Monday, May 2, 2011

Making the Most of Old Man Winter

It is no secret that we in the northeastern U.S. had a mighty dose of winter in 2011.  Snow events every other week, cold temperatures, and all the challenges that those present to city folk have made many wonder ‘When will it ever end?”

Having grown up in a cold and snowy climate, I know that the best way to beat these conditions is to join them.  This would be the winter to go cross-country skiing and give snowshoeing a try, both of which I enjoyed at Mountain Top Resort and Inn in Chittenden, VT.  I took a cozy cabin for the Presidents Day weekend, equipped with fireplace and majestic view, and spent my days in the wondrous wilderness of the Green Mountains of Vermont.  Those Green Mountains were white all over, thick and deep with snow, making for excellent outdoor sport conditions.

My travel partner and I are cross-country skiers, something I heartily recommend to those downhill skiers who find skiing a part of their past for fear of those rascally snowboarders or, more likely, of later life injury.  On this trip we tried snowshoeing, which was a more than pleasant diversion from the efforts of skiing.  I have always wondered what it would be like to be in the depths of a forest in the middle of winter without a soul around.  What does nature look, sound, and feel like under wintry conditions?  Snowshoeing allowed me to find out.  I heard large and old trees creaking, the pecking of a woodpecker echoing throughout the forest, and I saw sun-dappled shadows of tree limbs on un-trodden white snow.  Best of all, my travel partner and I could stroll side by side without a care in the world, enjoying nature and conversation without the worry of method, technique, or equipment. The jury is out, but he may find it is hard to get me on skis again!

The Mountain Top Resort provides everything you could want – comfortable accommodations, though nothing fancy, an ample dining room with a generous breakfast, an ice skating rink, sleigh rides, and a Nordic center equipped with ski rentals and lessons.  And if you’re not prone to activity, there is a spacious relaxing lobby with comfy seating where you can while away the hours with a book or just enjoy the view.   And what ski resort would be complete without a welcoming tavern equipped with a pool table for a little frivolity.  After all that outdoor fun, there is nothing like a hot toddy and the sound of laughter to cap off your day!

As the weekend came to an end, we approached the finish to February.   If I could spend my weekends in winter wonderlands like this one, I would be in no rush at all!

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