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Brunswick is 10 miles NE of Freeport. Bath is 8 miles E of Brunswick

Brunswick and Bath are two handsome, historic towns that share a strong commercial past. Many travelers heading up Route 1 pass through both towns eager to reach areas with higher billing on the marquee. That’s a shame, for both are well worth the detour to sample the sort of slower pace that’s being lost elsewhere.

Brunswick was once home to several mills along the Androscoggin River. These have since been converted to offices and the like, but Brunswick’s broad Maine Street still bustles with activity. (Idiosyncratic traffic patterns can lead to snarls of traffic in the late afternoon.) Brunswick is also home to Bowdoin College, one of the nation’s most respected small colleges.

Eight miles east of Brunswick, Bath is pleasantly situated on the broad Kennebec River and is a noted center of shipbuilding. Young professional émigrés have been attracted by its fine old houses, but it’s still at heart a blue-collar town, with massive traffic tie-ups weekdays at 3pm when the shipyard changes shifts.