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Views Around Carleton

Quinn takes a look at their favorite views and spots to enjoy the beauty of Carleton and the surrounding area.

Quinn takes a look at their favorite views and spots to enjoy the beauty of Carleton and the surrounding area.

With the beautiful scenery of the Arboretum and the quaint town of Northfield, the areas surrounding campus are truly remarkable. I’m a big fan of finding a high place to see the world from top-down, no matter where I am. On a Geology field trip to Taylors Falls, MN, my prof commented “Quinn, you always seem to find a little perch, don’t you?” The answer is yes, so I’m here to show you the beauty of campus from above! (Be prepared for a lot of sunrises/sunsets.)

Watson Room/Balcony

In my sophomore year, I had the benefit of living on the sixth floor of Watson Hall, the tallest building on campus with seven total floors. My room faced East, so I had a great view of the Japanese Garden, upper arb, and both of Carleton’s two wind turbines. When I got up early (and I often did), I got a great view of the sunrise! On the other side of the building, each floor has a West-facing balcony. From here I enjoy looking out over the town of Northfield and the hills of St. Olaf. This is also a fun place to watch rain storms come in—you get a great view of the billowing clouds!

View from 6th Watson
This is what I woke up to every morning!
Balcony View
A crisp March evening on the Watson balcony.

Oak Tree @ the Hill of Three Oaks

A quick walk from campus, the Hill of Three Oaks is a popular spot for outdoor events. With a fire pit and picnic tables, many bonfires and celebrations happen during the nice seasons. Aside from the social aspect, the hill rises above the nearby sports fields and Rec Center, and sitting on a tree branch affords a stellar view of the surrounding area. I often like to come here at the end of a long day to relax and get some fresh air, while still being close to campus. 

Sunset at Three Oaks
An early spring sunset over the Arb and CMC.

Boliou Hall

The home of the Art and Art History departments, Boliou Hall has stellar views of the Lyman Lakes and Arboretum. With massive windows overlooking the area, it serves as a great inspiration for those inside the studios. The facilities were specially designed with art in mind—not only offering a great view, but with north facing windows, the studios get the most constant and consistent light. In the far distance of the photo you can see the Carleton water tower, which serves as a great way of locating campus from anywhere in the arb. (It was also painted over by students with Bill Clinton’s face when he delivered the Commencement, but facilities covered it up prior to the president’s arrival.) 

View from Boliou
Taken from a window in one of the drawing studios, art students frequently get to enjoy these views.

The Tallest Point in the Arb

If you’ve read my other blogs, you’ll know I love nature and the arb and spend a lot of time there (and writing about it). Despite the name “Lower Arb,” it actually contains the highest point on Carleton’s campus. From there, you get a sweeping view of the expansive prairies and oak savanna. This is probably one of my favorite spots to catch a sunset, as it illuminates all of the grasses in a beautiful golden light. 

Sunset in lower arb
Watching the sunset as the arb turns vibrant in May is one of my favorite activities.

Final Thoughts

Finding the best viewpoints at Carleton brings me a new perspective, in more ways than one. So often being caught up in the fast-paced nature of college life, I find it incredibly valuable to get away from the hubbub and watch it from a distance. Taking a break is always valuable, so I might as well enjoy the view when I do!

Quinn (he/they) is a junior studying Political Science and International RelationsEnvironmental Studies, and History. Born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin, they enjoy walking barefoot in the Arb, looking for free snacks in department lounges, and searching for their next favorite book in the library. Outside of work and school, they are the Treasurer of the Carleton Student Association (student government). There, they oversee the budget as well as work with the Student Activities Office to manage clubs on campus. Meet the other Bloggers!