Snow is blanketing the country.

On a gloriously, sunny crisp clear day in SF, I started wading through our snow gear in preparation for a school snow trip to the Sierras. It must be mentioned that keeping snow gear up to date for growing kids is tricky, but I think I’ve got it all sorted and labeled. All this talk of snow and winter got me thinking about my own winter bucket list, winter adventures high on my “to do” agenda.

When most of the country is dreaming of beaches and sun, I’m dreaming of the white stuff. I love snow and all the fun one can have outdoors when the temperature drops and precipitation turns to flakes. Three unusual activities came to mind. One, visiting Sweden’s Ice Hotel, but I already posted about that one.

The second, skating Holland’s many canals has been a lifelong dream. Inspired by Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates, skating the canals has become a rarity due to pollution and climate change. 2009 was a big year for canal skating and many Dutch citizens rediscovered their soul when they strapped on their skates two winters ago.

The Dutch are famous for their speed skating prowess, but many races take place in other Nordic countries. Tour Skating, a sport and recreational form of long distance ice-skating on natural ice, has grown in popularity.  The idea of packing a lunch and skating 10 miles, or maybe skating to a cozy restaurant with my family or a group of friends, just sounds tantalizing.

When the canals froze in 2009, cafes popped up and benches were added, so that old and young, fit and game, all who wanted could take to the ice.  Emergency rooms did see a tremendous uptick in fractures and bruises, but most would agree the amazing community spirit and fun is worth the risk! Here’s a well produced video that will get you in the mood for the 2011 season.

The third winter fantasy is all about maple syrup. I grew up in New England and I’m not sure why I never went maple sugaring but I definitely am planning to do it soon. I just bought some the other day and boy it is liquid gold!

March brings the maple-sugaring season to most of New England. Tasting the sugar straight from the trees sounds divine, but is best done with expert guidance. There are a number of “houses” that offer tours in Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire as well as other parts of New England. The maple-tapping season depends upon freezing temperatures and warmer days causing maple sap to flow. When planning a visit to the Northeast to tour sugar shacks processing maple syrup, plan on the first full weekend in March.

Filed Under Adventure Travel, Family Travel, Food, Netherlands, Sports, Sweden, Winter Fun


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