BETHEL — Bethel has something to bark out to the world now that this Western Maine town has been named one of the top pet-friendly destinations in the country in a new book.

Kelly E. Carter’s “The Dog Lover’s Guide to Travel” lists the best destinations, hotels, events and advice to please one’s pet and oneself, Jessie Seymour Perkins of the Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce said Friday. The book was published by National Geographic.

“For many travelers, a dog is more than just a best friend; he’s family, and the family vacation wouldn’t be the same without him,” Perkins said.

“One of the most common requests we get when people ask our advice for lodging options is whether places will allow dogs, and we’re glad to have so many options to recommend.”

The chamber’s website,, has a search function for accommodations, and one of the search criteria is “pet-friendly.”

Perkins said Wende Gray of Bethel sent the chamber a media request from Carter, who sent a questionnaire, and they filled it out and returned it to Carter.


“We jumped at the chance to submit Bethel for consideration to be included in ‘The Dog Lover’s Guide to Travel,’ and were thrilled when Bethel was chosen,” Perkins said.

As far as she knew, Carter, whom Perkins said lives on the West Coast, hadn’t visited Bethel.

The book is divided by region, showcasing 75 pet-friendly cities across the United States and Canada. In each city, Carter highlights the best pet offerings, including hotels, parks, pet shops and doggie bakeries.

“To find out we are the first place in the book was a nice little bonus,” Perkins said of Bethel. The book starts with the Northeast region.

Bethel’s entry in the book lists several favorite local spots to hike, swim, paddle and even cross-country ski with dogs.

The Sudbury Inn, The Bethel Inn Resort, the Chapman Inn and the Bear Mountain Inn in nearby Waterford are listed as pet-friendly places to stay, Perkins said.


The Millbrook Tavern at The Bethel Inn Resort, DiCocoa’s Market & Bakery, the Good Food Store and Smokin’ Good BBQ were all named as places where dogs would be welcome at outside dining areas.

Nabos, a gift shop, and the shops at Philbrook Place were included as dog-friendly shops. At Home Pet Grooming, Barker Brook Kennels, Tucker’s Dog House, the Bethel Animal Hospital, Yeah Bud! Photography and Carter’s XC Ski Center also received mentions.

Perkins said these businesses will be able to display the “Paw of Approval” badge from National Geographic.

The Dog Lover’s Guide to Travel begins with basic advice for pet parents wanting to bring Fido along their vacation: how to determine if the dog is ready for a trip, how to select the right carrier and appropriate travel gear and what to know before booking a flight.

Carter also shares her knowledge of what travelers and their pets can expect at hotels, airports, the beach, on the trail and more.

Perkins said they filled out the questionnaire and submitted it a year ago while a local group was trying to get a dog park established, so that was mentioned to Carter as well.

However, town meeting voters last June killed Davis Park as the dog park’s venue.

“We really get a lot of calls about dogs,” Perkins said. “We thought it was really cool to be in this book and hope to get the word out more about Bethel.”

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