Bethlehem consists of Main Street plus a small handful of side streets; it becomes more appealing as you get away from the I-93 end of town. Several antiques stores are clustered in what passes for a village center, and are worth browsing. Bethlehem once was home to as many as 38 resort hotels; very little evidence of them remains today, however. For a better understanding of the town's history, pick up a copy of An Illustrated Tour of Bethlehem, Past and Present, available at town shops. This informative guide brings to life many of the graceful old homes and buildings of the past.
Harking back to its more genteel era, Bethlehem still has two well-maintained 18-hole golf courses amid beautiful North Country scenery. Call for hours and greens fees. Both the municipal Bethlehem Country Club (tel. 603/869-5745), designed by famed course architect Donald Ross, and the private Maplewood Country Club (tel. 603/869-3335) -- with its stone clubhouse -- are right on Route 302 (Main St.) in town.
West of Bethlehem on U.S. Route 302 is The Rocks (tel. 603/444-6228; www.therocks.org), a classic Victorian gentleman's farm that today is a conservation center operated by the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, as well as a working Christmas tree farm. The original 1883 estate on 1,200 acres includes a well-preserved shingled house, handsome barn, and hiking trails that meander through the meadows and woodlands. It's a peaceful spot, perfect for a picnic. Admission is free, and the property is open daily from dawn to dusk.
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