Granted, I lived there 25 years ago, but I thought it was pretty nice. The building is ugly (Gropius, right?), but the rooms are decently sized, if a bit uninteresting. When I lived there, Musser was the last campus stop on the way to town; now, there are townhouses and other campus locations that direction. Also, downtown Northfield, which is very close (closer than the rec center), is a lot more vibrant than it was in 1974. You'll have a blast!
Gropius, yeah. It's uglier than most of the dorms, but I hear it has a reputation for having a cramped room (I don't know how the rooms were back then, though) but yeah, being close to the town and Sayles, and that I get to write on the corridor walls make up for the ugliness.
Goodhue is a chilly trek across the lakes from classes and dining halls in the winter. OTOH, it's right next to the rec center and the arb. Also, probably the biggest floors, so you'll get a big starting group for social activities.
There was a dining hall there in my day; it's now a lounge. I've always wondered why the college doesn't provide a continental breakfast in the lounge, especially winter term. Maybe you can lobby for that.
My son was in Goodhue his freshman year and spring term this past year (after returning from a term abroad). He really liked Goodhue (and was happy to be back last term), except for that chilly trek across campus during winter term. However, it didn't stop him from heading over to Sayles at night to do something fun, even in sub-zero temps. petrosbasileus, are you on the lake or arb side? Arb is quieter but lake side rooms are a foot or two bigger.
bingle, my son told me that they took the cafeteria out of Goodhue because during the winter too many students just didn't bother to leave the dorm. That may or may not be apocryphal.
Thanks for the trio of reassurances. limner, I'm on the lake side, and based on the floor plans, the rooms do seem a bit larger than those on the Arb side. It seems to work out though; someone shared a picture with me on Facebook and it seems it's very easy to organize, since they're doubles and it's essentially an oblong space.
After meeting some of my floormates and other fellow Goodhue-ers, and after speaking to one of the RAs about it, I feel thoroughly reassured. Save for the distance and the "chilly trek" mentioned twice above (with the same verbiage, too--that tickled me), I think I'll more than manage. Thanks again.
You're correct - the lakeside rooms are a bit larger than the arb side (take earplugs to block out the geese). My daughter really enjoyed living in both Watson and Goodhue - great floor life. But she's really excited to be living in a townhouse next year.
One more thing about the "chilly trek": having made it a number of times during the late summer and fall, I can say at any other time of the year, it's beautiful. Goodhue's setting is gorgeous; something you can add onto the "pro" column.
Also, just to put that "trek" from Goodhue in perspective...it's really not that far. As one of the Admissions bloggers notes, it's "a three minute walk" at MOST from the rest of the campus. It's right by the lakes, which are small but very pretty. And it has the Superlounge, which is an enormous hangout space and has huge windows looking out on some lovely campus scenery.
Jumping back to the Musser question, don't worry too much about it being ugly. I mean, it is ugly, don't get me wrong, and the rooms are small (I'd recommend bunking beds), but there is a major upside to its undesireability. It was my freshman dorm, and it was mostly made up of freshman and sophomores, meaning everyone was on the prowl to make friends and meet people. 6 years later, I am still close friends with many of the people I met in that dorm. People I knew in the beautiful upperclass-heavy dorms (Davis, Burton) had to make more of an effort to meet folks off of their floors, because seniors and juniors generally have a pretty well-established group of friends already. Not that they are unfriendly, just not so much actively searching to meet new folks. See, always a silver lining!