Year-round adventure in and around Bethel.
Western Maine’s Great Outdoors
Credit: David McLain

Located in southwestern Maine, Bethel touches the eastern edge of the White Mountain National Forest. It maintains a small-town feel in spite of the mass appeal of the Sunday River ski resort. But hitting the slopes is only one of several draws; it also makes a great base for leaf peeping in the fall and paddling in warm weather.

Bethel Inn

Located in the western Maine town of Bethel, this Broad Street Historic District inn offers opportunities to golf in the summer, watch the leaves change color in the autumn, and ski, dogsled, or snowmobile in the winter at the nearby Sunday River Ski Resort. The three-building, Colonial-style inn, which dates from 1913, features a health club with a heated pool, whirlpool, and hot tub, and guest suites that include separate living rooms and fireplaces. Chef Robert Bates oversees the dining room, which showcases mountain views and regional New England cuisine, including crab cakes, boneless duck, and Maine lobster stuffed with Bay scallops and rock crab. There’s also a more casual tavern on-site.

Puzzle Mountain

Follow the Grafton Notch Loop Trail to the top of this 2,566-foot mountain (located 3.2 miles from Eddy Rd., Rte. 26). It’s especially lovely during the fall foliage is in full force (September–October).

Crossroads Diner

This diner in the western Maine hamlet of Bethel features a peaked roof, with wooden walls, and a patio with a white picket fence and lime green umbrellas. No proper diner would be complete without offering a massive menu, and Crossroads, which resides near the intersection of Routes 2 and 26, promises just that—with a dash or two of small town quirkiness, just for fun. They’ve got Yankee standbys like chicken pot pies, crab cakes, fried clam strips, and fresh-caught Atlantic haddock, plus specials such as spaghetti and meatballs, and basil chicken with mashed potatoes. All desserts are made in-house, including apple raisin bread pudding, apple crisps, and a number of pies and cakes.

S.S. Milton

This self-proclaimed “fine casual dining” establishment in the cozy western Maine hamlet of Bethel is open for dinner and Sunday brunch. During the warmer months, S.S. Milton features a patio with a white fence, flowers, and green umbrellas. No matter the season, the kitchen always provides plenty of fresh-caught seafood options, including Boothbay fettuccine, which features scallops, shrimp, and lobster caught in the waters off the rocky Maine coast. Owners Stan and Sue have also made sure that landlubbers are seen to including dishes like flatiron steak and chicken Oscar on the regular menu.

Sunday River Resort

One of Maine’s larger ski resorts features eight interconnected mountains and 743 acres of trails. Sunday River’s Boundary-to-Boundary policy encourages additional off-trail exploration, as long as it falls within the property’s expansive perimeter. The mountain even promises terrain parks with rails, pipes, jumps, and jibs for thrill-seekers. Sunday River has plenty of on-site dining options, ranging from low cost food courts to Dining at The Peak, an upscale restaurant at the top of the Chondola, a chairlift-gondola hybrid. The resort maintains two hotels within the shadow of the mountain, Grand Summit and Jordan Grand, both with easy slope and trail access. During the summer months, the resort is a popular getaway for golfing, zip-lining, and mountain cycling.

Androscoggin River

Paddle or take a fly-fishing trip on the 178-mile-long Androscoggin River. Watch for hawks, which circle above in search of rainbow trout and bass.