When we moved to Bangor in November, one of the first things Bryce and I did was find a bar. We wanted a place where we could meet new people in our new city, a place for last-minute date nights and a place where we could take old friends visiting us for the night. A place we could make ours.
So, without much arm twisting, we set out to find the best one for us.
Living downtown, we can look out the window and see the city sprawled out in front of us like a map. Bars light up the street, glowing like warm lanterns.
Our favorite, our little corner of the city, our place turned out to be right next door to us. Tucked in among old brick buildings on Columbia Street is Two Feet Brewing Co.
Just one street up from Main, Columbia is peppered with local businesses. It’s a vein of the city that runs along the heart of downtown, all while remaining to be a little more removed. A well-known secret.
Inside is warm and inviting. Comforting. Like we are at an old friend’s. The long bar is made up of whiskey barrels and a slicked top. Several seats line the bar and on that early November night when we first walked in, we plopped right down into two of them. We soon found out that Two Feet had opened a few weeks before. The owners are local, but had just started something new, just like us.
Finding this spot right away made us feel like we were on our way to finding our new community.
And yet, despite this great community, and all the others that dot the state, more and more young people are leaving Maine.
When I hear about Mainers leaving, I find it disheartening but understandable. There are more jobs outside the state—many that pay more and offer more benefits.
I empathize with those who leave. I often get frustrated, thinking that at twenty-five, I should be closer to achieving my writing goals, even though I’m still figuring out what those are.
And then, I think about how I have learned the threads of this city. When Bryce forgets an extra sweatshirt or a snack, I know where to weave and criss-cross, which streets have less stoplights and where I can avoid stalling out at the tops of hills to reach him on his mail route. I know the roads that connect me to him.
I think about how when we walk into Two Feet, we are greeted by new friends who ask us how work and life and everything is going.
I think about how I may not have a book deal but I have this blog—a place to write. A goal to achieve each week.
I start to pay attention to my community—how at the end of the month I’ll attend Fusion Bangor’s Magnetize Maine Summit and meet with other people who care about keeping and bringing young people to this beautiful place.
Back on that November night, Bryce and I thought finding our favorite watering hole was the first step to connecting to our new community. Was that a crazy idea? Maybe. But we lifted our glasses and toasted to the possibility of it anyway.