Waterville is typically viewed as a tiny, quaint, and growing old mill town, and year after year, it is becoming more economically sustainable. Though Colby is situated away from Waterville on Mayflower Hill, one can always find Colby students roaming around downtown. To bridge the divide, the Colby Volunteer Center, Burst the Bubble Weeks, and groups like the South End Coalition are working hard to improve town-gown relations. Students also recognize some of the truly unique aspects of downtown Waterville. Railroad Square Cinema is a small, independent movie theater that is well loved by students and faculty, and the Waterville Opera House is a cultural oasis in a town that sometimes seems to revolve around Wal-Mart. The most recent addition includes a Starbucks.
Even though it is situated in central Maine, Waterville actually has quite good cuisine. Pad Thai Too, Last Unicorn, and Big G's are popular destinations for students looking for an alternative dining experience. The newly opened Barrels Community Market carries freshly grown food and organic meats. However, Waterville can be something of a culture shock, especially for students used to looking for trendy boutiques and unaccustomed to Wal-Mart greeters. Most students, though, accept its flaws and enjoy getting off the Hill every now and then. Almost every Colby student has spent time skiing at Sugarloaf, and the 45-minute drive to the Freeport outlets is well worth it.