visiting Bethlehem & Surrounding TownS

Nestled in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, Bethlehem abounds with attractions. The town’s arts and cultural district showcases a fine art gallery, a store featuring locally produced handcrafted items, and a theater that attracts audiences with its Grammy Award-winning acts and Indie and first-run movies. Unique shops along Main Street make it easy for visitors to find gifts to take home to remember their mountain visit. Bethlehem’s restaurants produce farm to table foods and brews that appeal to a variety of tastes. Two in-town Donald Ross-designed golf courses and the proximity to hiking, skiing and biking trails positions the community in the center of a recreational paradise.

The pastoral landscape of Bethlehem has beckoned generations of visitors charmed by the beauty of the historic mountain town known as the Star of the White Mountains: the towering mountain peaks, verdant valleys, crystal clear air, sparkling lakes and rivers, its lively summer vibe and gorgeous fall foliage.

Set aside the first Saturday in December for Christmas in Bethlehem, an annual town-wide celebration to kick off the holiday season. The day includes inn tours, ornament making, a kids’ Christmas party, food, music, parade, bonfire, fireworks, and plenty of shopping for gifts! Visits from Santa and the Grinch round out the festive event.

Take it outdoors

Tee up for a day on the links at the Maplewood Golf Club or the Bethlehem Country Club. Each is an 18-hole, Donald Ross-designed golf course and both are open to the public.

Bethlehem has been certified by the League of American Bicyclists as a Bike Friendly Community. Beginners and experienced riders will experience thrills on the trails whether they are mountain biking, road and gravel biking or fat tire biking in the winter.

Take a hike in Bethlehem or branch out and hike further afield along the more than 1,200 miles of trails that crisscross the White Mountains and treat yourself to an adventurous hike with incredible views. The Bethlehem Conservation Commission has a handy downloadable guide to the town’s hiking and recreational trails or check in with the Appalachian Mountain Club for extensive White Mountains trail info.

When the winter months roll around, it’s time to hit the slopes for downhill and cross-country skiing and snowboarding. Bethlehem is positioned close to the many mountains and ski resorts that make winter the primo season for outdoor enthusiasts in the White Mountains. It’s an easy drive to Cannon Mountain, Bretton Woods, Attitash, Loon Mountain, Waterville Valley and Wildcat.

New Hampshire is a snowmobiling paradise and with plenty of snowfall and miles and miles of trails in northern New Hampshire, there’s no excuse to stay indoors. Begin your trail explorations right here in Bethlehem where volunteers from the Mt. Agassiz Trail Association and the Bethlehem Snowmobile Club maintain the local trail network.

Raise a Glass and Enjoy a meal

Shopping, exploring and recreational activities take a lot of energy. When you’re ready for a refresh, check out these Bethlehem eateries. Be sure to check days and times for hours as they vary.

The Brew Pub and The Pint House Tap Room & Bar at Rek’•Lis Brewing feature hand-crafted brews along with an extensive menu, live music, outdoor games and more.

Enjoy a farm-to-table menu at Cold Mountain Café, a longtime anchor on Bethlehem’s Main Street. Salads, soups, appetizers and a varied assortment of entrees like the Black Bean Cake, the restaurant’s Signature Dish for 23 years, top the menu. Save room for dessert.

A rotating art show ups the ambiance at Maia Papaya, the local coffee shop where purists can order a regular cup of Joe, but why not try one of the specialty coffees or teas that complement the vegetarian salads and sandwiches and the delicious assortment of homemade pastries?

For a taste of Italy, pull up a seat at Rosa Flamingo’s with its wide selection of pizzas and classic Italian comfort food.

An extensive menu of Latin American and American cuisine gives the El Mirador Restaurante at the Bethlehem Country Club a distinctive cachet.

Set on the banks of the burbling Ammonoosuc River, the Wayside Inn & Restaurant sports a menu of favorites like fish & chips, tacos, burgers, chicken and rib eyes along with unusual fare like Greek lamb meatball pasta and seared mushroom-olive cake.

Dine on the patio to take in the mountain views or in the beautifully appointed dining room at the Adair Country Inn & Restaurant. Check out the Chef’s daily specials or order from the regular menu. The library bar is stocked with new and old favorite beverages.

Regional Attractions You Won’t Want to Miss

For award-winning summer theatre at its best, take in a show at The Weathervane Theater. For close to 60 years the Weathervane has been entertaining audiences with classic and contemporary plays staged in its big red barn in Whitefield.

Poet Robert Frost’s former homestead in Franconia is now a museum for poets and poetry. Sit on the front porch at The Frost Place and gaze upon the views that inspired the poet. Take a walk along the half-mile nature trail where plaques display poems Frost wrote during his Franconia years.  

The internationally renowned North Country Chamber Players present six summer weekends of free classical music outdoors at the Dow Academy field in Franconia along with a variety of community events around the region.

Family-owned since 1938, Polly’s Pancake Parlor in Sugar Hill is open for breakfast and lunch year-round and is famous for its made-from-scratch pancakes and waffles as well as the dining room’s spectacular mountain views. With lots of other goodies on the extensive menu it will be hard to choose!

For a destination strolling and shopping experience head to Littleton’s Main Street which boasts a variety of unusual shops, including the world’s longest candy counter, a variety of restaurants, three breweries, a Riverwalk, a covered bridge and a suspension bridge. The PRKR Mountain biking trails draw visitors seeking an exhilarating challenge.

Magnificent views of the White Mountains and unusual landmarks await passengers on The Mount Washington Cog Railway, the world’s first mountain climbing cog railway that ferries passengers to the top of Mount Washington, the Northeast’s highest peak.

Towering granite walls, glacial boulders and cascading waterfalls characterize the two-mile loop visitors can explore at the Flume Gorge in Franconia Notch, a natural gorge of outstanding beauty that was formed almost 200 million years ago during the Jurassic Period.