If you had asked Julie O’Rourke at age 18 whether she’d live in Maine as an adult, she would have looked at you like you were crazy.
The apparel designer — who produces a line of children’s clothing called Rudy Jude — grew up in Blue Hill, Maine, just north of Deer Isle. Like many young residents of Maine’s relatively sleepy coast, she couldn’t wait to get out of state.
In the orbit of the Pine Tree State, if you’re not from Maine, you’re simply “from away.” But despite such an intense amount of state pride, “away” is exactly the place a lot of young Mainers dream of going. Julie spent 10 years exploring Providence, New York, Ireland and Hawaii before choosing to return home. She built a life with her partner, Anthony Esteves, who she met at the Rhode Island School of Design, and their young son, Diogo.
“It was here all along,” she says. “When I considered the midcoast, I realized for the first time that I could find independence from my family and childhood and still do that in a beautiful place.”