To the Editor:

In response to Ms. Nichols’s letter “Small things make a difference” – this is the second time in a month that she has criticized Sunday River, Gould Academy, and now the Bethel Inn.

Does Ms. Nichols know that Gould Academy has been here in Bethel since 1836? Twelve more years and Gould will be 200 years old. Gould has educated many many local students over those years. It was a public school until around 1968, when it went to a private college prep school. One of the top in the United States. As a public high school, it was also a top school.

The Bethel Inn has been a part of this town since 1913. It is hardly for the elite. Now, years ago when I worked there in the 60s and early 70s, folks came from out of state to spend their whole summers there. That was ritzy. They had the same wait person all summer.

If you ever saw Dirty Dancing, that was the clientele. Widows and older couples and a few families, but mostly retirees with big money. They came to stay and enjoy the country fresh air. They were also all very nice people, but that was a time when you thought money could buy this kind of service. Now anyone can go to the Bethel Inn, go in and eat and socialize.

Become a member and you get golf and rec club privileges. Today, employees have so many more perks than we ever saw back when I worked there. Employees then could only use the pool on Wednesday afternoons for a few hours. We felt blessed.


Now to Sunday River. This mountain has been here since 1959. Started by a few local folks in town who had a love of skiing and wanted to do something about it. Now all these businesses have employed thousands of people over the years. This has allowed families to live in Bethel, raise their families, go to school in Bethel, work here, and make Bethel their home.

Bethel is a better place for all of these businesses. Ask a local who has lived here all their life. I doubt they will disagree. Bethel was a pretty quiet little town until the Bethel Chamber started spreading the town’s wings out into the outer reaches of the state of Maine. But that is what business townsfolk wanted back then. Thus as the mountain grew, so did the areas around them.

I don’t think many native locals envy any of those who have had the money to come here, build, and call this area their second home. Those folks also keep a lot of people busy and at work. Do some wish we were still that small town? Of course they do.

Don’t be envious or slam businesses that have had a footprint here for a total of 361 years combined. It’s very petty. Thank them for the opportunities they have provided to those who want to work. Have they changed the area? Yes, but nothing ever stays the same anymore.

Jane Ryerson

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