Out & About | Best New England Winter Events for 2018

From ice castles and ice harvests to boat shows and film festivals, these New England winter events are well worth the drive.

By Yankee Magazine

Jan 02 2018


Best New England Winter Events for 2018

Photo Credit : A.J. Mellor

BEST NEW ENGLAND WINTER EVENTS | January & February 2018

Best New England Winter Events for 2018
The ice castles in Lincoln, New Hampshire, are on our list of the Best New England Winter Events for 2018.
Photo Credit : A.J. Mellor

Ice Castles

Started as a front-yard project in Utah, Ice Castles has grown into a company that builds frozen art installations/tourist attractions across North America—but New Hampshire’s Hobo Railroad in Lincoln remains its only site east of Minnesota. Since the caverns and slides and other fun formations are all carved from approximately 25,000 pounds of ice, the weather dictates the start and end of each display (recent seasons have run from mid-December until early March). Lincoln, NH.

Fire & Ice Valentine’s Festival
February 10

At the largest single-block ice carving competition in the U.S., artists transform 300-pound chunks of frozen water into sparkling masterpieces. Factor in live carving demonstrations, fire dancers, carriage rides, and chocolate sculptures, and you have a community celebration that’s too cool to pass up. Putnam, CT.

Lobster Dip
January 1

Get the new year started with a chill and a thrill—and be warmed by the knowledge that you’re helping a great cause, too. One of the top fund-raisers for Maine Special Olympics, the annual Lobster Dip sees throngs of altruistic (if slightly nutty) folks gathering at the Brunswick before taking a quick plunge into the icy Atlantic at noon. Old Orchard Beach, ME. 207-879-0489;

New England International Auto Show
January 11-15

The premier showcase of newest-model vehicles, both foreign and domestic, returns to the Boston Convention Center. Test drives will be offered, and factory and dealer reps will be on hand to answer questions. Car lovers shouldn’t miss this opportunity to check out some hot wheels without having to trek to the showroom. Boston, MA. 781-343-1661;

Providence Boat Show
February 2-4

Explore the latest in boats and gear, pick up tips from fishing and boating experts, and perhaps even return home as the owner of a newly purchased tax-free vessel of your own. Whether you’re a boating novice or an old hand, there’s a wide nautical world to discover at the Rhode Island Convention Center. Providence, RI. 401-396-9619;

Craftsbury Ski Marathon
January 27

Skiers from near and far will gather at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center to pit themselves against courses ranging from 12½K to 50K during the Craftsbury Marathon and U.S. Ski and Snowboard SuperTour Festival. The largest ski marathon in the eastern U.S. just keeps getting better, so take up a place along the route and cheer on your favorites. Craftsbury, VT.



THROUGH JAN. 28: OLD LYME,“World War I and the Lyme Art Colony.” The Florence Griswold Museum hosts an exhibit highlighting the role of Connecticut artists in the war, from mobilizing public support to creating new camouflage patterns. 860-434-5542;

JAN. 17–FEB. 11: NEW HAVEN, “Office Hour.” Long Wharf Theatre presents award-winning playwright Julia Cho’s roller-coaster ride through the psyches of a troubled college student and the writing professor who’s the only one willing to get close and try to understand him. 203-787-4282;

JAN. 26–28: UNCASVILLE, Sun Wine and Food Fest. Mohegan Sun pulls out all the stops for a weekend of wine and beer tastings, competitions, seminars, celebrity chef demonstrations, and a grand tasting with more than 1,000 selections.

FEB. 9–11: SALISBURY, Jumpfest. For nearly a century, the Salisbury Winter Sports Association has been holding this annual ski jumping competition on Satre Hill, drawing competitors from far and wide and crowds to cheer them on. 860-850-0080;

FEB. 22–25: HARTFORD, Flower and Garden Show. As it has for nearly four decades, spring makes one of its first appearances at the Connecticut Convention Center, which will be teeming with some 300 colorful booths and exhibits. 860-844-8461;


JAN. 7: BATH,Bath Antique Show. Bath Middle School hosts 50-plus antiques dealers from all over New England at this venerable show, still going strong more than three decades on. From toys and furniture to paintings and collectibles, you never know what you’ll find. 207-832-7798;

JAN. 22–26: NEWRY, Go50 Week. Sunday River celebrates the over-50 crowd with five days of ski parties, dinners, and other activities geared to the “experienced” (but still young at heart) set. 207-824-3000;

JAN. 28: ROCKLAND, Pies on Parade. Find out why Rockland has been dubbed “Pie Town U.S.A.” by the Food Network during this day of strolling and sampling more than 45 different pies from area restaurants and inns.

