Winter can be hard. Driveways need to be plowed. Snow needs to be shoveled off the roof of your house. Car batteries freeze. Commutes to work become white-knuckle adventures in driving.
But in the Upper Valley, winter can also be a ton of fun. By February, even folks who like to curl up by the fireplace with books and tea can go stir crazy with a month or more of winter remaining on the calendar. But fear not! Communities throughout the area have events planned for February that will get you through the worst of the winter doldrums. You just have to grab your mittens, and hats, and boots, and scarves, and go!
- Dartmouth Winter Carnival. Students at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, have been curing themselves of cabin fever with a winter carnival since 1911. The event started with snow sports competitions, and you can go watch some of the countries’ best skiers competing at the Dartmouth Skiway on February 9 and 10. The event has grown over the years into a four-day festival with events planned across campus for the students. Everyone can also enjoy the annual ice sculpture contest. The sculptures appear on the college green, in the heart of downtown Hanover. February 8-11.
- Occom Pond Party. The annual festivities on Occom Pond provide entertainment for all ages. The ice slides are always a hit, as are the ice castle, the pond parade, roasted marshmallows, sleigh rides, ice skating, sugar on snow, and the crowning of an ice castle king and queen. February 10, starting at noon.
- Newport Winter Carnival. Newport, New Hampshire, pulls out all the stops for a four-day festival that features both indoor and outdoor activities. This year’s theme is the 1980s, so get your shoulder pads out for the 1980s prom at the Newport Opera House. Indoor events include numerous dining options, a pageant, and a photo contest. Outdoor events include an Axe Man competition, a pig roast, sleigh rides, and “slebogganing” on the golf course. February 8-12
- Montshire Museum Igloo Build. Engineer and author Dr. Bert Yankielun demonstrates how to build an igloo, and then sets you free to see how well you absorbed the lesson. This long-running event at the Montshire Museum of Science, in Norwich, Vermont, was voted a “Top 10 Winter Event” by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce in 2014–2015. It’s free with museum admission. February 17, 10:30a.m.—2 p.m.
- Lake Morey Craft Fair. Lake Morey Resort, in Fairlee, Vermont, wins the “winter innovation” prize for its second annual craft fair on ice. For two hours, 15 to 20 local vendors, selling handcrafted goods and specialty foods, will set up their wares on the frozen lake. Skating and shopping may not have gone hand-in-hand prior to 2017, but they do now! Admission is free. February 18, 3–5 p.m.