There are two ways to respond to the cold and the snow of winter. One way is to hide inside with a book and a blanket. Another way is to get outside and embrace it. Of course, pretty much every town in New England has its own personal sledding hill, known to all who live there. Same goes for frozen ponds on which to play hockey or go skating. Here’s our list of sledding spots to bring the kids to on a snow day, and public outdoor rinks to do some skating when there’s no fresh snowfall.
Foss Hill, Middletown: Located on the Wesleyan campus, Foss Hill usually fills up with students and locals alike after a good snowfall. Sledders get the added bonus of being surrounded by the gorgeous old buildings of the university. Stop into the nearby Neon Deli at the corner of Vine and Cross streets for a cup of coffee to warm yourself up.
Edgehill Park, New Haven: There is a certain grandeur to this park that straddles the Hamden-New Haven border. It is situated on the grounds of the Eli Whitney estate, and you can sled where the legendary industrialist once walked his grounds.
Elizabeth Park, Hartford: Another of the grandiose, stately city parks in the state, Elizabeth Park in the summer months is known for its Rose Garden, but in the winter time there are some great hills for sledding. Check out the one on the Hartford side near the corner of Asylum and Prospect.
Simsbury Farms, Simsbury: The rink at Simsbury Farms costs $6 for non-residents ($5 for kids and seniors), and is open to the public Saturdays from 2:15-4:15 p.m. and 7:30-9, and Sundays from 2:15-4:15. There is a canopy over the rink, protecting skaters from the elements. Check the Simsbury Culture, Parks and Recreation department website for more details.
Harbor Park, Middletown: At some point in January, Middletown will open up an ice skating rink in Harbor Park, overlooking the Connecticut River. City officials are hoping to throw open the doors sometime around the Martin Luther King weekend, so check the website for details. The city has been trying to figure out for years how to get people down to the beautiful riverfront, and this might be just the ticket. The free-to-the-public rink will be open on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, and will likely run through March.
Longshore Rink, Westport: This rink is maintained by the Westport Police Athletic League and is open for public skate several times throughout the week. Unlike many other public outdoor rinks, this one has proper boards and stick time. A bonus are views of Long Island Sound and beautiful sunsets. Check the website for pricing and hours.
This article appeared in the January 2018 issue of Connecticut Magazine.
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