Winter Scenes from the Mountain Village of Bethel Maine

Winter in Bethel Maine

An Annual Getaway

Bethel, Maine is a charming New England town we visit each year to meet friends who ski in the area. The quaint mountain village lies between some of the highest mountains in Maine. Winter in Bethel Maine offers ample opportunity for outdoor sports, including alpine skiing and snowboarding, Nordic and cross-country skiing, snowmobile trails, snowshoeing, and more.

Sunday River and Mount Abram, both in nearby Newry, Maine, are the primary attractions for our friends, who rent a place at the Sunday River Ski Resort; the guys jet right out their condo to the slopes, returning by night to one of the cozy ski lodges within the resort. We go not to ski, but because winter in Bethel Maine is particularly beautiful.

There’s Always A “Nor’easter”

For the past five years, our stay in Bethel has predictably coincided with an unpredictable “Nor’easter,” an intense storm from the cold Atlantic that hits the eastern seaboard and often dumps inches–or even feet–of snow. Fresh “powda” is a welcome event for our friends who were skiing, and it’s par for the course for winter in Bethel Maine.

For us, the storms present a conundrum: drive home before it starts to tend to our homes, leave in the middle of the storm making an already long 3+ hour ride to Boston longer, or hunker down and extend our stay until it’s over.

In past years, family duties have regrettably caused us to cut our visit short. This year, with three children away at college and the fourth safely with family, we opted to weather the storm. We indulged in an extra day of lodging at The Bethel Inn Resort and embraced the beauty of the winter wonderland before us. Faced with an unscheduled day, and armed with four-wheel-drive and our cameras, we navigated the area to see some of the most beautiful winter scenes in New England.

Winter in Bethel Maine | Snowy Walk
Winter in Bethel Maine usually involves a lot of snow, getting on average, 75 inches (190.5 cm) a year.  Maine folk take it all in stride, though, so we did too.
Winter in Bethel Maine | Snowy Cupola
The snow fell silently, softly blanketing Bethel as the town prepared to slumber. We awoke to a mere 10-inch blanket of the fluffy white stuff.
Winter in Bethel Maine | Mountain Drive
I was surprised how quickly roads were safe for passage. Sunbeams shone down as though guiding us to explore the winding roads which traverse the mountains.

'Sunbeams shone down as though guiding us to explore the winding roads to reach the mountains.' Click To Tweet

Winter in Bethel Maine | Frozen Winter Runoff
It’s always so cool to see frozen mountain runoff along the highway. The shades of blue-green make me think they are the color of icebergs. But really, it’s just winter in Bethel Maine.
Winter in Bethel Maine | Snow Covered Apples on the Tree
Fruit left on the boughs holds its color through the winter, even as fresh snow frosts it. I’m surprised some wild Maine animal didn’t gobble these up. (Do moose eat apples?)

The Beauty of Maine

Winter in Bethel Maine | Mountain River
Even on this cold day, fresh water flows freely into the Androscoggin River Valley, no doubt originating from the mountain range in the distance. If you look closely, you can see the sprawling Philbrook Farm Inn at the foot of the mountain, occupied and operated continuously since 1853 by five generations of the Philbrook family. (Note to self: this might require a return visit.)

'Problems come and go, but the mountains are timeless.' Click To Tweet

Winter in Bethel Maine | Birch Tree | Mountaintop
This scene takes my breath away. It reminds me that problems come and go, but the mountains are timeless.
Winter in Bethel Maine | Covered Bridge
This small covered bridge is one of many New England covered bridges dotting the landscape, vestiges of simpler times.
Winter in Bethel Maine | Barn Doors in Snow
There is a great beauty to be found in the passage of time. Chipped paint, rotted boards, and dried wildflowers create a lovely still life.

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Broad Street Historic District

Around the town common, or Town Green as it’s known, you will find several historic buildings comprising the Broad Street Historic District.

Winter in Bethel Maine | The Moses Mason House
Boughs with a red bow pop against the door of the historic “Dr. Moses Mason House.” The home belonged to the town’s early Doctor, who was also Bethel’s first postmaster and a two-term US Representative. A Federal period house built in the early 1800’s, the Dr. Moses Mason House is open year-round for tours (in winter by appointment). (If you’re curious about it, you can listen to a narrated house tour.)
Winter in Bethel Maine | Bethel Library
The Bethel Library is a modest but thriving institution located in the heart of the Broad Street Historic District. Established in 1879, it is open six days a week. A delightful librarian welcomed us in from the cold for a tour.
Winter in Bethel Maine | The Bethel Inn Resort
The Bethel Inn Resort sits across from the Bethel Green. Established by Dr. John George Gehring who pioneered mental health, the inn served as a something of a respite from those suffering from overwhelming daily pressures. In my opinion, The Bethel Inn Resort continues to fulfill that mission through its hospitality and comfort. The inn offers traditional rooms in the main building, as well as luxury townhouses and suites. We were pleased with our accommodations: a suite with a private balcony overlooking the gazebo on the Bethel Green. Plus, I thoroughly enjoyed swimming in the heated outdoor pool during the snowstorm!
Winter in Bethel Maine | The Bethel Green | Gazebo
Twilight: that magical time between daylight and darkness. It’s one of my favorite times of the day.

