Brunswick A Great Place to Live, Work And Do Business
Brunswick, Maine, often called the gateway to Maine’s Mid-Coast Region is consistently ranked among great places to live. In fact, Brunswick was designated a “Main Street Community” in 2012. Offering a robust arts and culture scene, excellent dining options and a distinctive, pedestrian – friendly downtown all just minutes from the magnificent coast of Maine, Brunswick is a great place to visit and an even better place to live.
The community is enriched by the presence of three local colleges, most notable is Bowdoin College – the first college to locate in the state of Maine in 1794. Bowdoin College makes significant contributions to the quality of life in Brunswick. Other colleges in Brunswick include Southern New Hampshire University and Southern Maine Community College.
The active downtown district offers an endless array of galleries, shops, cafes and restaurants. If you appreciate architecture, a walk down Maine Street and nearby neighborhoods is a feast for the eyes. You’ll find the expansive, renovated Fort Andross Mill Complex featuring a unique blend of restaurants, entertainment, antique shops and more, along with homes built in Federal, Greek Revival and Italianate styles. The National Register of Historic Places includes some of Brunswick’s impressive homes including the stately mansions build by sea captains and shipbuilders in the Pennellville Historic District. Maine Street itself is distinct, laid out by the Pejepscot Proprietors in 1719, it measures 198 feet wide!
Good Eats & Brews
Appealing to many who call Brunswick home, are the varied options for dining often within walking distance. As with many things in Brunswick, restaurants are for the most part small, locally-owned, locally-sourced venues. For lunch and lighter fare, some of our favorites include Wild Oats Bakery and Cafe, Taco the Town Food Truck, Union Street Bakery and Shop and Little Dog Coffee Shop. Though not downtown, but not to be missed is The Gurnet Trading Company, a seafood wholesaler offering some of the best, freshest seafood lunches in Maine. A few upscale and delicious options include Frontier Cafe – providing food, film and music, Henry and Marty, not only offering quality dining fare, but they have donated close to $80,000 to the Mid-Coast Hunger Prevention Program since 2007, and there is the creative, feisty and yummy El Camino Cantina. For the ultimate in comfort food, you must take in a meal at The Great Impasta, a staple on Maine Street since 1984. Great dining along with lodging can also be found at The Daniel with its Coast Bistro and Bar and The Brunswick Hotel and Tavern.
Brunswick offers a variety of ethnic culinary options as well. It is impossible to name them all, but a few include: Bombay Mahal and Shere Punjab – Indian, Bangkok Garden Restaurant -Thai, Asian Garden featuring Chinese, Japanese and Thai, Enoteca Athena – rustic Greek and Italian, Richard’s Restaurant – German, and Tao Yaun – Asion/Fusion.
A few eateries and breweries stand out in a class of their own. Always on our must visit list:
Flight Deck Brewing – Down East Magazine named this local brewer “best tasting room in Maine.” The brewery and tasting room is located in what was once the Small Arms Range of the former Brunswick Naval Air Station, now called Brunswick Landing.
Gelato Fiasco, their motto: “Inspired by Italy – Perfected in Maine.” The product is divine and was recently featured in O – The Oprah Magazine. Our Lead Agent and CEO Marnie DuBois is a member in good standing of the Red Spoon Society. To quote Marnie, “Proud of it!”
Fat Boy Drive In – any self-respecting Mainer who finds themselves cruising around Brunswick on a sunny day, must drive into Fat Boy’s for the annual burger, fries, onion rings and shake, delivered to your car – window up slightly please!
Just a few minutes away in Harpswell, one of the most scenic of all mid-coast Maine towns, you’ll find seafood classics with creative twists at Dolphin Marina and Restaurant and Morse’s Cribstone Grill – the food at Morse’s won’t disappoint, try the seafood nachos – and the view of the Cribstone Bridge is stunning!
Arts & Entertainment
Talented local painters, sculptors and artisans whose work can be found in the numerous galleries downtown and throughout the area add to Brunswick’s rich art scene. Artwalk Maine, active on the 2nd Friday each month in Brunswick, features visual art, live music, dance, extended shopping hours and more. For serious art lovers, a visit to the renowned Bowdoin College Museum of Art with its impressive collection of over 20,000 works of art, sculpture and artifacts is a must, and for history/adventure buffs, a trip to Brunswick must include a visit to the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum, Pejepscot Historical Society, and Joshua Chamberlain Museum
Professional musical theater doesn’t get much better than the ever-popular Maine State Music Theater. The MSMT has been producing shows every season since 1959.
