Though Lewiston is probably the biggest drawback about going to Bates, the city probably isn’t quite as bad as most students make it out to be. There are some nice trails only about 10 minutes from campus, and while there honestly isn’t that much to do in Lewiston, Portland is less than an hour drive from campus. Portland is a fun city—it’s very artsy and cultural, with plenty for anyone to do. There are museums, restaurants, cafés, theaters, bars, shops, and a very nice waterfront not far from the city. For students who don’t have cars, the school runs a bus that goes to the Old Port about once a month. The area around Lewiston is nice as well, with ski areas and good spots for hiking. The Outing Club organizes numerous trips to local hiking spots, and there are deals on seasonal passes for Batesies at local ski areas. If you’re interested in outdoor winter sports, including snowball fights, Bates is a great school. If you’re interested in spending a lot of time hanging out in a booming, urban metropolis, you might be happier somewhere else.
The relationship between students and “townies” is generally very poor, since most people from Lewiston resent the “spoiled rich kids” going to Bates. With a few exceptions, Bates students are seldom involved in the Lewiston-Auburn community, preferring to stay in the “Bates bubble.” In truth, there is very little to do in Lewiston—the enormous Super Wal-Mart really is the town’s greatest attraction. Lewiston is not only boring, it can be dangerous. It isn’t safe for students to walk around the city alone at night, and the rape and stabbing that took place a few years ago didn’t help matters. For those who are interested in Franco-American or mill-town history, Lewiston-Auburn is a treasure trove of information, but most Bates students try to avoid the town as much as possible.