Often the best remedy for the winter blahs is to just jump into the cold and embrace it with a good workout. In Vermont, where they know a thing or two about getting outdoors, hotels in a couple of our favorite towns have dreamed up some imaginative cures to energize their guests before they pamper them.
The Woodstock Inn & Resort, in the center of the picturesque village of the same name, already has a Nordic center for cross-country skiing and a ski mountain amusingly named Suicide Six that has trails for all ability levels. This winter, the resort added the Tubbs Snowshoes Adventure Center, offering guided tours, scavenger hunts, and team-building activities—all performed on lightweight snowshoes or Nordic skis that make it easy to traverse the frozen terrain. One of the inn’s new packages spotlights snowshoeing and also acknowledges Cupid: The romance excursion package (from $1,799 per couple) includes two nights’ accommodation, a three-course dinner at the inn and two mornings’ breakfasts (one in bed), trail passes at the Nordic and snowshoe centers, a horse-drawn sleigh ride at a nearby farm, and a guided evening snowshoe trek—complete with headlamps—up nearby Mount Tom, where the inn’s chefs will present a four-course dinner in a rustic log cabin, with light and heat provided by candles, lanterns, and a roaring woodstove. (woodstockinn.com)
Farther north, Stowe Mountain Lodge is a few miles outside the village of Stowe but occupies prime real estate at the base of the mountain ski resort. The lodge has introduced its own creative solution for the winter doldrums: a mountain survival package with its resident “mountain man,” Greg Speer, who is not only an expert at several rugged sports but also an engaging raconteur. Here is an opportunity to go ice climbing and mountaineering or backcountry skiing with Speer (or take a furniture-making class with him, if that is adventure enough). In addition, the package ($745 per person) includes two nights at the lodge, a guided evening snowshoe trek, an 80-minute massage in the spa, and a $100 dining voucher at the lodge’s Solstice restaurant or Hourglass lounge. (stowemountainlodge.com)