Winter Outings


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.

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Nubble lighthouse

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!
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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.

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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.


14 comments:

Jenny said...

These photos are all so beautiful - yes, even the iphone ones. I love being able to see glimpses of New England through your blog. *sigh* Must get that way soon. I was last in Maine when I was 11 years old. Next time I get there I'm making that lighthouse a must-see attraction.

Sarah Laurence said...

How funny that you've been to York in Maine, and I've only driven past. Your lighthouse photo is stunning - it reminds me of a Hopper painting, something about the stark quality of the light. I also love that photo of you and the umbrella. You are right about the beauty of New England in winter.

Mademoiselle Poirot said...

Wow, the photos are stunning! It looks like such a beautiful part of the world - if a bit cold - and somewhere I can really imagine spending a bit of time to unwind... I love maple syrup, but the stuff we get here is nowhere near as good as the original. xo

Ellie said...

I love your pictures - especially the lighthouse. That sky is stunning!!!
Mmmm yummy I love maple syrup. I'm taking note of all of these great places you mention - maybe we will visit some when we are on holiday.
Love your blog :))

ellen said...

I love Nubble Light and I love Parkers Maple Barn!!

Donna said...

That lighthouse is beautiful. I can see why it would be a salve to your soul. I love the lobster trap tree! Only in New England! :)

Victorian Violet said...

You're so pretty! The lighthouse calms the soul just looking at it on the computer screen :) And deep fried french toast sounds so (sinfully) good!

Privet and Holly said...

Alyson, your photos are
absolutely amazing! And
you are such a cutie. I've
always wanted to visit New
England in the winter ~ looks
like something out of a Christmas
card!

Happy Weekend,
xo Suzanne

Leeann @ Join the Gossip said...

I will NEVER get tired of your pictures. And I love the one of you and you and Russ. You look like an adorable New Englander :)

It's so cool that you get to explore all of these beautiful locations!

Enjoy your weekend! Can't wait to see what you get up to!!

Ellie said...

Hi Alyson, thanks for visiting my blog :))
In answer to your question - we are coming over middle to late October. I think we might miss the best of your autumn - hopefully we will see some beautiful colour though. It will be our silver wedding anniversary and a special treat to ourselves. I really can hardly wait :)
I hope you enjoy England and Scotland when you visit. What areas are you thinking of visiting?
Ellie

paigenicholl said...

Great photos ... I love New England in the winter. Hope you're enjoying today's snowstorm!

Betty Manousos said...

what glorious shots!
i particularly like the ones with the lighthouse.
and the one of you.

happy sunday!

plus: first time here.
i love your blog!

ScentMomof3 said...

My husband is originally from Dover, NH and his grandparents used to own a home across from Long Sands Beach in York Beach, Maine. We drive there from Florida every other Summer..it is just a gorgeous and relaxing place to spend time! My kids love going on the rocks at the Nubble site, which of course, gives me a heart attack every time! lol!! I hope to one day retire up in the Maine area.

Adrian L. said...

Ah...that beautiful blue umbrella!