I have to admit to being addicted to the speed, spectacle and challenges inherent in downhill skiing. Sunday River and Sugarloaf ski resorts are 90 minutes and 2 hours from here, and Camden Snow Bowl and Shawnee Peak about an hour, so we really can’t call ourselves an alpine ski base at Brewster House, but there are many fabulous cross-country ski-skating, winter hiking and snow-shoeing to create ample Freeport winter sports choices! Of course, Maine is loaded with all kinds of ponds and lakes offering skating, ice-fishing and snowmobiling options. Ice-fishing and skating are largely practiced by locals on bodies of water they know well, for obvious reasons. Although there are snowmobile rental concessions as close as Oxford (one hour), because fences and snowmobiles don’t mix well, the more rural parts of Maine to our north and west are the stomping grounds for serious snowmobilers. Given good snow-cover, good legs, a sense of adventure and any kind of hill (golf courses are prime), my childhood tells me the toboggan, sled & saucer options can be a rush! The great annual World Toboggan Championship Camden Snow Bowl ski area is always a wild “mardi-gras-esque” affair on February 6 – 8th!!
Let’s confine the rest of this to local meccas for cross-country skiing and snow-shoeing! Either is a great way to enjoy the quiet beauty of a Maine winter day, while packing in a great aerobic workout! Bradbury State Park http://www.maine.gov/cgi-bin/online/doc/parksearch/details.pl?park_id=12 offers 5 miles of trails, and they rent snow shoes.
Wolfs Neck State Park is a 5 minute drive from Freeport Village and has 4.5 miles of lovely woods and shoreside trails to enjoy http://www.mainetrailfinder.com/trails/trail/wolfes-neck-woods-state-park/. Pineland Farms in New Gloucester http://www.pinelandfarms.org/outdoor-recreation/news-and-events.html#StoryID189 is a beautiful 5,000 acre of woodlands and fields, featuring 25 kilometers of trails, including 2 warming huts and rentals of ski and snow shoe equipment. Smiling Hill Farm, 781 Country Farm Rd., Westbrook is another large cross-country center including 25 kilometers of groomed trails, a warming hut and rentals of either cross-country or snow shoes. Passes run from $8 to $12. Check their website for details www.smilinghill.com/xcski.html. Lost Valley in Auburn is a classic old school New England ski area, includes a smaller downhill ski area, terrain park for snowboarders and 12 kilometers of cross country trails, groomed for both skate and classic style trails, as well as equipment rentals, although snow shoeing is not allowed on these trails www.lostvalleyski.com. For a 30 minute drive, a diverse group has their choice of snow sports! About an hours drive northwest, Carter’s Farm XC at 420 Main St. in Oxford is a substantial 30 kilometer cross-country ski center, offering the largest selection of cross-country ski equipment in the state expert service, even a sauna www.cartersxcski.com! Last, but not least, if you’re interested in some basic instruction, keep in mind the LL Bean Outdoor Discovery School http://www.llbean.com/llb/ods/33?page=outdoor-discovery-schools and their winter sports courses in snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing, very local and less than 1/2 day commitment.
Last, but not least, Brewster House B & B http://brewsterhouse.com/rooms/ has the gourmet breakfast to fuel your Freeport adventure, and fireplaces, ironed sheets, soaking tubs and wine cellar to soothe your cranked winter blood!