Backpack to Buggy

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The Two Good Things About a Long, Snowy, Cold New England Winter

March 14th, 2011 · No Comments · Destinations, Experience

I expected brutal winters when I moved to New England two years ago, but my first winter was much milder than I expected and I figured I overreacted, right? Payback is a dog’s mother because this winter has been brutal with one or two snow days a week through January, ice storms, arctic temperatures and zero budget for a sunny getaway (the thoughtfully paid price of that trip of a lifetime to India.) February and March have teased us with a couple of warm days quickly forgotten with high winds, more ice and single digit temperatures.

So for our (wish it were) Spring Break this year, I am embracing with mitten enclosed hands, the two good great things about this winter: maple syrup and skiing. We’re heading north to Vermont to enjoy the 2011 Vermont Maple Open House Weekend, March 19-20, then joining Smugglers’ Notch for a few days to see if the #1 Family Ski Resort can teach my daughter and husband to ski.

Maple Syrup Wood Fired Evaporator

Maple Syrup Wood Fired Evaporator

Maple syrup is made from boiling down the sap of the sugar maple tree. The sap of the sugar maple runs when temperatures alternate between below and above freezing, usually night and day.  The cold weather we lacked last year combined with the teasing warm days are making for a great season once maple farmers can trudge through the snow to tap their trees.

Snowless Maple Tapping

Snowless Maple Tapping

Due to the mild winter last year, I missed out on the regional treat, sugar on snow, and hope to make up for it this snowy winter. I’m also planning on including some cheese, ice cream, and wine tasting along with the maple syrup (these are often combined in Vermont to my taste buds’ great joy.)

While it will be work for me (you can read about it later this month,) Smugglers’ Notch will be hosting me and my family for a few days, so, we will finish our Maple Open House Weekend at Smuggs. After Mirielle’s first experience on skis, I’ve been hesitant to get her back to the slopes for fear I’ll put her off skiing completely.

Mirielle's first run at 2 years old

Mirielle's first run at 2 years old

With age-specific programs, instructors who know how to teach kids to ski, a cohort of similarly aged new skiers to learn with, and lots of non-skiing activities to entertain, Smugglers’ Notch’s children’s ski programs should get Mirielle on skis, down the slope, and very excited to go back again and again.  Passing her dad on the bunny slope as he skis for the first time may help too. (“No daddy, bend your knees this way, daddy.”)

MeiMei charging right through our New England winter.

MeiMei charging right through our New England winter.

Sure, some families are seeking sun and warmth for Spring Break.  As we rebuild our travel fund, we’re embracing lower cost, regional getaways for weekend breaks.  Mother Nature has given us a brutal winter, so we’re escaping to the warmth of sugar shacks boiling maple and will be sinking our skis in the powder soft snow.

 

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