“Middletown is, I think, the most beautiful town of all…” John Adams, 1771
For the past few months, incoming students have been flooded with information about everything Wesleyan can offer them: student groups, on campus jobs, intramurals, and more. But there’s a lot that goes on just beyond Wesleyan’s campus that is also worth mentioning, so here is an incomplete list of some things Middletown has in store for those who move there. Check out all the info after the jump. (Seriously, though: RIP, New World Laser Tag.)
On Main Street: restaurants, coffee shops, and more
Main Street may be small, but it is packed with places to eat, hang out, and escape the campus bubble. The number of good restaurants and coffee shops is actually very high, and there is more information about that coming soon in a different post. And if you’re thinking of getting a job, hit up some of these eateries—they hire students and often pay more than campus jobs. For all you history junkies, there’s also the Middletown Historical Society, which is a neat little place. If you like to bike, hit up Pedal Power—you can sometimes find used bikes there for good prices (having one makes getting around a lot easier if you don’t have a car). And if you enjoy yoga but want a more professional setting than Wes’ student-run courses, Yoga in Middletown, has great student fares (50% off!) and lots of classes to offer. And, of course, there is Rite Aid for all your quick-fixes, and a few fancy food stores, like The Fruitery (don’t even think of serving yourself) and the It’s Only Natural (I.O.N.) food market. Both are very good, though on the slightly pricey side. Also keep your eyes pealed for the Friday afternoon Farmer’s Market outside the I.O.N. market.
On Washington Street: more food stops, Goodwill, and other useful stores
On Washington Street, which marks the northern edge of campus, there are more fun places to eat, along with some very useful stores, like Price Chopper, Home Depot, gas stations, a Verizon store, and more. There is also a Goodwill for you to quench your “shopping withdrawal”—you may laugh, but some students like to call it “Greatwill” because it’s just that good. There are also a few funky antique shops (think dorm room decor, y’all), and other random little eateries for you to explore with friends. (This is also where you’ll find most of Middletown’s fast food offerings, including McDonald’s, Subway, Dunkin Donuts, and Five Guys.)
Elsewhere within walking/running/biking distance: lots of nature
There is still plenty to do in Middletown that is not on the streets that immediately surround campus. A student favorite is Wadsworth Falls, which has a nice array of walking/hiking trails and a cool waterfall. A bit closer is Wesleyan’s Long Lane Farm, where students grow produce and at which various events are held throughout the year—it’s a nice place to go and “escape the bubble” if you don’t have time to wander very far, and there are nice running trails in the open areas right behind the farm and in the trees behind that. Butternut Pond is also a good place to go to for a run: to get to it, head right before you hit Long Lane, just past the gym. Russell Library is also a neat little place to check books out from, and don’t forget Middletown’s waterfront: you can watch crew races there, the view is very nice. You can also bike or run along it for miles and discover all sorts of cool sights.
A short drive away: more nature and more cool places
If you or some friends have a car, definitely check out Miller’s Pond during the warmer months; on a nice, non-freezing weekend, there are always students there going for a swim, hikes, and maybe the occasional nighttime skinny-dip. Another place to go for a swim is Crystal Lake, though the swim area is much smaller. It’s attached to Ron McCutcheon Park, which also has some nice picnic areas. And then, of course, there’s New Haven if you want to hit up Yale or have dinner in another town.
Volunteering in the community: anything you can think of
One could write an entire post on “volunteering in the Middletown Community” alone, so I will keep it short and sweet by directing you to the Office of Community Services’ page for you to explore some of the partnerships that Wes and Middletown have already established between one another. If you really want to become involved in the Middletown community, there is no shortage of ways to do so. A good starting point would be to peruse the Center for Community Partnerships website. There is a huge amount of information of how Wes students are already involved with the Middletown community and how the larger Middletown community is involved in our own campus activities.