A winter wonderland

Escape the chill with these activities that make loving winter effortless.

Similar to American politics, February is like a house divided; some relish the cold outdoors, others would rather hibernate, and then there are those who straddle the fence. Luckily, Litchfield County has plenty of options—from eating a hearty meal in front of a blazing fire to snowmobiling on one of the area’s many trails. Here are a few ideas to help you through the shortest (and coldest) of months.  

Some of my favorite outdoor activities are cross-country skiing or hiking at the Steep Rock preserve in Washington Depot or skating at the Gunnery’s Linen rink. A regular weekend destination is Mohawk Mountain in Cornwall. Both of my children have participated in its skiing programs over the years. While it’s more of a beginner’s mountain, it’s also a great place for an advanced skier to learn how to snowboard. Mohawk Mountain, 46 Great Hollow Rd., Cornwall, 800-895-5222, mohawkmtn.com.

If you pass through Warren on your return from Mohawk, be sure to stop by the Rooster Tail Inn restaurant, in the center of this tiny town. In addition to having several suites, the inn has a very comfortable restaurant and bar, the perfect “après ski” environment. Rooster Tail Inn, 11 Cornwall Rd., Warren, 860-868-3100, roostertailinn.com.

By far my favorite event in February is Jumpfest, the annual junior ski jumping finals in Salisbury. Every year we take the kids, invite friends and spend the afternoon watching jumpers climb more than 100 stairs to then ski down a hill and soar into the sky. This year it’s being held February 8–10. Make a day of it by enjoying lunch at one of the area restaurants. We usually go to The Woodland in Lakeville. Salisbury Winter Sports Association Jumpfest, Satre Hill, Salisbury, jumpfest.org; The Woodland, 192 Sharon Rd., Lakeville, 860-435-0578, thewoodlandrestaurant.com.

For those who would rather view the outdoors from within, Winvian in Morris is the perfect place to enjoy a wintry weekend in Litchfield County. With 18 individually designed “themed” cottages, it feels like the right mix of adventure and relaxation. Even if you aren’t staying at the inn, the restaurant must be experienced. Chef Chris Eddy creates farm-to-table menus using simple, crisp and seasonal ingredients accented with unusual and fresh findings. Winvian, 155 Alain White Rd., Morris, 860-567-9600, winvian.com.

Although The Silo at Hunt Hill Farm has cooking classes year round, there’s something very appealing about a warm kitchen in the dead of winter. The Silo’s classes offer the added advantage of learning from a top chef, whether its master chef Jacques Pépin or Bravo’s top chef master Suvir Saran. This month’s offerings include “sweets and treats for kids,” the annual Valentine’s Wine Dinner or learning how to make macaroons for Valentine’s Day. The Silo, 44 Upland Rd., New Milford, hunthillfarmtrust.org.

What’s a February weekend without a little shopping? Especially for the layers of clothing needed to protect against the elements while still looking stylish. BraeVal Sporting Apparel in Bantam focuses on men’s sporting clothes and accessories with a Caledonian twist. Recently, a crocodile belt there caught my eye. For ladies, R. Derwin Clothiers in Litchfield has an abundance of all things cashmere and enough to satisfy the “prep” in all of us. BraeVal, 503 Bantam Rd., Bantam, 860-482-7260, braeval.net; R. Derwin Clothiers, 43 West St., Litchfield, 860-567-4095, rderwinclothiers.com.

Have a great month!