Today I’m rolling out another new feature which was inspired by my USA Road Trip posts on Boston and New York and the work I’ve been doing on city guides. So after living in Brunswick for two years, I’ve rounded up five of the best places in town, with a couple of runners-up thrown in for good measure.
Little Dog Coffee Shop—This is my go to place to do homework on the weekends, and it will probably be something I miss a lot while in Italy because they don’t go to coffee shops to sit and do work for hours. With big windows overlooking Maine Street, it’s perfect for letting in natural light on sunny days and also taking refuge from the rain and, more likely, snow. Their iced coffee is cold brew, something I’ve been all for lately, and has a really rich taste. They make great smoothies and really rich brownies and cinnamon buns which double as bricks because they’re so heavy and thick, not to mention delicious. They serve a mean garlic bagel, which I recommend with the Boursin for a breakfast that goes pow and gets your day, and studying, going. If you go later in the day, they also serve different sandwiches and paninis, all of which I’ve tried I’ve liked. It gets crowded on weekends and you have to be prepared to beeline to a table once one opens up, especially one near an outlet. They also have a rewards program. $
Frontier—This is my favorite restaurant in town, with Enoteca Athena coming in right after (and Fat Boy is another good drive-in option in the summer months with incredible burgers and shakes). Frontier serves up some great American classics with a spin to cater to the offbeat college and Maine crowd around Brunswick. The space used to be a coffee shop but was converted into a restaurant during my freshman year at Bowdoin. There are huge windows which boast an incredible view of the Androscoggin and the Frank J. Wood Bridge. They have really good sandwiches (try Mozz), and their Frontier Burger is tasty and juicy and comes with incredible fries. In addition to their excellent dining options, Frontier also hosts film screenings in their theater, showing a lot of film shorts and documentaries, like The Act of Killing. There’s a great atmosphere inside, and it’s a good date spot as well. $$
Gelato Fiasco—Whenever I’ve had somebody visit me at Bowdoin, I’ve taken them here without fail, because you really can’t go wrong. They have thousands of flavors which they rotate through everyday, with some consistent flavors offered daily like Dark Chocolate Noir and Strawberry Balsamic. Their Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Crunch and Caramel Sea Salt flavors have been favorites of mine as well as anything with cookies. They work frequently with local businesses like Frosty’s and Wild Oats to create doughnut and Maine Wild Blueberry Crisp gelato. It gets weirder as well, with PBR, Magic Hat, and buffalo chicken flavors, which isn’t to mention all of the Dr. Who themed flavors they released one day. They keep it fun. Their affogatos are also delicious, and they do pour over coffee. To save some cash, join the Red Spoon Society to get free gelato every hundred points you earn. And for every degree below freezing outside, they discount their gelato (which can score you some great deals in Maine). There are counters, comfortable couches and chairs, and tables inside in case you go to do work, and they have some board games free for the playing. $
Eveningstar Cinema—Living next to this theater this past year, I took advantage of the great movies and prices a lot. There’s only one theater, so they show one film at a time. Though it’s not huge with stadium seating like a lot of theaters, this place has that indie theater charm with fewer rows and some couches and rocking chairs in the front as well. Additionally, their movies are cheap, only $8.50 for an adult ticket, but they also have a student rate. Their movies are usually a little offbeat à la Wes Anderson and Nebraska. $
Bowdoin College Museum of Art—Rounding out the Brunswick Five is Bowdoin’s art museum (for another Bowdoin museum, maybe try the Arctic Museum). I’ve written about this museum before on Coffee and Lipstick, and I think they have a lot of great things to offer, all for free. The museum recently underwent multimillion dollar renovations and has great gallery spaces and seminar classrooms. They’ve hosted fantastic Maurice Prendergast and William Wegman exhibits. I’ve gone into the museum a couple of times for classes to look at things from Käthe Kollwitz lithographs to medieval artifacts. In addition to their temporary exhibits, they also have beautiful Assyrian (I believe) tablets and ancient pottery. It’s a great museum and showcases the College within the town.