Franklin Heritage Loop
Begin this spectacular foliage tour from Route 133 in Livermore Falls, where Norlands Living History Center in Livermore brings rural 19th century New England to life. The center has six buildings depicting a crossroads community. There is a one-room schoolhouse, stone library, church and grand mansion built in 1867. Many artifacts are displayed as if the family had left for the day. Toys, clothing, and personal items appear to tell the story of everyday life in the Washburn Mansion.
Head north on Route 133 and you’ll arrive in Farmington where you can explore a few offbeat attractions like the Nordica Homestead—birthplace of America’s first international diva, Lillian (Norton) Nordica. There are costumes, artifacts and gifts received from the Emperor of China and Diamond Jim Brady. From Farmington, head north on Route 27 to Kingfield, where the Stanley Museum honors the Stanley family’s Yankee ingenuity in art, music and steam car transportation.
Continue on 27 along the winding Carrabassett River to Sugarloaf/USA, where you can enjoy a leisurely game of golf amidst spectacular mountain foliage views. This course was designed by world-renowned golf course architect, Robert Trent Jones, Jr., and is one of the premier properties in the State. Travel northwest on 27 to Stratton and hike the Bigelow Mountain Range Trail to scenic Cranberry Peak.
From Stratton, head to Eustis north on route 27 along the Arnold Trail, taking note of the historical markers along the way describing the route of Benedict Arnold’s army as it traveled through the region in 1775. In Eustis, enjoy the sweeping views of Flagstaff Lake and the Chain of Ponds from Eustis Ridge. Eustis is renowned for its fly fishing opportunities and its salmon and brook trout, boasting some of the largest catches in the state.
Return to Stratton via 27 south, keeping an eye out for the Cathedral Pines lining the route three miles north of Stratton. Head west on Route 16 to Rangeley, where the area’s 40 lakes and ponds create a 450 square-mile fishing, golfing, boating and hiking paradise. In Rangeley, visit the Saddleback Ski Resort for light hiking adventures and tasty refreshments at the lodge.
One offbeat adventure you’ll enjoy in Rangeley is the Wilhelm Reich Museum. This is the home and workshop of the man who discovered "orgonian energy," a mysterious force associated with the treatment of psychological and physical illnesses. You can judge for yourself as you view at the equipment that was invented and tested here. From Rangeley, continue on Route 16 and south on Route 17 to the Height of Land, just south of Oquossoc, and take in a view of the five major Rangeley Lakes surrounded by a ring of mountains ablaze in spectacular fall color.
Following your spectacular drive along Route 17 south, find Rumford and Pennacook Falls. With a drop of 180 feet, this dramatic waterfall is Maine’s longest. Kids need a place to stretch too, so don’t miss Kids World of Fun and Wonder, where the little ones can travel into space or dig for dinosaurs in the sand. At Dixfield—the only town in the world named so—take a left onto Route 142 north to Weld where you can try your hand at panning for gold at Mount Blue State Park.