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Walking and Biking Around Northfield

In which Greta describes her spring adventures on foot, and talks a bit about accessibility.

In which Greta describes her spring adventures on foot, and talks a bit about accessibility.

One of the things I love most about Carleton’s physical location is how easy it is to get around.

*Disclaimer: I am writing this as an able-bodied person, so I know my experience is nowhere near reflective of everyone’s. I briefly hurt my foot last week, and even a few days of limping around was enough to show me how much ability privilege I usually have.

Carleton tries hard to make its paths and buildings accessible. For example, Laird Hall (home to the English department) is currently undergoing a much-needed renovation. But as this map shows, there is still a lot of work to be done! For more information and any questions, check out Disability Services.

Alright. Back to my own individual experience.

Carleton’s campus is small—about a fifteen-minute walk from one end to the other—and filled with lots of sidewalks and bike racks. Most roads and parking lots are tucked away, so campus can feel like a little car-free utopia. It’s always filled with students walking, running, biking, and skateboarding. (Plus, just ask any Carl about the local middle school scooter gang…) It’s really quite idyllic, especially in the spring.

And I’m not just talking about campus! The town of Northfield is soooo walkable and bikable.

This is new to me—I also come from a small college town, but there it’s hard to get anywhere but the town center without hitting the state highway. Not so in Northfield! Sidewalks and bike paths are everywhere. There’s even one that reaches the neighboring town of Dundas, which is the perfect Saturday morning adventure, because it leads to the absolutely lovely bakery of Martha’s.

If you really do need to use a vehicle, there are also bus and shuttle services that stop right on Carleton’s campus. During Covid they are fairly limited—we are allowed to go off campus, but we’re encouraged to stay close by, to avoid crowded indoor spaces, and to eat outside whenever possible. But next year, I hope to take advantage of them to visit the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

For now, I’m enjoying my exploration of the Northfield area with nothing but my own two feet and occasionally a bike.

To celebrate midterm break, I went for a 7-mile run this morning (around the Arboretum, Northfield neighborhoods, downtown, and back through campus) that roughly looked like this:

Map of my Run

Not once did I have to run on the road!! And it was so beautiful, filled with flowers and freshly-budding trees. Spring is truly in full bloom.

Carleton Trees Blooming

That’s all for now! I hope to see you around Northfield once campus opens up for visitors again. Until then, feel free to email me with any questions 🙂

Greta is a sophomore and a proud Vermonter who loves the Minnesota prairie almost as much as the Green Mountains. She enjoys writing constantly, playing piano, and spending time outdoors. And eating lots of chocolate. She wants to learn everything, but she’s a major in Latin American Studies and a minor in Creative Writing. Meet the other bloggers!