Brunswick has quite a varied story of its own to tell. It has been a rail stop with Merrymeeting Park and Casino as a major area attraction. That was, however, more than 100 years ago, and those times are long past, the attractions which included an amusement park and zoo long closed.
Brunswick early in its history was a shipbuilding center, a home for sea captains who built grand homes and a thriving industrial town that supported the lumber industry and saw the manufacture of furniture, soaps, shoes, carriages, bricks and textiles. A small airport that existed in the 1930s became a major naval air station during World War II and, in fact, was only deactivated in 2010. The base is now being redeveloped as Brunswick Landing, planned as a major business park and high-tech industrial center, as well as an executive airport.
The town has a history, has had its ups and downs, and can be a pretty happenin' place at times.
Rental housing runs the gamut from rooms and the occasional studio apartment for rent in a large, historic private home to relatively modern apartment complexes. You will do yourself a favor if you begin your search in the spring. Seasonal rentals might be available either for the summer, or some time between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
As in most areas of the country, expect Maine landlords to run a credit check, and require employment history, past rental history and perhaps personal references. A deposit and first month's rent in advance are usually required.
Brunswick is composed of four neighborhoods (or two, depending on how you look at it), with one located in the heart of town, one nestled on a peninsula almost surrounded by water, and two with rural overtones.
Town Center / Bowdoin College: This is where you will find old homes, tree-lined streets, quaint shops and most of the restaurants, in addition to small offices. Property values here are higher than in most of the rest of the state, but rental prices are generally reasonable and you should have no trouble locating apartment-homes as long as you aren't looking for new buildings. Almost a quarter of the residents in the neighborhood walk to work. Isn't that amazing? It's like big-city life in a decidedly small town.
To support that lifestyle, there are many local businesses. Some of the first-floor shops have apartments above. There are grand old homes that have been converted into apartments, and there are a few row-houses or older Victorian-style multi-family homes. In older buildings, you might find some apartments with paid utilities, but it is more likely that you'll be paying for your own heat. During Maine winters, you'll learn to "layer." Heating oil is expensive. Air conditioning is uncommon, except in new buildings. Head to the Great Impasta to carbo-load for winter.
Cook's Corner / Harding: This includes the land that once was the naval base, and you will find newer apartment buildings, a variety of modern townhouses and condos, and some refurbished housing as well. The majority of available property rentals in this area are two-bedroom units, but you will find an occasional studio apartment for rent, and even some houses.
You can walk or bike around town quite nicely in fair weather, and summer can be delightful. However, as Mainers are fond of pointing out, there are sure to be two weeks of summer each year; it's just hard to know which two! Traffic during the summer months can be deadly, as long strings of vacationers try to make it up Route 1 to destinations "Down East." Brunswick is also located almost exactly halfway between Portland and Augusta, the state capital, so there can be a steady stream of traffic on the interstate as well.
Once you're in Brunswick, you will settle into a routine just as in any other place. Except that in Maine, that routine may be simpler - a draft beer with friends at Joshua's Tavern, great Italian food at The Great Impasta on a weeknight, a trip to LL Bean and the other outlets in Freeport on Saturday, and gallery-hopping or a visit to Portland's Old Port District for "chowdah" on Sunday.
Sunny summer afternoons you can take to the back roads on a bike or find a deserted cove or rocky promontory for a picnic. An occasional trip the other direction will bring you to Red's Eats in Wiscasset for the best of Maine's classic "Lobstah Rolls." Along the way, you can stop at farm stands for fresh berries, corn, and apples.