A few weekends ago we were surprised with unseasonably warm temperatures. We jumped on the opportunity to enjoy dinner alfresco with friends. It was beautiful and all the sweeter because we know those days are numbered.
Winter is coming and with the pandemic’s second wave in full force, it’s inevitable that there will be less opportunity to go out. The problem is that I live in Maine. When winter arrives it will bring snow, ice and incredibly cold temperatures.
Where does that leave us during a pandemic?
As our understanding of the virus evolves and our knowledge on how to combat it increases, the recommendations on how to stay safe may change. For now, we seem to be moving towards more restrictions and with that in mind I’ve put together a list of possible winter activities:
1) Outdoor Dining: Portland Hunt and Alpine Club is launching Base Camp an all-outdoor, heated and covered winter space. Terlingua is opening their new restaurant which offers outside dining in their margarita garden.
I’m hopeful other area restaurants and bars will come up with creative ways to keep us dining and drinking outside well into the colder months. Portland Maine has already extended outside dining into the first week in January. I think it’s time to invest in another pair of long underwear.
2) Ice Bars: I blogged previously about ice bars in my post Chilling at the Portland Harbor Hotel Ice Bar 2016. This may be a good year to expand my ice bar adventures. The 2020-2021 dates have not been published yet but I’m hoping that the Nonantum Resort in Kennebunk hosts their annual Fire & Ice evet during the Christmas Prelude although as most of the activities for that even have gone online and virtual I might have to wait to visit another time. My wedding reception was at the Nonantum and it’s been on my bucket list to go back for a long time.
3) Hiking and Snowshoeing. These winter activities are always on my list even when not driven outdoors by a pandemic. Maine has many wonderful spots for winter hiking and I’ve blogged about our winter adventures many times before. Probably one of the most beautiful spots we encountered was in Topsham. You can read about it here: Hiking Maine | An amazing winter hike on the Cathance River Trail in Topsham. It was stunning.
4) Ice Skating: One of my first blog posts was about ice skating at The Rink at Thompson’s Point: Skating at The Rink at Thompson’s Point. I’m sure there will be some new rules with COVID as this spot can get somewhat crowded but I might need to mask up and check it out again this winter. And, if Thompson’s Point doesn’t work out, there are many great skating spots throughout the state.
5) Tubing: I haven’t gone sledding since my girls were young and we have one of the best outdoor tubing parks located close by with Seacoast Adventures. They’re opening up again on December 26th. Face coverings will be required to enter the park and must be worn while in line for the lift, on the lift, and while inside all buildings. There are also an abundance of sledding hills throughout the state if you’re looking for something more traditional.
6) Dog Sledding: This is a winter activity that has always intrigued me. I think there’s a romance about it although the reality is probably different. Maybe I’ll have to try it out and see. Fortunately, there are a variety of options in Maine whether you’re looking for just a quick trip or a multi day adventure.
- Ultimate Dog Sledding Experience
- Mahoosuc Guide Service
- New England Dog Sledding
- Lone Wolf Guiding Services
** This isn’t a picture of a sled dog although I bet he would have been a great one. This was my beautiful dog Mr. Darcy in his younger days. He loved winter too. **
7) Winter Sports: I have always wanted to check out the U.S. National Toboggan Championships held in Camden each February. While I don’t have the desire to complete as I’ve never had the need for speed, watching costumed teams race to the bottom might be fun. The chute is also available for toboggan rides other weekends during the winter which might be a little less crowded and easier to maintain physically distancing.
8) Concerts. I miss going to the movies, concerts and other live events. Sadly, they are not an option during Covid but Thompson’s Point in partnership with State Theatre and the Maine Music Alliance is hosting a variety of outside live streaming events in November as part of their Music with a Mission series. The live concert streams are at their Brick South Beer Garden. You can reserve a fire pit for up to six people.
9) Holiday Lights. While many holiday activities can be a bit crowded, there are some that still allow for appropriate physical distancing. Gardens Aglow at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is doing a driving tour this year. The opportunity to see all the beautiful lights while staying warm and cozy inside my car? Count me in! Be sure to make reservations ahead of time. The event runs Thursdays through Sundays from Nov. 21, 2020 to Jan. 2, 2021. I love this Maine spot and blogged about them previously in my post An afternoon at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay.
10) Trivia Night. I enjoy a good trivia night but sadly most take place at local bars and restaurants which are not on my COVID friendly list this year.
Fortunately, there are some virtual trivia options available. We’ve done some family game nights over zoom during COVID which were fun. It took a few tries to get into the swing of things but we worked it out eventually. Maybe it’s time to put together a team and throw our hat into the competitive ring of a virtual trivia event. I found one to try too. Aeronaut Indie Trivia is held at 8:00 pm on Tuesday Nights.
We visited a horse farm during our trip to Iceland. It was January and chilly. After taking pictures of all the beautiful horses, the hosts invited us into their home where we warmed up and enjoyed a snack. We learned that the couple had recently had a baby. When we asked where the baby was, the wife said he was napping and pointed outside the house. We peaked outside the window and saw a baby carriage covered in blankets with the newborn bundled up, sleeping peacefully. That is what we need to do this winter. Bundle up in blankets and build up a tolerance for colder temperatures.
Maine winters can last a little longer than they should and with COVID not showing signs of slowing down, this one is going to be especially challenging. Having a plan on winter activities to get me out of the house on occasion is a must.
Do you have any COVID friendly winter plans?