KINGFIELD – Kingfield has been named one of the best places to visit, live and play in a recently released book, “101 Best Outdoor Towns: Unspoiled Places to Visit, Live and Play.”

Authors Sarah Tuff and Greg Melville compared outdoor towns throughout the United States and found three in Maine: Kingfield, Bethel and Southwest Harbor.

The authors drew upon their adventure experiences and backgrounds in writing for outdoor magazines, along with information from area chambers of commerce, said Lorna Nichols, executive director of the Franklin County chamber. They excluded places they deemed too big, too pricey or too far from a major airport, she said Friday.

Nichols recently received a copy at the chamber and found Kingfield in the listings.

“The book does a marvelous job of describing the breathtaking beauty of the Kingfield area and the many outstanding opportunities for playing in and exploring the outdoors. We are thrilled that Kingfield was included,” she said.

The authors describe Kingfield as a “whisper of a town wedged between two of the state’s highest mountains” and praise it for its outdoor-minded and innovative residents, and its “refreshingly offbeat and updated” character, Nichols said.

In learning of the listing Friday, some residents brought out many of the same attractions listed by the authors.

“Kingfield is a little gem, a wonderful town that hasn’t changed, it’s quaint,” said Dan Davis, owner of Stanley One, a restaurant, and Stanley Three, a bed and breakfast, “It’s a healthy town that is in balance of the old timers and new comers. We keep things alive, not stagnant, but have not been taken over by a totally new attitude,” he said.

Some attractions mentioned in the book are places for swimming, canoeing and fly fishing, hiking, mountain biking and views.

“The town is very pretty with the Carrabassett River wandering along the road,” said Debbie Dunham, a waitress and bookkeeper at Longfellow’s Restaurant. With the river just behind the downtown restaurant, she said, people enjoy sitting on their deck watching kids swimming and jumping off the bridge.

“But the town is also a real community,” she said, “everyone really watches out and helps everyone else. It’s very close knit and it is still unspoiled.”

The rugged beauty of the mountains, the atmosphere, four season recreation and the proximity to Sugarloaf USA make the town, incorporated in 1816, a nice little village that is a great place to visit, live and play, said Greg Davis, the town’s new administrative assistant.

Kingfield’s 2006 comprehensive strategy, he said, includes goals that keep the rural character of the town. Growth is happening, but it’s controlled and desirable growth, he said.

For Jo Bessey, a Realtor with Narrow Gauge Realty and a Kingfield resident for 35 years, the town has all the qualities anyone would want in a rural area.

“The people are friendly, hardworking, honest … it’s a lovely little town,” she said.