Advice for staying warm when New England weather turns cold

Rabbit Hill Inn, VermontOld Man Winter has returned and turned the heat down with vengeance throughout New England.  Yet, don’t let the thermometer stop you from taking that romantic winter getaway to any of the 12 Distinctive Inns of New England (DINE).  After all, what could be better than a getaway filled with rest and romance and a flickering fire?  Perhaps the only thing that might be added to that picture is a hot toddy and of course, the one you love.

Nothing beats a chilly day spent outdoors skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, sleigh riding or dogsledding in New England than a return to a warm New England inn. Come sit a spell by the fireplace and snuggle with the one that makes you happiest.  That’s what DINE inns are all about in the chilliest of winter months.

Yet when you do venture out, you’ll want to be sure you’re prepared, especially when the temps fall.  On extremely cold days, the highest priority is to dress for the cold, so here are some tips for how to stay warm when the mercury drops.

Start with a warm base: Start with a warm base layer on the top and bottom. Choose a thin, wicking, thermal shirt fitted to your body, with synthetic materials like polypropylene. Wool is also a good option as it naturally regulates heat, and wicks away body moisture. Stay away from cotton as it doesn’t have the wicking power you’ll need outside in cold temps, and loses its warming properties when wet.  And waffle shirts and long underwear are also highly recommended for this all-important bottom layer. The texture in waffled fabrics allow synthetics to keep you warm when it’s wet outside. So, technically, the more texture your base layer has, the more easily the liquids and gasses (sweat and air) between your skin and first layer will evaporate. Bottom line: It’s good to stay dry, especially on a very cold day.

Next, layer up:  Your next layer should be a fleece or wool shirt or light jacket, followed by a waterproof and war, parka, ideally with a layer of down offering the ultimate in insulation.  Your pants should also be insulated and ideally waterproof too.  Cover your face and neck with a face mask and/ or warm neck warmer, especially in very cold temps.  This will protect you from frostbite.

Warm feet, warm heart: Choose socks with smart wool (or any other wool), once again for the insulating, heat-regulating and wicking properties of wool.

Keep the head warm: You lose a great deal of warmth through your head.  A warm wool or fleece hat not only keeps the body heat from escaping, but with today’s styles is quite fashionable too.  In extremely cold weather, a ski parka with a hood that fits over your hat adds an extra layer from the wind and cold. Remember, ears are particularly vulnerable to frost bite, so make sure they’re covered with your hat.

Bring hand and feet warmers:  These will be your best friends if you activate them right before you go out, to allow them to last the longest.

Break often for a warm non-alcoholic toddy:  It’ll be important to take warming breaks more often on cold days.  Opt for the warm drinks, like hot chocolate, tea, or coffee to warm your entire body from inside out.  If you are snowmobiling or winter hiking, and not close to a base lodge or warming hut, bring a thermos of hot non-alcoholic beverages and imbibe often.

Romantic getaway at Rabbit Hill InnSave the alcohol for when you return to the inn: While alcohol may make you feel warmer, it actually chills your vital organs. While alcohol dilates the peripheral blood vessels near the skin, making you feel warmer, more blood – and heat – flows to these vessels, taking heat away from the core of your body. So, while it feels like you’re warm because your skin is warm, your vital organs aren’t as warm. Your confused internal thermometer, added to the clouding of senses and bravado that alcohol can create, can spell real trouble.  So, if you wait until you return to the inn and are warming up in front of the fire, that hot toddy will be much more effective in keeping you warm!

Snuggle with the one you love: Snuggle is our middle name in DINE country. Actually, this idea should have been our first piece of advice.  When the weather outside is frightful, our welcoming inns and guest rooms are your refuge from the cold, especially in the arms of the one you love.  Finish a day of playing outside together with time inside snuggling in the arms of your favorite traveling pal.  The 12 DINE inns each offer up welcoming refuges from the cold.  You provide the snuggles.

In an earlier DINE blog story, we focused on creative ways to stay warm.  Click here for a few more ideas and the perfect recipe for staying warm on cold winter days.

No place beats New England for a winter getaway. Whether you enjoy quiet winter walks on the beach or Cliff Walk, or skiing, snowmobiling or snowshoeing in the mountains, the 12 DINE inns offer the ideal place to relax and explore, both inside and out.  Start planning your winter getaways at the 12 Distinctive Inns of New England by clicking on links below that will take you directly to each of their websites.

In Rhode Island: Cliffside Inn in Newport

In Massachusetts:  Harbor Light Inn in Marblehead, Gateways Inn & Restaurant in Lenox, Deerfield Inn in Historic Deerfield and Captain’s House Inn in Chatham on Cape Cod.

In Connecticut: Inn at Harbor Hill Marina in Niantic

In Maine:  Captain Jefferds Inn in Kennebunkport & Camden Maine Stay Inn in Camden.

In Vermont:  Rabbit Hill Inn in Lower Waterford & Grafton Inn in Grafton

In New Hampshire:  Manor on Golden Pond in Holderness & Chesterfield Inn in West Chesterfield