Munjoy Hill.