NewEnglandTravelPlanner.com Logo   Brunswick, Maine Guide
Surrounded by coastal resort towns, Brunswick is the cultural center of this part of Maine. Both Bowdoin College and Maine's only professional music theater are here.

 
 

 

The first European settlers came to this area 26 miles (42 km) northeast of Portland (map) in 1628, and Brunswick (map) was incorporated as a town in 1738, taking its name from that of the British royal family, the House of Brunswick.

Shipbuilding was what brought wealth to the town. Maine's forests supplied the materials, colonial shipbuilders the expertise, and captains returned from voyages with wealth to build fine mansions in Brunswick.

The house at 63 Federal Street (map) is where author and abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe lived while she wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin, the anti-slavery best-seller published in 1852 that helped change America's attitudes toward slavery.

Bowdoin College

Much of Brunswick's fame comes from the distinguished Bowdoin College alumni who have spent their time in Brunswick and then moved on to fame and glory: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and President Franklin Pierce were all Bowdoin graduates.

Bowdoin College, founded in 1794, is at Pine and College streets, just off Maine Street (map). Free college tours are offered year round.

  Bowdoin College, Brunswick ME
   

The Bowdoin College Museum of Art, in a classic, domed McKim, Mead and White building, underwent a $20.8 million renovation in 2007 and is now better than ever, with more than 15,000 objects including works from the ancient world, European and American art, modern art, prints, drawings and photographs.

The Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum and Arctic Studies Center in Hubbard Hall holds memorabilia and exhibits describing the adventures of Bowdoin alumni Robert E Peary (Class of 1877) and Donald B MacMillan (Class of 1898), two of the first explorers to reach the North Pole.

Pejepscot Historical Society

Also in Brunswick are the Pejepscot Historical Society museums:

—The Pejepscot Museum, 159 Park Row (map), describes the history of the region of Brunswick, Topsham and Harpswell in Mid-Coast Maine.

—The Skolfield-Whittier House, 161 Park Row, a 17-room brick mansion next door to the Pejepscot Museum, was sealed in 1925 and not opened until 1982, when it became a museum. It's a King Tut-type time capsule, a real-life artifact preserving everything the way it was in the daily life of 1925—but it's closed during 2010 for restoration.

—The Joshua L Chamberlain Museum, 226 Maine Street, honors the man who was a Bowdoin College professor, a Civil War hero, president of the college, and four-term governor of Maine. His statue stands at the end of the Town Mall along Maine Street.

The Maine State Music Theater, 22 Elm Street (map), is on the Bowdoin campus, and presents musical productions from mid-June through Labor Day each summer.

Transportation

Greyhound and Concord Coach have bus service to Brunswick, and Amtrak's Downeaster train travels between Boston and Brunswick daily.

—by Tom Brosnahan


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  Paris Girls Secret Society, the new novel by Tom Brosnahan

 

Harriet Beecher Stowe House, Brunswick ME

Above, Harriet Beecher Stowe House,
Brunswick ME.

Below, Bowdoin College campus.

 

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