By Dan Teano
I have one too many friends who think Chestertown is boring. While I disagree with them, I see where they’re coming from. For one, there are no dance clubs, even though this is a college town. There are also no restaurants open past 9p.m. besides Domino’s, Royal Farms, and McDonald’s (if that even counts).
It seems like Chestertown lacks just about everything a college town should have. Couldn’t it be a good thing, then, that this town is like no place else? We could focus on what’s not here: several late-night food options on weekdays, a younger populace, and a diverse selection of ethnic cuisine. Or we could focus on what makes this place so unique and do our best to love every moment that we’re here as students.
If you’ve been to First Friday, you’d know that this town is special. Aside from the free spiked drinks and homemade food, the liveliness of the townspeople and store owners are good enough reasons for anyone to visit during the first Friday of the month. If you haven’t been though, you would guess that this is a deadbeat town.
From the outside, Chestertown appears underwhelming. However, when you take time to explore what the town has to offer, you will quickly realize that this place is quite extraordinary. But don’t take my word for it. Go to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning and get the best whoopie pie you’ll ever taste, or walk down to the boathouse and take pictures of ducks on the floating dock, or go to Bad Alfred’s Distillery and have a Dark and Stormy with dark rum that is made in-house.
Did you know that you could get a hot-stone massage, applesauce with orange liqueur, and a CSA box of vegetables at The Seed House? At She She On High, you can buy a leather jacket, old-fashioned Coca Cola bottles, and pet a baby pig. To be fair, I didn’t know these places existed either. It wasn’t until recently that I forced myself to love being here—because why would I stay otherwise?
Chestertown has everything you could want and more. Someone who thinks this town is bland has probably never visited one of the three art galleries in town, nor have they had breakfast for dinner at Ellen’s on a Friday evening. If you find yourself complaining about the town you live in, it might be a better use of your energy to convince yourself that this place is not so bad.
I’m not suggesting you move here after you graduate to work, retire, and start a family. Rather, I’m encouraging you to look at the tremendous upside of being a student at Washington College.
At the end of the day, we chose to be here. So when we enumerate reasons why Chestertown is boring, realize we are really just throwing insults at our inability to make an informed college decision.
To be honest, Chestertown is both exciting and slow. It’s just like anywhere else: a reflection of our own state of happiness. If we’re grateful, positive, and cheerful, of course we’ll think this town is one of the best places on Earth to live. If, on the other hand, we’re pessimistic, jealous, and spiteful, we’ll focus on what’s not here and wish we could be anywhere else.
We live in the world we think of. When we don’t feel so good about ourselves, our environment turns into yet another reason to be disappointed.
Our potential to experience fun lies within ourselves—so it doesn’t matter if a dance club or hookah lounge replaces Lemon Leaf. Chestertown already has enough people, places, and sights to keep anyone entertained for a lifetime. See for yourself, though. I encourage you to do so before you graduate.