Lewiston, Auburn, Lisbon and Southern Maine Information
Known as "Cities of the Androscoggin", Lewiston and Auburn make up a metropolitan area of just over one hundred square miles and sixty-four thousand people, joined together by the Androscoggin River at the heart of South Central Maine. Urban convenience and diversity, plus the charm and serenity of Maine's agricultural origins and natural beauty, are all found within their boundaries.
Quality of Life Lewiston-Auburn offers the best of both worlds: a location perfectly suited for business, and a safe, family-friendly place to live and enjoy the arts, sports and recreation.
AARP's Best Places to Retire in 2011 named Lewistons Number 10 after considering dozens of communities lookinig for those that marry "the energy and excitement of cosmopolitanlife with the charm and neighborliness of a small town".
Thorncraig Bird Sanctuary, one of the largest in New England, along with several beautiful parks and the Riverwalk path along the Androscoggin River help nature enthusiasts feel at home. If golf is your game, several picturesque golf courses are located in the area including Martindale Country Club and L-A's newest course, Fox Ridge Golf Club, situated on more than 200 acres of superbly maintained links.
Lewiston-Auburn is a hotbed for hockey - one reason why the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League chose Lewiston's Central Maine Civic Center to site their first U.S. franchise, the Lewiston MAINEiacs. The league offers some of the finest hockey outside of the NHL, and has served as the training ground for the likes of Mario Lemieux, Ray Bourque, and Martin Brodeur.
As for cultural opportunities, the area has earned national attention. Named one of the 100 Best Small Arts Communities in the country by John Muir Publications, L-A offers countless theater, concert, and art productions year-round. Each year, the Great Falls Balloon Festival, Bates College Dance Festival, and Festival de Joie attract thousands of people. From family skiing at Lost Valley to worshiping in local churches such as the splendid Sts. Peter and Paul Church (a replica of Chartres Cathedral in France), the area offers much by way of history, culture, and heritage.
Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council Report by Paul Badeau: Business Focus Published March 2006. Lewiston-Auburn has most of the ingredients required to attract artisans and entrepreneurs-and therefore, young and mobile professionals. The ingredients I'm referring to are numerous and impressive:
1. A river. Let's face it, most people like to live near or by a body of water, but artists crave it. As one property investor/artist told me recently, "Artists love to congregate near water."
2. Affordable rents, both commercial and residential. "Affordable" is a relative term, of course, but compared to southern Maine, real estate is still a fairly good deal here.
3. Cool architecture. Lisbon Street in Lewiston, Main and Court Streets in Auburn, and other parts of both cities' downtowns have a "cool factor": the architecture is gorgeous, classic, and eclectic. Even some of the buildings that are still unkempt on ground level are often beautiful on the upper levels. Walk downtown and look up: many buildings have historic and gorgeous facades.
4.Central location. L-A is less than and hour's drive from Portland, Augusta, Bath-Brunswick, and many towns in Western Maine. If artists feel that they need to be close to Portland to be "connected," it's an easy drive.
5. Arts organizations. The Twin Cities area has a number of professional arts organizations including L-A Arts, Community Little Theater, The Public Theater, and the Maine Music Society, to name a few.
6.Performing arts venues. There's a healthy list of venues in which to catch a concert, perfomance, special even, or presentation. Among some of our premier locales are the Colisee, the Public Theater, Great Falls School, Olin Arts Center, the Marsden Hartley Cultural Center at the Lewiston Public Library, the Franco American Heritage Center, the Bates College Arts museum, and during the summer, Festival Plaza, Courthouse Plaza, and Railroad Park, to name a few.
7. A critical mass of unique companies, artists, performers, and innovators. There are many dynamic and creative operations in and around the Twin Cities, from painters and videographers, to musicians, designers, and architects. Remember that L-A was once the capital of Maine's folk scene and boasted a successful recording studio and several pop/rock bands.
Impressive craftsmen such as luthier Dana Bourgeouis, woodworker Thomas Moser, and the numerous craftsmen at such institutions as the former Cardinal Enterprises (hand made rugs), the Bates Mill Complex (heirloom quilts, which are still produced at the Bates Mill Store), Mary's Candy(what chocolate!) and freshly baked bread (Countyr Kitchen).
8. Creative resources. It's not simply that we have four colleges in L-A, but we have such unique offerings at these institutions.
Bates has its illustrious Dance Festival, arts museum, and hundreds of plyas, concerts, performances, conferences, and lectures. Central Maine Community College has, among other offerings, a printing program that is unique to the state, as well as a culinary arts program. L-A College has gallery space, a Franco American collection of historical documents, and more.
Then, there's the subtle presence of the Maine School of Metalwork, operated by Maine Oxy to teach welders and fabricators how to be artistic metal smiths. Museum L-A, now a textile/shoe/manufacturing heritage museum located at the Bates Mill Complex, will eventually join forces with other organizations to highlight model railroad cars, Civil War paraphernalia, and modern art, to name a few.
9. Business resources. On the business side of trying to make the arts a profitable if not sustainable proposition, organizations such as the Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments help with business planning and loan assistance; the Career Center provides resume building and job hunting; SCORE offers guidance from retired executives who provide sound advise on getting a company off the ground and keeping it going; the L-A Economic Growth Council offers site location and gap financing assistance; Coastal Enterprises offers help with funding and seeking venture capital; and the Maine International Trade Center helps find foreign markets.
10.High-speed Internet. Not just simply DSL or cable, but redundant, direct-to-business cable hook-up and even wireless Internet has arrived in a growing number of venues and schools. (Thanks, Oxford Networks!)
11. Restaurants and nightlife. A blues club. A growing list of pubs with live performances. A high-end seafood restaurant. A victorian five-course treasure. A wine bar or two. Cafes. Mexican food. Thai food. Italian food. Somali food. European bakeries.
A restaurant/pub that makes its own beer. Chain operations, too, if that's your bag...It's all here.
12. City amenities. Living and working in a city has its conveniences. L-A has a daily newspaper, a community access chanel, a boat launch, two world-class hospitals, hotel/inn/motel offerings, a civic center, armory, a Chamber of Commerce, a ski facility, parks, the Riverwalk, retail offerings, economic development agencies, bus transportation, parking garages, a municipal airport, some of the best public golf courses in the state, and soon, a skate park.
13. Inspiration. Like what, you ask? Saints Peter and Pual Church. Kora Teample. Thorncrag Bird Sanctuary, The Great Falls. Mount David. Mount Apatite. Lost Valley. Lake Auburn.
14. Buzz and funk. Everyone's talking about L-A. It's become hip, bold, visionary. Real estate is red hot. L-A is leading the state in development. There's a Starbuck's/Fishbones/L.L Bean contingent, side-by-side with a Tim Horton's/Simones'/Marden's crowd.
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