Since its establishment in 1794, Bowdoin College has offered students a first-rate education amidst a tranquil New England backdrop reminiscent of early America. If this esteemed university and the beautiful town of Brunswick, Maine, where it’s located, is your upcoming travel destination, consider yourself fortunate. This area of New England is abundant with natural beauty and fun, unique attractions that you won’t find anywhere else. Whether you’re visiting for just a couple of days or an entire week, there’s always plenty of interesting things to do just minutes from the campus of Bowdoin College.
Things to Do
Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum
If you’re in need of a fun way to spend an hour or two but don’t have enough time to venture off-campus, consider checking out the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum. This fascinating museum, located in Bowdoin College’s Hubbard Hall, is just one of two museums in the United States dedicated only to Arctic studies.
Named for Bowdoin alumni and famed Arctic explorers Robert E. Peary and Donald B. MacMillan, the museum displays many pieces of antique equipment used throughout their many expeditions way up north. Additional artifacts include anthropological objects, traditional Inuit art, films, archival documents, natural history specimens, and more. 9500 College Sta, Brunswick, ME 04011
You’ll feel as if you’ve stepped into a Norman Rockwell painting as you walk down Maine Street in downtown Brunswick. Lined with specialty shops, an ethnically-diverse assortment of restaurants, elegant old homes, and more, this pedestrian-friendly section of downtown is a popular gathering place for local residents and Bowdoin students alike. Must-see spots include Cote’s Ice Cream stand, an charming independent movie theater, and a grassy park with plenty of shady spots for when the weather’s warm. Maine St, Brunswick, ME 04011
Wilbur’s of Maine Chocolate Confections
While on Maine Street, you’ll be just a short walk from Wilbur’s of Maine Chocolate Confections, a boutique candy shop with enough sweets to satisfy even the most addicted chocoholics. Some of their most popular candies include chocolate covered blueberries, pecan and caramel-filled Turtles, and Meltaway Truffles.
For the truly chocolate-obsessed, Wilbur’s even offers tours of their facility. The two types of tours offered at Wilbur’s include the Guided Chocolate Factory Tour and the Hands-On Factory Tours. Both tours provide curious visitors with a behind-the-scenes look at how some of their delicious candies are made, along with a chance to hear about the history of Wilbur’s and of course, try plenty of samples. On the Hands-On Factory Tour, visitors also get the chance to make their very own treats to take home with them. Both tours are offered only on certain days, so be sure to check the event calendar on their website prior to your visit. 143 Maine St, Brunswick, Maine 04011
The Bowling Bowl
Yet another beloved Brunswick institution, The Bowling Bowl is a quaint, seven-lane bowling alley that has been providing the local community with old-fashioned, family-friendly entertainment since 1941. This isn’t your average, everyday bowling alley however. What sets The Bowling Bowl apart is that it offers candlepin-style bowling, as opposed to the ubiquitous tenpin version of the game. This regional variation of bowling features thinner pins and smaller balls, which are thrown three times per frame instead of the usual two. These differences make candlepin bowling more challenging than tenpin and in some ways, even more fun.
Best of all, The Bowling Bowl is conveniently located just off of Maine Street less than a mile from the Bowdoin College campus. This makes it easy to pop in for a quick game no matter how hectic your travel schedule might be. 7 Dunlap St, Brunswick, ME 04011
Freeport Village Station
You won’t have to travel far from Bowdoin College to find some of the area’s best places to shop. Simply take a quick 20-minute drive to the nearby Freeport Village Station. This mile-long, open-air shopping center features a variety of outlet stores for brands such as Calvin Klein, Nike, Oakley, and more.
At Freeport Village Station, the fun doesn’t have to stop once you’ve shopped ‘til you’ve dropped. You can then go dine at fun, fast, casual eateries like Johnny’s Rockets and Dairy Queen or see a first-run film at the state-of-the-art Nordica Theatre if you’ve got the time. 66 US-1, Freeport, ME 04078
Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park
Maine is a state with no shortage of natural beauty, that’s for sure. If you’re looking to experience this beauty for yourself during your visit to Bowdoin College, one of the best places to do so is Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park. Encompassing 244 acres along the tranquil waters of Casco Bay in Freeport, Wolfe’s Neck is made up of white pine and hemlock forests, salt marsh estuaries, and picturesque rocky shorelines.
The popular Casco Bay Trail will lead you past many of the park’s unforgettable landscapes. When it’s time to take a break, enjoy a picnic under a canopy of oak trees while keeping an eye out for the majestic ospreys that nest on nearby Googins Island as they fly overhead. Other activities offered at Wolfe’s Neck include cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and guided nature programs. 426 Wolfes Neck Rd, Freeport, ME 04032
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Places to Eat
Cameron’s Lobster House
If you took a trip to Maine and didn’t try some delicious lobster dishes, were you ever really there at all? The answer might as well be no! So, during your stay in Brunswick, grab a bite to eat at Cameron’s Lobster House. For the past 10 years, this charming local establishment has been serving up lobster in countless different ways, including classic preparations like boiled or chopped up and served on a buttery roll, as well as in lobster BLTs, salads, stews, and more. All of these dishes are prepared using only fresh, locally caught Maine lobster, so no matter what one you choose, expect it to be good. 18 Bath Rd, Brunswick, ME 04011
Local Market and Cafe
Half restaurant, half specialty foods store, the Local Market & Cafe is a foodie’s paradise. Housed in a landmark 1870 building on Maine Street in downtown Brunswick, Local Market & Cafe has become one of the town’s most popular eateries ever since they opened their doors in 2012. Although their menu changes from season to season, on it you can expect to find fresh, vibrant salads, an eclectic variety of sandwiches, and more.
After your meal, peruse the selection of artisan goods in the market, most of which are from small local vendors. There you’ll find everything from honey infused with spicy chilies and organic pickled blueberries to a Mason jar cocktail shaker and boldly flavored cherry bitters. 148 Maine St, Brunswick, ME 04011
Take your taste buds on a journey halfway around the world at Shere Punjab, an authentic Indian restaurant that locals just can’t seem to get enough of. Also located on Brunswick’s bustling Maine Street, Shere Punjab serves traditional Indian dishes prepared with deep, rich spices such as turmeric, clove, coriander, ginger, and mint. Some of their most popular offerings include chicken tikka masala, saag paneer, and a dish known as chana masala, made with chickpeas steamed with tomatoes, ginger, garlic, and plenty of earthy spices. 46 Maine St, Brunswick, ME 04011
Continue your culinary journey through the flavors of Southeast Asia during your visit to Brunswick at Sweet Angel. Located less than two miles from the campus of Bowdoin College, Sweet Angel serves Thai cuisine so flavorful and authentic that you’ll swear you’ve somehow ended up in the heart of Bangkok. On their menu you’ll find favorites like pad Thai, drunken noodles, and various kinds of curry, along with some lesser known, yet equally delicious dishes like spinach fried rice and rad na, made with stir-fried noodles and broccoli doused in a rich gravy sauce. 136 Pleasant St, Brunswick, ME 04011
Much like how Bowdoin College isn’t your run-of-the-mill university, Brunswick isn’t just another college town. With fun, old-fashioned attractions and shops; restaurants that serve cuisines from far, wide, and everywhere in-between; and a beautiful state park just a short drive away, Brunswick has something for everyone to enjoy. Whether this is your first time visiting this picture-perfect part of Maine or you’ve been there countless times before, you can always expect to find something new and exciting that you won’t find anywhere else.