Instant Adventures: Boston, MA
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With the significant other: Ice skate on Emerald Lake at Nestlenook Farm in Jackson and warm your cockles (get your mind outta the gutter) by the bonfire. Don’t have an “other,” significant or otherwise? Head to the Victorian Wildcat Inn and Tavern-and forget about it at the fireside bar.
Swing through the As You Like It Bakery and Café, then head to Tuckerman Ravine via the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center. Even if the headwall hasn’t firmed up, the 1,800-vertical-foot, 2.5-mile skin to Hermit Lake will quicken your pulse and allow you to scout the steeps for a return in April. The gradual-but-rugged Sherburne Trail is a worthy descent, anyway. Later, drive to the Moat Mountain Smoke House & Brewing Company for Square Tail stouts and a down-home room.
From Wildcat Mountain’s Tomcat Triple, head to the new run Hairball-300 feet of boulder hops that was closed until crews dismantled the old chair towers last year. Management also yanked the abandoned towers out of Lift Line so you can let ’em run down 2,112 vertical feet of bumps. No powder? Ski off the back and down the 10-mile Nordic trail to Jackson for a Pig’s Ear Brown at the Wildcat Inn and Tavern.
Take the Introduction to Waterfall Ice Climbing course at the International Mountain Climbing School in North Conway. You’ll spend the morning learning how to use the gear and the afternoon hammering away at New England’s frozen scenery. Recoup with a massage at Ahh…Moondance Massage Therapy in the Snowflake Inn. (A good massage is a good massage, no matter the name.)
Do like the employees at Red Jersey Cyclery in Bartlett and mountain-bike the surrounding snowmobile trails. Buy a pair of top-of-the-line Nokian studded tires ($160), or ask a mechanic to stud your tires with sheet metal screws ($60, plus a six-pack for the tedium). Next, hit the Province Pond trail outside North Conway. It’s a cold 14-mile loop, but the ‘bilers compact the snow well, building ripping berms.
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