Credit: Sara Gray
Setting: On Maine's central coast, 130 miles northeast of Portland, the town curves around Blue Hill Harbor on Blue Hill Bay's western edge. Winter and summer high temperatures average 29 and 76 degrees, respectively.
Attractions: The 26-mile coastline is a playground for boaters and kayakers. The excellent schools draw zealous support from the community. Galleries, shops, a few restaurants, an impressive library, and a hospital form the small village center. It's just a short hop to the hiking trails of Acadia National Park.
Drawbacks: Well-paying jobs are scarce, and most employment is seasonal. Public coastline access is limited.
Housing: Waterfront location and lot size determine most home prices, according to Melone Madix-Jackson of Slaven Realty. Luxury homes on Parker Point, one of the town's premier enclaves, start at $2 million and rarely go up for sale. House prices in Blue Hill Falls, Sculpin Point, South and East Blue Hill, and The Ponds range from $200,000 to several million dollars. Small cottages in town cost approximately $300,000, and an empty plot of land runs around $100,000.
Your next-door neighbors: Organic farmers, lobstermen, retired professors, artists, second-home owners, retirees, contractors, and photographers.
How you'd spend your free time: Eating a lobster roll at the roadside Fishnet restaurant, debating zoning issues at a town hall meeting, perusing the farmers' market, listening to chamber music at Kneisel Hall, preparing for the annual Blue Hill Fair (August 30-September 3 this year).
(published June 2007)