Bates, Bowdoin and Wesleyan
Bates College is located in Lewiston, ME about 40 minutes north of Portland and 30 minutes west of Freeport, ME (the corporate headquarters of L.L. Bean). It is rural, but not remote, however the town of Lewiston feels slightly depressed. Bates is a pretty, brick campus with an expansive lawn, a small pond, and lots of open space. The school has undergone some recent renovations including a new dining hall, new dorms, and a renovated field house. They are also rebuilding the foreign language departments.
Bowdoin College is a highly select school located in Brunswick, ME, about 15 minutes from Freeport, ME and 25 minutes north of Portland, ME. I was very impressed with the student body, the feel of the campus, and the overall positive, laid-back, but intellectually curious vibe of the campus. Students were low-key, but passionate about learning and being part of a tight-knit community. They said that they came to Bowdoin because they wanted the intellectual rigor, but didn’t want to feel as stressed as they were in high school. Downtown Brunswick has a lot of cute shops and restaurants. I ate at a converted warehouse café/movie-theater/art gallery/wine bar overlooking the River.
Wesleyan is located in Middletown, CT, aptly name as it is two hours in either direction Boston or New York. Wesleyan has an open campus, which is somewhat non-descript, but had a gothic feel to some of the buildings. The buildings form a perimeter around a large green area called the hill. However, as you tour the campus, you do not get a sense of how it pulls together until you are on the top of the hill looking down at the buildings. Wesleyan has its own grocery store, where students can cash in meal “points” towards food and other items.