The Northeast is home to cities that come to life when the temperatures drop. The next time you need to get away, try one of these locales that would make for a great three-day weekend winter excursion.
Lake Placid, N.Y.
The snowy sports mecca of the Northeast, Lake Placid is more than just the two-time home of the Winter Olympics. It’s a beautiful northern Adirondack village surrounded by crystal-clear lakes and towering mountains with some of New York’s most lavish resorts and spectacular natural wonders.
When booking your three-day weekend, you’ll find absolute luxury at the AAA Four Diamond Rated Whiteface Lodge. This rustic log cabin-style hotel brings the coziness while still offering modern amenities like heated bathroom floors in its suites and a full-service spa. Book at table at Peak 47, where executive sous chef Matthew DeCicco serves up hearty sandwiches, pizzas and other favorites with an assortment of more than 400 wines and local craft beers.
No matter where you stay, you’ll want to visit Whiteface Mountain, the fifth-largest mountain in the state and the location of the famous Olympic Sports Complex. Hit the slopes or simply revel in its alpine history, including the international sliding sports exhibit, where you can learn about luge, skeleton and bobsled and cheer on racers as they rumble past at Autobahn speeds. You can even take your own half-mile bobsled ride with a professional driver and brakeman. (The World Cup of Bobsled & Skeleton will be held at the complex Feb. 15 and 16.)
For more outdoor fun, head to nearby High Falls for a snowshoe hike to a frozen waterfall. A chilly outdoor excursion will make that warm mulled wine taste even better when you return to your cabin for some much-needed R & R.
A hotbed for Halloween travel, this historic coastal city attracts visitors eager to learn about its notorious witch trials – with thinner crowds in the winter. But Witch City is also home to a historic seaport, vestiges of a literary legend and the birthplace of the U.S. National Guard.
So much of Salem’s appeal has to do with its history, and its hotels are no exception. Take the AAA Three Diamond Rated Hawthorne Hotel, which has served more than 1 million guests downtown since 1925. Facing the Salem Witch Museum, the historic hotel has two dining options – Tavern on the Green and Nathaniel’s – a steakhouse named after the American novelist and author of “The Scarlet Letter,” Nathaniel Hawthorne, who was born in Salem (Sunday jazz brunch at Nathaniel’s is a must!).
Visit the House of the Seven Gables, the inspiration for Hawthorne’s literary masterpiece of the same name. This 1668 Colonial mansion, now a nonprofit museum, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. You can also see the Salem Maritime National Historic Site – the nation’s first – which houses historic homes, buildings, wharves and a replica 1797 ship.
A trip to New England wouldn’t be complete without delicious seafood, and you’ll find some – along with a ghost story – at Turner’s Seafood. Legend has it the restaurant is haunted by the ghost of Bridget Bishop, the first to be hanged during the witch trials in 1692.
Visit in February for the annual Salem’s So Sweet Chocolate and Ice Festival, where you can shop for your valentine, marvel at ice sculptures and nibble on chocolate delicacies.
About an hour north of Boston and five hours northeast of New York City, Portsmouth is a popular summer tourism destination because of its proximity to the coast. But with an estimated 120 restaurants – some sophisticated, some simple – this port city makes for a fun three-day weekend, too.
Lodging choices include the AAA Three Diamond Rated Sheraton Portsmouth Harborside Hotel, with its convenient downtown location, heated indoor pool and views of the Piscataqua River.
Bundle up for a walk along Market Square, where you can pause along the storefronts of 19th century structures that line the charming streets. On a warmish day, opt for a one-hour walking tour of the Harbor Trail, passing Prescott Park and boutiques and art galleries nearby.
While you won’t get the full garden experience at the 10-acre Strawbery Banke outdoor history museum, you can go ice skating at the site’s Puddle Dock Pond. Open daily December through March, it will help you work up an appetite before you indulge in the city’s seemingly limitless restaurant scene.
Warm up with a beer at the Portsmouth Brewery – New Hampshire’s first brewpub – for handcrafted pints and a lively atmosphere. You can’t go wrong at Jumpin’ Jay’s Fish Cafe, where executive chef Nicole Nocella dishes out her takes on fresh seafood classics, including haddock piccata and brown butter Maine lobster.
Of course, with 120 restaurants in Portsmouth alone, you won’t have any trouble finding great eats and good times in any of these three-day weekend winter getaways in the Northeast.
What are your favorite spots for three-day weekends? Let us know in the comments below!
Learn more about AAA Diamond Ratings.