You can't beat Maine for enjoyable ways to play in the snow. Regardless of whether you like the adrenaline rush of downhill skiing or prefer quietly exploring on cross country skis or snowshoes, there are countless places to get out and take in the wintertime beauty. Kennebunkport is a great spot to use as a base camp for your adventures. Just around the corner is Wells Reserve at Laudholm Farm which has miles of trails that can be used to cross country ski or snowshoe. Just about half and hour away is Harris Farm which features forty kilometers of trails that ramble across the open fields and sheltered forests of their 500 acre dairy and vegetable farm. Trails range from gentle beginners' loops to rolling terrain for more advanced skiers. Thirty kilometers are groomed with wide skating lanes and thirty-five kilometers are track set. The warming hut houses a common room with wood stove, retail and rental shop, restrooms and kitchen serving homemade soups, chili, and baked goodies on weekends. They rent skis as well as snowshoes.
Within an hour's drive are Smiling Hill Farm and L.L. Bean's Outdoor Discovery Schools. Smiling Hill offers approximately 25 kilometers of machine-groomed trails around their picturesque and historic farm. Trails are groomed wide to allow both classical tracked and a generous skate lane.Rentals featuring Rossignol ski packages are available. L.L. Bean's Outdoor Discovery Schools offer inexpensive “Walk-On Adventures” in cross-country skiing and snowshoeing right from their retail store in Freeport.
Numerous downhill ski areas are close enough for a day trip. Shawnee Peak in Bridgton, Maine is the closest resort to us. The drive there takes you through the beautiful Sebago Lakes region and is only about 1 1/2 hours. Sunday River Ski Resort in Newry, Maine is a bit farther, but is still less than 2 1/2 hours away. The resort boasts 2,340 vertical feet and 743 acres of groomed trails, glades, and steeps. Numerous ski areas in the White Mountains of New Hampshire are also within 2 1/2 hours and are definitely well worth the trek. Some of the resorts include Cranmore Mountain, Bretton Woods, Black Mountain, Wildcat and Attitash.
If skiing isn't your thing, perhaps gliding is more your speed. Close by, the Park at Crow Hill in Kennebunkport offers a skating pond and a former gas station in downtown Kennebunk has been transformed into an outdoor community ice skating rink. West Brook Ice Rink in Biddeford is also a popular outdoor skating destination. When the conditions are right, the pond in the middle of the beautiful 52-acre Deering Oaks Park in Portland is considered by many to be one of the best ice skating spots in Maine. City crews make a special effort to keep the ice cleared and its surface well groomed for skating. Up for a bigger challenge? The ice goes on for miles at Sebago Lake and other lakes of the nearby Lakes Region.
If you are interested in getting out on the snow but want all the work to be done by a 2- or 4-Stroke engine then snowmobiling might be the perfect activity. Northeast Snowmobile Rentals, with locations in Gorham and Fryeburg can set you up with everything you need for an adrenaline-filled adventure over miles of snow-covered trails and open fields. (800) 458-1838 or www.northeastsnowmobile.com.
For a more tranquil way to get outdoors, go for a sleigh ride. Enjoy snow sprinkled pine trees and frost tipped fields while you glide leisurely in a horse-drawn sleigh. Rockin’ Horse Stables offers horse-drawn sleigh/carriage/wagon rides. 245 Arundel Road, Kennebunkport 207-967-4288.
The best thing about using the Captain Jefferds Inn as a jumping off point for your winter activities is returning to a roaring fire in the living room, hot mulled apple cider, and a spread of homemade treats to get your energy back up.