A Transplanted Texan at Home in Maine
Guest Blogger: Todd Smith
If you had told me two years ago that I would be living and working in Limestone, Maine by now, I would have probably laughed at you. Not because I didn’t want to be here, but I just didn’t believe it would be possible. At that time, I was a High School teacher in central Texas and my wife taught at a local college. We had been to Maine the previous summer for the first time in our lives and we absolutely fell in love with the state. Our first introduction to the Pine Tree State came when we crossed the Saint John River into Fort Kent after traveling through Canada. We had a wonderful time camping for six days along the Saint John out at Norman Pelletier’s campground in Saint Francis. On that trip, we ended up finding, and later purchasing, a small wooded parcel of land in the Grand Isle area. We knew that this was a place where my wife and I would both be happy to live. The original plan was to visit Maine during the summers, camping out on our property, and eventually build a cabin. The plan changed when I applied for a teaching position at the Maine School of Science and Mathematics in Limestone. I was fortunate enough to be selected for the position, and with my family, we moved to Limestone in the summer of 2016.
There are many things about Aroostook County that we have come to love. First, the natural beauty of the woods and rivers of Northern Maine is one of our favorite aspects of the region. We can venture just down the road to the Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge for hiking, skiing, or wildlife viewing. We can spend a day canoeing or kayaking along one of the rivers close by, usually accompanied by a bald eagle or two. I had to drive at least an hour in Texas to find an adequate body of water to launch my canoe, but here, there are a half-dozen good locations within a few miles of my house. I had never been on snowshoes or cross-country skis before last year, but I just love roaming around our property in Grand Isle on snowshoes and enjoying the peace of the outdoors and the magnificent winter scenery.
Many people last year asked us if we were ready for the winter weather when they found out we had just moved from Texas. While it has been drastically different from what we had been used to, we have found that we actually like the cold weather and enjoy getting outdoors even in the winter. Northern Maine can’t be beat when it comes to summer temperatures and I can’t say enough about how impressed I am in the fall as the leaves change color. You just don’t get that in Texas. I find myself often reflecting on how my family and I came to be here in Aroostook county and I feel very fortunate that we are. We have made some great friends, I get to teach at a great school with exceptional students, and we get to enjoy the outdoors of Maine through four distinct seasons. For us, this is truly the way life should be.