One of the first things I discovered about New England is that much of the region shuts down from November or December until March or April. Most historical sites, many museums, ice cream shops, and even many restaurants in seaside towns are seasonal operations. This doesn't apply to Boston. Almost everything, historical or otherwise, is open year-round, which is one of the reasons I moved closer to the city.
Even so, there are places to visit, even if all you want is a gorgeous view or a uniquely New England culinary experience. My parents were in town over a week ago from the west coast, and we knew the big blizzard was going to hit on Friday, the 8th, and as my dad had never been to Maine, we drove across the border into York, Maine to see my favorite lighthouse on Thursday.
A sense of total calm and peace always descends upon me when I get out of my car at Nubble lighthouse and walk down the rocky coast. There is just something about that place that is like an instant salve to my soul. For me, it's like a trip to a beautiful art gallery, a communing with nature, and antidepressant pill rolled into one.
Right next to the lighthouse is Fox's Lobster House. I've had fried lobster tails there before and it was delicious. Unfortunately, at this time of year it is closed (see what I mean), but they did have a Christmas tree outside of the restaurant made of lobster traps. As it is February, it was decorated to be more of a Valentine's tree.
The Monday after Nemo hit, we didn't want to travel far, as a lot of roads still weren't cleared and some freezing rain was falling. So, we went to Parker's Maple Barn. It is very near my house, around ten miles or so, and though in New Hampshire, it is right by the Massachusetts border. It does close seasonally right around Christmas to the beginning of February. We got there soon after it reopened for the year.
I know before I moved to New England one of the things I associated most with this region was maple syrup. I had never heard of a sugar house before I moved here, and now I have several dotting the landscape near where I live. And if you are as ignorant as I was, a sugar house is where maple syrup is made. Several sugar houses around New England have a restaurant on-site where they serve, what else, all things maple. And, if you're curious, maple season begins in March, when I'm sure this place, will be packed.
Me outside the restaurant. (iPhone shot)
I ordered deep fried french toast with a side of sausage. I was shocked at the giant portion sizes when our food was delivered. I could scarcely get through a quarter of it before becoming uncomfortably full, but french toast and sausage is good heated up so I took the majority home. My dish was served with maple syrup made right there at Parker's, and it was to die for. I am seriously dreaming about going back pronto!
Russ and I at Parker's. (iPhone shot)
They also have a little shop at Parker's, where I picked up a jug of their maple syrup and a box of addicting salted chocolate covered caramels. Glad to have discovered this place, and I hope to make this a monthly outing.
Welcome in many languages at Parker's, right by their little covered bridge. (iPhone shot)
So you see, though much of New England takes a long winter's nap as the gorgeous snow blankets our land and sugars our trees, there are many gems and stunning sights still to see in our countryside. And while on the search for these winter hold-outs, the drive through heavily forested New England, with its mounds of dazzling snow and lovely historical homes and sites, is worth the search alone.