By Grace Morris
Elm Staff Writer
When driving along country roads through Queen Anne’s County and Kent County, there is not much to see. There are corn fields and farms to spare, and old homes that look like pieces of Maryland history dot the landscape. It seems strange that this rural scene would be such a perfect place for a college.
As far as college towns go, Chestertown is unique. As a town of 5,088, the population increases 20% every fall. The local residents get to know students who come to town. But by and large, once out of the immediate downtown area, there’s not much going on.
For some, that sounds like a nightmare. A place with stores that close by six o’ clock nightly? A college town with no clubs and such a limited selection of fast food chains? Who would want to go to school there?
The 1,089 students of Washington College do, for a start.
During a time in a young person’s life when chaos abounds — with papers, tests, and projects causing endless stress — it’s nice to live in such a calm place. Serene locations like Eastern Neck Wildlife Reserve and Betterton Beach, both fantastic day trips, are only a short drive away.
The waterfront is a nice place to sit and reflect while watching the sun set over the Chester River after long days of doing homework. The Freeze is the perfect place to grab a milkshake with friends between classes.
The charm and location isn’t all that makes Chestertown so wonderful, though. The residents are a huge part of what makes it a fantastic place to live. They offer volunteer opportunities and jobs for students, and students invite the community to campus events in turn. There is a mutual respect present in town that is uniquely our own.
I know this sounds like an advertisement for the College. For those who know me, perhaps furthering that belief is the fact that I am a George’s General; someone trained to highlight the best things about our school. When I give tours, one of the most common questions I get is, “what do you do here?” People can’t imagine going to a college surrounded by fields in both directions.
My response is the same every time: Chestertown has so much to offer. There is always something to do nearby, from the weekly farmers market to events like the Downrigging Festival. Every time I head into town it seems like there’s another event being advertised.
As a sophomore, I haven’t even been able to see Chestertown in full swing; I’ve only been on campus for two semesters. I haven’t seen the annual HP Festival or other events that were cancelled due to the pandemic, and I’ve already fallen in love. I can’t imagine going to school anywhere else.
I’m sure there are factors others would point out as negative — the lack of a close Target certainly makes my list — but the good far outweighs the bad. With the holiday season upon us, and Thanksgiving having just passed, I find myself reflecting often on how grateful I am for this little town I call home eight months out of the year. This is my love letter to Chestertown; all I can say is thank you for loving me in return.