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.)