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Hi! I'm just finishing up a master's at UMaine and have lived in the area for the past 2.5 years (I'm originally from Missouri). Are you from Maine or New England? What program will you be joining? Master's or PhD? 


I would most definitely advise living in Orono! Most of the graduate students live in Orono and although it's a tiny place, it's got its own charm and is wonderful if you are into any sort of outdoor activities (hiking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, biking, kayaking, etc). If you chose to live in Bangor, you will be very unconnected from the larger graduate student community as most of the social activities are in Orono (unless you find other grad students to share a living space in Bangor). If you will have a car, lots of grad students visit Portland (2 hours) or Boston (4 hours) during breaks. There are some amazing national and state parks (Acadia is spectacular in the fall and at Baxter you can climb Mt. Katahdin, the highest peak in Maine and the end of the Appalachian Trail). Bangor is a very small city (about 35,000 people), but there's a mall, some larger shopping centers, movie theaters, and more restaurants. 


Have you received information on your FirstClass account yet? FirstClass is one of the systems the university uses for email and while it's terrible for email, there is a forum on there called "housing" where you will have the best luck searching for housing with other graduate students or in quiet areas. 


I had an absolutely horrible experience my first semester here because I was moving from out of state without ever having visited and no one advised me on areas that would be absolutely infested with undergraduates and partying. ****Stay away from the two major "student living" apartment complexes within a mile of campus: Orchard Trails and The Grove, no matter how great of deals they may seem, they are horrid places to live. I live in a tiny complex within walking distance to campus (less than half a mile; I don't have a car, so contrary to what everyone may tell you, carless living is completely possible in Orono) called College Park. A lot of other graduate students live here and it's very quiet. 


If you are willing to live with other people, you will most definitely get the best deal living with other graduate students, and like I said, the FirstClass housing postings are the best place to search for other graduate student roommates. 


As some background, I moved to Maine to complete the last half of my undergraduate degree at a very small college and fell in love with the state. I knew I wanted to attend grad school, so I applied for a fellowship at UMaine and ended up moving to Orono to complete my Master's. Before moving to Maine, I lived in St. Louis. If you are from a city, or any urbanish area, Orono can be a culture shock at first. It might seem like there is very little to do or see, but it's a great place to live- you just have to be a little more creative in finding things to do. And like I said previously, if you are ever missing the city, Portland and Boston are both within reasonable driving distance. 


I'm moving to Arizona this summer to begin a PhD program, but if you have any other questions about Orono, UMaine, or Maine in general, please feel free to contact me! 

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That's awesome, thanks very much! I'm coming from Michigan and love the outdoors, so Orono sounds great. I'm going to be getting my masters in English.


Any idea what I should expect to pay in rent? Living alone versus living with roommates? And do you have any idea of where to search for roommates? I'm guessing Craigslist is the best source, besides the FirstClass you mentioned.

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That's fantastic then, you'll love it here :) 


Compared to many other places, rent here is pretty cheap! I pay around $550/month for a studio apartment (all utilities and internet included). There are one bedrooms in the area for $500 to 600ish. I have a few friends that pay as little as $350 to $400 a month living with a roommate or two. When you're scoping out a place, you'll want to make sure to confirm the rental price includes heating oil/ natural gas for the winter. Maine is strange in that many places still aren't gridded so oil trucks come and deliver to people's houses and the bills can be pretty high in the winter if not included in rent. 


Oh! Also check out places in Old Town. Old Town and Orono are connected in one big loop and lots of grad students live there too. Old Town is a mill town, so be warned that during the summer it can definitely smell sourish if you're downwind. 


Other than FirstClass, Craigslist is definitely a good place to search. Also, you can contact someone in your department (perhaps your advisor if you already know them) and they might be able to let grad students in your department know you're looking for roommates. I'm with the School of Economics and we get emails from prospective students seeking roommates and housing in general, so it's definitely worth a shot. 


Welcome to UMaine! 

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I did my undergrad at UMaine in English, so if you have any questions about the department or faculty, I'd be happy to answer them!


I second all of LunaObscura's comments on housing, and want to emphasize staying away from Orchard Trails and The Grove. They're both bad news bears, and even though all the utilities are included in rent, the apartment quality is pretty bad. If you're hunting for a place in Old Town, I would steer clear of the area immediately surrounding the paper mill, which tends to smell a bit mill-y all the time. If you're looking for housing in Bangor, I would steer clear of 1st-5th streets. That's kind of a sketchy area. Orono and Old Town both have a lot of student housing, but Orono seems a bit quieter to me. You can also find furniture on FirstClass, too. There should be a link between the "housing" and "household items for sale" folders, so if you find one, the other will be right there. 


The downtown area in Orono is pretty small, but it has some great places to eat (Family Dog & Harvest Moon are my favorites, though Verve and Pat's are both quite popular as well. There's also a great Thai take-out place nearby called Thai Kitchen). There is a great candy/gelato store in Bangor called Specialty Sweets, and downtown Bangor is pretty nice. 


Most of the coastal towns around (Bar Harbor, Camden, Belfast) are touristy in the summer, but they're still great places to visit year round, and the scenery is beautiful.


Just as an aside -- the building that houses the English Department, Neville, tends to have some wonky heating issues in the winter. The same room might be cold one day and hot the next. It's not terrible by any means, but I definitely got into the habit of dressing in layers.

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The advice here is all great, but that said, I grew up in the Bangor area and I absolutely would not live in Orono (that might have a lot to do with having grown up in a town with a population of 500 people--I just can't do tiny towns anymore).  I love Bangor despite its big box stores and lack of coolness, and you can find beautiful apartments in the old Victorians in the neighborhoods near downtown (though there are plenty of dingy places, too).  Downtown Bangor is quite quiet, but it has a gorgeous public library, the franciscan monk bakery, Bagel Central, Giacamo's, Paddy Murphy's, and quite a few little shops and a couple of bookstores.  IMHO, Bangor is much much much preferable to Orono, though the previous poster(s) are right in that you would be disconnected from the grad community.  

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  • 3 years later...
  • 2 months later...
On 4/3/2017 at 0:08 PM, Psych_hopeful said:

Wanted to revive this thread! Can anyone give some insight into social life/dating life/apartments in Bangor/Orono?! 


are you searching for a room? i need a room from 19 august, 2017. I am going to join Umaine as a PhD student in Chemistry. so i need a room very urgent

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