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Introducing Bethel

An hour and a half northwest of Portland, Bethel is surprisingly lively and refined for a town surrounded on all sides by deep dark woods. Summer visitors have been coming here to escape the coastal humidity since the 1800s, and many of its fine old cottages and lodges are still operating. It's a prime spot to be during Maine's colorful fall-foliage months and during the winter ski season. If you head west on US 2 toward New Hampshire, be sure to admire the Shelburne birches, a high concentration of the white-barked trees that grow between Gilead and Shelburne.