The TeleGraham

Bates College through the eyes of a junior returning from abroad

The Lean-to and Judy

Unfortunatly, I can’t seem to find any pictures ANYWHERE of the Bates’ lean-to, and I can’t ever remember any of my friends taking cameras when we’ve gone. But it does exist, and it is open for use by the entire campus. After this years graduation, before I moved to Portland, I lived there for just under a week.

About a 20 minute drive from campus there is a series of old dirt roads along the river that then turns and leads up a hill to Judy’s house. Judy is an old Bates alumnus who is still very active with the college and our Outing Club. She let’s any Bates kid park in her driveway, and if you follow the dirt trail in her back yard for about 1/2 a mile you will find the lean-to. The property has recently been given over to a land trust, but the lean-to is allowed to remain.

The little abode is the stuff of Robert Frost poetry. It was built by Bates students in the mid-90s and the original poem that one of the main architects left after the completion, still hangs on the walls. There’s a fire pit and hand made benches and the lean-to might even be able to stack 10 cozy campers.

Some nights when there are a few cars in the drive way, Judy might even come out and visit and share stories about the “old Bates.” Not long after my 5 day retreat at the lean-to, I returned during reunion weekend to see a bunch of old Bates grads back for a 5 year reunion. They decided to skip the main events on campus and instead spend their time at the lean-to cooking over an open fire with Judy. When I visited there were only 7 or so people camping there but they said the night before they had close to 15 alumni staying at the lean-to.

No, not every Bates student makes it to the lean-to during their college career. But those who do know it is a very special place.



June 27, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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