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Hate Winter? These trips will make it better

I am Canadian. I was born here. I live here. I love it here. I hate winter.

hate winter love sun

Want a smile from me? Just insert sunshine.

It’s pretty, I get that. White snow on barren trees. Twinkling lights on homes. The whole peace on earth vibe…

But that thick grey sky that rolls into Toronto in November and hangs over the city until May? Ya, that I could do without.

There’s only one plan of attack for winter haters like me: Buy a warmer coat, focus on the positive and collect a list of spots that can make even those of us who hate winter happy.

See? I’m not a curmudgeon after all!

Here are a few spots that might change your #hatewinter stance too.

Hate Winter Less on these incredible trips

  1. Whisky and Igloos: The Watergate Hotel in  Washington D.C. has launched Top of the Skate: a brand new rooftop skating rink! The rink is open Wednesday – Friday, 5-10pm, and Saturday/Sunday, 1-10pm. Skate rentals are $20 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under. Better still, when you aren’t twirling high above the metropolis, you can splurge to cozy up inside one of four all-weather luxurious “Igloo” experiences on the terrace alongside the Next Whiskey Bar.  The 12-foot, heated domes that can hold between 2-8 people each have to be reserved (prices start at $200 each) but can then be outfitted with special food and beverage packages.
Igloo New York hate winter

An Igloo I could get behind! Credit: David Preta

 

2. New York City Wonderland:  A trip to NYC in the winter is always a popular choice. Skating at the Rockefeller, a horse and buggy ride through central Park, shopping in Soho…but this year there’s something new. “Winter ONEderland” is happening at the One World Observatory – the indoor observatory at the top of One World Trade Center.  The observatory 1,250 feet above the ground is transformed into a family friendly  experience that includes a multi-media flight experience around the world, opportunities to meet with Santa and more. Plus, you’ll get those prime views of the city that are a magi all their own. The program runs daily through January 7. . Visitors can purchase tickets in advance at https://oneworldobservatory.com/en-US/winteronederland

3. Northern Lights: If you’ve never seen the Aurora Borealis, you need to add a trip to your must-do travel list. And while I’ve never been to Finland, this Off the Map Travel excursion has even me dreaming about cool winter nights under the stars. The thing about the Northern Lights is that they can be unpredictable, but your hosts work with locals to find the perfect spot to put your mobile sleeping hut so that you get a great view. The new Aurora Wilderness Camp  means you’ll be able to relax in the warm interior of your mobile accommodations and peek out through  their see-through ceilings in the remote wilderness outside the village of Kilpisjärvi. Each hut sleeps two and includes a gas stove, double bed, table, heater, toilet, snowshoes and kick sleds.Statistically, the Kilpisjärvi area has more clear night skies and records more Northern Lights activity than any other place in Finland. Though the trips are bespoke a typical 3-night, 4-day itinerary including the overnight experience at the Aurora Wilderness Camp is priced from about $2076 per person, , based on double occupancy, including private airport transfers, breakfast, lunch and dinner with three nights’ accommodation in a log chalet and a one-night stay at the Aurora Wilderness Camp.  For more information: info@offthemap.travel or www.offthemap.travel

4. Mulled wine and Christmas markets : One of my favourite holiday experiences was visiting the Christmas markets of Munich. It made me forget I hate winter! People flood the streets and pubs. Mulled wine and hot food is available at all of the stalls and then there are those gorgeously decorated trees and ornaments. One of my favourite memories isof sitting in the lobby of “Munich’s most beautiful sitting room” in the Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski. From the delicious cookies to the gorgeous tree to the “Valley Station” – a collection of decorated gondolas in the hotel’s entrance where guests can listen to Christmas carols and enjoy a Raclette dinner (39 Euros per person) – it was perfect. Now you can book a Reduced rate on stays at the hotel ( valid through March 31, 2018).

 

hate winter germany

Beautiful ornaments and mulled wine can temporarily cure any “hate winter” feelings.

 

5.  Shop Stratford: I love Stratford, Ontario during the summer and now they’re offering a great reason to make a winter trip out as well. The new Stratford Christmas Trail runs until December 20. Twenty-seven shops are a part of the trail and when you buy your pass ($30+HST), you can choose which six you’ll stop in to exchange a voucher for a fabulous stocking stuffer. Gifts are of a wide variety including melt in your mouth shortbread for humans and healthy treats for pets. Among the shops participating: The Artful Badger, Bard’s Steakhouse, Olive Your Favourites, The Spa on Albert and The Stratford Festival Shop. Plus, it’s a great excuse for getting out to the town and strolling the streets that are draped in fresh cedar rope and tied with big red bows.  Pop into the Stratford Tourism office to purchase your pass. ( Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm and Saturday 10 am- 4 pm) www.visitstratford.ca/ChristmasTrail

The Ultimate Hate Winter Indulgence

6. Give in to the hate:  You think you hate winter? Head to the foot of the Alps where a tradition dating back centuries aims to whip theevil forces of darkness (and winter)” out of town.  They are literally beating winter! Want a sneak peek?

For more information visit http://www.bayern.by/traditionell-anders/en/aperschnalzer/

Another option?  Sit back and let the evil “Klausen” do the work.   “Each year on December 4- 6, scary figures known as “Klausen” and “Bärbele” wind their way through the villages of the Allgäu.  Wearing fur coats, some adorned with twigs and moss, and heavy cowbells hanging from their belts, masked villagers drive away the evil spirits of winter and spread the blessing of life. ” In other words people who hate winter as much as I do. These are my people.

 

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