January 16, 2015 | Home & Happiness Team | Comments Off on 12 New England Winter Festivals to Cure the Post-Holiday Blues
New England winters are the best. They really are. But there’s a feeling that hits us New Englanders around this time each January…a touch of the winter blues. The holidays are over, and winter feels like it’s going to be loooooooong.
It’s easy to forget that a long winter is actually great news. Because here in New England, winter means outdoor festivals that celebrate (and make us appreciate) the cold and snow. From ice sculpting to snowshoeing to ski joring, here are some of the best winter festivals each New England state has to offer.
New England Sleigh Rally
February 22, 2015
Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge MA
A one-horse open sleigh? Pffft, that’s nothing. At Old Sturbridge Village’s New England Sleigh Rally, more than 20 horse-drawn sleighs will be dashing through the snow, competing for prizes in 12 divisions. When you’re done watching the Clydesdales and Arabians race to the finish, you can take your own sleigh ride, visit the Village’s historic buildings or go sledding.
Salem’s So Sweet Chocolate & Ice Sculpture Festival
February 6-15, 2015
Ice, chocolate and wine. Salem’s So Sweet isn’t your typical New England winter festival— and that’s what makes it so special. It kicks off with a wine and chocolate tasting that is wildly popular (and often sells out—so check the website for ticket information). Later in the week, large ice sculptures populate the downtown landscape. You can view them all from the Salem Trolley, which offers transportation along the festival route.
New Hampshire Sanctioned Snow Sculpting
January 23-25, 2015
Get ready for snow like you’ve never seen it before. Amateur and professional snow sculptors work all weekend long to create jaw-dropping works of art that are judged on creativity, technique and message. While they’re busy building, you can enjoy the other fun activities planned for the weekend, including a welcome dinner and bonfire, sleigh rides, scavenger hunts and a cross-country ski parade.
Meredith Rotary Ice Fishing Derby
February 7-8, 2015
The Meredith Rotary Ice Fishing Derby attracts fishermen from across the country for a weekend of family-friendly fun. Watch the fishermen wait patiently for a bite, or grab a bite of your own at one of the many food vendor stations set up nearby.
Ski Joring Competition at the Newport Winter Carnival
February 7-8, 2015
If you love horses and skiing, this is the winter event for you. In ski joring, a horse pulls a skier through a course of jumps, gates and rings. We will admit it—even though we consider ourselves true New Englanders, this is the first time we’ve heard of ski joring. And we’re completely fascinated.
But ski joring is just one of the many events taking place at the Newport Winter Carnival, the oldest continuously running winter carnival in the U.S. Full details on this year’s festivities are still to be determined, but last year’s events included ice skating, a scavenger hunt on snowshoes, hockey games, ice fishing and much more.
Billings Farm & Museum Sleigh Ride Weekend
January 17-19, 2015
Enjoy the winter wonderland that is Vermont in January. There is plenty of fun to be had at Billings Farm, where you can relax on a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the fields, go sledding on an old-fashioned jack jumper sled, learn more about the farm’s animals, and then warm up with a cup of hot cider. When you’re done, Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park is nearby, and its trails offer the perfect place for skiing or snowshoeing.
Stowe Winter Carnival
January 17-25, 2015
Only in Vermont will you find snowgolf and snowvolleyball competitions! The town of Stowe is known for its fantastic restaurants, pristine skiing conditions and friendly atmosphere, but it takes on a new level of excitement this week. Music and sports, drinks and dancing—there’s something for everybody at Stowe’s Winter Carnival.
February 14, 2015
Expert igloo creator and engineer Dr. Bert Yankielun teaches everyone how to build a sturdy structure out of snow during the Igloo Build event at the Montshire Museum of Science. Additional activities will be held indoors throughout the day.
Newport Winter Festival
February 13-22, 2015
Sip a cocktail at the ice bar, enjoy an ice sculpting demonstration, and listen to live music at what has been called “New England’s Largest Winter Extravaganza”. Families, foodies and fun-seekers alike will find entertainment during this outstanding event.
Lyman Orchards WinterFest
Feb 21-Feb 22
Lyman Orchards transforms into an arctic adventure zone this weekend. It’s a perfect family outing, with dog sled rides and lessons, sleigh rides and snow tubing. The Connecticut Valley Siberian Husky Club will also be nearby, giving the kids a chance to learn more about huskies—and even pet one. If you need to get warm, hot coffee, donuts, apple crisp and other hot and tasty treats will be available all day long!
Great Maine Outdoor Weekend
February 13-15, 2015
The Great Maine Outdoor Weekend is a weekend-long event held throughout the state of Maine. It’s a celebration of all the outdoor activities Maine has to offer, led by outdoor-oriented organizations and businesses. Join in on the fun! More details will be available as the date gets closer.
U.S. National Toboggan Championships
February 6-8, 2015
More than 400 people enter the U.S. National Toboggan Championships, but you will find the competition both fierce and friendly. The less serious competitors come dressed in costume—it’s not unheard of to see a clown or a cow, and the Three Little Pigs return year after year. There is an award for the fastest team, but there is also an award for the best costume, making this a winter event that is incredibly entertaining, even from the sidelines.
For details on more winter festivals and other events throughout New England, visit Discover New England. And if you find yourself in the Stockbridge, Massachusetts area, don’t forget to stop in and say hi to us at our flagship store!