Most students are so locked into the "Middlebury bubble" that they hardly notice housing, let alone an entire community, exists off campus. Even the ones who are aware of life beyond campus limits have to enter a drawing to score off-campus housing, and the quota is limited to approximately 60 students per year. Given this, and the fact that on-campus housing options are typically so appealing, students rarely have the desire to leave their dorms. The LaForce and Atwater suites are pristine and look more like polished penthouses than student housing, while numerous on-campus senior houses are highly coveted and quite roomy. Although many students enjoy feeling farther removed from academics by residing more than 10 yards away from their biology lecture hall, most find it more of a hassle than a blessing to commute 20 minutes every time they have to attend class.
Middlebury and the surrounding areas are certainly host to some rather cozy housing options. Furthermore, most are not outrageously overpriced, and admittedly do afford students the chance to escape a frenetic academic lifestyle once classes have let out for the day. The fact remains, however, that it is difficult to obtain off-campus housing, and it is often not worth the sweat and tears when you have to spend precious study and play time driving to class, lectures, organization meetings, on-campus performances, and so on.