It may seem ironic to suggest that Maine “comes alive” at this time of year, when leaves are falling, days are growing shorter, and most are thinking about getting out the electric blanket and hibernating for winter, but that is simply how I think of it. Spring, with its fresh buds and abundance of mud, will be welcome when it arrives, but late fall and winter bring their own energy to the state.
Winter is for the people of Maine. Oh, you’ll find a tourist here and there as well as the New Englanders from surrounding states who come to enjoy the skiing, but primarily, it is Mainers themselves who embrace what Maine has to offer in this season. With the advent of the holidays and winter weather comes the opening of Sunday River and Sugarloaf, ski (and snowboard) sales like the big, annual Down East Ski Club’s 53rd Annual Ski Sale, prepping of snowmobile and cross-country ski trails, and more – all focused on opportunities to enjoy the rugged beauty of the Maine outdoors, even in the colder months.
On the heels of Small Business Saturday, I felt compelled to write a post highlighting some recently published, timely resources. Maine’s small businesses are the economic engines of the state and provide most of the employment opportunities, so let’s continue to support them through this season and the full year!
First, it is the holidays and many people will be Christmas tree shopping in the coming weeks. I’ve posted on this topic in years past, but this year I recommend checking out this list from MaineToday.com.
If you make it to Sugarloaf this season, be sure to stop in the new Burton Signature store and say hello to my brother, Ed, in between runs. Snowboarders rejoice – a store of their own, right on the mountain! In other news at the Loaf, this week is Locals’ Week – depending on your residence, you ski free through Friday!
Not far from the Loaf is the Rangeley Lakes area – an outdoorsman’s dream in the Maine winter. Featuring Saddleback Mountain, snowmobile trails, ice fishing, and cross-country ski trails, it has something for everyone (including cozy cabins if you’d rather be inside with a book).
If you’re looking for good local Christmas shopping, look no further than renowned shopping hubs in the Old Port and Freeport. A few of my favorite stores for holiday gifts: D. Cole Jewelers (husbands, take note); LeRoux Kitchen; and the Maine Potters Market. Other fun, local ideas: head into a craft brewery and grab a gift card, tee shirt, or six-pack for the beer lover in your life; take a tip from Northeast Whitewater and give the gift of a Maine experience (not to mention, studies show people who have experiences / travel / learn new things are happier than those who have an accumulation of goods); or for your skiers and boarders, check out this gift-giving guide.
The state of Maine has something to offer everyone. When I reflect on the many things it’s given me, I feel truly blessed.