Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! As the snowflakes start to fly, you may think of migrating south for the winter. And while lying on the beach can be nice, the magical outdoor playground that New England becomes each winter is incredibly enjoyable. Whether you love to hit the slopes or cozy up by a roaring fire, these small New England towns and historic cities are great places to embrace the winter chill.—Kayla Lewkowicz
WHERE: Woodstock, Vermont
Woodstock is the quintessential New England town and the perfect place to warm up by a roaring bed-and-breakfast fire this winter. Take a peek at its covered bridges, strap on your skis and snowshoes on the variety of cross-country trails, or shop for antiques on Main Street.
Just a half hour from Killington Mountain, it’s a great place to stay to enjoy some powder without the hubbub of the great lodge. And if skiing isn’t your thing, take a quick drive to Simon Pearce for a glass-blowing demo or King Arthur Flour for some yummy baked goods or a bread-making class.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Woodstock Guide
North Conway NH
WHERE: North Conway, New Hampshire
For those looking to get outside this winter, North Conway is a great spot to stay before starting your exploration of the White Mountains. Whether you’re interested in winter hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or snowmobiling, it’s the gateway to the wonders the White Mountains have to offer.
Not far from Mount Washington, the most famous of the Presidential peaks, North Conway is a great place to relax and dine after a day in the backcountry.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s North Conway Guide
WHERE: Portland, Maine
If you’d like a taste of the city life without being overwhelmed by Boston’s size, Portland is the perfect getaway. Enjoy the luxury of hitting “the town” in full-on flannel, down jackets, and Bean boots . . . and being perfectly dressed. Eachfirst Friday, stroll the main drag for what turns into a mini-festival of art performances, open houses, and an entry into Portland’s thriving art scene. Then hit the breweries: hop on the Maine Brew Bus and enjoy fantastic craft beer from Allagash, Oxbow, and Maine Beer Company, to name a few.
From Portland, it’s a quick drive to take a gander at the outlets and restaurants in Freeport, including the sprawling L.L. Bean Company Store, open 24 hours. Or scoot farther up the road to Brunswick (home of Bowdoin College) or across the coast to Camden, Maine for some sweet scenery and easy hiking.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Portland Guide
WHERE: Lenox, Massachusetts
For those looking to get away without losing any of the benefits of city life, Lenox, Massachusetts, is a great choice. Nestled in the Berkshires, this small town is a haven for the arts in both summer and winter. Enjoy the Bard? Take in a play fromShakespeare & Company. Or, museum-hop: The Norman Rockwell Museum and MASSMoCA aren’t far. You can situate yourself in the culture and history of bygone eras at The Mount, Edith Wharton’s home, or the Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum.
Once you’ve had your fill of art, take your pick of the delicious Lenox-area eateries or hang out in one of several cute cafés. Or take a short trip to the Berkshire Mountain Bakery in Pittsfield for some famous sourdough.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Lenox Guide
WHERE: Portsmouth, New Hampshire
The quaint harbor city of Portsmouth hasn’t changed much since it was first settled in 1623. Though there’s a bit more industry, it’s still a quintessential port town, now with a great selection of breweries, farm-to-table restaurants, and hip shops. Tour Revolutionary-era houses atStrawbery Banke or check out pre-atomic submarines at the USS Albacore museum, then browse through a variety of antique and local shops.
After breakfast at The Friendly Toast, explore the town or take a short road trip across the border to York, Maine, for some provisions at Stonewall Kitchen and some delicious bread at Ceres bakery.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Portsmouth Guide
WHERE: Burlington, Vermont
Burlington is the most chill place to hang in the winter, in both senses of the word. Home to several colleges, the largest city in Vermont can be seen in little over an hour. Wander around the cute shops (and pick up some flannel and maple syrup) over on Church Street before heading back out on the road to savor some of Vermont’s great flavors: ice cream flavors, that is.
Outside of Burlington, you can visitBen & Jerry’s factory for a tour. They walk through how their famous treats are made and how they choose their crazy flavor combinations (and of course, hand out free samples). From there, it’s not far to the Cabot Cheese Annex, Green Mountain Coffee Visitor’s Center, and Lake Champlain Chocolates. Yum!
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Burlington Guide