FEB. 1–28: BRUNSWICK, Longfellow Days. To honor the life and works of this famed poet and former Bowdoin College student, the Brunswick community hosts a month of readings, lectures, tours, dining, and film events at a variety of venues around town. 207-729-4439;

FEB. 9–11: CAMDEN, U.S. National Toboggan Championships. Some 400 sledders take to the historic Jack Williams Toboggan Chute at the Camden Snow Bowl to compete for the fastest time—and to sport zany and creative costumes.

FEB. 18: SOUTH BRISTOL, Ice Harvest. Visit the Thompson Ice House to see how ice was harvested in the 19th and early 20th centuries. After watching the cutting and lending a hand with the transportation of the ice blocks, you’ll still have plenty of time for skating, horse-drawn wagon rides, and a visit to the


JAN. 5–7: NEW BEDFORD, Moby-Dick Marathon. Join in the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s annual read-a-thon of one of America’s most enduring novels, Moby-Dick. 508-997-0046;

JAN. 13–14: WILMINGTON, Boston Antiques and Design Show and Sale. More than 150 vendors offer up their wares—jewelry, silver, fine furniture, artwork and more—at Shriner’s Auditorium. 781-862-4039;

JAN. 18–20: CAMBRIDGE, Boston’s Celtic Music Festival. Soak up the sounds of more than 100 Celtic-inspired musicians, singers, and dancers at this event, which is now in its 15th year, at the venerable Club Passim. 617-492-7679;

FEB. 2–4: HYANNIS, Boatbuilders Show on Cape Cod. “The best little boat show in the Northeast” returns to the Resort and Conference Center at Hyannis to give you a jump on the season, with plenty of accessories and beautifully crafted pleasure boats to draw the eye of both serious shoppers and those simply dreaming of summer.

FEB. 9–11: SALEM, So Sweet Chocolate and Ice Festival. This decadent annual tradition brings ice sculptures, wine tastings, deals on Valentine’s Day gifts, and plenty of chocolate, chocolate, chocolate to downtown Salem. 978-744-0004;

FEB. 18: ROCKPORT, J.D. Souther. The name may not be immediately familiar, but you certainly know Souther’s music, which includes hits by the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, and Bonnie Raitt. Souther makes his first appearance at the Shalin Liu Performance Center. 978-546-7391;

FEB. 23–25: BOSTON,New England Home Show. From lighting to flooring to siding, look for a wide range of home improvement ideas, tools, and techniques at the Seaport World Trade Center. Plus: cooking demonstrations, crafts, a furniture building zone, and specialty foods.


JAN. 26–28: JACKSON, New Hampshire Sanctioned and Jackson Invitational Snow Sculpting Competition. The most talented snow sculptors from across the region converge for a weekend of creating. Spectators are welcome throughout the process, but most pieces are not finished until Sunday. Nighttime illumination makes an after-dark stroll a must. 603-383-9356;

JAN. 26–FEB. 25: NEW CASTLE,Winter Wine Festival. Pairing fine wines with great food and the hospitality of a grand hotel, this monthlong festival at Wentworth by the Sea offers everything from jazz brunches to oyster parties. 603-422-7322;

FEB. 2–3: MANCHESTER, New Hampshire Farm and Forest Expo. Billing itself as the state’s “greatest winter fair,” the Farm and Forest Expo promises a top-notch lineup of exhibits, demonstrations, and games at the Radisson Hotel.

FEB. 3: PORTSMOUTH, “Capitol Steps: Orange Is the New Barack.A troupe of former congressional staffers turned musical comedians, the Capitol Steps returns to the Music Hall for a concert to support affordable housing development. 603-436-2400;

FEB. 8–11: NEWPORT, Winter Carnival. Still going strong after more than 100 years, this townwide tradition includes dinners, pancake breakfasts, a pig roast, pickleball and table tennis tournaments, ice skating, hockey, parades and pageants, and horse-drawn wagon rides.