'Twilight: that magical time between daylight and darkness. It's one of my favorite times of the day.' Click To Tweet

Winter in Bethel Maine | Town Bell
The Bethel town bell, formerly in the firehouse, dates back to 1896. An inscription reads, “Bethel’s Historic 1896 Fire Bell Re-Dedicated by The Bethel Fire Department and The Bethel Bicentennial Committee on the 201st Anniversary of the Town’s Incorporation 10-June 1997. “

Old New England Charm

We did a bit of exploring beyond the Bethel area, venturing just over the Maine border into Shelburne, New Hampshire, and stumbled upon this lovely church.

Winter in Bethel Maine | Shelburne Union Church | New England
If this isn’t quintessential New England, I don’t know what is. We pulled off the main road to have a look at the Shelburne “Union” Church. The structure was dedicated in 1885 and still serves the tiny town of 372* people living on the northern end of the Mount Washington Valley. (Shelburne, New Hampshire) *Source: 2010 Census
Winter in Bethel Maine | Shelburn Union Church | New Hampshire
Isn’t it just lovely?
Winter in Bethel Maine | Apple Orchard
I’m willing to bet this expertly pruned orchard alongside the church rewards the community with a tasty fruit crop in autumn.
Winter in Bethel Maine | Ice Fishing Hut
Imagine the quietude of ice fishing on the frozen lake in the shelter of this small but sturdy hut. Fresh-caught fish…yum!
Winter in Bethel Maine | Wild Turkey Tracks in Snow
Wild turkey prints decorate a fresh dusting of snow. Though the turkeys are neither lovely nor graceful, their tracks in the snow are decidedly so!
Winter in Bethel Maine | Mountain View
Would you just look at this view? It’s what Maine is all about.

Unique and Quirky Finds

Winter in Bethel Maine | Rustic Shack
I do love the look of an old shack – especially one sporting a fluted lamp fixture on an elegant arm. What a great contrast!
Winter in Bethel Maine | Metal Garage Signs
You never know what you’ll find when you’re exploring – like this place. It’s covered head to toe in old signs. And wait, who’s that in the window?

Blizzard Wonderland

What a delightful taste of winter in Bethel Maine. It was such a treat to capture scenes from this friendly mountain village while having an adult snow day.

I fondly remember many childhood snowstorms in Boston including the famous “Blizzard of 78.” It seems the responsibilities of homeownership and parenthood have dulled the fun of snow day for me. But not this time.

I enjoyed the storm without worry of losing power, clearing the driveway, or whether we enough milk and bread. I discovered that when carefree and warmly cared for, I could honestly appreciate the full beauty of winter…Just like when I was a kid.

So tell me, given a chance, would you have chosen to stay an extra night, too? I’d love to hear your memories of being snowed-in in the comments below.

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8 thoughts on “Winter Scenes from the Mountain Village of Bethel Maine

  • April 10, 2018 at 3:43 pm
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    Thank you for all your kind words. Anyone who knows me knows I prefer beachy warm weather…but this trip was such a visual treat during the storm. I had a great time and good company! I encourage you to visit if you’re in New England. Bethel–and all of Maine, really–is such a beautiful destination year round!

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  • April 8, 2018 at 1:12 am
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    Bethel is such a beautiful New England town. It’s great that you were able to enjoy the beautiful fresh snow.

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  • April 7, 2018 at 4:58 pm
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    You truly captured Maine’s beauty. WOW! Stunning photos. I would love to visit one day. Maybe not during a snowstorm but….it sure is breathtaking!

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  • April 7, 2018 at 4:06 pm
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    Beautiful pictures! We are in the midst of planning a New England roadtrip for this summer. Bethel isn’t on our list but maybe it should be.

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  • April 7, 2018 at 3:47 pm
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    I absolutely love the snow! Mr. SBF and I would probably weather the storm as well. Beautiful photos! Thank you for sharing!

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  • April 7, 2018 at 3:46 pm
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    Your post makes me homesick for the years I lived in Maine. It’s such a beautiful place, even (especially) under several feet of snow. Your photos capture that perfectly!

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  • April 7, 2018 at 2:12 pm
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    The icicles look incredible! The freshwater still flowing between the ice in the Androscoggin River Valley also looks really interest. Amazing the scenes you can see when most other people wouldn’t venture out!

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  • April 6, 2018 at 2:59 am
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    Love snow scenes (especially pictures while staying warm) and your photos are remarkable. The gazebo shot could be a Kinkade painting – the light is perfect. Thanks for sharing.

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