New England in Winter
New England sparkles in winter. Blanketed in snow, white church steeples stand out against deep blue sky: it's great for photographs! And for winter sports fans — it's playtime! Skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and more — all are available throughout the New England region. At the end of the day, cozy up by the fireplace at your favorite resort or country inn.
New England Winter Travel Ideas
In New Haven, see where presidents and movie stars studied on a student-led tour of Yale University. Visit two of New England's finest art museums: The Yale Center for British Art and the Yale University Art Gallery. Learn about Native American culture at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum, devoted to the story of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. Then attend a concert or a sports event, or try your luck in two of the world's largest casinos, which are now full-fledged resorts with big name entertainers and many fine restaurants: Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino. During the holiday season, ride the North Pole Express to pick up Santa and Mrs. Claus aboard the Essex Steam Train. Or travel back to Christmas Eve 1876 with a lantern light tour at Mystic Seaport. And, take your cards and parcels to Bethlehem. Since 1938, the post office has stamped Christmas mail with a unique Bethlehem Connecticut Christmas "cachet." In February and March, spot migrating eagles and ospreys on a Connecticut River Expeditions Osprey/Eagle Cruise on the lower Connecticut River.
Head for the charming mountain village of Bethel in Maine's Lakes & Mountains. The major destination is Sunday River Resort, with 132 trails and 671 acres (270 hectares) spread across 8 interconnected mountains. Glide up on 16 lifts, including the high-speed Chondola. Further north, Sugarloaf is a training ground for several U.S. Winter Olympic athletes. This pristine region offers all sorts of winter outdoor activity from dog sledding and snowshoeing to snowmobiling. In the Carrabassett Valley, Maine Huts & Trails offers a true Nordic back-country, hut-to-hut cross-country ski experience. Or ski the trails of the Maine Winter Sports Center in Aroostook County — host of three World Cup biathlon competitions.
In Boston, winter is a perfect time to explore the high-end shops of Newbury Street and have lunch at a funky bistro in the South End. Take a cultural tour of the world at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and listen to a concert at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. To get the blood pumping, head for Boston Common, where you can ice skate on Frog Pond. At night, see the Boston Symphony Orchestra, or the out-of-this-world Blue Man Group at the Charles Playhouse.
The Jackson area, in the heart of the White Mountains, encompasses some of the state's prettiest villages: Jackson, Bartlett, Glen, Hart's Location and Intervale. You'll find covered bridges, white steepled churches, high mountains and rolling farmland. This is a special destination for cross-country skiers, with a huge network of trails. But, the White Mountains are famous for downhill skiing. Among the resorts are Attitash, Cannon Mountain, Loon Mountain — and for an extra thrill, ride the ziplines at Wildcat and Bretton Woods. Stay in cozy inns or in resorts with spas.
The glamorous coastal city of Newport glistens in winter, with lights decorating the streets and boats in the harbor. One of three historic Newport mansions decked out in Christmas opulence is The Breakers, a 70-room Italian Renaissance-style palazzo. In Providence, the state capital, rent skates and take to the ice at Alex and Ani City Center. Shop till you drop in the one-of-a-kind boutiques downtown. Foodies love the restaurant scene; delve into the history of cookery at the Johnson & Wales' Culinary Arts Museum.
Vermont is a winter playground. For skiers and boarders, the only problem is, which ski resort to choose — there are 20 alpine resorts and 30 cross-country touring centers! Some favorites include: Stowe, Killington, Sugarbush, Stratton, or Okemo Mountain Resort. Jay Peak Resort, almost on the Canadian border, features the new Ice Haus arena for figure skating, ice hockey and curling. As for cross-country, the Mountain Top Inn & Resort Nordic Ski & Snowshoe Center has 40 miles/60 km of trails. Or try horse-drawn sleigh rides, snowmobiling, ice skating, and sledding. Stay slopeside or in a romantic inn.
New England Winter Festivals
- Bath — Old Fashioned Christmas on Main Street: one of America's prettiest shopping streets.
- Camden — Snowbowl U.S. National Toboggan Championships: a mix of fierce competition and fun, from best costume to oldest team.
- Boston: Blink! is a six-week-long event, a state-of-the-art light and sound extravaganza featuring the music of the Holiday Pops.
- Old Sturbridge Village — Christmas by Candlelight: join in carol singing in the illuminated 19th-century village.
- Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth: a critically acclaimed, month-long holiday celebration in an historic seaport city.
- Jackson — State Snow Sculpture Competition: it's amazing what you can make with snow!
- Newport — Newport Winter Festival: 150 events from ice carving to comedy shows.
- Burlington — Winter Lights: brings snow sculpture competitions, even a penguin plunge in Lake Champlain!
For more winter fun in New England: