Surrounding Neighborhood

<p>Just wondering about Middletown, CT. I've heard that the University kind of blends into the neighborhood...rather than being separated by an entrance or walls and such...Can anyone elaborate on the surrounding community? How far away is the closest urban area, and what kind of public transportation is available?</p>

<p>Mostly bungalows and older homes. Many have been converted into flats. Faculty and administrators occupy the nicer salt boxes (some dating back to the Revolutionary War) along Lawn Avenue and Mt. Vernon Street. Students and working class families live along the quieter streets like Pine and Fountain Avenue. The really wealthy Middletown families left a long time ago and bequeathed their homesteads to the university. You can see them along High Street, their original names used interchangeably with their present function. For example, Honors College is really the Russell House; Davison Art Center was originally the Alsop House. Intercultural House on Washington Street has had many uses, but is best known to history buffs as Acheson House (childhood home of Dean Acheson, President Truman's Secretary of State.) It's an interesting town.</p>

<p>The nearest urban area is Hartford; the nearest urban area of any real interest is probably New Haven. Providence is s a little further, probably an hour. Public transportation is irregular; buses leave downtown Middletown a couple times a weekend. The nearest train station is in Meriden, the next town over (10 miles.)</p>

<p>What's Intercultural House? It's not called that anymore...</p>

<p>Also, Middletown does have a great Main Street with restaurants and coffee shops, a natural food store, etc. Most people don't particularly feel the need to be IN a city, but if you get a little cabin fever, it's easy to get to New York or Boston via public transportation or a friend with a car. Wes runs a shuttle on weekends to New Haven so that you can take the train from there to NYC or Boston. And as Johnwesley said, the Meriden train station is even closer.</p>

<p>That's odd. That's the name they have on the new (or, so I thought) map they shipped along with the rest of the college fair stuff.</p>

<p>It's the big stucco house with the horsehoe-shaped driveway just off Baldwin Street, facing south on Route 66. It was the WesPress building for many years. I suppose it must have become student housing at some point.</p>

<p>Ah, sounds like Buddhist House!</p>

<p>I wouldn't call Fountain and Pine "quieter" streets. Wesleyan owns every house on Fountain and everything on Pine past the U Lot so it becomes pretty rowdy on weekends. I live on Fountain and have been falling asleep at 2:30am on a Saturday and the amibent din from the street outside was about as noisy as a busy street in NYC.</p>

<p>Edit: My mom, upon visiting my humble abode recently, remarked that the Pine/Fountain/Warren/Cross area was like the "student slums".</p>

<p>Well, who keeps calling the cops to shut down noisy parties? Other students?</p>

<p>Also, how does that work, if Middletown cites you guys for solo cups in the street, who pays the fine? The University and they bill you later? Hows does it work?</p>

<p>Middletown . . . one of those bizarre post-industrial New England burbs, that's not pretty or wealthy enough to really run with the "New England town" thing.</p>

<p>Um, have you ever been to Maine?</p>

<p>Middletown is a real town, not a precious village for students and parents. Some love that; some don't. Main Street, which is a quick downhill walk from campus, is a wide, pleasant road with diagonal parking along most of it. The south end is anchored by a new upscale hotel, the Middletown Inn, a Brooks pharmacy, a 10-screen multiplex movie theater, a great fruit and vegetable market and one of the best old-time hardware stores around. Heading north you have ethnic restaurants, pizza places, coffee shops, a couple of performance spaces, a big old toy store, among other things. At the north end you have the world-class O'Rourke's Diner, which burned last summer but is to reopen next fall after the whole town mobilized to help rebuild it. My son, who starts at Wes in September, loves the idea of being in a place where people of all types meet and conduct business. He disliked the feel of some LAC towns that had little to offer but gift shops and tea restaurants.</p>

<p>thanks for the post, froshdad. That gave me a much better feel for how Middletown is set up.</p>

<p>So, from these posts I have the feeling that Middletown is more modern and less nostalgic than "Stars Hollow" from Gilmore Girls, retains somewhat of a small-town feel, but also reflects the characteristics of a college neighborhood?</p>

<p>It's the county seat, so yes, there is a lot of commotion, some mild traffic jams during the day. But, every so often, particularly on a school night, you can stand at the intersection of High and William Streets, where town bumps up against gown, and actually hear a pin drop. It's this constant duality between Middletown's bumptious present and its small town past that is one of its more endearing qualities.</p>

<p>Dang it!
I had a huge post and I forgot to send it.</p>

<p>Basically, middletown isn't the safest place in the world. But if you're going to watch a movie in town late at night, then go with friends. You should be seeing a movie with friends and not going by yourself anyway.</p>

<p>There are some amazing routes around middletown if you're interested in road biking or mountain biking. I picked up road biking here, and I've been amazed at how much natural beauty there is around me here. That being said, I'd rather be here than in an urban sprawl. I have access to the convenience stores right here, but it's easy to remove yourself from the surroundings.</p>

<p>It's easy to get to NYC or new haven, but I've had no reason to do that yet. I like where I am and I feel you miss a lot of what's happening on campus by being away, just because there's always SO much going on here.</p>

<p>The surroundings are decent but there is nothing particularly interesting going on, with the exception of a good swing dancing club on the main street. If you want to visit a real 24/7 city with all kinds of nightlife, hundreds of different restaurants, museums, clubs, etc. New Haven is just a short half hour away, and Boston and New York are each within 2 hours.</p>

<p>Yeah, I'm in Maine twice a year with family. Classic "New England towns," and of course I'm talking about the trope here, tend toward real pastoral authenic pretty OR yuppie-money, college town, "pretty" (think Hanover, NH). Then there's the rest which have been in the midst of identity crises since the mill shut down and the baby boomers got sick of the cold . . . Middletown is a tolerable but umemorable version of one such place.</p>

<p>Spoken like a true summer person. And btw, people laid off from a mill don't suffer from identity crises. They suffer from unemployment. :/</p>

<p>Let me be clearer John, because evidently I hit a nerve. I'm talking about the vibe I, as one person with one opinion, get from a particular breed of Northeastern town. I'm drawing analogies and generalizing for the sake of description. </p>

<p>You know what I'm saying, I think, but you don't like my tone or my attitude . . . and that's cool. I expect my perspective will ring true for some and yours will perhaps for others. </p>

<p>Since the metaphorical and literal "Mills" have shut down (most of which happenend 25-30 years ago), some towns/regions have been able to survive on their tourist cache as idyllic "New England towns," A Mainer? Boothbay, Camden, Bar Harbor. With the possible exception of Camden, the entire economy of these towns depend on their marketability- thier appeal to the "summer folk" that you so derisively alluded to. (Include Froshdad's "precious" college towns here - Hanover, NH, Amherst,MA)</p>

<p>There are also authentic, less touristy, and to my mind more beautiful towns off the beaten path, some have Colleges- some don't, they don't run soley on tourism but it and the schools in them probably are a big part of the economy (Bennington, Burlington, VT or Belfast, ME, Concord and Portsmouth NH, and New Paltz, NY).</p>

<p>Then of course are the towns that collapsed . . . Nashua and Manchester, NH New Haven, CT, Poughkeepsie, NY and, as you know, MOST of "urban" Maine for a start . . .These communties have had a raw deal, and most but not all are figuring out what to do next.</p>

<p>But there is an entire swath of towns that are niether extreme, niether boom nor bust . . . not the level of poverty in the bust towns and not the level of geographic luck of the tourist/college towns (or truely rural areas), they are too far from the big cities to be professional suburbs . . . somewhere in limbo. Hence, "unoffensive and unremarkable." </p>

<p>I did not, however, say that unremarkable towns yield unremarkable people. Indeed, I have found the opposite to be true. The Identity-crises I refered to had to do with a sense of place . . . not (as I'm sure you were aware) to people experiencing the considerable downsides of an economy shifting away from industrial labor (at least in the US).</p>

<p>By the way, I don't summer in Maine, though its quite beautiful then. I'm usually there in the dead of winter (January) and the family I have there are construction workers and small business owners that live in very RURAL Maine. They live in farm houses that they built or inherited and thier kids get most of their clothes from the Salvation Army and not for the same reasons that your (current/soon-to-be/former) hipper-than-thou classmates/students do.</p>

<p>Actually, you had me going until that last little bit. Hit a nerve?</p>

<p>John . . . be honest, are you a part of the adminstration at Wes? Faculty? I hope you don't work for admissions . . . I thought this site was supposed to be about an un-spun look at the schools.</p>