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 BowdoinCollege
– 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
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
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 BowdoinCollege
and not open for tours.The Joshua
Chamberlain House (on Maine Street,
the “main” drag I referenced above, just across the street from BowdoinCollege) is open for tours Tuesday
through Saturday, however.
Strolling about the BowdoinCollege 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
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.
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 WalkerMuseum
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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