What Makes Winter in New England Fun

by Mary on February 22, 2010

So, here in New England this winter will not be known as a very snowy one. Still, we manage to make the most of what nature gives us.

And with an entire week of February school vacation to fill, we found plenty to do. (Forgive the photo quality, these were all snapped on-the-fly with my mobile.)

Saddleback Mountain, Rangeley, Maine

Saddleback Mountain, Rangeley, Maine

The best snow and ski conditions we found was at Saddleback in Rangeley. This mountain has a great atmosphere with uncrowded slopes and a family-friendly feel. The lodge has a huge fireplace and the coffee drinks are awesome. Plus, the lift ticket prices are incredibly affordable (a huge plus when you’re bringing the whole family). The only downside is the slow double chair lift that services the main trails (although there’s a quad for the expert trails on the side of the mountain). Also, depending on where you’re coming from… it’s quite a drive. Fortunately, we were staying a few days with my brother’s family at their cabin — so for us it was about a 40 minute drive away.

Sunday River Resort, White Cap Lodge

Sunday River Resort, White Cap Lodge

For the rest of the week, Kezar Lake was our base. The snow conditions at Sunday River were not as good as Saddleback — it was warm and the snow had that mashed potato consistency. But this is still one of our favorite ski areas. They excel at snowmaking and have an amazing diversity of trails so we can count on it for a fun day. Even though it was school vacation week, it wasn’t crazy busy when we were there. The sun shone brightly and we skied until our legs gave out. (OK, my legs… my son would keep going all night!)

The fire pit at White Cap Lodge.

The fire pit at White Cap Lodge.

Next, tor a change of pace, we headed over to Jackson, NH, just north of North Conway and less than an hour from Lovell, ME.

Jackson NH, Cross Country Ski Area

Jackson NH, Cross Country Ski Area

This cross country ski area  is maintained by the non-profit Jackson Ski Touring Foundation and has an extensive network of trails for skiing and snowshoeing through fields and woods. Last week the snow was soft and coverage was thin in several spots, but we enjoyed the well-groomed Ellis River trail and paused for a snack at the warming hut. With the temps hovering above 40 degrees F, we basked on the deck outside.

Trail at Jackson

Trail at Jackson

Covered bridge at Jackson, NH

Covered bridge at Jackson, NH

Back at Kezar Lake in Lovell, ME, we walked the local trails, including those at Heald Pond Reserve. With more time (and energy) we could have added sledding and ice skating to our list of winter pursuits.

Kezar Lake, Lovell, Maine

Kezar Lake, Lovell, Maine

If you want to enjoy winter in New England, you really do need to get outdoors and have some fun… whether that means downhill or xc skiing, sledding, skating, hiking, or walking is up to you!

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