5 Ways to Beat Cabin Fever

Sunrise at Polly's Pancake Parlor, courtesy of Polly's

Sunrise at Polly’s Pancake Parlor, courtesy of Polly’s

We are entering the final week of February. Spring begins next month and Daylight Savings is only two weeks away. But as any New Hampshire resident knows, this doesn’t mean the snow and ice are over. There are still those few, hard days of late winter left to survive before we can break out the T-shirts and skirts again. To help my fellow New Hampshire residents get through these times, I put together a list of things I’ve found successful in beating cabin fever. I hope they help, and hang in there. Spring is almost here.

1. Late winter skiing

A few years ago, I purchased a season ski pass at a White Mountain ski area, hoping to improve my skills and get some fresh air during the dark winter months. I got my money’s worth, skiing late into the year on what I’d call more slush than snow. Some people say this is no way to ski or ride, but what these folks forget is that there can be some great late skiing as well. The day after a spring storm is the perfect time to hit the slopes. The lift lines are short and at times you’re the only one on the trail. Plus this is the time of year when you can get really good ski package deals. I find SkiNH.com is a good place to start.

2. Run the Shamrock Shuffle

Would you run two miles for a free pint of beer? It’s not such a bad trade-off, especially when the race is held in downtown Manchester during their belated St. Patrick’s Day celebration. (Manchester likes to brag it celebrates St. Patrick’s Day all month long.) On March 30, Manchester will host its annual Shamrock Shuffle race on Elm Street in the morning, followed by the city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration along the same route. Those who run the race get a beer ticket for one pint at nearby pubs, like the Shaskeen and Murphy’s Taproom. This race sold out a month in advance last year, so make sure to register early.

3. Take a hike

Every year, there’s always that one day in late winter that comes after a week of rain. The sun breaks through and there’s just a whisper of a breeze. You can finally see something green on the ground for the first time in months. That’s the perfect day for a hike. I usually prefer a well-traveled mountain in the southern half of the state, like Mt. Monadnock or Mt. Major, but there are plenty more difficult and more northern trails that have much greater views and even a few waterfalls. Here’s a pretty well-rounded list of great New Hampshire hikes, listed from easy to difficult, and Stay Work Play has excellent resources too.

4. Take a brewery tour

It’s one thing having beers with friends on a dreary Saturday afternoon. It’s another to spend that same dreary Saturday watching the beer get made. New Hampshire, like most states, has seen a boom in new breweries thanks to a skyrocketing interest in craft beers. The industry has been so successful in New Hampshire that the state is hosting a website, called NHBeer.org, which features a downloadable map of breweries you can tour. At a recent event at Smuttynose Brewery (which is on the list) I was told this map is the most downloaded item on the entire state of New Hampshire web site.

5. Make a trip to Polly’s Pancake Parlor

If you have a passion for pancakes, then you need to set aside a day to visit Polly’s Pancake Parlor in Sugar Hill. It will take you a while to get there if you live in Concord or points south, but the drive is worth it. Polly makes all her own stuff, including six different kinds of batter, from buckwheat to gluten free. There are add-ins available, like blueberries and chocolate chips, and pancakes come with all the real maple syrup you can handle. There’s eggs and lunch stuff too, like burgers and soup, if that’s you’re thing. Polly’s opens for the season, weekends only, on March 15.

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