Bangor is the gateway to the “north country” and a fairly prosperous lumber, paper, and shipping center and the navigable terminus of the Penobscot River in east-central Maine. The areas to the north are wooded wilderness. The rugged shore area is 30 miles to the south, and the “Down East” coast to the northeast is a vast, unpopulated area of classic New England coastline with fishing and other recreational sites. Acadia National Park is on an island 40 miles to the south. Old Town, on a river island 10 miles north, is home to the University of Maine and the Old Town Canoe Company, a business befitting to the area.
The economy has generally made the transition to service industries faster than most of the state, but that isn’t saying much and employment is still an issue. Downtown is clean, attractive, walkable and somewhat historic. In part due to the college presence, the area does have some small but well regarded arts amenities, including what is thought to be the nation’s longest continuously performing symphony orchestra. Bangor is isolated from many city amenities and services—some residents travel to Canadian cities such as Saint John, New Brunswick, Quebec City, or Montreal. For those who can find employment and tolerate the long, hard winter, Bangor is a good choice.
Bangor lies in a river valley near sea level. The surrounding area is hilly and wooded with a mix of deciduous and coniferous forests. To the largely unpopulated north, the hills get steeper and the forests more dense with a maze of glacial lakes. The climate is continental with a marine influence and four very distinct seasons. Summers are warm and pleasant, normally not uncomfortably hot, and feature cool evenings. Winters are cold, often brutally, and windy when cold air masses descend from the northwest. Below zero temperatures and snow cover are common. Spring comes slowly with frequent freezes. Precipitation is moderate and spread throughout the year, although fall tends to be the driest and most pleasant. First freeze is early October, last is early May.