Tag: brunswick

Bowdoin, Bates and Colby: Not Just Colleges, but Quaint Maine Hangouts

Congratulations to the newest members of the Bates, Bowdoin, and Colby College families! I thought I would talk a little bit about their surrounding areas, as these are the places where many students will be spending the next 4 years.

(Thanks to Simone for her valuable picks in this post!)

Bowdoin College – Brunswick, Maine

Bowdoin College Quad in the fall. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Bowdoin College Quad in the fall. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Located 26 miles north of Portland and on the Androscoggin River, Brunswick is very much shaped by the Bowdoin (pronounced Bow-den for all you non-Mainers) College community. In addition to its 215 acres of campus and extensive art museum, Brunswick’s Maine Street (get it?) is filled with small shops and restaurants, one of which is the one and only Gelato Fiasco‘s flagship store. It’s also home to another Cool as A Moose location. A few other nice sports are Wild Oats Bakery & Cafe, which is on Maine Street. It has some delicious salads, sandwiches and pastries. I’m always on the lookout for Asian restaurants, so Tao Yuan is also a good choice. El Camino is a Mexican eatery featuring locally grown meats, produce, and seafood. Although quite off the beaten track, Gurnet Trading Co. is known to have the best lobster around, located in a small seafood shack on the Androscoggin tidal section. On the services front, there’s an Amtrak station right next to the campus with Downeaster service to Boston, and a few movie theaters nearby.

Bates College – Lewiston, Maine

Located up the river from Bowdoin and 34 miles from Portland, Lewiston and its adjacent town Auburn are full of action. They’re actually sometimes referred to as the “Twin Cities”. Like Bowdoin, Bates also has an art museum to complement its liberal arts curriculum. If you’re around mid-August, The Great Falls Balloon Festival is a “hot” scene. Lewiston is also home to the Maine Music Society, so if you’re interested, stop by for a performance. The Androscoggin Bank Colisée has some hockey and other sporting events. More Asian Fusion? Why not! Orchid Restaurant has you covered. Fish Bones American Grill has blown Lewiston’s seafood scene out of the water. Shops are spread out on both sides of the river, but if you’re in the market for a bike, Rainbow Bicycle can get you on the road.

Colby College – Waterville, Maine

It’s interesting how all 3 of these schools are located along the banks of a river. Colby is no exception, being located on the Kennebec River and 78 miles northeast of Portland. And what would a Maine liberal arts college be without an art museum? Colby has another art museum to suit your artistic tastes. One of the coolest attractions is the Two Cent Bridge, which spans the Kennebec River to connect Waterville and its neighboring town Winslow. It is one of the oldest surviving wire-cable steel suspension bridges and is considered to be the last known extant toll footbridge in the United States, although the toll was abolished in 1960. There’s really nothing on the shopping front that surpasses Maine Made and More. It literally has every Maine creation you can think of, from Stonewall Kitchen Blueberry Jam (more on that later) to t-shirts and lobster bibs. It’s well worth the visit, especially if you’re wondering down Main Street. More Asian food – Pad Thai Too takes Thai classics and puts on a Maine lobster twist. Finally, Holy Cannoli has some Italian favorites.

Well, that’s it for now. It should provide you students and tourists with a good list to start your college visits/Maine visits. These 3 towns really bring out the quaint soul of Maine, so I encourage you to go Off the Maine Road and take a trip!

(Cover photo is of Bowdoin College in the fall, and is from Wikimedia Commons.)

Are you as Cool as a Moose?

During my first few summers in Maine, I was in search of a simple piece of Maine apparel: a t-shirt or a sweatshirt that said “MAINE” in big letters on the front. My problem was solved when visiting the small store Cool as A Moose, known to some Mainers as CAAM. Here’s a trivia question for all you Mainers or want-to-be Mainers: which 4 towns in Maine (and there are only 4) have CAAM locations? Read to the bottom to find out!

Cool as A Moose locations are in towns that are quite touristy, yet have that unique, Maine charm. All of these places will definitely be featured in future posts. Their products are the all-in-one package for the Mainer or Maineiac: everything that you could possibly put the word “Maine” on. T-shirts, sweatshirts, lobster hats, water bottles, stickers, moose antlers; you name it, they have it. Although not as comprehensive, their online store has some of these products available to order. But like most places on this blog, you have to see it in person to believe it!

To learn more about Cool as A Moose, visit http://www.coolasamoose.com

One of the Cool as a Moose Locations.

One of the Cool as a Moose Locations in Maine.

Answer to the 4 locations of Cool as A Moose: Unscramble the following words:

prefero; patroldn; rab rahorb; bricksnuw

An Ode to Gelato Fiasco

I wanted to start this post with a piece of contemporary literature I wrote, written in a historical form.

