Seeking the Quintessential College Town

Jul 4th, 2005, 01:03 PM
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Seeking the Quintessential College Town

I recently quit my job to pursue my own business (freelance design and writing). Since I don't really care for the city I live in (Cincinnati, OH), and can do my work from anywhere in the world, I've decided that a move is in order.

I've always loved college towns, and thus, have decided to consider moving to (or near) a college town, hopefully somewhere in New York State or New England. I'd like to get some suggestion from folks as to what some of the best college towns in the United States are.

My criteria is as follows:

1) New York State or New England preferred.
2) Small city or town.
3) Close proximity (1-2 hour drive) to larger city would be nice.
4) Town should be intellectually and culturally active (e.g. nice art scene, places to dine, bookstores, etc...).

Any suggestions would be much appreciated.
starbuck1105 is offline  
Jul 4th, 2005, 01:10 PM
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I'd say the Five College Area (Northampton, Amherst, etc.) of Massachusetts fulfills all your requirements. Our daughter goes to Hampshire in Amherst and our family has fallen in love with the area.
CAPH52 is offline  
Jul 4th, 2005, 01:16 PM
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Surely you've been to Granville, Ohio? Home of Denison University. It is exquisite. My son is going there this fall. When I drive through that town I think, this is why people become college professors. It's lovely. 25 minutes outside Cleveland.
wliwl is offline  
Jul 4th, 2005, 01:18 PM
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Yes, I've been to Denison (Granville) and it is quite a nice town. However, I'd like to get out of Ohio and head up to New England. Thanks!
starbuck1105 is offline  
Jul 4th, 2005, 01:41 PM
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Charlottesville VA - home of UVA
kate_kate is offline  
Jul 4th, 2005, 01:51 PM
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Well, if I had to choose for small towns, it would probably be Northhampton, Amherst or Keane. But I have to say, small towns grate on my nerves after about a year. I much prefer a medium-to-large city. That's just me though. Providence would without a doubt be my choice in that category. Check it out -- especially seeing as how you are into design.

It seems that almost exactly one year ago you asked about Portland, Maine. What became of that research?

Good luck.
bluestar is offline  
Jul 4th, 2005, 01:56 PM
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Starbuck, if your original post is a valid example of your writing skills, then I hope you're a really good designer.
The_Editor is offline  
Jul 4th, 2005, 02:03 PM
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The_Editor, what in the world prompted you to post such a rude, obnoxious, hateful reply?

Have I offended you in some other life? Or is it simply that you so miserable with your own life that you have to go around insulting other people for kicks?
starbuck1105 is offline  
Jul 4th, 2005, 02:07 PM
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i agree with caph52 and to be more specific, i would add that williamstown, ma is my favourite new england college town. i think it depends on how large a university you prefer. williams is small and well proportioned to the size of the town. i think it is important that the "town" and "gown" be proportionate in size.

in williamstown, you have the clark art institute, the williams college museum of art, and best of all the summer theatre series that attracts very big names...i saw a play there in a tiny space that starred marisa tomei and directed by joanne woodward - who sat in the seat right in front of us with her husband, paul newman. not bad for a tiny college town.
walkinaround is online now  
Jul 4th, 2005, 02:10 PM
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The five colleges area around Northampton and Amherst would suit your criteria. Fortunately some of the small towns around there haven't succumbed to the real estate price inflation that's rampant elsewhere in the state. They get long winters, though; being inland and uphill from Boston they get lower temps and more snow. You'd be about 2 - 3 hours from both Boston and New York, I think.
Anonymous is offline  
Jul 4th, 2005, 02:20 PM
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Williamstown is lovely, too, and certainly has a whole lotta culture for a college town of its size especially in the summer. But IMHO, it just doesn't have the scope and population to support the lively everyday cultural life (restaurants, bookstores, etc.) that you'd find around Northampton/Amherst.

It's also more isloated, in the far northwestern corner of Massachusetts, near the intersection with Vermont and NY state, about 90 minutes from Amherst, that much farther from Boston, and even a little farther from NYC than Amherst is.
Anonymous is offline  
Jul 4th, 2005, 03:03 PM
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Starbuck, I suspect you were criticized for the grammatical and punctuation errors in your posting. I'll leave it to you to discover them for yourself.

As for a nice college town in the the New England area, I would suggest Princeton, Cornell, and the Amherst group as others have mentioned. Good luck.
Wayne is offline  
Jul 4th, 2005, 04:19 PM
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Burlington, VT has what you are looking for. Great downtown with lots of restaurants, bars, shops. Great musical acts come through via Higher Ground ( and other small clubs. Awesome scenery. Outdoor activities at your doorstep (sailing, swimming, hiking, skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, fishing etc). Small, but good airport (Jet Blue, Independence Air, USAIR, United, Northwest, Continental). Home to the University of Vermont and Champlain College. St. Michael's College is in nearby Colchester. 1.5 hours to Montreal. Cheap Jet Blue flights to NYC.
On a smaller scale, check out Middlebury, VT, about 45 minutes south of Burlington.
bm is offline  
Jul 4th, 2005, 04:23 PM
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Wayne ---

I figured as much, but that doesn't necessarily mean that he was in the right for posting those comments. Besides, anyone who attempts to analyze one's writing skill based on nothing more than a 50-word question recklessly typed out in the span of 20 seconds is a fool, to say the least. That's especially true when the author of the offending comments can't seem to spell "the" correctly (as evidenced by his other posts on the site).

That said, I've already given that troll too much attention. Moving on...

Thank you Wayne, and others, for your time and your thoughtul comments. I am going to be in Montreal in a few weeks. I think that when I am done with that visit, I will drive to Northampton and check it out for myself. Thanks again!
starbuck1105 is offline  
Jul 4th, 2005, 04:25 PM
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Princeton - I know it;s not quite NY/New England - but close enough to both NY and Phillly for easy day trips.
nytraveler is offline  
Jul 4th, 2005, 05:18 PM
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Here's another vote for Princeton. It has so much to offer, is beautiful and close to NYC.
SusieQQ is offline  
Jul 5th, 2005, 07:33 AM
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Northampton or Amherst, Massachusetts! Gorgeous.
suze is offline  
Jul 5th, 2005, 08:04 AM
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I'll put in my vote for Ithaca, NY, home of Cornell and other colleges. It is beautiful.
buongiorno is offline  
Jul 5th, 2005, 09:19 AM
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Starbuck, are you prepared for the stick-shock of moving to NE? Those college towns are likely going to be much more expensive than your life in Cincinatti. Add the costs of getting into the city for work, and you are talking a significant jump in costs and expenses?
MikeT is offline  
Jul 5th, 2005, 09:22 AM
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Kingston, Rhode Island is a beautiful small town in southern RI and home to the University of Rhode Island. Kingston is also about a 1/2 hour drive to Providence (Brown University, Providence College, Johnson & Wales), and a 1-1/2 hour drive to Boston.
kenm is offline  

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