Fryeburg Maine: In the Foothills of The White Mountains

Tucked away in the western region of Maine near the New Hampshire border, Fryeburg offers a compelling blend of scenic beauty, outdoor adventure, and small-town charm. From the shores of the Saco River to the trails of the White Mountains, here’s your comprehensive guide to the best things to do in Fryeburg, Maine.

There’s really not much to the tiny Fryeburg town, if you could call it a town, that sits on the New Hampshire border in the foothills of the White Mountains. There’s the famous Fryeburg Agricultural Fair (early October). And it’s home to Fryeburg Academy and the Maine Summer Camps at Indian Acres (Boys) and Forest Acres (Girls) in the White Mountain National Forest.

There’s also one true “Destination Inn” – the Oxford Inn. Yes, there are people who come to this most western part of Maine just to stay at this lovely place. Read on, and you’ll see why.

Where Is Fryeburg Maine?

Fryeburg is a quaint town located in Oxford County in western Maine, close to the New Hampshire border. Positioned at the confluence of the Saco, Old Course Saco, and Swamp rivers, the town serves as a gateway to the scenic White Mountains of New Hampshire. Fryeburg is about 58 miles west of Portland, Maine, and approximately 116 miles north of Boston, Massachusetts.

Fryeburge Fair, Fryeburg, ME

Known for its outdoor recreational opportunities, it also gains fame from hosting the Fryeburg Fair, one of the oldest agricultural fairs in the United States. Its unique blend of natural beauty, outdoor activities, and cultural events make Fryeburg an attractive destination for adventurous couples.

Things to Do In Fryeburg Maine

Sacco River, ME

KAYAK/TUBE: Saco River Canoe and Kayak

One of the most popular activities in Fryeburg is a lazy float down the Saco River. With its gentle currents and crystal-clear water, the Saco offers the perfect environment for kayaking, canoeing, and tubing. Outfitters in the area provide rentals and shuttle services, making it easy for you to enjoy a day on the water.

Fryeburg Historical Society, Fryeburg ME

SEE: Fryeburg Historical Society Museum

Even when not open, it’s a lovely home, especially in the fall when surrounding trees burst into color.

ATTEND: The Leura Hill Eastman Performing Arts Center

Situated on the campus of Fryeburg Academy, the center is a hub for cultural events, concerts, and performances, featuring a wide range of genres from classical music to contemporary theater. With its state-of-the-art facilities and intimate setting, the Leura Hill Eastman Performing Arts Center offers a high-quality artistic experience that enriches the cultural landscape of western Maine and beyond.

SEE: Covered Bridges

Fryeburg, Maine, is home to a few notable covered bridges that encapsulate the region’s historic and architectural character. These charming wooden structures serve as functional crossings over the Saco River and its tributaries, while simultaneously adding a touch of nostalgia to the landscape.

Among them is the Hemlock Bridge, built in 1857, which is a classic example of 19th-century engineering with its Paddleford truss construction. The Lovejoy Bridge, another historical covered bridge in the vicinity, offers a picturesque setting ideal for photography or simply enjoying a peaceful moment by the river.

Rt. 113, Maine

DRIVE: 30 Miles on Route 113 North (or South from Gilead)

This undulating mountain and river road is closed in winter, which gives you some idea of how rustic it is. But this kind of rustic is mindblowing in September and October when the canopies of trees flame into color.

You’ll be weaving in and out of New Hampshire through Evans Notch on this National Scenic Byway, with breathtaking views of the White Mountains. This route is perfect for those coming from or going to Bethel, ME.

VISIT: Weston’s Farm Markets

Nestled amidst the scenic backdrop of Fryeburg, Maine, Weston Farm offers a bucolic experience that encapsulates the charm of New England agriculture. This seventh-generation family farm, operational since 1799, is a haven for organic produce, ranging from vegetables and herbs to fresh berries.

Visitors can meander through the fields, visit the farm stand stocked with homegrown produce and homemade products, or even engage in a seasonal pick-your-own experience. Beyond its agricultural offerings, Weston Farm is also home to a picturesque barn venue that frequently hosts weddings and special events. The farm perfectly blends agritourism with rustic elegance, making it a must-visit location for those seeking an authentic Maine farming experience.

Fryeburg Maine Restaurants

Oxford House Inn Restaurant, Fryeburg ME

EAT: Oxford House Inn

This is inn dining at its best. Inventive, well executed and perfectly plated, you can’t go wrong with anything here. Candlelit, white linen tables, and surrounded by either lovely art or a view out back to equal the food, its no surprise that the chef in the kitchen is Culinary Institute of America grad, chef/owner Jonathan Spak.

