Hikes & Brews: Bald Mountain and Furbish Brew House & Eats
Just south of the village of Oquossuc, Bald Mountain rises prominently to a modest elevation of 2,470 feet, the central natural feature of the Bald Mountain Public Land. Once the site of the short-lived Bald Mountain Skiway, the mountain and 1,923 acres around it were acquired for the public domain in 1993. Trails ascend to the peak from the north and west, the latter being the most popular hiking route.
From the Bald Mountain Road trailhead, it’s about a 1,000-foot climb over one-and-a-half delightful miles to reach the 30-foot observation tower on top, which affords a 360-degree panorama like few others in Maine. From Mooselookmeguntic Lake, Cupsuptic Lake and Rangeley Lake to Katahdin, Bigelow, Saddleback and all the way to Mt. Washington, it’s easy to understand why Bald Mountain is the region’s signature conservation property and a must-see for every visitor.
Before you head a few miles east for a craft beer in Rangeley, be sure to stop in at the Rangeley Outdoor Sporting Heritage Museum for a look at its fascinating collection of artifacts and displays showcasing the Rangeley Lakes Region’s colorful history.
Last summer, Chip and Beth Smith opened Furbish Brew House & Eats, the first microbrewery in the area, in the former home of Rangeley businessman Harry A. Furbish on Main Street in Rangeley, right near the junction of Route 4 and Route 16. The stately structure, built in 1912, is a fine place to enjoy a refreshing brew and great food along with an unobstructed view of Rangeley Lake just across the street.
Chip, the brewmaster, is one for adding a little twist to his brews, such as Maine blackberries in his Blackberry Blonde, and ginger snaps in the Ginger Snap Porter. The 1540, named for the elevation above sea level of the brewery, is the flagship brew, a mild, drinkable West Coast-style IPA. Furbish patrons have also taken a shine to Backwoods, a delicious chocolate stout.
While you’re enjoying a pint or a flight in the laid-back, family-friendly atmosphere, bring the menu close for a look at what’s cooking. If your eye focuses in on the wood-fired pizza, well, good; it’s a Furbish specialty prepared in the brick oven next to the bar.
Hike: Bald Mountain Oquossoc, Maine
Brew: Furbish Brew House & Eats (207) 864-5847
— Text & Photos: Carey Kish of Mt. Desert Island. Carey is an avid beer drinker, editor of the AMC Maine Mountain Guide, and author of AMC’s Best Day Hikes Along the Maine Coast.