Bethlehem was a charming refuge from the hustle, bustle and smog of Boston and other cities during the Industrial Revolution. The National Hay Fever Relief Association was founded in Bethlehem around 1920. For many, this town was truly "a breath of fresh air."
With its accessibility by rail, Bethlehem was the location of many grand hotels. While many have been razed or repurposed, some remain today: the tradition continues with The Millburn Inn
, 2370 Main Street, a great "painted lady" Victorian bed and breakfast. Bethlehem enjoyed resurgence in popularity during World War II, as the wealthy were afraid to travel to Europe.
The town has a history of lavish celebrations, such as the "Coaching Parade" started in 1897. Local hotels attempted to outshine each other in decorating their horse drawn carriages. The requisite petty girls waved to the crowds.
The area has an historic Jewish population. Since 1919, the Bethlehem Hebrew Congregation
has maintained a house of Jewish worship to serve the religious, social, cultural and educational needs of New Hampshire's North Country year 'round and seasonal Jewish residents. It has been lovingly maintained and restored through the generosity of both residents and visitors from many places.
The Rocks Estate
, half mile off I-93, exit 40 is a 1400-acre conservation and education center for the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests
. The Rocks was formally the summer home of Chicago businessman and International Harvester cofounder John Jacob Glessner and his family. The Rocks offers hiking trails, education programs and Christmas tree cutting. It can also be used as a wedding venue.
Today, the small but lively downtown welcomes visitors. The Colonial Theater
is quite active with music, live theater and movies, and the area has some pretty landscapes. Immediately off I-93, 12 minutes from retail bustling Littleton
(2nd after North Conway
), and 25ish minutes to Mt. Washington, the Cog Railway
, & St. Johnsbury, Vermont and rich in history and culture, Bethlehem offers Victorian charm and many activities.