While I’m a fan of the outdoors — trekking or pedaling into the great unknown — I’m also a big fan of “adventure lite.” Not every outing has to be a white-knuckle thrill ride or lung-busting hike. It’s OK to chill just a bit. This is where cross-country ski areas shine. Add the magnificent real-life Crayola box of fall foliage, and you’ve got all the ingredients for an exceptional cool-weather excursion.
Many modern-day dedicated cross-country ski facilities have the infrastructure to provide plenty of activities, from sun up to sundown and beyond, year-round. A number have lodging options on site, and those that don’t, you’ll find accommodations nearby. For me and my crew, that’s important, because while I don’t mind the initial drive to and from these areas, I’m admittedly lazy when it comes to post-adventure travel. I prefer to kick back, enjoy an adult beverage, a good meal, and good company, without worrying about getting back behind the wheel.
Here are some of our favorites. For added “insider information” from a local expert, I called on Reese Brown, the executive director for the Cross Country Ski Areas Association, based in Vermont.
Pineland Farms, New Gloucester – pinelandfarms.org