By Yankee Magazine
Nov 23 2018
Things to Do in New England in the Winter | 6 Family-Friendly Destinations
For “Winter in New England” (season 2, episode 13), Weekends with Yankee headed to Nestlenook Farm in Jackson, New Hampshire, for a journey back to the winters of yesteryear on a horse-drawn sleigh. Here’s a longer list of family-friendly farms, outdoor centers, and resorts where you can enjoy winter activities like ice skating, snowshoeing, and snow tubing, and more.
With a slew of winter activities and a scenic backdrop, this 65-acre Victorian estate tucked into the White Mountains of New Hampshire offers favorite things to do in New England in the winter for both families and couples. Enjoy the huge ice skating pond and snowshoe trails, or set off for a ride in a cozy, upholstered horse-drawn sleigh. When you’re done, you can sip hot chocolate in the fully enclosed warming center or roast marshmallows at one of multiple outdoor fire pits. Skate and snowshoe rentals available.
SEE MORE:Favorite Things to Do in Jackson, New Hampshire
This working farm in southern New Hampshire is especially popular with families with smaller children, thanks to its many resident animals and varied year-round, kid-friendly programming. In winter, one of Charmingfare Farm’s most popular attractions is its horse-drawn sleigh rides. Available options include day and night, for groups both large and small. Special events include Sleigh Ride Cabarets on Friday evenings in January and February, which feature a bonfire stop with live music and homemade chili, and Sleigh Ride Socials on Saturdays, complete with a campfire stop for sipping hot chocolate and roasting hot dogs and marshmallows.
Located in the postcard-perfect village of Grafton, Vermont, the Grafton Trails & Outdoor Center (open daily) keeps winter adventurers happy with miles of groomed trails for fat biking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing, plus a 600-foot-long snow tubing hill that’s perfect for thrill seekers. In summer there’s mountain biking, swimming, canoeing, and hiking. Turn your visit into the ideal New England winter getaway by spending the night at the center’s sister property, the Grafton Inn. Ski, snowshoe, snow tube, and fat bike rentals available.
SEE MORE:Guide to Grafton, Vermont
Tucked between Lake Winnipesaukee and the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the family-owned Purity Spring Resort in East Madison has long been a favorite affordable New England getaway destination for outdoors-loving families. On the property you’ll find groomed trails for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, while King Pine Ski Area (also part of the resort and located just a quarter mile away) delights adventurers of all ages with skiing and snow tubing. Prefer ice skating? Located just across from the base lodge, the covered and Zamboni-groomed Tohko Dome ice rink awaits. Horse-drawn sleigh rides through wooded trails (offered on Saturdays and select other days) round out the roster of classic things to do in New England in the winter.
As a 2017 Yankee Editors’ Pick for “Best Upscale Inn,” the Woodstock Inn in Woodstock, Vermont, was aptly described as “simply the standard by which all other country inns are judged.” Beyond its distinctive guest rooms, on-site spa, and locally sourced dining options, however, adventurous families will love the inn’s many winter offerings. The Tubbs Snowshoes & Nordic Adventure Center offers nearly 20 miles of groomed trails for skate skiing and cross-country skiing, while Suicide Six (the inn’s independently owned ski mountain) beckons with 24 trails. Nearby, Billings Farm & Museum (admission is free for guests) has seasonal programming and family-friendly special events on the weekends.
SEE MORE:Favorite Things to Do in Woodstock, Vermont
Smugglers’ Notch Resort, in the village of Jeffersonville, Vermont, is one of New England’s premier all-level skiing destinations. Trails across three mountains include miles of easy terrain all the way up to Vermont’s only triple black diamond. Take up cross-country skiing, ice skating, or snowshoeing at the Nordic Ski and Snowshoe Adventure Center, then relax at the indoor pool or head to the FunZone 2.0 Family Fun Complex forping pong, laser tag, and classic arcade games. Additional perks such as Monday-night bonfires, family karaoke, and night snow tubing help make “Smuggs” a New England family vacation favorite.
SEE MORE:Guide to Vermont Ski Resorts
Where did we miss? In the comments below, tell your favorite family-friendly things to do in New England in the winter.
Note: We visited Nestlenook Farm in Jackson, New Hampshire, in a season 2 episode of Weekends with Yankee, our public television show created in collaboration with WGBH. Check the Weekends with Yankee site to learn more about the series, plus when and where to catch episodes.