Tucked in the folds of western Maine’s snowy White Mountains, Bethel is idyllic anytime—think ivy-covered prep school, historical homes, white steepled churches, and country inns—but in winter, it’s an especially cozy retreat. Normally rather sleepy, it wakes from hibernation for WinterFest, Jan. 23-31.
This year’s events and activities include:
• guided snowshoe tours at the Bethel Nordic Ski Center at the Bethel Inn Resort,
• a snowmobile uphill climb at Mt. Abram,
• Old-Timers Nordic Ski Race at Carter’s XC Ski Center,
• a rail jam-competition on Bethel’s Lower Main Street,
• An 80’ by 195’ outdoor ice skating rink, a 90 square foot snow maze, and a snow sculpture playground, all free.
• hot-air balloon ascents and a moon glow,
• snow sculptures and ice carvings,
• snow groomer rides and horse-drawn sleigh rides,
• a full-moon Nordic relay, full-moon snowshoe hike, and biathlon clinic (skiing and shooting) at the Bethel Nordic Ski Center.
• all sorts of competitions, including a double-hike-and-ski marathon..
Complementing the event is The Bethel Historical Society’s exhibit, “Celebrating the Skiing Heritage of the Bethel Area,” which will be open with free admission. The exhibit has photos, artifacts, and ski equipment from the early years of Mt. Abram Ski Area and Sunday River Ski Resort.
And of course, both Sunday River and Mount Abram have all kinds of happenings, too.
The Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce has info on local lodgings with special WinterFest packages and just about everything else.
(Hey, and trust me on this, don’t miss the Orange Trailer BBQ joint or the cookies at Cafe DiCocoa).