PS: Dulles Int'l Airport has had 64" of snow this winter while the Portland Jet Port has had only 32" - I'm just sayin' . . .
At this point your search is extremely broad and needs to be narrowed. Our recommendation is to try to identify several specific locations that really attract you and contact real estate professionals from them. They will be able to direct you to property that meets your needs.
The amount of research needed to answer your questions is going to be an awful lot of work for you to do on your own. You need the help of a good buyer's agent in each of the areas you are interested in. They can answer your questions about the local community and send you listings that meet your criteria.
Give me a call either at my Bangor office - 947-6788 or my cell - 735-6988. I'd be happy to make some referrals for you.
I, too have lived in Maine all my life and look forward to retiring to a warmer climate.
Would you like me to make a Buyer Agent referral for you in each of the states you are considering a move to? Feel free to contact me:
CJ Dubois-Cote, ABR (Accredited Buyer Agent)
Prudential Prime Properties
445 Main Street
Saco, ME 04072
The listing agent represents the Seller, not you as the buyer. Since you are looking from out of state, with a lot of questions, you really need a Buyer Agent to represent you. Try to narrow down your area and then select a Buyer Agent. Trulia is a great place to make contact with agents. You can read their advice on line and see who might be a good fit for you.
You know, we are about 10 degrees warmer down here in Southern Maine than Northern Maine. Or so my in laws in Northern Maine tell me!
Good luck in your search. Maine will miss you.