The Bowdoin International Music Festival established 1964 by Bowdoin College is the region’s premier classical music event. Each year a highly-selective group of the world’s top classical musicians, guest artists and students are invited to attend an intensive six-week mentoring program. Over the course of program, 275 students and their accomplished teachers from all over the world perform 80-plus concerts. The concerts offer an unprecedented opportunity for locals to enjoy music of this caliber.
An outdoor lover’s dream, Brunswick offers abundant opportunities for an active lifestyle. From bike paths, to wooded trails, rivers, inlets and bays, there is something for everyone to enjoy all year long. The Town of Brunswick, along with local land trusts, have dedicated thousands of acres for conservation and outdoor fun. And the numerous quiet back roads leading to beautiful water settings can turn even a simple walk into a memorable adventure.
For those who like to go “off road,” the Androscoggin River Bicycle Path is a 2.6 mile, 14 foot wide paved bicycle/pedestrian path providing scenic views along the Androscoggin River. It is a perfect place to peddle, walk and picnic, and it is pet-friendly too with two dog parks for furry friends to play. If you are more adventurous, you might try a walk across the Androscoggin Swinging Bridge connecting Brunswick to Topsham. It was originally built in 1892 for workers walking from the Topsham Heights neighborhood to Cabot Mill in Brunswick.
Historic Town Commons and the Greater Commons feature close to 200 acres of conservation land with trails used for hiking, cross-country skiing and more. The trail systems of the Town Commons connects with the trails of the adjoining Greater Commons, enabling long, uninterrupted hikes through the woods. To enjoy a short, but rewarding trek ending in a gorgeous ocean view, try the trail found at Maquoit Bay Conservation Land Trust. Another shorter hike might include Cox Pinnacle -with the highest point – the pinnacle – at 350 feet above sea level. The trail system is part of a 103-acre preserve including forested hills and wetlands.
Beaches in and around Brunswick
Two of Maine’s most popular beaches are just 40 minutes away. Reid State Park with its tidal inlet, huge surf and Griffith Head outcrop overlooking Seguin Island,The Cockhods and Hendricks Head, features a beautiful wide sand beach and rugged rocky cliffs. And the dramatic and constantly changing Popham Beach with its seemingly endless white sand. Bordered by the Kennebec and Morse rivers, Popham beach is a rare geologic land form. Fox Island can be accessed at low tide, but pay attention to the incoming tide! Thomas Point Beach in Brunswick and Hermit’s Island in nearby Phippsburg also offer camping.
In a Class of Its Own
A drive to Mere Point down Mere Point Road with Maquoit Bay on one side and Middle Bay on the other is a worthwhile ride with a great view. However, there is nothing that compares to taking a leisurely bike ride on this same route on a warm summer day and stopping at Paul’s Marina and Judy’s General Store. Looking across Middle Bay with a bag full of penny candy in one hand and an ice-cream cone from Judy’s General Store in the other is the stuff dreams are made of.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin was written by Harriet Beecher Stowe while she was living in Brunswick – her husband was a professor at Bowdoin College. It is said she received a key vision for the book while sitting in a pew in the First Parish Church.
Other distinguished residents have included: Brigadier General and Governor Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Governor and current Senator Angus King, Olympian and Bowdoin College graduate Joan Benoit Samuelson and Senator George Mitchell.
Economy and Quality of Life
Brunswick is enjoying a boom to the local economy in part due to economic development of Brunswick Landing at the site of the former Brunswick Naval Air Station and the recent Amtrak Downeaster extension offering service to Portland and Boston. Sperling’s Best Places forecasts Brunswick’s job market to increase by 35% or more over the next 10 years.
The gateway to Maine’s Mid-Coast region, Brunswick is a vibrant community with a thriving economy, great schools and two major hospitals. With its proximity to Portland and some of the most beautiful beaches and outdoor recreation sites in the state less than an hour’s drive away, it’s easy to see why Brunswick is a desirable place to live, work and do business.