Local Atmosphere

Waterville, ME
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3 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: There is not a mall. Only Walmart.

1 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: People go out only because the on campus nightlife is non existent, but don't expect much.

3 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: Waterville is sweet, peaceful community... that can get a bit boring sometimes (that coming from someone from New York). There isn't much to do in Waterville itself apart from eating. The main attractions are outdoors activities. Portland is an hour away from campus, and has the L.L. Bean store where most people go shopping for winter clothes. Overall, the atmosphere around Colby is not the most interesting, and it is certainly good to get off campus to some other place during breaks.

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: The campus itself is set on the side of Mayflower hill, it is very cozy and secluded. Waterville has 2 major shopping sections separated by a typical Maine Downtown area. There is a Walmart, 2 Hannafords and several other big box stores as well as a goodwill, and multiple coffee houses/cafes and restaurants. One of my favorite stores is Bull Moose, it is a music/videogame/movie/book store all in one. I have heard of the Waterville Police being harsh towards Colby students, but I haven't experienced it firsthand. As a whole, I think Waterville is a very safe city.

3 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: Waterville, Maine is hardly a bustling metropolis, but it is not without its charms. At first glance, the town (formerly an industrial hotspot) seems somewhat run-down, and the plentiful fast-food restaurants do little to improve this appearance. Closer inspection, however, reveals Waterville's little-known secrets. The Waterville Opera house has been recently restored, and regularly hosts theatrical performances. Barrels Market is a non-profit community market that promotes local products and produce; similar items can be found at the weekly farmer's market, which occurs in the center of downtown Waterville on each Wednesday. These are just a few of the town's "hidden gems," but as a Colby student, you not only have time, but also many opportunities, to discover others.

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Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Danny Garin
Washington, DC
Government and Economics
View all previous student authors

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.

Facts & Statistics

Fun Local Trivia
  1. Waterville is known as Maine's Elm City.
  2. The series Empire Falls, starring Helen Hunt, Ed Harris, and Paul Newman, adapted from Richard Russo's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name, was filmed here. Helen Hunt was occasionally spotted working out in Colby's athletic center.
  3. Waterville has a large French-Canadian population and hosts great French-Canadian art festivals.
  4. The Colby campus was originally located in town, in between the river and the railroad tracks. It got too big and moved up to Mayflower Hill in the 1950s.
  5. Waterville is home to the Maine International Film Festival.
Notable Natives
  • David Kelley - Emmy Award-winning screenwriter and television producer
  • Jeff Libby - former professional hockey player
Points of Interest
  • Acadia National Park
  • Bar Harbor
  • Belgrade Lakes
  • Boothbay Railway Museum
  • Maine Maritime Museum
  • Old Fort Western
  • Owls Head Transportation Museum
  • Pemaquid Point Lighthouse
  • Sugarloaf
  • Waterville Opera House
Shopping Centers
Freeport Outlets
Movie Theaters
Flagship Cinemas
247 Kennedy Memorial Dr.
(207) 873-7801
Movie Theaters
Railroad Square Cinema
17 Railroad Sq.
(207) 873-6526
Movie Theaters
Regal Cinema
23 Marketplace Dr.
(207) 623-8016
Major Sports Teams
  • Portland Pirates: minor league hockey
  • Portland Sea Dogs: minor league baseball
Distances to Nearest Major Cities
Boston: Mass.: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Student Polls

Rate the local atmosphere on the following topics    Based on 35 responses

Very poor
  • Cost of living
  • Dining
  • Friendliness of locals toward students
  • Museums/cultural attractions
  • Nightlife
  • Parking
  • Parks and recreation
  • Professional sports
  • Safety
  • Scenery
  • Shopping
  • Transportation

What is the local atmosphere like at your school?    Based on 30 responses

  • 27% Painfully remote.
  • 0% In or near a big city, but there's not much to do off campus.
  • 67% Small town with plenty of charm.
  • 7% Vibrant college town. There's no big city, but there are plenty of things to do off campus.
  • 0% City living at its finest. There's always something fun and interesting going on.

What is the proximity to other universities? Is there much interaction?    Based on 32 responses

  • 22% There aren't any nearby schools.
  • 59% There are nearby schools, but students do NOT interact much.
  • 19% There are nearby schools that students often interact with.

Can you see yourself living here after graduation?    Based on 32 responses

  • 56% No way.
  • 38% Maybe, if I could find a good job.
  • 6% Totally.



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