Just beyond the edge of the paved world….
Merriwood is a vibrant and comfortable oasis nestled within the splendor of the Maine wilderness. Completely off the beaten path, and remote enough to be secure, Merriwood is within easy reach of all of the benefits of civilization.
We settled on the downeast section of Maine by examining criteria for beauty, current climate, projected future climate, natural resources, local culture compatible with the community vision, cost of land, proximity to civilized amenities, accessibility by road, air, and sea, and remoteness from major population centers. Big picture, this region of Maine is off the beaten path but is still a tourist destination with attractive towns and tourism amenities. It is highly accessible when times are good, but remote enough to be secure.
REMOTENESS & ACCESS
Downeast Maine has large tracts of undeveloped and roadless area, good farmland, and is as far away as you can get from population centers while still staying in a place that has some basic civilization.
When markets crash and crops fail, you don’t want to be within easy reach of major population centers. Nor do you want to be fending for yourself in complete wilderness. Downeast Maine is both wild and civilized and is many gas tanks or weeks of walking from major population centers. It will be hard for most people to reach the region...if they can even find it.
Conversely, this region of Maine is very accessible when times are good. There are two daily flights from Newark Airport and numerous others from other metros like New York, Philadelphia, D.C. and Boston and other major airports to Bangor International Airport in the heart of the region. The flight from Newark to Bangor ranges from 90 to 105 minutes. The drive to Merriwood from Bangor Airport is under 2 hours. Two general aviation airports are located 20 minutes from Merriwood. In typical traffic conditions the drive from Newark, NJ is 9.5 hours and 5.45 hours from Boston.
COAST, CULTURE & AMENITIES
Coastal Maine is considered politically moderate, culturally cosmopolitan with a strong tourism industry, and has a distinctly rural and independent character.
For a rural area there is a lot to do. As a thriving tourist destination there are bustling tourist towns, fine dining, skiing, golf, sailing, fishing, wildlife explorations, hiking, and basic tourism amenities. The region is currently also attracting a growing homestead movement of artists and back to the land progressive people.
While remote, the area is rich with local attractions.
Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge: This 30,000 acre wilderness is 15 minutes from Merriwood and is home to numerous endangered species set among rolling hills, large ledge outcrops, streams, lakes, bogs, and marshes.
Nearby Towns: 20 minutes south is the seaside village of Eastport Maine. Eastport is unique as a place that is far enough off the beaten path to be unspoiled, but still provides many tourism amenities including dining, arts, holiday festivals, boating trips, and much more. 20 minutes north is the town of Calais on the Canadian border with unique architecture and a handful of big box stores for shopping for essentials. Just over the border another 30 minutes is the town of St. Andrews-by-the-Sea; a renowned international tourist destination with high-end shopping and spas.
The St. Croix River and Passamaquoddy Bay: Just 5 minutes from Merriwood is a major inlet of the Bay of Fundy. In addition to being the international border with Canada, the St. Croix River, located at the mouth of Passamaquoddy Bay, is home to the highest tides in the world, and as a result has some of the richest biodiversity in the Atlantic ocean offering a nursery for lobsters, crustaceans, scallops, and clams. Due to the limited number of ships, it also has among the healthiest population of harbor porpoises in the world.
The Downeast Sunrise Trail is an 87-mile trail for ATVs that runs from Calais to Ellsworth.
Excursions: From short trips to get an ice cream cone, to multi-day excursions, the region is rich with opportunity. Examples include deep sea fishing or whale watching (20 minutes away), trips to Canada and St. Andrews-by-the Sea for shopping or a spa day, or treks to Mt. Katahdin - the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.
CLIMATE & CLIMATE CHANGE
It may seem counterintuitive, but as you travel out along the Maine coast your trajectory is more east than north. Compared to Vermont or New Hampshire, this part of Maine has a very mild climate. This is due to the moderating influence of the ocean as coastal Maine juts out into the Atlantic. In fact, looking at USADA agricultural climate zone maps, there is one small pocket of particularly friendly temperatures along the northern Maine coast right at the location of Merriwood. This isn’t a coincidence. This special microclimate is zone 6a, which is the same as northern New Jersey or Westchester County, NY. By contrast, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, upstate NY, and inland maine are more frigid zones 4 and 5.
The target site for the community has been selected to provide the best possibility to enjoy the outdoors today, and thrive in a climate change impacted future. An assessment of various studies on economic and environmental conditions in a post-climate change world suggests that Downeast Maine is a good place to be. The site has been screened for major climate impacts such as sea level rise, drought, and riparian flooding.
Whereas vast tracts of US farmland (and global farmland) are going to decline in value and productivity due to heat and drought, this northern farmland will become more productive and valuable due to a longer warmer growing season and ample precipitation.
Merriwood is a stunning 1,000 acre site in Washington County Maine. The site is a combination of rolling forested hills, bluffs, gentle glens, and has 2500 feet of frontage on pristine Howard Lake (527 acre lake).
The site is 5 minutes from the Atlantic Ocean and Passamaquoddy Bay where there is a deep water harbor, boat launch, and moorings for lease. It is 22 minutes from Eastport Maine, a funky town that bustles in the summer and has a thriving artist community, and 20 minutes from Calais Maine and a border crossing to New Brunswick, Canada. St. Andrews by-the-Sea in Canada is a refined international tourist destination with spas, shopping, golfing, local arts, and is a 50 minute drive.