- Where to Go
- The Best of Vermont
- Rumblings of Revolution
- New, New England Dining
- Boston’s Artistic Expression
- Vermont Leaf Peeping
- Into the Wild
- Vermont Skiing at Its Best
- Visit Vermont’s Maple Sugar Shacks
- Connecticut for Kids
- Vermont’s Covered Bridges
- A Shore Thing
- Vermont with Kids
- Portland Maine Art Galleries
- Small-Town Flavor
- Connecticut’s Wine Trails
- New Hampshire’s Farmers Markets
- A Weekend of Vermont Art
- Family Matters
- Maine Wilderness Camps
- Vermont Cheddar Houses
- Connecticut Spas
As pretty as this small historic town is spring through fall, it truly hits its stride in winter, when the Sunday River Ski Resort goes into full swing. That’s when the area takes on snow-village status, with its covered bridges sporting snow, and activities everywhere you look—from skiing (of course) to snowshoeing. All that said, there’s also quite a bit to do in warmer months—hiking and leaf-peeping, canoeing and shopping, just for starters.
For a dose of the Bethel of yore, tour the early 19th-century Dr. Moses Mason House (10–14 Broad St., 207/824-2908, www.bethelhistorical.org/museum.html, 1–4 p.m. Tues.–Sun., Jul.–early Sep.; 1–4 p.m. Tues.–Fri. Sep.–Jun., $3 adults, $1.50 children 6–12, free children under 6) and find an impressive collection of historic paintings and portraits, furniture, and other antiquities.
The charming Artist’s Covered Bridge (off of Sunday River Park Rd., follow the signs) was built in the late 19th century, and is one of nine of its kind in the state.
Competitions are big year-round in Bethel, and it all starts in the winter, when a variety of ever-changing events are hosted by the local chamber of commerce. Spring sees the locally loved April Fool’s Pole, Paddle, and Paw Race (207/782-2302), a flurry of skiing, snowshoeing, and canoeing. The latter gets an even bigger boost at July’s Androscoggin River Source to the Sea Trek-a-Thon (207/527-2163, www.avcnet.org/arwc/trek.html). The multi-week event covers significant portions of the 170-mile distance from the headwaters.
Hit The Foggy Goggle (Sunday River Ski Resort, 207/824-3000) for a jumping après-ski drinking (and pick-up) scene. There’s occasional live music there and at Rooster’s Roadhouse (157 Mayville Rd., 207/824-0309, www.roostersroadhouse.com, 3 p.m.–closing, nightly), too, and mellow live piano (plus billiards) on weekends at The Millbrook Tavern & Grille (On the common, 207/824-2175, www.bethelinn.com, 11:30 a.m.–9 p.m. daily).
Visit Maine Line Products (23 Main St., 207/824-2522, www.mainelineproducts.com, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Fri.; 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Sat.) and find some gifts that are unique and tasteful (like the locally made caramel popcorn, fudge, and crafts) and some that are just downright weird (the wooden sticks said to predict the weather, for instance).
Vegetarians can eat heartily at Café DiCocoa (125 Main St., 207/824-5282, 7 a.m.–7 p.m. daily, $6–11), what with the establishment’s roster of organic, tofu-centric dishes.
Far from your run-of-the-mill Maine fare, Lake House Restaurant (686 Waterford Rd./Rte. 35& 37, Waterford, 207/583-4182, www.lakehousemaine.com, 6–9 p.m. Tue.–Sun. Jun.–Sept.; 6–9 p.m. Fri.–Sat. Oct.–May, $19–29) serves creations like lobster with Pernod béchamel in flaky pastry and roast duck with blackberry sauce. Set in an 18th-century farmhouse inn, the restaurant is about a 20-minute drive from Bethel, but well worth the car time.
© Michael Blanding and Alexandra Hall from Moon New England, 2nd Edition