Exeter is more than the Academy – it is also a community with a downtown of attractions that students are discovering in their free time

“It tastes like homemade food,” said Jiaen Zeng after a visit to Pad Thai, a small restaurant 10 minutes away from Exeter Summer School, on the way to Walgreens. It has delicious Thai ice tea, made from strongly brewed black tea. Otto Cham, who is from Thailand and works there, has been in Exeter for 20 years and opened this restaurant 9 years ago. They are the “most busy during winter” and their customers are mostly locals and faculty members of Phillips Exeter Academy. Their dish sizes are quite large and sharing is recommended.

Stillwells Riverwalk Ice Cream is a 6-year-old shop next to the boathouse, about 3 minutes from the academic building. This shop is very popular amongst Exeter students, with 200 to 300 coming in everyday for ice cream. Naomi Bennett, Emma Carman, and Kaitlyn Ganley, who work at the shop, agree that ‘Oreo’ is the most popular flavour. Most people get the kiddie size ice cream, which are two scoops. They said they have run out of ice cream flavors, but they haven’t run out of all the ice cream at the same time.

The Kypton shop sells comics and collectable figurines. Andrew Galvin who is the owner of the close to 2-year-old shop says he  has “old stuff and new stuff, collectibles in general.”, and would describe his shop as “unique”. He gets roughly 10 Exeter students coming in per day, most to buy trading cards, especially Pokémon cards. His shop is packed with items ranging from the Marvel Universe to Doctor Who.

The Chocolatier is a shop with mostly handmade chocolate. It has been open since 1978 and they have “so many [chocolates] we’ve never counted them” said Brenda Provencher who has been working there for 20 years. Her shop gives out sweet aromas of her chocolate and the smell hits you once you walk in. Her favourite chocolate is the “milk cashew turtles.” They have many different chocolates for any occasion, including Star Wars-shaped chocolate.

Serendipity Boutique is 30 years old and is one of the oldest shops in Exeter. Noora Anderson says “the woman who started the shop calls it woman general shop” because everything you need is there. They sell eco-friendly, Fair Trade, locally made gifts and jewellery. Most of their customers buy clothes and jewellery. Their tag line is “Encouraging an Earth-friendly lifestyle.

Hailey Coleman who works at Me & Ollie’s Bakery and Café, says the atmosphere overall is “pretty relaxed”. During the week they get about 250 customers and during the weekend they can get 400 customers. She says the “paninis are all signature” and her personal favourite is the strawberry smoothie. The café is right next to the Szechuan restaurant and is quite big, with free wifi and comfortable chairs.