Brunswick Travel Blog

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Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Brunswick, where "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was written

Brunswick is a classic Maine town about thirty miles north of Portland.  I wanted to give a brief introduction to Brunswick because I used to live here and yearn to return some day.  What makes this a really neat place is that it is small, with a population just over 20,000, but hosts Bowdoin College – which injects all kinds of interesting people and activities.


It is easy to imagine the many coffee shops and art galleries in a quaint college town, but this one is magnificently enhanced by a significant history.  Uncle Tom’s Cabin” was written by Harriet Beecher Stowe in Brunswick, where her father was the pastor at a local church and her husband a professor at Bowdoin College.

on the campus of Bowdoin College
  The famed Union general Joshua Chamberlain resided in Brunswick (he graduated from Bowdoin College and was teaching there as a professor when the Civil War began) and returned after the war to be elected as the Governor of Maine for four consecutive terms, despite incurring significant wrath for refusing to create a police team specializing in upholding the state’s alcohol prohibition laws.


You can stroll past the Harriet Beecher Stowe house where she penned her classic (63 Federal Street – just a block off the main drag), though it is owned by Bowdoin College and not open for tours.  The Joshua Chamberlain House (on Maine Street, the “main” drag I referenced above, just across the street from Bowdoin College) is open for tours Tuesday through Saturday, however.


Strolling about the Bowdoin College campus can be equally exhilarating.  The college was established in 1794, so it will be no surprise that it includes buildings rivaling storied Ivy League venues.  The resiliency of Bowdoin is illustrated by its graduates.

Walker Museum of Art at Bowdoin College
  Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow both earned their sheepskin at Bowdoin, not to mention Joshua Chamberlain.  Franklin Pierce also graduated from Bowdoin to add a United States President to their prestigious list of alumni.


But Bowdoin didn’t stagnate and continues to add admirable graduates.  Peter Buck, co-founder of the Subway food chain, former Secretary of Defense William Cohen and even Joanie Benoit Samuelson, the first winner of the woman’s marathon in the 1984 Olympics matriculated from Bowdoin.


Mentioning Joanie begs me to share one of my fondest memories of Maine.  I lined up right beside Joanie in the 1994 LL Beane 10K run, and I want you to know that I kicked her butt…………for the first fifty yards…………..and then it was “bye, bye, Joanie”, lol.


Seriously, the last tidbit to share about Bowdoin is their stunning Walker Museum of Art.  Though the last time I enjoyed their fabulous collection was fifteen years ago (they recently completed a serious upgrade which expanded the footprint while preserving the integrity of the building erected in 1894), it is astonishingly rich in antiquities and the latest in modern offerings.


Brunswick deserves a full day during your Maine itinerary.  I haven’t even mentioned the wealth of great dining establishments here, but I will conclude by sharing my favorite – the Great Impasta (Italian, of course, great entrees and garlic knot appetizers that are to die for) at 42 Maine Street – some day I will get back there and <god forbid> I might even snap a photo of my meal!

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Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Bru…
Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Br…
Joshua Chamberlain House in Brunsw…
Joshua Chamberlain House in Bruns…
on the campus of Bowdoin College
on the campus of Bowdoin College
Walker Museum of Art at Bowdoin Co…
Walker Museum of Art at Bowdoin C…
photo by: vances