Holy (sort of)* Sonnet 1: An Ode to Gelato Fiasco

By Benjy R.

In the heart of the Old Port it is located,

The red spoon stands tall.

For in this building Italy is created,

Its recipes never escaping the walls.

People flock from near and far,

To have a taste of this rich cream.

Mainers park their cars,

And purchase some frozen treats, excited they seem.

From cookies to chocolate and other toppings,

The gelato has been made fresh each day.

For some of the flavors may seem kind of shocking,

But the customers devour them, and go off on their merry way.

This Old Port haunt can be quite a fiasco.

Of course you can also eat al fresco.

*Although it (mostly) follows the rhyme scheme of a Shakespearean sonnet, it lacks iambic pentameter.

The Gelato Fiasco has long been one of my favorite places in Maine. But before we start, let’s get our gelato facts straight. According to Instant Portland’s article The Gelato Wars, “Gelato is not simply “Italian Ice Cream”. It is a frozen treat which shares common ingredients with ice cream, but which typically has a much lower percentage of butterfat and a higher percentage of sugar than American ice cream. It is denser, smoother, and often more flavorful than its more familiar counterpart.” Well said.

Gelato Fiasco (known to Mainers as simply Fiasco) has 2 locations: their flagship store on Maine Street (clever, right?) in Brunswick, and one on Fore Street in the Old Port. I have regrettably only been to the one in the Old Port, but I am planning to make a spiritual pilgrimage to this holy site. When entering the store, you are greeted by Maine goodness. Let me explain. Fiasco’s gelato is not “health food”. However, founders Josh and Bruno (known as Gelatieri) had a vision to bring Italy’s creation and combining it with fresh Maine ingredients. They explain: “We source 100% of our whole milk and cream from Maine dairy farms.” Of course, they use fresh Maine “wild blueberries from down the coast”. Now let’s look at one of my favorite flavors (out of over 1500 ever made) from this local haunt. Maine Wild Blueberry Crisp Gelato. Let’s break it down into its components: Milk from Maine dairy farms, homemade oat streusel (as usual, made fresh daily) and fresh blueberries from Down East. What more Maine goodness could you possibly want?

Gelato Fiasco’s Old Port location.


Fiasco’s staff are also very “nice” (and they’re working crazy store hours of 11am-11pm). In order to illustrate this, let’s look at example 2: The Waffle Cone. Now when people go to Gelato Fiasco, I highly recommend that they order their treat in a waffle cone; it’s totally worth the extra $1 or $2. I strolled into the store this past summer, and was disappointed to learn that no waffle cones were left. (You see, they make their waffle cones fresh in some complex piece of machinery, with waffle batter.) They said to come back in 20 minutes, and sure enough, the waffle cones were ready. I had already had my gelato, but I gladly accepted the waffle cone for consumption on its own. That’s how good they are.

Gelato Fiasco’s Waffle Cone.

As you have read in the “About” section of this blog, I live in New York. When I left Maine this past summer, I was worried that indulging in such a treat would be a challenge, and would leave me constantly craving Fiasco. Problem solved, thanks to Fiasco’s hand-packed pints sold in a grocery store near me. That’s right. Hand packed in Brunswick, Maine, and brought right to my kitchen. Since this life-changing discovery, I have been able to keep the Maine spirit alive by having Maine Wild Blueberry Crisp Gelato and Strawberry Balsamic Sorbetto (another one of my recommended flavors) in my home. Well done, Fiasco. (You can also order pints through their new delivery service, where dry ice is used to keep the gelato and sorbetto frozen.)


Maine Wild Blueberry Crisp Gelato, pint-sized.


A few days ago, I sent a message to a few Mainer friends, saying that I acquired new gelato from the grocery store. One of them (who actually lives over an hour away from the nearest Fiasco) responded back saying, “I was just at Gelato Fiasco actually!!” And we conversed about their latest creations, which is basically what all of our conversations boil down to. See? Gelato Fiasco induces unity between Mainers and Non-Mainers.

You’re probably tired at the end of reading these 709 words that this post has turned out to be. You’ll hear more about Fiasco in future posts. But now I wanted to leave you with a quote by its founders Josh and Bruno.

“Food and service should not be a static experience. We explore tastes, people, and culture with a spirit of discovery and within the parameters of the pursuit of excellence.”

Well said, Fiasco. Well said.

To learn more about The Gelato Fiasco, visit their website at http://www.gelatofiasco.com, or watch this YouTube video below.

All photos in this post (as with most of them on this blog) are taken by me.

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