Even if you are someone who is normally content to hibernate during the winter, make 2021 a year to get into the world of outdoor play. Goodness knows we have all earned the right to some fun.
The choices that surround us here in the Hudson Valley are abundant, from top-notch slopes, to ice skating rinks, to scenic winter trails and lakes for ice fishing. Just dress warmly (some of our favorite spots have all the gear you’ll need), stay hydrated, and breathe in all that fine fresh air. By the day’s end, you’ll surely feel like that well-deserved hot cocoa, wine, or brandy by the fire has never tasted so good.
the right gear matters
At HAMILTON & ADAMS, a chill men’s shop in Uptown Kingston, you’ll find the weightless, water-resistant, and divinely fluffy Save the Duck puffer jacket, in addition to trucker jackets, hoodies and sweaters for the perfect layer, cuddly wool boot socks, and skin care to heal the roughest windburn.
Skiers and snowboarders will find everything their hearts desire at POTTER BROTHERS, a family-owned ski shop with Fishkill and Kingston locations. They’re celebrating their 75th year in 2020, and you can choose from over 50 premium equipment brands to rent or buy and order up your lift tickets. You’ll also find all the clothing you could need to keep super warm.
KENCO OUTFITTERS in Kingston is the place to find great deals on boots and outerwear for the whole fam or pod. And they have loads of thermal and Smartwool goodies to layer underneath. Wanna get ambitious and give winter camping a try? They’ve got your thermal sleep pads and super-cozy mummy bags all set to go.
Besides the perfect rustic furniture that you can sink into with a satisfied sigh at the end of the day’s outings, MOOSE CROSSING in Shokan has the coziest of clothes for your winter adventures. This is the spot for your Woolrich clothing, handcrafted fixed blade and folding knives, Pendleton blankets, and all sorts of country home needs.
Now you’re ready to step out!
outdoor fun ideas
Let’s consider some possible destinations. Many of the Hudson Valley’s public lands and historic sites are open year-round, and our rail trails are fabulous for learning to snowshoe or cross-country ski.
Plattekill Mountain in Roxbury is a laid-back paradise for serious skiers, with plenty to offer beginners and families alike, including weekend tubing. Ticketing this year will be online only; they’re observing best health practices, which includes making the deck into a fabulous spot to grab lunch and a beer or hot cocoa beside the firepit.
Mohonk Preserve has miles and miles of trails and carriage roads—over 75 miles to be exact, making for a choose-your-own-adventure menu that will have something to delight any walker, hiker, snowshoer, or skier. Memberships start at just $60, giving you early-bird access to the five gorgeous trailheads, 365 days a year.
bell’s christmas tree farm
Bell’s Christmas Tree Farm in Accord is the place to source thoughtfully grown seasonal greenery, whether you’re a fan of the traditional Douglas fir or prefer a Colorado blue spruce. There are 10 species and 10 different shapes of special-order wreaths, and a gift shop full of local goodness. Hot cocoa by the woodstove. Oh yes.
Something as simple as spending time outside can provide a powerful reset for your mental health, and research is proving it. When it comes to understanding the healing effects of nature, trust the outdoors-loving Scandinavians. Friluftsliv, a word coined in 1859 by writer Henrik Ibsen, loosely means “FREE AIR LIFE,” and it signifies a fundamental understanding of the healing effects of nature. Amid a pandemic, friluftsliv might just be a model for enduring more safely—and sanely—this winter season.