Bethel garners ‘top 10’ laurel

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BETHEL – A new book out on the best towns for outdoor living features Bethel in a top spot.

The first edition of the book, “101 Best Outdoor Towns: Unspoiled Places to Visit, Live & Play,” ranked Bethel in the top 10 in two areas.

The town was named the fifth best hiking town and ranked No. 9 in the best overall outdoor town category, according to a release issued by the Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce on Friday.

The book was authored by Sarah Tuff and Greg Melville and released by Countryman Press of Woodstock, Vt.

It compares outdoor towns throughout the United States.

Places that were considered too big, too pricey, or too far from a major airport where excluded.

Writers Tuff and Melville, along with a few research assistants, used some of their own adventure experiences and backgrounds in writing for outdoor magazines in compiling the book. They also got information from local chambers of commerce and a few key Web sites when gathering their data, the news release stated.

Prerequisites for all their 101 top towns were that they needed to have at least one decent café and a “watering hole” with good microbrews.

Bethel’s ranking as No. 9 in the “overall top town” category cites the magnificent mountains of Grafton Notch and the White Mountain National Forest, the Androscoggin River and its recreational opportunities, the rich history, excellent alpine and Nordic skiing, and events that Bethel organizes or hosts, from the North American Wife-Carrying Contest and the triathlon to the bandstand concerts on the common.

Bethel was also cited for excellent hiking opportunities, including the Grafton Loop Trail.

Each town featured in the guidebook received a short write-up with some business names and contact information along with two sidebars.

The information on Bethel includes the Trek Across Maine, which originates in Newry each year, and the legendary Mahoosuc Notch, the toughest mile on the entire Appalachian Trail.

“The Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce, on behalf of this wonderful region and our business members, is very pleased to receive this terrific recognition,” the release stated.

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