I couldn’t wait to go on my first-ever 48HRS assignment to Bethel and Newry, just a small road trip from Portland. My boyfriend, Adam, and I love exploring Maine, so we knew this would be a perfect little getaway.
3:00 p.m. on Route 26 North
The incredible scenery makes the two-hour car ride go by fast. On the way, we drive by a house with a pen full of elk, and see people stopping to photograph the beautiful animals.
5:00 p.m. @ Grand Summit Hotel
We check in at the rustically beautiful hotel at Sunday River. There is so much to see as soon as we walk in: ski boots and skis on the walls, log furniture, flannel—all the makings of a comfortable, cozy ski resort.
5:30 p.m. @ Black Diamond Steakhouse
After we unpack, we are famished and ready for a relaxing meal. We noticed a steakhouse on our way to the hotel, and Adam is itching for a burger. The restaurant has an outdoorsy feel, with skis hanging from the ceiling and a beautiful stone bar. We see that guests can play horseshoes and hang out by a fire. We feel right at home and love the relaxed pace that invites guests to stay as long as they’d like. Adam orders the Black Diamond Burger, and I go with the baked stuffed haddock. The food comes out piping hot; the haddock is lemony and baked to perfection, and Adam’s fries are so crispy that I can’t help but steal a few off his plate.
7:00 p.m. @ Artist’s Covered Bridge
We stop to explore the covered bridge after dinner. The bridge was built in 1872 and still looks beautiful more than 140 years later. This would be a great spot to sit and read—I wish I had thought to bring my book. As the sun begins to set, Adam and I take pictures and enjoy each other’s company by the river.
8:00 p.m. @ South Ridge
Next stop is Sunday River, where Rustic Overtones is performing an outside concert for the Tough Mountain Challenge tomorrow. Adam and I sit at a picnic table at the base of the mountain overlooking bare ski trails while we talk about the work week and listen to the band. Fireworks go off from the top of the mountain, and we can feel the energy and anticipation of tomorrow’s event.
8:30 a.m. @ Camp
Adam and I wake up late and go down to Camp, Grand Summit’s on-site restaurant. We are greeted with an endless buffet of oatmeal, eggs, home fries, toast, an omelet station, and—what grabs my eyes—French toast! We fill up on food before we set off on our hike.
10:00 a.m. on Roadrunner Trail
The moderate, 1.4-mile Roadrunner Trail begins behind the hotel, and is one of many hiking trails and nature walks Sunday River offers, ranging from easy to expert level. We hike under the Chondola and past White Cap Lodge, enjoying the scenery.
12:30 p.m. @ DiCocoa’s Market & Bakery
Being the kids at heart that we are, we decide to have dessert before lunch. We head over to the village of Bethel for our coffee fix and a snack. We have heard so much about DiCocoa’s, and I am anxious to try it. Adam gets a chocolate almond macaroon, and I choose an éclair. We sit outside, taking in the peaceful atmosphere while enjoying our gourmet pastries— much different from the hustle and bustle we’ve grown used to.
1:00 p.m. @ Smokin’ Good BBQ & The Good Food Store
Lunch calls for barbecue. As soon as we get to Smokin’ Good BBQ and the Good Food Store, Adam’s mouth starts to water. We share the menu with a young family in front of us. The orange trailer is wonderfully unique: Adam finds a Sharpie that the owner encourages his customers to sign the trailer with and writes our names by the window. The barbecue has smoked for eight hours before it is ready; we watch an employee season the next batch of meat before it is placed in the smoker. When we dive in to our pulled pork and chicken, Adam’s face lights up, and I know we’ll have to make another stop before we head home.
2:30 p.m. @ Village of Bethel shops
Bethel has an array of cute gift shops nestled in the village. We buy fudge to snack on later from Maine Line Products and find a camouflage lobster, jam, and Moxie, as well as other classic Maine goods here. Nabos is full of fun and unique “doodads and what-nots,” and we have way too much fun playing with some of the stuff we find.
4:30 p.m. @ Maine Mineral & Gem Museum
I have to do a little convincing to get Adam to come with me to the Mineral and Gem Museum. We learn that the museum is currently under construction, with plans to expand into an interactive learning zone. We explore the gift shop, which contains a preview of the museum and beautiful jewelry made from minerals and gems. Adam found it so interesting thatIhadtodraghimoutsowe could make our 6 p.m. dinner reservation.
6:00 p.m. @ 22 Broad Street
This Italian restaurant is located inside a circa-1848 Greek Revival house overlooking the Town Common. Named the Gideon Hastings House after its original owner, the house has been restored to its original splendor. The Adirondack chairs on the lawn are classic New England. We are warmly greeted and seated on the screened porch. Our waitress, Pamela, makes our visit even more enjoyable with her friendly banter. I order a pinot grigio and a flatbread to start. The flatbread has olives, cranberries, and mozzarella, and before we know it, it’s gone. Adam orders the ravioli, and I order the chicken Parmesan. Our meals arrive and our jaws drop: the portions are beyond generous. The crisp Maine breeze is the perfect addition to the amazing meal. I am definitely going to want to take a road trip to enjoy this food again.
8:30 p.m. @ The Hitching Post Diner
Just a few minutes outside of Bethel we find this cute little diner that serves ice cream. We enjoy Peanut Butter Pie and Fly Fishing Fudge, flavors we haven’t had before. It’s a great way to end our night of exploring.
9:00 a.m. @ Sunday River Ziplines
We get passes to do the double ziplines together. I am nervous, so this is the perfect way to do it. We get harnessed up and sail 750 feet in the air together. The foggy Maine day makes the experience feel even more adventurous. I am thrilled when it is over, and glad I can say I have accomplished something I was afraid to do.
11:00 a.m. @ Grand Summit Hotel
We check out and get ready to head home, but not before making repeat stops at some of our new favorite places. We stop at DiCocoa’s again because we cannot travel two hours on the road without caffeine and breakfast sandwiches. We also make a pit stop at the Good Food Store to get some snacks! I fixate on their healthy Southwest Salad, which I hope to replicate when I get home. We talk about our weekend and how thankful we are to live in a place as beautiful as Maine.