As I drove back to Colby this morning after spending almost a week at home for Fall Break, I realized how strange it was that I was driving south on I95 when the vast majority of Colby students have to drive north to get to school. For a lot of people, venturing to Colby for college is going way up north. Sadly, in my opinion, once arriving at Colby most students don’t venture very far north unless they are visiting Baxter State Park. While there are always plenty of things going on during the weekends at Colby, it’s nice to get off campus once in a while. Most people head Acadia National Park or Baxter State Park when they want to get into nature, or when they crave more of a city atmosphere they head down to Portland (Check out Kristen’s awesome blog post on Portland!) or Boston, which is only 3.5 hours away. My “Must See” list for Colby students is a little different. If you want to mix it up a bit and visit somewhere I don’t think a lot of Colby students get to, head up I95 for an hour to Bangor.
Bangor is Maine’s third biggest city (after Portland and Lewiston), but it doesn’t feel like a city at all. I brought a couple of my friends up to Bangor a few weeks ago and they laughed when I told them we were driving through the heart of the city: there are no tall buildings or big intersections, but there’s plenty to see & do. Here’s my list of the top 5 things to do while visiting Bangor, in order:
#5) Visit the Bangor Mall. It’s really not the most spectacular mall (and the Maine Mall in Portland is certainly larger), but it definitely allows more of a shopping variety than Waterville. From Dicks Sporting Goods to Delias, you can find almost everything in the mall. Plus, Target is nearby so you can stock up on all the dorm supplies you need!
#4) Have a picnic in Cascade Park. There are tons of parks in Bangor, but Cascade Park is strictly a picnic park. There’s no playground, so you don’t have tons of little kids running around, which makes for a very peaceful picnic. If you go in the late spring or early fall you might still see some of the beautiful flowers that fill the park. There’s also a pretty waterfall and fountain; Cascade Park is small, quaint, and beautiful—and a popular place for prom and wedding photos!
#3) Check out the Bangor Waterfront. There’s a pathway running along the Penobscot River that makes for a nice leisurely walk, and if you’re hungry you can stop in at the Sea Dog for some good food. There’s also a major concert series that is held in the waterfront, and some of the concerts fall during the school year so make sure to check that out (search Waterfront Concert Series on Google!). This year we had Journey, Luke Bryan & Jason Aldean, the Beachboys, and REO Speedwagon to name a few! While you’re in downtown, make sure to check out the giant statue of Paul Bunyan, which is right down the street, he’s much bigger than you’d expect.
#2) Visit Stephen King’s house. One of Bangor’s few claims to fame is being the home of this famous author. If you’ve ever read any of his books, you’ll understand the creepy bats and gargoyles on the rod-iron fence that separates his house from the street. You can’t actually go inside the house, but it’s still fun to take a good look at it. Be sure to check out the large frog statue in the corner of the yard!
#1) Go to Downtown Bangor. This is my favorite part of the city. It will literally take you ten minutes to walk through all of downtown, but there are tons of cute shops to check out. The one must while in downtown: go to Bagel Central, the home of the best bagels in the world (that’s just my opinion, but I dare you to try them and disagree).
It’s pretty difficult to get off campus during the weekends because there’s always something fun going on, but if you get the chance, I strongly urge you to venture north rather than south, and discover something new!
Until next time.