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Living in Bridgton, Maine

This resource page will help with the information you need for living in Bridgton, Maine.

About Bridgton

Birthwise is located in the small town of Bridgton, Maine. The campus is an hour west of Portland, Maine–the state’s urban hub, a port city on Casco Bay–and half an hour east of the White Mountains in New Hampshire–a popular destination for hikers, climbers, skiers, and snowboarders.

The town is home to Shawnee Peak Ski Area, a ski resort ten minutes from campus. The greater Lakes Region–encompassing Bridgton, Naples, Casco, and Sebago–has numerous lakes and rivers and a vast network of public trails and beaches, including Sebago Lake State Park.

Downtown Bridgton is home to a thriving independent bookstore, a movie theater, an old-fashioned drive-in theater, several restaurants and cafes, a department store, a town beach, and several parks. Bridgton’s nature is protected by the Town of Bridgton and the Lakes Environmental Association.

Transportation to Bridgton

The closest major airports to Bridgton are Portland International Jetport (PWM) and Boston Logan International Airport (BOS). Concord Coach Lines operates a bus line between Logan Airport and Portland, Maine.

Public transportation in Maine is extremely limited. To get around the Bridgton area, you’ll need to take your own vehicle, carpool, or walk. In the winter, snow tires (at least on the front tires) are a must in Maine. Affordable snow tires sometimes pop up on Maine Craigslist.

Housing

Both campus and community students must secure their own housing. For lists of rental options in the area, check out the Bridgton News classifieds, LakesOnline.com rentals, or Krainin Real Estate. We also maintain an informal database of local rental homes and apartments.

Parking at Birthwise

Parking at the school is limited (and three spots are always reserved for midwifery clients), but there is an overflow parking lot across from Bridgton Congregational Church at 33 South High Street. From there, it’s just a three minute walk to the school.

Study Spots

Birthwise Library

Bridgton Library (0.3 miles from campus) at 1 Church St.

Public Safety

Bridgton Police Department (0.7 miles from campus)

8 Iredale St, Bridgton, ME 04009
207-647-8814 (or 911)

Bridgton has a very low crime rate. Both the violent crime rate and the property theft crime rate in Bridgton are far below the national average. Many people in Bridgton still leave their houses unlocked, although we don’t recommend this. See the Annual Security Report for more information.

Bridgton is located in a rural area. At night, the town can get very dark and very quiet, which some students might find unsettling at first. If you’ve never been to a rural area before, be ready to experience something different.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Bridgton is relatively low. For a detailed breakdown, check out Numbeo.com, which crowdsources the cost of rent, groceries, and utilities in Portland (ME) and other places. Rent is much less expensive in Bridgton than in Portland, but other costs are roughly equivalent.

Heating

Winters are cold in Bridgton. In January, the coldest month, the average high is just 29° F. Most Mainers heat their homes continually October through May. To estimate your monthly heating cost while at Birthwise, use this home heating calculator from the State of Maine. Heat is sometimes included in the price of rent, sometimes not. Be sure to ask.

Trash and Recycling

Bridgton Transfer Station (0.7 miles from campus) at 118 Sandy Creek Rd.

Bridgton residents must drop off their trash and recycling at the local transfer station. Before you use the station, purchase a permit ($10) at the station or the town clerk’s office. These permits are valid for two years and cover an entire household.

Groceries

Food City (0.9 miles from Birthwise) at 295 Main Street

Open 7:00am – 9:00pm

207-647-2766

Hannaford (1.2 miles from Birthwise)at 109 Portland Rd.

Open 7:00am – 9:00pm

207-647-2015 (store)/207-647-5795 (pharmacy)

The Bridgton Farmers’ Market is also open year round. In the summer, the market meets on Depot Street (0.5 miles from campus) and, in the winter, it meets at the United Methodist Church at 214 Main Street (0.6 miles from campus).

Hunting

In Maine, some people hunt deer and other wild game for meat. If you’re hiking in a wooded area during the hunting season, wear bright orange so that you are visible to hunters. You can purchase bright orange hats, bandanas, and vests at Reny’s Department Store.

Reny’s Department Store (0.5 miles from Birthwise) at 151 Main St.

207-647-3711

For more information about hunting in Maine, see the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife guide to Hunting & Trapping in Maine. In Bridgton, you may also occasionally hear people shooting guns outdoors for target practice, even if it isn’t hunting season.

Wildlife

Many animals, including moose, white-tailed deer and black bears, live in Maine. Most of the state’s wildlife is harmless. There are, for example, no poisonous snakes and very few poisonous spiders. Moose and bears can occasionally become aggressive. Keep your distance.

Deer ticks are also prevalent in Maine and tend to emerge in Spring and Fall.  Learn how to identify the ticks that carry lyme disease before you venture into the wild.  Be sure to check yourself extensively if in grassy or wooded areas.  Maine is also known for its black flies and mosquitoes. Use bug spray to repel ticks and other insects while you’re in the outdoors.

Recreation

Bridgton is part of Maine’s scenic Lake Region, which includes Sebago Lake State Park in nearby Sebago. There are a number of parks, hikes, and beaches in Bridgton, as well:

Pondicherry Park (0.1 miles from Birthwise) at 82 S High St. (back entrance)

Highland Lake Beach (0.3 miles from Birthwise) on Highland Rd.

Bridgton Highlands Golf & Tennis Club (2.0 miles from Birthwise) at 379 Highland Rd.

Salmon Point Campground (2.3 miles) at 117 Salmon Point Rd.

Woods Pond Beach (3.1 miles from Birthwise) at 676 S. High St.

Five Fields Farm (5.6 miles from Birthwise)

Bald Pate Mountain (6.3 miles from Birthwise)

Holt Pond Preserve (6.3 miles from Birthwise)

Pleasant Mountain (6.3 miles from Birthwise)

Students are welcome to borrow a kayak, a paddle board, or a bicycle from Birthwise to explore any of these places. 

In the winter, many people come to Bridgton to visit Shawnee Peak Ski Area on Pleasant Mountain (6.3 miles from Birthwise). You can purchase lift tickets or season passes on their website.

Five Fields Farm (5.6 miles from Birthwise) maintains a network of cross-country ski trails in the winter, as does the Bridgton Highlands Golf & Tennis Club (2.0 miles from Birthwise).

Entertainment

North Conway, NH is 26.0 miles (about 40 minutes by car) from Birthwise. This small city, nestled in the White Mountains, is popular with hikers, climbers, and skiers.

Portland, ME is 39.0 miles (about one hour by car) from Birthwise. Maine’s largest city is known for its high concentration of restaurants and microbreweries.

There are things to do closer to campus, too:

Magic Lantern Movie Theater (0.5 miles from campus) at 9 Depot St.

Bridgton Twin Drive-In Movie Theater (2.9 miles from campus) at 383 Portland Rd.

Nurture Through Nature Retreat Center (10.0 miles from campus) at 77 Warren Rd. in Denmark, Maine

Stone Mountain Art Center (18.8 miles from campus) at 695 Dugway Rd. in Brownfield, Maine