Farmington, the county seat of Franklin County and a portal community to the western mountains, is known for its four-season recreation, busy commercial district and a hefty share of cultural and educational offerings. The town is graced with specialty shops and galleries, restaurants, cafes, a multi-screen movie theater, bookstores, lodging and a busy college campus.
Farmington's claim to fame is Chester Greenwood Day, held in December each year. The event honors the inventor who came up with the idea for earmuffs with a parade, special events and the Festival of Trees. But that is not the only event that entertains locals and visitors alike. There is Summer Fest, Art in the Park, tractor and motorcycle shows at the fairgrounds, productions of Sandy River Players' theater productions, concerts and performances.
In less than an hour, visitors can drive to the state's two premier all-season ski resorts (Sunday River and Sugarloaf), world-class golf courses, Mt. Blue State Park in Weld or access hundreds of miles of trails for snowmobiling, riding, hiking and lakes and rivers for paddling.
The University of Maine at Farmington (UMF), the state's top public liberal arts campus, is located in the center of downtown and brings a youthful vibrancy to the community. The college attracts writers, artists, musicians, educators, scientists and business experts to teach, speak or perform (see UMF events calendar here).
Another town/gown connection is UMF's Fitness & Recreation Center that offers community memberships and day passes. It also opens its new Mainely Outdoors program to the public with affordable outdoor adventure workshops and clinics.
The Healthy Community Coalition offers downtown walking maps, or try out the 14-mile, multi-use Whistlestop Trail that starts on Oakes Street in West Farmington and ends in Jay.
To explore Farmington's history, follow the eight, large downtown walking tour signs that take visitors to the Farmington Library, Hippach Field, UMF's Merrill Hall, a former corn cannery, the Farmington Historical Society's Old North Church, the original narrow gauge railroad depot, and the site where the fire of 1886 began and destroyed much of downtown.