Winter’s chill may be in the air but that’s no reason to head into hibernation. There are so many heartwarming, totally hot places to warm up to when the temperatures drop that chillin’ is something you can look forward to no matter what the weather!
To hear Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan tell it, Yellowstone National Park is not only “ten times more spectacular in winter,” it heats up with more up-close animal sightings than any other time of the year – bison, elk, bighorn, and pronghorn among them – that huddle near its steaming geysers, smoking fumaroles and thermal hot springs to melt away the frosted air (and possibly even their ice-tipped hair). Outdoor adventures like cross-country skiing, sledding (we’re talking dog sleds here) snow shoeing and snow coach rides are a great way to explore and connect with wintry geothermal landscapes without crowds. Your tracks notwithstanding, you’ll see prints and tracks of all kinds in the snow – wolf paws, elk hooves, a lucky jackrabbit’s foot or two, some in packs or herds, others solo – giving you a pretty good hint of what just passed this way before you – easy to miss in summer unless you’re with an expert wildlife tracker! As awe-inspiring as it is outside, wait until you pull up a chair, après ski, before a roaring fire in a wilderness lodge that’s virtually all your own. (Many of Yellowstone’s lodges are only accessible by snowcoach or skis in winter!) Those huge wood burning, fieldstone fireplaces are the best “ice-breakers” we know for getting to know your fellow snow people while romancing your spirit for more cold-weather adventures.
You may not gravitate to Canada come January through March, but you will appreciate those bundled-up maple-syrup tappers who do. Residents who live near the Quebec area sugar shack Tauck visits near Montmorency Falls head out in the frigid air in March “when night temperatures dip below zero and the day brings the mercury above” to coax the sweet sap from Quebec’s plentiful maple trees so that you can enjoy it over your hot porridge, pancakes and more. Plan a visit in February and you’ll find Quebec City glistening in ice sculptures and festival fun. Tauck has been staying at the grand Fairmont Le Château Frontenac for generations. In winter you’ll find the hospitality as warm and welcoming as ever!
After New England’s fall foliage season is over winter white replaces the reds and golds that blanketed the landscapes. Skiers and skaters own the slopes and streets in places Tauck stays in come summer and fall like the Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa in Stowe and the Mirror Lake Inn Resort & Spa in Lake Placid, site of winter Olympics of days past. Remember those iconic winter scenes immortalized by Currier & Ives? You’ll find them full of life and very real here!
Those sailors among us might long to sail away from the cold to somewhere south, but Antarctica? The tip of South America enjoys summer in January and February, making it the perfect season to cruise from Argentina to ice-glazed arctic islands aboard a comfortably luxurious, technologically advanced expedition yacht. Trading piña coladas for a champagne toast with curious penguins will definitely warm your heart.
Of course, you can always go to heavenly Hawaii, always postcard perfect, Latin America’s island shores, inviting with equal helpings of tropical culture and climate, or fly to the other side of the world for an exotic adventure in an always warm-weather destination. No matter where, midwinter getaways are perfect for turning mood-dimming blahs into serious heartfelt aahs. But this year, think about heading somewhere totally unexpected, like right back into a winter wonderland where you just might really warm up to Jack Frost!