WINTER ATHLETICS IN VERMONT
Take advantage of the chilly temps to enjoy the fun series of competitive athletic events at the Kingdom Games. All activities take place on the ice and in the water of Lake Memphremagog in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. Games are designed for all ages and skill levels, and attract participants from the United States, Canada, Europe, and as far away as India. Upcoming events include the Memphremagog Winter Swim Festival (Feb. 24-25), and the Memphremagog Ice Skating Festival (March 3-4). If you don’t want to compete, simply watch the games and cheer on your favorite participant. In addition to winter sports, Kingdom Games also offers running, cycling, and open-water swimming competitions during the warmer months. Lodging and dining options in the Newport area are linked on website. kingdomgames.co.
FLOWERS BLOOM IN WINTER
Spring may be months away, but don’t despair. In Central Massachusetts, the 132-acre Tower Hill Botanic Garden is offering colorful relief from winter blahs with a series of weekend events — In Bloom — that’s all about celebrating flowers. Escape from the cold into Tower Hill’s lush conservatories where the sweet smells and bright colors of floral displays offer hope for warmer days. Each themed weekend offers opportunities to learn about floral design at demos and talks by experts: Earth Wind and Flower, inspired by the elements (Feb. 10-11); Steampunk, inspired by a literary and artistic genre that mixes elements of modern technology, fantastical fiction, and Victorian-era history and fashion (Feb. 17-18); and Camellia Show, featuring blossoms and trees from the New England Camellia Society, as well as Tower Hill’s own collection (Feb. 24-25). The first two weekends include special activities for kids. All events included with price of admission. 508-869-6111, www.towerhillbg.org
DOGSLED ADVENTURES IN VERMONT
If you’ve already tried skiing and snowshoeing, why not consider something completely different? On the Stoweflake Dogsled Adventure, an experienced musher will lead you and a team of Siberian Huskies on an exhilarating ride through more than three miles of snowy starlit trails at this mountain resort and spa nestled in the heart Stowe, Vt. The adventure includes resort or townhouse accommodations; daily afternoon tea, coffee and cookies; and full resort amenities including sports and wellness center, indoor pool, heated outdoor pool, and Jacuzzi. Available Thursday and Saturdays evenings in February; Saturdays only in March. Rates from $348 per couple. 800-253-2232, www.stoweflake.com/special_offers.aspx
COLLEGE GRAD PACKAGE
IN COSTA RICA
Those looking for the perfect gift for graduating seniors should hop on this steal of a deal. The Pura Vida 2018 Graduation Package is a 7-night, 8-day beach and tropical forest adventure in Costa Rica priced at $154 per night. Features a two-night stay (on arrival and departure nights) in the capital city of San Jose; two or three nights at Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa (www.tabacon.com), a secluded rainforest private reserve near the Arenal Volcano with thermal hot springs, outdoor spa, zip-lining, horseback riding and whitewater rafting; and two or three nights at El Mangroove (elmangroove.net/), a Marriott Autograph Collection boutique beach hotel in Papagayo, located 15 minutes from the artsy and bustling town of El Coco. Also includes unlimited entrance to the thermal experience, and 20-percent spa discount at Tabacon; daily breakfast in all hotels; and eight-day car rental with supplemental liability insurance and drop off fees included. $1,075/person, double occupancy. Must book by April 15. Valid for travel from May 1 through June 20. Copy of valid school ID is required. Reservations 1-855-TABACON. Promo code: GRAD2018. Or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
WINTER IN CANADA WINE COUNTRY
Like your wine extra-chilled? Pack your woolies and head north to Nova Scotia where local wines take center stage during the 10th annual Nova Scotia Icewine Festival (Feb. 24-25; March 3-4). Over these two winter weekends, travelers can enjoy the province’s icewines made with grapes picked and pressed in temperatures of 17.6 degrees Fahrenheit, or below, along with additional wines from 10 local wineries including Domaine de Grand Pré, Lightfoot & Wolfville, Luckett Vineyards, and more. Events include four-course dinner with wines ($81, opening night only); wine tastings paired with dishes from a local chef or restaurant ($28); and Ghostwalk, a trek through the historical landscape with ghost stories and tragic tales ($16). nsicewinefest.com
GEAR ON THE GO
Creative travelers will enjoy the Airstream Gear Bag by RAGGEDedge. This three-person company, based in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Floyd, Va., make all their products by hand in their 256-square foot, solar powered workshop. Their durable gear bags are made of carbon fiber sailcloth — to repel water and grime — and are lightweight (one pound, 10 ounces), comfortable to carry, and fit easily into most overhead airline compartments. Features include marine-grade zippers, grab strap on one end, easy-access wide mouth opening, and three exterior zip pockets. ($375 includes free shipping.) They also craft wallets, toiletry kits, briefcases, folders, and passport holders with “design your own” options. (From $30) www.raggededgegear.com