FEB. 9–11: NASHUA, Orchid Show and Sale. Head to the Courtyard Marriott to meet expert orchid growers, marvel at the beauty of their blooms, and perhaps pick up a few plants to bring home.

FEB. 25: MOUNT WASHINGTON VALLEY, Chocolate Festival. Whether you choose to travel by car, ski, or snowshoe, this inn-to-inn tour through the Mount Washington Valley will keep you fueled with decadent goodies to sample along the way. 603-356-9920;


THROUGH FEB. 25: PROVIDENCE,“Ariel Jackson: The Origin of the Blues.” In this show at the RISD Museum, multidisciplinary artist Ariel Jackson combines elements of science fiction and fantasy with her own experience to explore the issues of living as a minority in the United States. 401-454-6500;

JAN. 4: EXETER, Winter Big Day. How many species will you find? Perhaps a Eurasian wigeon? Maybe a Barrow’s goldeneye? Register in advance for a day that starts at the Audubon Society’s Fisherville Brook Wildlife Refuge and explores several winter birding hot spots. 401-949-5454;

FEB. 3: WOONSOCKET, Rhode Island Music Legends Concert. Three of the Ocean State’s best-loved musical acts take to the Stadium Theatre stage. Rock to John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band, swing to Roomful of Blues, and groove to Steve Smith and the Nakeds. 401-762-4545;

FEB. 10: LINCOLN, Lincoln’s Birthday Celebration. Have a slice of cake in honor of Honest Abe’s 209th birthday (a few days early) as you tour the Arnold House museum. Learn about the 16th president’s visits to Rhode Island, and how this town came to be named for him in 1871, just six years after his assassination. 401-728-9696;

FEB. 16–25: NEWPORT, Winter Festival. This annual extravaganza includes activities throughout the city (more than 160 events total) that collectively offer fine food, music, and entertainment for the whole family. 401-847-7666;

FEB. 16–25: PROVIDENCE, Children’s Film Festival. A variety of downtown venues will screen independent films that are geared toward ages 3–18 but certain to appeal to all ages. Postfilm discussions, workshops for kids, and a young filmmakers showcase round out the fun. 401-209-7585;


JAN. 13: BARRE, Neko Case. A former punk rocker who pushed through the alt-country label into what’s been dubbed “country noir,” Case blends a lifetime of disparate influences into powerful storytelling. 802-476-8188;

JAN. 18–20: RUTLAND,Zig-Zag Woman” and “The Wasp. Actors’ Rep Theatre presents a pair of short plays by comedian Steve Martin at the Paramount Theatre. In one, a lonely waitress magically separates herself into three parts to facilitate her quest for a man. In the other, a white Protestant family in suburban 1950s America exists in a limbo of expectation, routine, insincerity, and fear. 802-775-0903;

JAN. 27: BRATTLEBORO, Northern Roots Traditional Music Festival. This daylong celebration brings together local and regional musicians representing the best northern musical traditions for a day of workshops, panels, and mini concerts at New England Youth Theater and McNeill’s Brewery, with everything culminating in a special evening performance. 802-257-4523;

JAN. 30–FEB. 1: ESSEX JUNCTION, Vermont Farm Show. The Champlain Valley Expo Center plays host to this annual tradition, which will feature more than 250 booths—showcasing everything from beekeeping to sugar making to dairy farming—that offer local products and the chance to meet the vendors. 802-461-8774;

FEB. 11: STOWE, Stowe Derby. One of the most unusual ski races in North America provides participants with the ultimate test of their abilities. The race begins atop Mount Mansfield and concludes in the historic village of Stowe—and just one set of skis is allowed per competitor. 802-253-9216;

FEB. 16–25: BRATTLEBORO, Winter Carnival. At this 10-day townwide extravaganza, you can see a movie, a puppet show, a concert, or a variety show; hit the ice rink or the dance floor; and still find time for cook-offs and pancake breakfasts, sleigh and snowmobile rides, and games. Just make sure not to miss the signature ski jumping competition on Harris Hill.