Maine has been declared, in a real estate study, to be the second-best state in the nation for the hippie lifestyle.

That’s good news, right?

It depends on who you ask.

“Do I think Maine is a good state for hippies?” asked Anissa Roberts, formerly of Bridgton, now living in Pittsfield. “Only if you are a rich hippie. Only if you possess the means to purchase your land and need not work in the private sector to pay your bills. It once was better. It has only gotten worse.”

Roberts and others have plenty to say about this. But first, a word about the study itself. It was conducted by a group called Estately, which conducts a blog aimed at helping people find homes around the country.

According to the blog: “Our rankings were determined by measuring per capita the number of communes and co-ops, Etsy stores selling hemp/patchouli/tie-dye products, and the percentage of Facebook users who express interest in the Grateful Dead, Phish, cannabis, tie-dye, peace, LSD, Bob Dylan and hippies.”

Which is just wonderful for a perfunctory look at the way a state accommodates the hippie lifestyle. Those who dig a little deeper hardly see Maine as a utopia of freedom, peace and love. In fact, some say, more and more roadblocks go up every day.

“I consider myself a hippie,” Roberts said. “In 19 days, we are moving to Charlotte, N.C., because for the second time in five years my husband’s job (in this case, the whole factory) is being sent overseas.

“Prior to the first time my husband’s job was sent overseas in 2009 we owned a home in Lewiston on one of the largest corner lots still within the city on East Avenue,” Roberts said. “We grew pumpkins, summer squash, zucchini, peas, purple and green beans, cucumbers, radishes, and an herb garden… We would have gatherings of friends all of the time throughout the year but most especially in the summer. We also were listed with the state as a local church, Samhain Dell.”

The problems, many said, is that the government really doesn’t want people to be self-reliant. Grow your own food and they’ll pass laws to forbid it, a practice presently happening in several states. Try to live off the grid and one government agency or another may fine you, seize your property and declare you an outlaw.

“Maine still has some of the most relaxed regulations on obtaining that listing,” Roberts said. “After 2009, my husband went to school to get his degree in electronics and computer technology. He graduated May of 2011 and it took six months for him to find a job in his field of study. We have since closed the church, lost our home, had to move farther north for this job that is now shutting its doors. Being a hippie in this state — and being true to the ideal of barter/trade/off grid/grow your own food/self sustainability is getting harder and harder.”

Doubts about the study are all over the place. If you overlook the stereotypes — the hairy armpits, the patchouli and the ganja — real hippies question whether Maine really is all that.

Many of them, after all, come from what was once known as the hippie capital of America.

“I think the state of Northern California was far more hippie-friendly than Maine,” wrote Carey S. Clark, who came from Los Altos to live in Arrowsic, Maine. “I suppose I would need to see the criteria used for the determination and the hippie who chose the criteria to really know.”

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. In a query on the subject of Maine hippies, the majority of respondents simply had fun with it, debating over whether they qualified as hippies.

“I was thirteen years old in 1967 and living in Oakland, Calif., with hair well below my shoulders. Does that count?” wrote Bill LePack of Livermore. “I’ve still got a ponytail. In fact, I have a couple. Every once in a while I get it braided and cut off, then hang the braid on the wall.”

Iman Poeraatmadja of Bowdoinham went right ahead and listed all of his qualifications in one hiptastic paragraph.

“236 Dead shows. Former medical marijuana patient. Guitar player. Ken Kesey rules. Horticulturist,” he wrote. “I’ve seen most of the big name classic rock bands, saw Phish at a frat house at UVM. Most often eat vegetarian, but not afraid of eating meat. My good friend owns the Dancing Bear Boutique in Brunswick. I owned a 1971 pop-top VW camper. Caught on fire in Ohio and left so we wouldn’t be late for the show. Ski bum in Jackson Hole for 5 years. And wait for it — I already burned through my trust fund. Hippies do fine in Maine.”

Brenda Walkingbear Akers likes Maine just fine, too.

“In southern California, I was called a hippie, like it’s a bad thing,” the Lewiston woman said. “Moved home to Maine where I was born, and I fit right in. Even music elevators and stores, and from people’s windows walking down the street, is hippie friendly.”

Vermont is No. 1 on the list. Mississippi is dead last. Maine, according to the study authors, deserves its place high on the list.

“The state,” they wrote, “is basically one big drum circle.”

Tony Morin, whose qualifications include singing in a Grateful Dead tribute band, agreed with Vermont as the hippie state, but not with Maine’s ranking.

“It’s no contest. Vermont wins,”  said Morin of Lewiston. “Oregon and Washington, maybe Colorado have to be ahead of Maine at this point.”

They’ll have a hard time convincing Roberts that Maine is No. 2, as well, as she and her family pack up and prepare to leave the state once and for all. She doesn’t believe Maine treats hippies all that well. She doesn’t believe in these kinds of studies, very much, either. Not this one, anyway.

“I am not certain who conducts these surveys,” Roberts said, “but they seem to get it wrong much of the time. At least that is my opinion.”

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