New England winters are the stuff of fairy tales. From the first hint of snow to the final thaw, the Northeast transforms into a dreamscape. Snow-covered mountains call adrenaline seekers offering every imaginable winter activity from skiing and snowboarding to snowshoeing and sledding. Quaint towns beg for exploration full of art galleries, restaurants and shopping, and inns, many of them centuries old that always have a fire waiting to warm you after a day spent outdoors.
Whether you favor an active getaway, or one where you get to squeeze in a whole lot of nothing, or something in between, these five New England towns and villages offer a romantic winter wonderland escape.
Most people head to the Berkshires in the slightly warmer months for the rich fall foliage but between the farm-to-table food scene, art institutions, and plethora of outdoor activities, the Berkshires make for an ideal retreat any time of year. And during the winter the area is blissfully quiet with little need to worry about restaurant reservations or fighting crowds to see the European and American paintings at the museums. Try the Hampton Terrace Bed and Breakfast for glam, Cromwell Spa and Golf Resort for pampering, or Brook Farm Inn for tastes of nature.
When you think New England town you’re thinking Litchfield County, Connecticut whether you realize it or not. Small storybook villages, complete with village greens, are dotted along winding roads, broken up by more green space than in any other part of the state. Go wine tasting at Haight-Brown Vineyards, Connecticut’s oldest continually operating winery, take in the Federal, Colonial Revival, Italianate and Victorian-era architecture in towns that date back to the early 1700s, or wander through the trails of Catlin Woods and stand in awe at trees that are more than 300 years old. Afterwards retreat to Woodlands Cottage, a luxe accommodation on a 113-acre farm, or to the nine-room Manor House built in the 1800s, or the six-room Inn at Kent Falls.
Meredith, New Hampshire
Charming Meredith, New Hampshire is the ultimate weekend getaway for sports-loving couples. The vibe is adrenaline-pumping with a range of winter sports including skiing, snowboarding, ice fishing, and even ice sailing thanks to Lake Winnipesaukee. The 72-square mile lake serves as the backdrop to the White Mountain locale. After a day of hiking or snowshoeing, take your pick of one of the town’s four inns where spas pamper sore muscles, onsite-restaurants offer localvore refueling, and rooms comes with fireplaces for tucking into.
Watch Hill, Rhode Island
Snow meets sea in this quaint New England village that will have you feeling as though you’ve stepped back in time to the Gilded Age. Here, the glamorous Ocean House that overlooks Watch Hill is a destination unto itself. While many of the shops are closed for the season, the elegant yellow inn with a spa, indoor pool, and farm-to table options is an ideal spot for snuggling indoors. And if you do feel the need to explore you can always walk the deserted beach, take in the lighthouse, or go antiquing in one of the nearby towns.
Hidden between snowy peaks, Waitsfield is the type of place where you’ll find yourself staring at the landscape in awe. Crisp white snow covers dense trees while classic red barns add a pop of color. Waitsfield is a town that gets into your soul and you and your sweetheart will find yourself reminiscing about it years later, longing to visit again. You can snuggle up to a fire, go to a beer tasting, chill in one of the many restaurants where it seems an indie band is always playing, or hit the slopes at one of the two nearby resorts. Waitsfield’s laid back vibe offers an ‘anything goes’ getaway and enough options to please any type of couple.