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The Best New England Winter Vacation and Travel Destinations

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The cold weather will never stop a hardy New Englander from enjoying his or her outdoor surroundings and it

shouldn't stop visitors either.  Scenes of fluffy, white snow gracing town commons and winding country roads, the opportunity to ski, cross country ski and snowboard, outdoor winter fests, and the myriad seasonal indoor events like art shows, music performances, etc., and Christmas and Valentine's Day festivities are enough to keep hundreds of thousands of New Englanders living in New England rather than, say, moving to Florida. Let's get the snowball rolling...

New article: The Best New England ski resorts for kids.


Perhaps the best choice for spending a winter vacation is in the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire. This isn't your basic, wimpy, measly- hills-disguised-as-mountains vacation getaway. Mt. Washington peaks at 6,288 ft. It's a beautiful sight, with its peak capped with a blanket of snow, as is virtually other location in this rugged region.  North Conway is a terrific place to stay with views of Mt. Washington from Main St. and loads of great options for White Mountain-style lodging and dining choices -- as well as delightful, local store and a growing number of outlet stores. It's home to Mt. Cranmore with 40 acres of skiiable terrain with a vertical drop of 1,200 ft. and 41 trails of novice, intermediate and expert trails. While high and lonesome Bretton Woods doesn't have a downtown as clearly defined as North Conway, its closer in proximity to Mt. Washington. This family-oriented ski area becomes a ski lover's dream in the winter 434 acres of ski and snowboard terrain, 101 trails and glades, as well as four terrain parks. Bretton Woods is home to the 1902 historic landmark Mt. Washington Hotel -- dramatically stunning in appearance with its grand Spanish Architecture in an almost castle-like appearance.  The quintessential sleepy New England town of Jackson has a lot to offer in the winter with some classic, historic New Hampshire inns as well as Wildcat Mountain, a highly developed ski area with amazing views of Mount Washington that you simply won't believe!  Cross country skiing is prominent at Jackson Falls and Jackson X-C, a 150+ kilometer trail system that will take you through the heart of a truly scenic White Mountains area. 


Stowe has grown from a sleepy, little village into a major tourist attraction with Mountain Rd. featuring numerous hotels, dining, and shopping choices. Despite thr growth, the small-town feeling and the scenery can never be taken away from this famous travel and vacation destination. The downtown is still classic Vermont with its general store, small-town stores and white church steeple within a spectacular mountain setting. Of course, those mountains create ideal skiing situations at Stowe Mountain Resort where Mt. Mansfield resides as the state's highest elevation at 4,395.  The highest skiing elevation comes in at 3,640 ft. and vertical drop at 2,360. The Mountain features 116 total trails, including 40 miles of 485 skiiable acres!

Stowe lodging abounds from the ski area to the quaint downtown in the form of motels, hotels, family-oriented resorts, and quaint classic Vermont inns and bed and breakfasts.  One famous lodging destination is the Trapp Family Lodge, a 96-room alpine lodge and mountain resort with spectacular mountains views and three heated pools, 100 km of trails, concerts in our meadows, world class cuisine, wine tastings and much more. With its Austrian-meets-classic-Vermont-country-inn feel, the Trapp Family lodge is perhaps best known as the inspiration for the classic movie "The Sound of Music."

For dining, we love The Shed (1859 Mountain Rd., Stowe, Vt., Tel. 802-253-4364) with its beer soaked burgers and wide variety of soups, salads, chicken, steak and seafood selections, Mexican dishes, ales, within pleasant fireside, garden room, patio or regular dining rooms settings. Editor's note: the Shed has closed and is now Crop Bistro and Brewery.

Make hotel reservations near or at some of New England's best ski areas.

Many areas mentioned below also include cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowboarding opportunities. Research each community and its hotels and you'll be amazed at the big-time winter attractions in such small towns!

Lincoln NH -- Loon Mountain, in the heart of the White Mountains

Killington VT -- Mt. Killington, perhaps New England's best developed ski area

Westminster, MA -- Wachusett Mountain, an underrated mountain with "major league" ski facilities.

Hancock, MA -- Jiminy Peak, in the heart of the Berkshires

Waterville Valley, NH  -- Waterville Valley Ski Area, very scenic, nice shopping, restaurants, and of course, plenty of skiing in this modern White Mountains location

Ludlow VT -- Okemo Mountain, a well-regarded ski area in a very nice  "Vermont" town

Warren VT -- Sugarbush Mountain, nice historic town center, beautiful Vermont rural scenery

Bethel, Maine -- Sunday River, one of Vermont's best ski areas set within a beautiful Maine village setting


Cape Codder Resort, Hyannis, Mass., features indoor ocean wave pool to beat the winter blues. Read review of Cape Codder here.

John Carver Inn, Plymouth, Mass., offers Pilgrim Cove Indoor Theme Pool with 80-foot water slide.

Crowne Plaza Hotel BOSTON NORTH SHORE showcases 65,000-sq-ft-indoor water park, CoCo Key Water Resort, where it's always 84 degrees year-round.

Adventure Suites in North Conway, N.H., offers rooms with indiviudal themes, two person Jacuzzi or larger, free movies from the library and breakfast in a diner where you can make your own waffles, toasted bagels, cereal and more. Adventure Suites also has free internet access and WI FI, billiards and use of an outdoor fire pit overlooking the mountains and evening munchies including popcorn and fresh baked cookies.

Enjoy the New England winter. Like spring, summer and fall here, it's a great vacation and travel destination!

Other New England Winter Resources:
Get into the New England Christmas spirit with these famous tree lighting events, festivals, Santa visits and more!

Why New England is so nice in the winter.

Four-season shopping in New England

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