Bowls, like the Butternut Squash Pierogi’s, are comfort food plus. The Signature Red Hook ESB Battered Buffalo Shrimp – a killer appetizer – and Steak Frits, hit the mark of culinary excellence. But I wanted to order a second (and then probably third) helping of the Bibb Lettuce with Roasted Shallots, Roasted Grapes & Cashews in a hint of sesame dressing. Outstanding.

EAT: 302 West Smokehouse & Tavern

This eatery offers an extensive menu that includes classic American favorites like ribs, pulled pork, and burgers, all infused with the smoky goodness from their in-house smoker. With a well-stocked bar featuring craft beers and cocktails, as well as live music events, 302 West serves as a lively gathering spot for both locals and visitors looking for a hearty meal and a good time.

EAT: Fryeburg House of Pizza

Fryeburg House of Pizza is a go-to spot for pizza lovers in Fryeburg, Maine, and the surrounding areas. Known for its mouth-watering pizza selections, generous toppings, and crispy crusts, this casual eatery offers more than just pizza; the menu also features subs, calzones, salads, and classic Italian dishes. With its friendly service and unpretentious atmosphere, Fryeburg House of Pizza has earned its reputation as a reliable and satisfying option for quick and tasty meals, making it a popular choice for both residents and visitors to the town.

EAT: Saco River Brewing

Saco River Brewing is a microbrewery that has quickly made a name for itself in the local craft beer scene. Specializing in small-batch brews, the brewery offers an ever-changing lineup of beers, ranging from hoppy IPAs to smooth stouts. With a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere and an outdoor patio that overlooks the scenic surroundings, Saco River Brewing provides not just quality beers but also a convivial setting to enjoy them.

Oxford Inn, Fryeburg Maine

Fryeburg Maine Hotels

STAY: Oxford House Inn

What a wonder. From the outside, the inn building itself is nice, but nothing to go gaga over. Rambling, old, and sturdy, it’s like thousands of other inns across the Northeast USA.

But walk through the door and

a) one receptionist at one small table greets you like family.

b) redone rooms are pristine and elegantly modern.

c) restaurant space is upscale and eye-catching.

And d) views overlooking farm fields and mountains beyond will take your breath away.

In fact, it is this view – and the exceptional food served here – that keeps guests coming back, and places Oxford Inn squarely as a Destination in and of itself.

Room, Oxford House Inn, Fryeburg, ME

There are only four guest rooms and they differ in size. But all have an upscale-modern-country, delicately designed touch – not done to the nines, but just so.

Since this inn wasn’t built with a bathroom in each room, some (like mine) feature a toilet and shower in a closet-sized space, while the granite sink is near the bed.

Somehow, this is not a determent, especially after a dinner downstairs in either the basement pub or main dining room. The feeling is “cozy and snug” rather than cramped.

Oxford House Inn Restaurant 2, Fryeburg ME

There are actually two restaurants here – the main restaurant mentioned above, and Jonathan’s Pub on the lower level, which is more lively with an upscale pub menu. Both showcase Spak’s flare as chef.

In the morning, breakfast is complementary with the room – and the cuisine is just as impressive as it is at night. Choose from the likes of Maine Buttermilk and Pumpkin Waffles, Stone Wall Farm Organic Eggs Any Style, and fancier fare. It’s all good.

Jonathans Pub, Oxford House Inn, Fryeburg ME

Dine on the enclosed porch and you might have company. There are several birdfeeders right outside the window, an amusing distraction.

Besides the incredibly good restaurants, the most glorious amenity here is the view out back. I cannot overstate this enough. It is so fantastic, the inn owners have set out an array of Adirondack chairs, lighting up the fire pit after dark when guests can just stare and breath deeply.

It’s like harking back to the early 1900’s – “taking the cure” – and worth a drive from anywhere. 

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  • Malerie Yolen-Cohen

    Malerie Yolen-Cohen is the Author of the cross-country travel guide, Stay On Route 6; Your Guide to All 3562 Miles of Transcontinental Route 6. She contributes frequently to Newsday, with credits in National Geographic Traveler, Ladies Home Journal, Yankee Magazine,, Sierra Magazine, Porthole, Paddler, New England Boating, Huffington Post, and dozens of other publications. Malerie’s focus and specialty is Northeastern US, and she is constantly amazed by the caliber of restaurants and lodging in the unlikeliest places.