I love all the seasons equally. I mean that sincerely. They all have something that makes them special but sometimes it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the challenges they can bring. Maybe it’s the mosquitoes in the spring, the humidity of summer, or the endless cold and snow of winter. The best approach is to embrace both the joys and challenges of each season fully.
Now that we’re in the midst of winter here in Maine, here are six can’t miss activities that will ensure you get the most from the season. There is much to embrace this time of year.
Make Maple Syrup Taffy. A classic and incredibly simple activity that only takes a few minutes and rewards you with the most delicious candy. The basic premise is to boil maple syrup until it reaches the soft ball candy making stage and then pour it over snow. It can’t get much easier. While you can do this with just maple syrup and snow, I liked this recipe from the Wholefully Blog that includes butter and salt giving it a little more of a caramel taste.
** Tip ** I’m not willing to chance that the snow is sanitary given our animal filled household, so I put a Pyrex baking dish out at the beginning of a snow storm to collect some fresh, and definitely clean, snow for my maple taffy fun.
Build A Snowmen. With one in college and one not far behind, my girls are no longer into building snowmen anymore but I have great memories of heading outside after those especially sticky snowstorms to create a frozen playmate. I also know that my snowmen building days are not behind me. There will be more snowmen in my future.
Go Sledding. I’ve always loved those videos where you see the family dog jump on top of a child riding a sled just as it is picking up speed. It shows how much fun sledding is that even the family pet wants to be part of the experience. We’ve done everything from sledding parks, where you can tube down gigantic hills, to makeshift paths in the back yard. The beauty of sledding is you can do it anywhere you have some snow and a hill.
Enjoy Ice Skating. I’ve blogged about this one before in my post Three Winter Hikes. Embrace the Cold. Can you sense a pattern? I really love diving into the cold, not shying away from it. Living on a lake, we’re lucky in that given the right conditions we can skate in our backyard, but even if you don’t have that luxury, there are many options available in Maine. While there are some paid rinks, there are also some free options out there too. Maine Today compiled a great list of free outdoor skating venues in Southern Maine.
Try Snowshoeing. When the snow gets deep, the best way to keep trudging through is by putting on some snowshoes. My grandfather was a champion snowshoer. I won’t be running up a mountain, or winning any races, but I have successfully completed a few hikes while wearing snowshoes.
My daughter and I snowshoed up Pisgah Hill Preserve during one of their full moon hikes last winter. There was the added incentive of a bonfire, hot chocolate and s’mores waiting for us at the top, but it was the joy of attempting my first night hike that motivated me. It was amazing and I will absolutely try it again in the future. Who doesn’t want to participate in an activity where they get to wear a head lamp?
Bake Winter Cookies. I love winter baking and all the flavors of the season. One of my favorite things to make, when the weather turns cold, is soft ginger cookies. I make some for the holidays, and continue with more batches throughout the winter. They are the perfect cookie to eat during cold winter evenings spent sitting in front of the fire.
There are so many great winter activities to try. This post highlights just a few of the ones that I enjoy each winter.
What winter activities do you like to do?